How an Old Laptop Almost Kept Aja Naomi King From Booking 'How to Get Away With Murder'

I imagine that if I was ever asked to audition for a Shonda Rhimes show (I know, why would that ever happen? Just let me dream!), the invitation would be delivered in a gold envelope by one of Shonda’s many lackeys, who’d arrive in a horse-drawn carriage (It’s a whole fantasy for me, okay?). As Aja Naomi King described in her Her Conference 2017 keynote, though, that’s not quite how it happens.

Aja heard about How to Get Away With Murder when she received an email about an audition for a Shonda Rhimes show. As a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, she had no doubt she’d be auditioning. But the actual audition process was a bit more complicated than just refreshing her inbox.

Living in New York at the time, Aja was called back for a second audition, which she had to do over Skype since the show’s creative team was based in LA. She was more than willing to fly out to LA, but the powers that be were sure a virtual audition would suffice. Using what Aja described as “the world’s oldest laptop,” the actress tried to power through the audition (with casting director Marci Phillips powdering her nose between takes) while the computer was freezing and the picture was cutting in and out.

You’d think this technical malfunction might’ve cost her the gig, but her talent clearly shined through. As she was walking out of the ABC building, she got a phone call—she had the part!

This just goes to show you can’t let anything stand in your way. Aja said it best: “If it’s easy, it ain’t worth it. Go for the hard things.”

Having been a fan of Michaela Pratt since HTGAWM began, I’m sure glad that old laptop didn’t keep Aja from getting her big break.