Michael Fairman chats with Melissa Reeves (Jennifer Horton) at NBC’s Day of Days 2018 event celebrating Days of our Lives’ 53rd anniversary.
During their discussion, Melissa talks on working with Kassie DePaiva as Jennifer’s arch-rival, Eve, the upcoming highly-anticipated return of Matthew Ashford as Jack, Jennifer’s failed relationship with Eric Brady (Greg Vaughan), the departure of her on-screen daughter, Marci Miller and the arrival of Kate Mansi reprising the role of Abigail, who will continue in the storyline.
In addition, Melissa gives more details on her new coffee growing business in Nashville with her husband, former GH and Y&R star, Scott Reeves and much more.
Check out Melissa’s interview below. Make sure to catch the complete set of Day of Days 2018 interviews with the cast of Days of our Lives on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube. Make sure to “subscribe” for access.
Let us know if you are looking forward to Jack’s return, and how it will impact Jennifer in the comment section below.
INTERVIEW: Jackie Cox Talks On Latest Return to DAYS, An Offer for Dimitri, and Life as a Performer In and Out of Drag
On the Monday, December 4th episode of Peacock’s Days of our Lives, Jackie Cox is back and hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned! With revenge the order of the day on Leo Stark (Greg Rikaart), Darius Rose (Cox out of drag) arrives in Salem with a plan.
As Dimitri (Peter Porte) is about to turn himself into the authorities to save Leo’s skin, Darius gives Von Leuschner a talking to; letting him know that Leo deserves to rot away in prison, and so, to help Dimitri out of town, Darius has a tempting, and yet outlandish way to do just that!
Cox first appeared on Days of our Lives during the limited-series Beyond Salem in 2021 and then on to the mothership in 2022. The drag artist and Rupaul Drag Race alum took time out from his busy touring schedule of his holiday show, Jackie and Jan’s Jingle Jam (coming to a town near you), to speak with Michael Fairman TV all about his recent return to the long-running soap opera, playing ‘soapy’ versions of Jackie/Darius, and if there’s more story to come.
In addition, Jackie talks on the often misperceptions of the art of drag and drag performers, working with his DAYS co-stars since first appearing on the series including: Rikaart, Porte, Billy Flynn (Chad AKA Belinda Chinashop), and much more. Check out our chat with the incomparable Jackie below.
You get asked back to DAYS, once again. Were you shocked that you got the call to return?
JACKIE: You know, what’s so funny is ever since my appearance on Beyond Salem a couple years ago, the fans kind of picked up on this little connection with me and Leo. Which then, Ron Carlivati (head writer, Days of our Lives) kind of expanded into my storyline last year where I came and broke up Leo’s wedding with Dr. Craig Wesley (Kevin Spirtas). What’s amazing is the DAYS fans now think they have seen me in places in the story that I’m not. Like, I was one of the prime suspects for the murder of Abigail DiMera, or I’m somehow helping Leo with other things. (Laughs) The fans have amazing imaginations of their own. I think Ron and the team picked up on that a little bit and have kind of found different ways to work me back into the storyline, which is so cool. I’m there, even when I’m not. That’s so fun for me.
As viewers saw on Monday’s episode, you are not in scenes with Greg Rikaart but Peter Porte. Was that a surprise for you coming back to tape a new episode?
JACKIE: When they called me to come back, I thought I’d be working with Greg again as I have been very much a part of his storyline. However, it was really fun working with Peter, because we didn’t get to work together much on Beyond Salem, even though we were both there. It was fun to kind of like build a connection to Dimitri, because I think that’s such an interesting character.
Were you ever a fan of Days of our Lives before you were even on it?
JACKIE: I would pop in and out when I was a kid when I was homesick. My mom would let me watch a little bit. So, I remember the Stefano of it all, and Hope, and all of those storylines are still in my ether somewhere from when I was young. Coming into it now, and to see where the storylines have expanded into even more is great. The world is bigger now than maybe it was in the nineties. So, the fact that you have a drag queen dealing with an immigration problem, and getting back at her ex, I think is so wild to me. I couldn’t imagine that kind of a storyline happening back then, but it’s so cool to see now.
DAYS, at times, had shown a lot of forward-thinking to its audience that I don’t think you’d necessarily see on the other current soaps. The way they’ve had you, and other gay, or sexually-fluid characters or romances, or introduced drag into the storylines – all these things they had implemented along the way to make the soap, in its current form, a little more progressive leaning. They are also not on network TV anymore, but on a streaming platform, which gives this most likely an assist, as well.
