When Sonia Blangiardo and I first started discussing her soap-within-a-soap idea that eventually evolved into Tainted Dreams, we had a ball recalling the raucous behind-the-scenes stories that had always remained within the “soap family.” Sonia said it would be funny if I had a cameo in the soap as a journalist who knew all the characters’ secrets but kept the racier ones from being printed. “What a fun wink to soap fans!” I thought. So I agreed.
Fast forward to July when the final scripts came out, and I had actual LINES. And SCENES with real actors. And makeup and wardrobe and CALL TIMES like 6 am at the old As The World Turns studio in Brooklyn. WHA-AT?
I called Sonia to point out that although I can be dramatic at times, I am not a trained actress. “You’ll be fine,” she responded.
Thus began the most unexpected trajectory of my career: paid actress.
I showed up in Brooklyn with my interpretation of soap hair carefully set with hot rollers: think Donna Mills from Knots Landing. OLTL’s long-time hair wrangler Wayne Bilotti promptly wet my hair, blew it dry and then flat ironed it into a beautiful look which is probably a little more current (!). Makeup artist Krystal spent a half hour on my face, which I had already carefully made up in the backseat of a car while chatting with good sport Walt Willey. She even went so far as to put false eyelashes on me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was wearing glasses in my scene because I was worried I might bump into Kelley Hensley. Kelley had about 25 scenes that day, but she graciously ran our lines over and over in the stairwell.
To be honest, my biggest concern – aside from remembering my lines – was sweating. I didn’t want to be the reason Sonia yelled “cut!” so that the poor make-up crew could pick my new lashes off the floor. Solution: a purse full of tissues to mop my brow.
I’m proud to say that Kelley and I shot our scene in one take, and that I remembered my lines. You can be the judge of my acting skills when Tainted Dreams debuts this Fall.
Meanwhile, I have to say that it sure is fun to have your hair and make-up done by professionals. I had a high school reunion the next night, so I decided to try and stay looking like a “soap star” by sleeping with my arms at my sides like a corpse. Yes, I woke up looking like Nick Nolte’s mug shot, but the lashes stayed on! I cleaned up my makeup, fluffed my hair and headed out to my reunion.
“What’s different about you?” asked my HS friends.
“I got my make-up done yesterday for a soap opera and slept with my head in a box,” I replied.
I did it all again this week in scenes with Alicia Minshew, Terri Ivens and Austin Peck at Blondies. I’ll blog about that next week, when I will also answer the age-old question: Do soap stars drink real booze in bar scenes? (Hint: You’d be surprised…)