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Special Treatment

Actress and model Yaya DaCosta heads to the Windy City and scrubs in for a regular role on Chicago Med.

HEALING TOUCH
Yaya DaCosta plays a nurse in the next Dick Wolf project.

Yaya DaCosta can do it all: reality TV, soap operas, the silver screen—you name it. Now, the Ivy League alum takes her next leap in a starring role on surefire hit Chicago Med.

You launched into the limelight on America’s Next Top Model. Was an acting career always the end goal?
I’ll let you in on a little secret—and it is a secret because nothing I did before [Top Model] got as much attention—but I had been acting since I was a child. I had a lot of side jobs. And that’s what modeling was, a side job. Acting has always been my passion.

What can you tell me about your character, April Sexton?
April is one of the hospital’s nurses who is really competent—she loves the medical field. She’s the kind of nurse you want by your side. She is 100 percent present—a special trait. It is really hard, no matter what your job, as a human being to take the time and effort to be selfless.

Last season on Chicago Fire, there was an attraction between your character and actor Taylor Kinney’s. Will there be more of that?
I think that was—how do we say—an itch that needed to be scratched for over 10 years, [laughs] and I think that is common. They have been friends since high school and thought: Hey, let’s see what this feels like. But I don’t know if that is going to go on and be lasting. We’ll have to see!

What makes this trio of shows so popular?
I’m new to Chicago, but Chicago has an energy that I think really comes across on film. The fact that it is shot here makes it very authentic. There is a tension here, and there are people from all different walks of life coexisting—so it is fascinating to be learning how the city functions and how those lives intersect behind the doors of the hospital in Chicago Med.

As a native New Yorker, how are you liking your time in Chicago so far?
When people find out I’m from New York, they always ask about the pizza—how I like the deep dish. [laughs] I tasted the deep dish and it is really good, but I have to say New York wins out! But really, they are comparable cities, Chicago and New York. Chicago definitely wins out on being cleaner, which I appreciate. Keep it clean.

You also star in the upcoming Bolden!, directed by native Chicagoan Dan Pritzker. What was it like working with him?
He was such an amazing, sensitive director. It was a wonderful experience; we had the resources to really get things right. I can’t wait to see this film; it is going to be aesthetically beautiful.

What else should we expect from you in the near future?
Excellence! I’m working really hard to just get better and better every day. I know where April started, but I’m excited to see who she becomes before our eyes.