JACKIE: What I love about it is, sometimes people just don’t think that we exist. You know what I mean? Maybe drag queens are something they just heard about and they don’t know what we are. I think what’s great is this character is me in my real life. I am Jackie Cox. I am a drag performer who goes around the country to different places and performs and stuff. So, for that to also be my character, it’s not like, “Why is she a drag queen?” It’s like, “Well, that’s just who she is.” I just happen to be there and I know that the daytime audience is so diverse. I love that they get to just see a little bit of my real life brought into Salem in this way. You can’t deny the fact I am Darius Rose and Jackie Cox.
It looks like Darius had a plan to ‘help’ Dimitri?
JACKIE: I don’t know if I’m as much helping Dimitri as if I have ulterior motives. I’m pretty frustrated with Leo. He is this charmer and he always gets what he wants. But I think at this point, I’ve had it with him and his schemes. He didn’t get that emerald. He didn’t give me the money from the Beyond Salem. He left me for Dr. Craig Wesley and I’m tired of it. I want to get back at him. Now that I find out he has this hot new little boyfriend, I know just how to do it because Dimitri better watch out, because he has not yet dealt with Jackie Cox yet. I have quite the persuasive offer you’ll see during the episode, and in the performances. I do think you see Dimitri really consider me and consider what I have to offer, which is to steal him a way, and help him escape to Canada with me.
We see you as Darius and Jackie in the episode, but there is a reason for that.
JACKIE: Yes! What’s fun for the audience is, I think, is there’s this tease during the episode, which is, “How are we going to get Dimitri out of here?” So, we take a page from the old drag book of tricks, which is walk right out the front door and let them look right at you, because drag is an amazing disguise. I think that Dimitri should have, could have chosen to be a fabulous drag queen and leave with me, and we could run across the Canadian border together and done cabarets in Montreal! (Laughs).
So, this is what Jackie/Darius wants to pull off in the episode?
JACKIE: Oh yeah, and also me, in my real life, (Laughs) I wouldn’t mind doing a cabaret in Montreal. That sounds like a good life to me. I think coming to Dimitri with this offer, which is: “Come with me across the border. Let’s get away from Leo. You haven’t been hurt by him the way I have, but I know you will be.” I think for the Darius side of me, you get to see a little bit of the softer side, in a sense. I really am hurt by Leo and the things that he’s done to me, and had been keeping me from – getting a green card in this fantasy version of my life. I really want to get back at him. What I love about Peter as an actor is, as we were working through this scene, we were able to find all these other levels. I kind of build this little connection through our episode of maybe I’m offering him something that he hasn’t even thought of before, a different kind of life where he’s not this Almanian crook, but maybe he can be a free gay man, maybe drag queen in Canada with me. That’s what’s on the table and the audience sees that. Unfortunately, he doesn’t choose me at the end, but that’s not going to stop me from putting on a fabulous look and walking outta there, anyway.
So then as he leaves, is Darius hurt by all of this?
JACKIE: I’m a little hurt. I don’t think my revenge cup is full at the end of this episode. There’s still a burning little desire for me to get back at Leo by the end of this and maybe a desire for me to just get back into Salem and see if I can find Dimitri again. Let me tell you honey, looking at Peter Porte is not very hard and maybe there’s more men in Salem for me … yet. (Laughs)
Ya never know! What was your takeaway from previously working with Greg Rikaart? Had you known Greg before taping Beyond Salem?
JACKIE: No. Greg and I met right then, and it was so much fun. Right away in those first couple of moments, we decided we needed to up this whole backstory, like just the two of us, and then it ended up on the show: that we were from New York, and we were in cahoots together, and then apparently we got married. and all this kind of subtext we worked in. For Greg and my character on DAYS, it was not about us being hot and heavy with each other. It was more about seeing each other as partners in crime very much from the beginning. So, that’s where the hurt for me comes in. I thought Leo was my main ride or die, but clearly he is not.
Ron Carlivati has a penchant for writing these types of campy stories. Did you speak with him at any point, and talk about the fact that you would like to do more appearances on DAYS?
JACKIE. Ron did just come to my Christmas show in New York a couple weeks ago. We had a little chat. I can’t say much, but I didn’t die at the end of this. So, there’s always room to come back! There’s always room for more Jackie.
Do you find there’s lot of misconceptions about drag queens and people that perform in drag? Do you think there’s an underlying misunderstanding of it within our culture?
