The Young and the Restless just celebrated 40 years on CBS, and Michelle Stafford’s fiery bad girl Phyllis has been front and center for almost half that time – winning Stafford two Emmys along the way.
Carolyn: Was there a party for Y&R’s 40th?
Michelle: There were many festivities. Steve Mosko [President of Sony Pictures Television] threw a party on the Sony lot and invited [Sony] International. He said, ‘I wanted these guys to meet you because they work so hard on your show.’ It was very cool. Then there was the cake-cutting party last week on the set. I want to say there was another party, but maybe that’s it.
Carolyn: Maybe you weren’t invited to it.
Michelle: Maybe I wasn’t [laughs].
Carolyn: How did those interviews at the start of the show come about?
Michelle: They shot me and a couple of other actors months ago for something on the Internet. Somebody liked them, so they decided to do it with more of the cast and put it at the beginning of every show. It was a great idea, I enjoyed it. I have to admit that Mel’s [Melody Thomas Scott, Nikki] and Jeanne’s [Jeanne Cooper, Katherine] brought tears to my eyes. There was something really sweet about their interviews.
Carolyn: Do people know that’s your body on Y&R’s opening credits?
Michelle: I think so. People ask me about it.
Carolyn: Do you get paid for that every time it airs?
Michelle: No. Should I? Let’s look into that.
Carolyn: Whenever they show a photo of a former character on the mantel or something, the actor gets paid.
Michelle: Maybe that’s why they cut my head off!
Carolyn: I see you on Twitter all the time – those Phick [Phyllis and Nick] fans are amazing. Do you have good relationships with most fans?
Michelle: My Twitter relationship with anybody who is nice to me is pretty strong. I hate to bring this up, but I will because you asked me. There were some Phonan fans [Phyllis and Ronan] who would get mad at me for not acknowledging them enough. They would write to me, ‘You’re so rude to us. You’re much nicer to Phick fans.’ Oh my God, honestly? If somebody says ‘Will you say Happy Birthday to my grandmother?’ or ‘Your storyline makes me feel something for your character’ I’m obviously going to respond to that better than, ‘Why won’t you talk to me? You’re a bitch.’ I don’t respond to negative comments. ‘Oh, you only respond to nice comments?’ Well, YEAH. I’m going to respond to ‘You’re fabulous’ over ‘You’re a troll.’
Carolyn: Phick fans are so supportive of you and Joshua Morrow [Nick]. Is there any hope of them getting back together?
Michelle: I don’t foresee anything lovely happening between Phyllis and Nick in the near future. I think these writers want to take things in another direction.
Carolyn: How do you feel about that?
Michelle: I’m an actress. My job is to do what’s written. My job is not to manipulate story or complain about it, but to do the best job I can with what’s written. Period.
Carolyn: Doesn’t it frustrate you when so many people are tweeting that they want Nick with Phyllis?
Michelle: I understand it. Phyllis and Nick have so much passion between them. You put Josh and me in a room together and we have so much chemistry. That’s just our thing. What’s going on now is that they are intensely disliking each other, which is where they started with the whole Daniel/Cassie drunk driving story. They started there, so it’s interesting to see them go back. I think Phyllis is incensed that Nick is with her sister. She can’t get over that; her sister having no respect for her marriage to Nick. After everything they shared as husband and wife, why would he want to be with her sister? But then, Nick has been so hurt by Phyllis betraying him with Ronan and also her not ever telling him that she tried to run over a few people. That slipped her mind. They love each other so much. Right now they are having problems with their daughter [Summer] so they just keep yelling at each other.
Carolyn: And you hear about it every day on Twitter.
Michelle: Social media has changed the game for sure. You get to hear right away how people feel. I think it’s a great thing as an artist, but there’s also a lot of criticism out there. The networks are definitely paying attention to what people say on social media. I think it’s important for people to have a voice and to state their opinion. If people like or don’t like a story, they have every right to talk about it. If you don’t like Phyllis’s dress, you can talk about it. If you don’t like Phyllis’s ass, you can’t talk about it because it also happens to be Michelle Stafford’s ass [laughs].
Carolyn: Do Jack and Phyllis fans weigh in?
Michelle: Phack! They do weigh in.
Carolyn: Do Nick and Avery have fans?
Michelle: I’m not privy to Navery fans because they don’t usually add me to their comments.
Carolyn: You mean you’re not trolling the Internet 24 hours a day looking to see what people are saying about you?
Michelle: No [laughs].
Carolyn: What happened to Restless Style?
Michelle: It went bankrupt.
Carolyn: I thought Phyllis was supposed to be a good business woman?
Michelle: It wasn’t Phyllis, it was Billy. Phyllis is an amazing business woman.
Carolyn: What else is she good at?
Michelle: She’s great in the sack, let’s not discount that. She’s a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen, and a whore in the bedroom. You can quote me on that.
Carolyn: Can I quote you on the rumor that Summer is actually Jack’s kid, not Nick’s?
Michelle: You’re going to have to watch the show to find out the answer to that. Nick is the only one who saw the paternity test results so that would mean that Nick lied. Or they would have to work it out that they gave him the wrong piece of paper; a mistake was made in the lab.
Carolyn: That never happens on soaps… If Jack turns out to be the dad, Twitter will go crazy.
Michelle: Right?! I dig Twitter. I like talking to my peeps. I like sharing random Stafford comments like, ‘I’m not a fan of road kill’ or ‘Boring is worse than turnips.’ I created a hashtag on Instagram called #DoingItAsASingleChick for single parents trying to have a career and get their groove on and be a good parent.
Carolyn: ‘Doing it’ meaning having sex?
Michelle: NO! Doing life. I have so many people who say, ‘Oh my God, I’m single too and I’m trying to have a career and find love with all these things going on.’ I’m into social media because you can find a voice with something to say and then add to it. I’m going to write a blog about it on my website [michellestafford.com].
Carolyn: I like your site. You put new pictures on there all the time, as opposed to some actors who let their fan club presidents manage it and they just write, “Michelle will be performing at The Chuckle Hut this Saturday.”
Michelle: The Chuckle Hut?! Check my site in the next few months. I plan to do some big things with my blog and some other things in the works that I can’t discuss.
Carolyn: Are we breaking news here?
Michelle: Yes. Breaking news!
Carolyn: Speaking of news, isn’t your contract up soon?
Michelle: I don’t ever discuss my contract in public. I think its bad form.
Carolyn: Some actors do. They even mount campaigns on Twitter to get fans to write in and get the show to re-sign them.
Michelle: Those are probably the same people trolling the Internet for nice things being said about them [laughs].