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THE KELLI MCCARTY INTERVIEW – EX-PASSIONS

She was a former Miss USA hailing from Kansas, and played the whacked-out Beth Wallace on the now defunct soap “Passions” from 1999 to 2006. Now she has taken her career in a new direction, which is an adult film star. This stunning revelation has rocked the mainstream and soap press for the last few weeks, with the bombshell of the release of her first porn title, “Faithless: From Beauty Queen to Porn Queen” on February 4th. Kelli has appeared on many of the top entertainment news shows due to this unconventional choice in her career path.

“On-Air On-Soaps” however, caught up with her in a bit of a different atmosphere than a porn set. This past Saturday, Kelli was the guest host with the famed Los Angeles, ACME Comedy Theatre Sketch Comedy Troupe. She participated in their “Saturday Night Live” weekly take-off; the highly successful, ACME This Week. Kelli,
who has a background in improv and
riding the wave of PR for “Faithless”,
showed the audience that an ex-beauty
queen, soap star, and current porn star,
could also be innately. . . funny!

In this very revealing interview, Kelli chats with me about her decision to enter Porn, her parents, friends and former “Passion’s” cast mates reactions, how she cast the film, what it’s like shooting sex scenes, the code of ethics in the adult film industry, and being the former Miss USA to boot. From her humble beginnings in Middle America to a XXX adult film, I think we can safely say, “Kelli, you are not in Kansas anymore.”

kelliMain.jpgListen to the audio:

[display_podcast]

MICHAEL:

I’m with Kelli McCarty backstage after her performance at the ACME Comedy Theatre. First off, how it did feel being up there doing sketch comedy? What skits did you enjoy appearing in?

KELLI:

I loved being up on stage. It’s the first time I did sketch comedy, and it was definitely intimidating, but I was looking forward to it. They actually did not tell me there was a teleprompter. So I was overly prepared, as far as knowing my lines, which was cool. But I loved doing the spoof on pageant moms. As Miss USA while traveling, I met so many pageant moms and stage mothers, and they really are out of their minds sometimes. So, it was fun to take that over the top and put a spin on it.

MICHAEL:

Now what about all the preparation the troupe does for the show, since you did a porn movie and that would be something they would spoof. Were they asking you “Yay” or “Nay,” for approval about certain skits? How does that work?

KELLI:

They threw 20 sketches at me, some spoofing the pageant and some spoofing the porn. Then we did pick and choose what were the funniest ones of all of them.

faithless.jpgMICHAEL:

This has been a whirlwind for you, since you released your porn film, “Faithless”. There is so much publicity, and obviously, that was the plan. Now when you look at what’s happened because of it, are you uneasy about it? How do you feel at this point, honestly?

KELLI:

Honestly, when I decided to get into the adult film industry, I knew it was going to cause a bit of a stir, not only in the pageant world, but the soap world and press world in general. I’m really happy about what happened. I want to let people know you can do mainstream entertainment and then go into the adult world and then go right back. In the meantime, I am talking to a lot of different people in radio and television, and it’s cool. We are getting offers from mainstream
shows when they weren’t interested before.
The phone is ringing a lot, which I always
think is positive.

MICHAEL:

Did you do “Faithless” partly to jump-start your career post-“Passions”? Is that why you decided to get into the adult film business?

KELLI:

I did not do an adult film to jump-start my career. I just did it because I thought it would be interesting. I was sort of bored, and one day I woke up and I thought, “You know, I want to know what it would be like to be a porn star, and let me see if I could make that happen.” So I approached Vivid Entertainment, and they said they would like to work with me and it went from there.

MICHAEL:

Did you create the concept and script for your XXX film, “Faithless”?

KELLI:

I went to Vivid with the idea for a storyline and they put me in touch with the writers. So I had it in my contract that I would also cast the movie and help edit the movie, and have final approval over everything….

MICHAEL:

…With you putting people on, “The Casting Couch”?

kelliWinston.jpgKELLI:

Yes, I put them on the, “The Casting Couch”.

MICHAEL:

You obviously picked the people you wanted to have sex with, since you were involved in the casting process. How did you choose? What were your criteria?

KELLI:

If I am not attracted to someone, I am not going to want to have sex with him, and especially on camera. I wanted it to come off very real and passionate. So I waited till the right guys walked in the room and I said, “OK. Perfect! That’s who I am going to go with,” and they agreed.