JACKIE: There are a lot of misconceptions. A great example of it for me was last year when I came to Craig and Leo’s wedding. Once I got out of drag, Craig, wasn’t sure how to address me. I just was very clear with the pronouns I prefer out of drag. That was just something that was a matter-of-fact conversation that could happen between any two people. I think sometimes, everyone is scared of what they don’t know or they don’t understand, or are afraid of having a conversation that they think is going to be really horrible. I think the average person, no matter who you are, no matter what side of the political spectrum you are, no matter what gender or sexual orientation you are, everyone just wants to get along in general and have a decent experience walking around the world. I think if you see people like me and my character who’s a drag queen, who’s younger than for example, Dr. Craig Wesley’s character, having just a quick little conversation and then we move on … it’s not a big ‘falling on the sword’ moment. There’s nothing horrible happening. Drag can be a performance. It doesn’t actually matter who you are. Drag is just an expression, and if you love it, great. And if you don’t, you don’t have to come to my show. It’s okay.
What did you think about Belinda Chinashop (Billy Flynn), Sonny Delight (Zach Tinker) and Amanda Bottom (Chandler Massey) in the drag show scenes in Beyond Salem? Did you give the guys any pointers, or were you just stunned at how good they were?
JACKIE: We had just shot my drag stuff with them before, and they were like, “We’re doing this later this week.” I was like, “You guys will be fine. Don’t you worry.” They had amazing makeup artists come in and help them, which was great. I think that’s the biggest part. Billy Flynn told me, it was so fun for him to get to do it. I love that. Next time I come to Salem, I think there needs to be a reason for me to get Belinda Chinashop back out of the trunk.
You went to college at UCLA in their theatre department, didn’t you?
JACKIE: Sure did. I went to UCLA with Blake Berris (Everett). Blake and I were in the same theater program together and he booked DAYS I think right after college or while we were in college. It was amazing. He started so young. Now, we’re on this show together! How funny! We were like, “Oh my, God. This is amazing.” Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Blake when I was there this time this time. Hopefully, the timing works out next time. I don’t think Ron Carlivati even knows that we went to school together.
Were you determined once you left UCLA to become a successful performer? What trajectory were you on at that point?
JACKIE: I went to UCLA and I really focused in on theater because I love theater so much. I didn’t actually really do much film or TV, even though it’s the school of theater, film and television. I loved the theatre. Then, after school I moved to New York because that’s where theater is. I got to New York and I realized that the theater industry was not for me, at least at that time. This was 15 years ago or so. It wasn’t quite as progressive, even in the theater industry, as it is today. I mean, to be on Broadway, you kind of had to be this big strapping hunk back then. I didn’t really find a place for me there. I did find it in New York with drag, and that really unlocked something in me. I kind of started building this career as Jackie Cox. I’ve been doing drag now for 13 years. So, for me to come back around to what I maybe kind of started doing in the first place is very interesting. We will see what happens.
Now, would you want to take on more roles as yourself, as Darius?
JACKIE: That’s the thing. These days, writers are actually writing material that really connects to who I am. I really want to play more characters, bringing myself to the role is something that’s important to me. So, whether it’s drag, whether it’s a character, whether it’s incorporating some of my Middle Eastern heritage in there, those are all things that I want to bring to life, whether it’s in or out of drag. It’s all on the table. It’s definitely something where I still want it to have that authenticity, to have that reason where it’s me, the actor, not just someone who hasn’t lived it.
So, if you end up with an expanded role of Days of our Lives, would you take it?
JACKIE: Are you kidding? In a heartbeat! My only question to myself and to the writers out there is, am I still going to be me … or is it revealed that I’m not actually Jackie Cox, and that I’m just some delusional fan who thinks I am? (Laughs)
In closing, how is Jackie when she walks out the door after this episode?
JACKIE: Jackie walks out the door with a renewed sense of purpose, a burning desire to eventually get back at Leo, and maybe a new friend in Salem. Those are the things that I walk out that door with, for sure.
So, did you enjoy seeing Jackie Cox back on Days of our Lives? Should the soap opera continue to weave Jackie/Darius back into the storylines with Dimitri and Leo and company? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.
Days of our Lives Peter Porte Stars in ‘Yuletide the Knot’ Holiday Movie on UPtv
Sunday, December 3rd, Peter Porte (Dimitri, Days of our Lives) stars in a holiday rom-com on UPtv, entitled Yuletide the Knot. Not only is Porte the romantic male lead, but he is also one of the producers of the movie.
