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.

Kelley and me with director Sonia after our scenes

Kelley and me with director Sonia after our scenes

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.

Me with my HS friend Carrie and my 36-hour old lashes. Not bad!

Me with my HS friend Carrie and my 36-hour old lashes. Not bad!

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…)


One Response to TAINTED DREAMS: Wait – I’m an actress?

  • Shellye says:


    (Warning: Shameless, obsequious flattery ahead!) I love your blog and this one was particularly cute! Your SOD column is what got me to subscribe to that fine mag and this blog will be why I must check out Tainted Dreams. (Bought your book too!) Keep up the great humor, precision insights, and invaluable connections to our genre!


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