MICHAEL:

There are people who like to do voyeuristic amateur porn in their homes, and like to watch themselves having sex. Were you like that? Voyeuristic sexually, as a woman? Did doing this film fulfill that in a way for you?

KELLI:

I am not a voyeuristic person in general. I really hate watching myself on-camera doing anything, whether it’s with my clothes on or off. So this was not about that at all. I did sit in the editing booth for hours. I sort of had to disconnect and try to make this the best that I can, so it was not the most fun for me to watch myself.

MICHAEL:

Ok, so now when you see the film and you watch it back, do you look at it like actors do, who are sometimes uncomfortable watching their work?

KELLI:

I am really critical and hard on myself. I could knit-pick forever, and at the end of the day I had to say, “I am really happy with this and let’s release the movie.” Otherwise, I could keep tweaking it forever and it would never get released for years.

MICHAEL:

You went from Miss USA, to a successful soap career and mainstream acting, to porn. Some people may not understand this interesting journey.

KELLI:

Well, for me, life should be interesting. My motto is, “Let’s just mix it up,” and I don’t want to feel I am being pigeonholed for the rest of my life. So, I would encourage other people to step outside whatever they are doing and say, “You know what? This is what I have always been interested in, and let me explore something else,” not necessarily adult films, but in general. Life is too short.

Galen2.jpgMICHAEL:

What are your ex-“Passions” co-stars saying?

KELLI:

I have not spoken to any of them.

MICHAEL:

None of them?

KELLI:

None of them. They have not face booked me or called me. Nothing! I guess they do not know what to say to me. That’s my guess. I expected to get a lot of calls, and I have gotten very few.

MICHAEL:

Once you got into doing the production on the film, was there one part of it that you realized was not comfortable for you and you had to overcome it, like an actress would have to overcome some obstacle playing a scene?

KELLI:

It wasn’t really uncomfortable; it was more funny to me and different, because on a regular set you are going to go grab some potato chips and a cup of coffee, and going to Kraft services. And a couple of times during the sex scenes they yelled, “Cut” and they were changing their lighting. I was going to go get a bottle of water and I look over and my co-star was “keeping himself up” sort of speak, to continue the scene. When the “five” was over, I was like, “Well, that has never happened to me on the “Passion’s set.” So it was silly and I laughed out loud. There are no “fluffers” left in the porn industry, so they have to do it themselves.

KelliApe2.jpgMICHAEL:

There was a “No Viagra” clause in the performer’s contracts, right?

KELLI:

In this day and age, a lot of porn stars do take sexual enhancers, but I wanted it to be very real. I did not want to be having sex for an hour or three or four on camera. I just did not want to go there. It was overwhelming for me to begin with. I needed it to be as tame as possible, and it still came out very sexy, but I had to taper the time limit.

MICHAEL:

There is this whole adult film industry protocol, that they test you for STD’s, correct?

KELLI:

The porn industry is completely pro ‘safe sex’. If people are not getting tested, they are not going to work. If they do not have a clean bill of health, month after month, they are not going to work.

MICHAEL:

So, does the production company check that?

KELLI:

The production company has it as a requirement overall in the sex industry, so they are not playing around. They are in the business to work. They have to do the blood and urine tests monthly, and they are not taking any chances, otherwise their livelihood is gone.

kathleen.jpgMICHAEL:

How do you look back on your time on the soap “Passions”? Were you sad when they killed you off as Beth Wallace in 2006?

KELLI:

I was disappointed that they killed me off

MICHAEL:

She was wacky!

KELLI:

Yeah, she was psycho, and that’s the next step. When your character is crazy, they blow you up on a train or something. They were talking about bringing my character back to life, but they canceled the show. So I did not have a chance to come back, but it was a great run, and I would not trade it for the world. It was a great experience.

MICHAEL:

Was it fun working with on-screen mom, soap vet Kathleen Noone (Ex-Edna)?

KELLI:

It was fun working with her. She is a pro and has been a long time. She definitely added spunk to the show.

MICHAEL:

Where do you keep your crown from your win as Miss USA 1991?

usa91b.jpgKELLI:

The crown is kept very safe at my parent’s house in Texas, and my mom keeps a very watchful eye on it.

