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What Has Chicago Med's Yaya DaCosta Been Up To Since Leaving the Show?

Learn more about the actress who portrayed ER Nurse April Sexton from Seasons 1 through 6. 

By Jessica White

As one of the original cast members of Chicago Med, Yaya DaCosta is a beloved fixture within the franchise and One Chicago universe.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 10 premiere of Chicago Med on Wednesday, September 25 at 8/7c on NBC

DaCosta starred as ER Nurse April Sexton from Seasons 1-6 of Chicago Med, assisting in dozens of medical cases and brushing shoulders with a legion of fan favorites. April often caught the attention of her colleagues, leading to some juicy romances, including her fling with Chicago Fire's Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and relationship with former ED Chief Ethan Choi (Brian Tee). Between her steadfast patient care and explosive chemistry with One Chicago heartthrobs, fans fell head over heels for DaCosta.

DaCosta left the show after Season 6 — though her character made a celebrated return in Chicago Med's Season 8 premiere ("How Do You Begin to Count the Losses"). While Choi visited his father's grave, April ran into her former lover at the cemetery and the pair connected over being in the same city again and mutually single. It didn't take long for the fire between Choi and April to be rekindled, and by midseason, the Choi and April had a beautiful wedding attended by all their Gaffney loved ones.

"I think having April Sexton and Dr. Choi ride off into the sunset was just a beautiful gift for us and for the fans," DaCosta said during an appearance on New York Live.

April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta) in Chicago Med Season 2 Episode 5

Since leaving Chicago Med in 2021, DaCosta has starred in several noteworthy projects. DaCosta joined the cast of the drama series Our Kind of People in 2021 as Angela Vaughn, a boho beauty and up-and-coming hair products entrepreneur. In 2023, DaCosta scored a recurring role in Season 2 of the legal drama The Lincoln Lawyer as Andrea "Andy" Freeman, a cutthroat criminal prosecutor who appeared in two nail-biting episodes.

RELATED: What Happened to Noah Sexton on Chicago Med?

In addition to acting, DaCosta has a multi-faceted career which includes modeling and work as a full-spectrum doula. DaCosta also delights in sharing life updates on her personal Instagram, where she can be seen traveling the world, riding horses, and walking the red carpet during her award show appearances. From memorable past roles to the work she calls a "mission," read more on DaCosta's career journey. 

Yaya DaCosta is a full-spectrum birth doula 

Aside from acting, DaCosta has been a self-described "birth worker" (or doula) since 2010. "I fell in love with the work. It felt less like a job and more like a remembering of something that I had done before. A calling, a mission," DaCosta told Toure Show in 2023. DaCosta remains passionate about her work and has continued to serve as a birth worker while acting full-time, including during her tenure on Chicago Med. "I've helped a lot of mamas give birth to their children and seen them just blossom and seen them be so empowered and seen them realize that they can do anything," DaCosta explained. "It's not just the baby being born, it's a whole new person — the mother...and she needs to be babied in her postpartum period as well, she needs to be nurtured and taken care of and society doesn't allow room for that."

April and Choi stan at the alter on Chicago Med episode 809

Did Yaya DaCosta win America's Next Top Model?

DaCosta first skyrocketed to notoriety as a competitor on Season 3 of America's Next Top Model, where she served countless looks as a frontrunner until she was crowned the runner-up. Following her 2003 ANTM appearance, DaCosta began scoring modeling deals left and right, appearing in several magazines and advertisements and landing in Tom Ford's Fall and Winter advertising campaign.

From 2003 to 2007, DaCosta appeared in numerous music videos, including Kanye West's "Gold Digger" (2005), Chingy's "Pullin' Me Back" (2006), and Jay-Z's "Roc Boys" (2007).

Yaya DaCosta poses on the carpet of the "America's Next Top Model" Season Three Finale Party

RELATED: Go Behind Chicago Med's Filming Locations with a Co-Executive Producer 

Yaya DaCosta's Movies, Theatre, and TV Roles

Cassandra (Yaya DaCosta) chatting with Angie (Debbi Morgan) on ABC Daytime's "All My Children".

As she became renowned for her stunning poses, DaCosta set her sights on the screen. According to her IMDb bio, DaCosta loved acting from the time she began performing as a preteen.

DaCosta made her acting debut in 2005 in the sitcom Eve, guest starring in a Season 2 episode as Ms. Jenkins. The following year, DaCosta made her feature film debut in the 2006 film Take the Lead, where DaCosta showed off some of her dance chops alongside stars Antonio Banderas, Alfre Woodard, Rob Brown, and then-fellow emerging star Jenna Dewan.

DaCosta continued to gain traction in film. In 2010 she starred in Tron: Legacy and was part of the dynamite cast of The Kids Are All Right. DaCosta starred alongside an A-list lineup including Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, and Josh Hutcherson, following a same-sex married couple with kids. The Kids Are All Right was a smash success, receiving four Academy Award nominations. The film's ensemble cast collected 15 nominations across the awards circuit, with DaCosta earning a nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance for her role as Tanya at the 2011 Black Reel Awards.

Meanwhile, DaCosta had also scored major roles in the cherished soap opera All My Children as Cassandra Foster, the daughter of Angie Hubbard (Debbi Morgan). She's also had numerous roles on established series: In 2009, DaCosta joined the Season 4 cast of Ugly Betty as Nico Slater. In 2011, DaCosta appeared as Anita in Season 8 of House as a recurring cast member. In 2008, DaCosta took her talents to the theatrical stage in the revival of Leslie Lee’s ensemble drama The First Breeze of Summer.

Yaya DaCosta poses after the screening of her film "Honeydripper"

RELATED: A Breakdown of the Current Chicago Med Cast

Shortly before joining the One Chicago family, DaCosta starred in the 2013 films Mother of George and Big Words. That same year, DaCosta joined the supernova cast of Lee Daniel's historical odyssey The Butler, where the Med actress appeared alongside Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and Robin Williams, to scratch the surface of the playbill. The Butler earned two BAFTA nominations and won two NAACP awards.

While starring on Chicago Med, DaCosta appeared in Rob Reiner's 2014 comedy And So It Goes. During her tenure on Chicago Med, DaCosta also appeared in the 2016 film The Nice Guys as Tally, one of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe's on-screen adversaries in the action comedy. In 2019, DaCosta starred in the biopic Bolden as Nora Bolden in the musical drama centered around the life of famous cornetist Buddy Bolden, a key figure in popularizing New Orleans ragtime and jazz. 

Yaya DaCosta portrayed the iconic Whitney Houston in a biopic 

Angela Bassett and Yaya DaCosta attend the world premiere of 'Whitney'

In 2015, DaCosta was cast in the biopic Whitney as the powerhouse singer Whitney Houston herself. The film was Angela Bassett's directorial debut and featured DaCosta as Houston alongside Deborah Cox's vocal interpretation of the songstress' greatest hits. The film was shot in less than three weeks and expertly demonstrated DaCosta's chameleonic talent within the lens of Houston's early career.

"This woman meant so much to me and something felt important, you know, about giving her as much honor and integrity that I could..." DaCosta told Toure Show in 2023. "I felt immense pressure and that was the one thing that actually showed me why I needed to do it. Because Whitney felt the same thing a lot of the time."

Watch Chicago Med on NBC and Peacock.