Before Morgan Holmstrom decided to pursue acting, she was interesting in going into the medical field. But once she couldn’t stop thinking about showbiz, she realized this is what she was meant to pursue. Now, the rising star gets to appear in SkyMed, a medical drama, which was released on Paramount+ on July 10.
“It was definitely a full circle moment,” the actress exclusively tells GRAZIA USA. “I did take a few years of medical classes in university. I ended up dropping out to go into acting, but I did want to become a doctor beforehand. It was funny going back to my hometown to film the show and playing a nurse in the medical field. It seemed like it was a double life of mine.”
When asked if she regrets not becoming a medical professional, she said “acting is more of a passion now,” although her father would be thrilled if she decided to go back to school and take on a pred-med program.
The series, which also stars Natasha Calis, Praneet Akilla and Thomas Elms, follows the nurses and pilots flying air ambulances in their occupations. “I was originally sent the audition, and I saw it was a medical show that was in the sky. I thought that was very interesting and different,” Holmstrom notes of the role. “I grew up loving medical shows and the show is loosely based on the creator’s [Julie Puckrin] family, as her sister and brother-in-law flew air ambulances and her sister was a flight nurse. It follows the trials and tribulations of flight nurses.”
“My character, Crystal, is the veteran flight nurse of the group,” she continues. “She’s a little bit harder on the other nurses, and she’s definitely a tough love sort of person, but once you win her over, you win her over for life.”
The show was perfect for Holmstrom, who would frequently tune into Grey’s Anatomy or House when she was younger. “When I first read the script, I honestly didn’t think I was going to book it. I read it, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is really cool.’ It drew me in. It was a pleasant surprise when I booked it.”
While on set, the brunette beauty had to learn all about being in the medical field. “We did a lot of training, and there are things that you don’t necessarily think about in these remote communities who don’t have access to a hospital,” she shares. “It was really cool to hear about Julie’s stories from her sister and brother-in-law. My favorite part about the show is just learning all of these neat things.”
Of course, there were some challenges, including getting the hang of all the medical jargon. “I think it was just because my character is the more seasoned one of the other nurses. I feel like I was trying to embody that and trying to embody the life of the seasoned nurse. I grew up shadowing a lot of nurses since my dad worked in the medical field, so I knew how they would act, and I saw how they were in a hospital setting,” she says.
“Having that background of knowledge definitely helped me and served me,” she notes. “But it is so much different than flying air ambulances in these remote areas. It adds another challenge, but I’m up for it.”
Prior to SkyMed, Holmstrom played Wahionhaweh on Outlander and Sarah on Day of the Dead. Though the roles are grittier, she gravitates toward “what kind of speaks to me in the moment,” she admits. “When I look at a role, and it makes me scared to do it, I feel like I should do that role because it makes you grow and makes you challenge yourself. I always like to go for the things that scare me a little bit.”
However, Holmstrom wouldn’t be opposed to diving into the comedy world and even starring in a rom-com. “I kind of just go with the flow and see what comes up. I feel like it changes all of the time,” she says.
Going forward, Holmstrom would love to write some of her own scripts. “I just want to continue on this course of where we’re going is away from tokenism, away from checking off boxes, just having a person of color on screen and not giving them the same sort of care that you wish for your other characters. I want to advocate and continue on this path of making sure that wherever I am going, I am opening doors for other people.”