MICHAEL:

Do you still look back on how cool it was? Or, do you now think about all the stigmas that some people attach or think about beauty pageants? Do you have a different perspective on it?

KELLI:

I don’t know specifically what other people think, but for me, it was an amazing experience. I met so many people and traveled around the world. It made my
mom really happy to see me win, and
that’s important, too.

MICHAEL:

Do your parents know about your new porn career? If so, what have they said to you?

KELLI:

My dad has not said anything, like “no comment”, and he’s fine. I don’t think most porn stars talk to their dads about their sex life or working careers. My mom is very supportive and a cool woman. That’s how she raised me, to do what I want and to make things happen, so that is what I am doing.

MICHAEL:

Will you do more adult films?

KELLI:

I do not know if I will do more. I am seeing how this movie turns out. I might end up writing some or directing some. I might want to write and direct again. We will see how this movie does and go from there.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what would you want people to take away from this interview, for those who might say, “I can’t believe she is doing this? What’s with her?”

KELLI:

I would say, what’s with me is, I do whatever I want to do as long as I am not hurting other people. I would encourage everyone to do that. This was not something I expected to do for years and years. It just came to me one day. I just made it happen. Hopefully, people will like the movie, and if they are not supportive, then they don’t have to watch it.

kelliJohnMcKee.jpgMICHAEL:

You have this rockin’ body. So are you picky about what you eat and what you look like? You know, many people obsess about their body. Do you get like that because you are nude in front of the camera and in show business?

KELLI:

I don’t obsess over anything except my dogs. I do Yoga. I have been doing it for ten years, and I take care of myself. I do allow myself to eat what I want in moderation. I am from Kansas. I was raised on fried chicken and potatoes and I still eat and cook that type of stuff.

MICHAEL:

But you are OK with seeing yourself naked in movies? (He laughs)

KELLI:

I don’t think I would have chosen to do an adult film if I had any reservations. (She laughs)

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I wonder what her kids will tell her mom when they grow up and by accident buy a porn movie called “Faithless” and see their mom f*cked with different guys.
Anyway It’s very good porn =)

Interviews

Y&R’s Gina Tognoni Opens Up About Billy’s Bombshell With Summer & What’s Next For Phyllis

Talk about walking in at the wrong moment and getting an earful!  That’s exactly what happened to The Young and the Restless’ Phyllis on Wednesday’s episode.  Taking the moment to level his revenge and payback for Phyllis’ romp with Nick (Joshua Morrow), her beau Billy (Jason Thompson) tells Phyllis that he slept with her daughter, Summer (Hunter King), right as Summer is standing there!   With that moment now out in the open, and Billy’s intention behind it, look for fireworks to fly!

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Daytime Emmy-winning gem, Gina Tognoni, who brings the complex Phyllis to life on the CBS daytime drama series, to get her take on how Phyllis handles this shocker, and the ramifications it poses to her, and the key relationships in her life.

As to what happens in the near future, looks like Phyllis is not going to do too well with what has just come to light, and that may set her on a whole new trajectory!  But will it be to Jack (Peter Bergman), to Nick (Joshua Morrow), or to someone else?  And, oh, there is that little item of her part in the death of J.T. Hellstrom.  Will that ultimately prove to be her downfall?  Here’s what Gina dished on the latest developments from GC.

When Phyllis gets the bombshell dropped upon her that Billy had sex with Summer, in that immediate moment what does this mean for Phyllis’ relationship with her daughter?

GINA:  Phyllis never saw this coming.  She is gutted and disgusted with her daughter in the moment, and in disbelief that her daughter would turn on her like this.

What about Billy saying to Phyllis and Summer that he had revenge sex with Summer to get back at Phyllis for sleeping with Nick?  Is she disgusted with him?

GINA:  I mean, she is speechless with him.  She’s speechless that he would stoop so low.  In her mind, this is a different offense.  Her sleeping with Nick is something that can’t be put in the same ballpark as Billy sleeping with her daughter.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you think Phyllis knew in her gut that Billy would sleep with Summer; after the truth about her tryst with Nick came out at Sharon and Nick’s wedding?