Yuletide the Knot premieres tonight at 7 pm ET. Porte stars opposite Mary Antonini who take on the role of Rachel. Also appearing are Kelly Jakle, Kelsey Scott and Melissa Peterman.
In story, Rachel, a small-town wedding planner (Antonini), is tasked with planning a Christmas ceremony for an influencer couple. But her big plans hit a major snag when she is partnered with the bride’s manager, Logan (Porte), who is actually her first love and high school sweetheart. Will Logan and Rachel soon be kissing again under the mistletoe?
Taking to his Instagram to share some background on the movie, Porte revealed: “I got the script in 2019 and was excited to come on board as an actor as well as producer. After months of planning, we were headed to Colorado with truckloads of Christmas decor and a start date of March 13… 2020. Three years, countless pivots, pulled favors, and a pandemic later, my tenacious and wildly talented cast and crew made and sold a movie and I couldn’t be more proud. Let’s all get in the holiday spirit together!”
Watch the preview for Yuletide the Knot below.
Now let us know, will you be checking out this holiday rom-com featuring Peter Porte? Let us know via the comment section.
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Lifetime’s ‘Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas’ Brings Epic Food Fight and “Slapfest Coup de Grâce”
Get ready for the feuding soap opera divas, when five actresses known for their signature primetime and daytime roles are brought together in Lifetime’s new holiday film, Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas.
Saturday night, December 2nd on Lifetime (8pm ET/7PM CT) marks the highly-anticipated holiday movie premiere featuring: Donna Mills (ex-Knots Landing), Nicolette Sheridan (ex-Knots Landing), Morgan Fairchild (ex-Falcon Crest et al), Linda Gray (ex-Dallas) and Loni Anderson (ex-WKRP in Cincinnati).
Here’s what we do know! In story, five alums from the long-running soap, The Great Lakes reunite for a live Christmas finale. Uh-oh! Now take a look at the backstory of the colorful cast of characters (pay special attention to the clever twists on the actresses names!)
LAUREN EWING (Linda Gray) “Everyone thinks I’m so damn good all the time,” confesses the junk food-loving Lauren of her second act as a lifestyle guru. “I don’t know how Gwenyth Paltrow does it!”
DANA CUNNINGHAM (Donna Mills) Now a sitcom mom, she’s yet to make amends to ex-bestie Juliette after abruptly leaving the soap back in the day. Not that she hasn’t tried: “When I thought the world was going to end in Y2K,” Dana says, “I reached out to her, and she never called me back.”
LILY MARLOWE (Loni Anderson) After replacing Dana on ‘Great Lakes’, Lily never again found a role to win her acclaim. “What do I have to show for (my career)? An arc on For the People – Shonda Rhimes’ only flop!”
JULIETTE MATHESON (Nicollette Sheridan) “She left me for L.A.,” the party girl turned fashion mogul recalls of Dana’s betrayal. Will their feud derail the entire event?
MARGEAUX ROBERTS (Morgan Fairchild) “Fasten your face-lifts, ladies, it’s gonna be a bumpy weekend!” The sassy grande dame of ‘Great Lakes’ sees the Juliette-Dana beef as the perfect escape from her own domestic drama.
Now, making this all the more hysterical is the director of The Great Lakes reunion special, which makes the five women live under the same roof, is its former child star Alex, who has gotten his ex-girlfriend, Nell to direct the finale. Meanwhile, in the subplot. the ‘Ladies of the ’80s’ come up with a plan to get Alex and Nell back together.
As with any good soap opera, there is a major food fight. Linda Gray shared with USA Today ,”The food fight was one take. And it was fabulous.” And of course, their is a bitch-fest slap-fest. Morgan Fairchild revealed, “Oh honey, we all got ours in. Mine was a simple, ‘How dare you?’ with a slap. But I was hoping for a punch.”
The movie’s EP, Larry Thompson, who is a Hollywood manager and has Donna Mills as a client, said that the entire scene peaks with the”slapfest coup de grâce.” What is that exactly? That is when Donna Mills pushes Nicollette Sheridan into a pool in a nod to Dynasty’s Lily bond battle between Dynasty’s Alexis (Joan Collins) and Krystle (Linda Evans).
In case you missed it previously, check out the trailer for Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas below, also starring Patrika Darbo, Alec Mapa, Mills real-life daughter, Chloe Mills, and Christopher Atkins with theme song by Tiffany.
Now let us know, will you be tuning in to the movie for a premise that should delight many a longtime soap fan? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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