GINA:  I think she was consumed with her own guilt and her own loss of control that it was not in the forefront of her mind.  So, when he plops that on her, that’s what leaves her to be absolutely speechless.  Whether you call it karma, or whatever, she got knocked with some of that, and she doesn’t know what else to say.  She’s devastated by both of these people.  In Phyllis’ mind she had moved on and was trying to make things right, but Billy sleeping with her daughter just crosses a boundary.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I actually thought Phyllis knew in her gut that Billy would go to Summer, after the Shick wedding busted wide open, as she drank out those tiny liquor bottles!

GINA:  She was drinking the bottles, and it was all out, and her life was beginning to unravel, which caused her to want to numb the pain, because it was getting so intense.  It came out at the wedding that she slept with Nick, but what she was upset about was how Billy and she had now imploded, and their relationship has been forever changed.  That’s what that drinking was about.  They had overcome so much.  Here they were trusting each other, she was supporting him, brought him out of his gambling addiction, and she ‘drowns’ herself, and then we come to today. She walks in, and he just unloads it, and says, “I slept with Summer.”   From that moment on, we start to see that she has a break, and the break is in her personality.  Not that she’s a multiple personality, but it’s literally so painful for her that it changes something within her, and we’ll see something within the next two to three weeks on-air of what that means.  Phyllis gets really drastic, which has been fun to play.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Does she think at all, that this is her fault, because she did sleep with Nick?

GINA:  Oh, yes.  She’s so confused and so overwhelmed by how screwed up it’s gotten that she is in survival mode.  We’ve seen Phyllis go in and out of that during the almost five years that I have played her. This is good stuff to play, and the writing is much more detailed than I have ever seen it.  When you see the scenes that are airing the rest of this week, they were done in one take.  Jason Thompson’s performance is so good, and Hunter King is really wrapping her arms around this role in such a cool way, that I just think the viewers are going to feel something.  Phyllis is just wrecked.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

One of the great scenes that you’ve had this year was when Phyllis realized that Summer is going after her man and she confronts her.  Phyllis slapped her own daughter and then went on the offense to keep her daughter from meeting up with Billy.  Summer did try to seduce Billy, and his gambling addiction wouldn’t have resurfaced at this time in his life, if it weren’t for her.

GINA:  Yes. Summer did push it.   I think in life, people disappoint us in such a profound way.  People are human.  We will be disappointed.   You pray to God that it’s not to certain levels, but it happens.  At the end of the day this is still her daughter, and it’s that bond that you have forever, and you love them, and you have to find a way to forgive because it’s natural: that love in your heart for your child.  That’s all I can say about this story, because it’s bizarre. (Laughs)  It sounds so funny, “My daughter slept with my boyfriend.” (Laughs)  You know what I mean?  However, when you really think about it, Summer broke her mother’s heart.

Even though Summer was a big contributor to the combustion of Billy and Phyllis’ relationship, Phyllis wants what’s best for her?

GINA: That’s the way Mal Young (EP and head writer, Y&R) is writing it.  I think that’s the most human way to do it.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t be angry, or that you have to be trusting in a situation like this.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What does this mean for any future for the duo known as “Philly”?

GINA:  I was just saying to Jason Thompson: “I don’t feel like we’ve really worked together or hung out, because we’ve broken up on this show, so I never see you,” and he said, “I know! It’s so bizarre,” and it really is, because you get into such a rhythm with somebody.  You develop this shorthand where you understand each other’s rhythms.  Now, I’m getting to work with different groups of people.  Phyllis and Billy have such a very good dynamic.  It works.  So, to mess with something that’s not broken, (I mean, obviously it’s broken in Genoa City) it’s a bummer.  The good news is, maybe we’ll find our way back to one another.  She loved Billy very much.  That’s very much her soulmate.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Where does Phyllis see Jack in all of this?  At times, in scenes, it looks like maybe she could rekindle her relationship with Jack.

GINA:  Here’s the thing … Jack represented wisdom to her.  Jack is the type of man that no woman should ever walk away from.   Phyllis screwed that up.  She also screwed up her relationship with Billy, but I actually think that Billy had a lot to do with that too.  They both have demons.  Billy and Jack are two great men that she has failed at.  How does she live with that much failure?  How does she see herself?  What does she do?  She can’t make Billy come back, and she can’t be forced to love him.  They’re both so hurt by all of this.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Joshua Morrow was on my podcast Soap Nation Live recently, and we were talking about the hotness that is Phyllis, and how there’s this constant sexual tension between Nick and Phyllis, and how they play videogames as their foreplay, before they have sex.  (Laughs) Where is that relationship at now?

GINA:  Yes, there is that foreplay with the video games. (Laughs)  Gina and Joshua have never really explored the dynamic of Phyllis and Nick.  It was Michelle Stafford (Ex-Phyllis, Y&R, now Nina, GH) and Joshua who played that.   Now we are getting a chance to get Gina and Joshua’s take on it.  Joshua is very present when you work with hum, and that’s a very powerful thing.   So, we’ll see what happens with those two, but right now it seems to be a very physical thing between them.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Then, there are the ramifications of Phyllis’ part in J.T.’s death and the four women in collusion to hide what happened to him. What is it like for Phyllis having to work with Sharon on this, when Phyllis was the cause of Sharon’s wedding to Nick to blow up?

GINA:  Well, she’s compartmentalizing.  She’s got the J.T. thing that she wants to control as much as she can, and she’s got to also be successful in her business career.  She’s proving something to herself, and she’s proving something as a woman.  Phyllis wants to be taken seriously, but she’s got this conflict that’s telling her that she’s a fraud.  She’s got this murder cover-up that she’s involved with.  Again, like in life, you try to go forward, but everyone has demons and things inside them that take them off their game.

Is there any part of her that thinks she could wind up in prison for this crime?

GINA: Yeah!  Her whole life could just blow up to a whole other level! That’s how I see it!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I know throughout your soap opera career; the writers and producers have loaded you up with heavy material, because you are an accomplished actress who can always deliver.  But, how do you feel now getting all of this material and trying to work through it?

GINA:  I’m getting to a place just now where I’m going, “Okay.  We’ve got this.”   For the last month and a half to two months, it’s been a lot.   Now, I’m starting to find my center and balance.  At first, it was a lot to digest.  I even felt emotional not working with Jason, and not working with Peter Bergman.  There is that attachment, were you go as an actor: “That was ours.  We built that, man!”  Then it moves on and it takes its shape, and you have to remind yourself that’s your job: that you are the chameleon.  You have to come in and sell it, and commit emotionally, because that’s your job.  There are certain days that I feel too much, and I have to remember to just breathe.  Day by day is how I take it, but I feel good.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

If you could preview to the audience what they should watch for with Phyllis, what would you tell them? 

GINA:  Watch the subtle differences within Phyllis.  There is even a different look in my eyes.  I’m bringing her to a place, and she’s bringing me to a place that I have never

So, what do you think Phyllis should do now in her relationships with Summer and Billy? Are you glad the truth is out that Billy had sex with Summer? Who should be the new man in Phyllis’ life? What changes do you think will happen to her personality as previewed by Gina in this interview? Comment below.

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Dancing with the Stars Juniors

Adam Rippon Talks Judging Dancing With The Stars: Juniors And Stepping Away From His Olympic Figure Skating Life

If you want to talk about perseverance, facing adversary, keeping your eye on the prize, and at the same time sending a powerful message to the world about the LGBT community through his celebrity, look no further than Adam Rippon.

The bronze medalist at the 2018 Winter Olympics for the U.S. Team in the Team Figure Skating competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea made a comeback at 28-years-old to complete his Olympic career after fracturing his foot in 2017; which left him off the 2017 U.S. National Team.

Outspoken, candid, charming and with that oh-so-wicked humor, Rippon launched into his post-skate career with some lateral moves that made sense:  he won the Dancing with the Stars: Athletes competition taking home the Mirror Ball Trophy he has made numerous TV appearances, including one coming up on Will & Grace, and currently he can be seen as one of the three judges on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors, the newest reiteration of ABC’s celebrity dance competition this time featuring; 12 celebrity kids who take on the world of the ballroom.

Michael Fairman TV recently caught up with the talented Rippon to get his take on: how he plans to handle critiquing the kids after their Cha Cha’s and Paso Doble’s, but also how he feels putting his skates aside and moving on to the next phase of his life.  Here’s our chat with Adam.

America and the world has come to know your personality from everything you went through during your journey at the Winter Olympics. That is to say you’re humor, off-the-cuff remarks, and being your authentic self.  What will be your take on how to judge and critique the kids on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors?  How did you end up as one of the picks for the judges table?

ADAM:  It was just the perfect storm.  It was so great, because it happened right after my season of Dancing with the Stars, which happened right after the Olympics.  I think the fun thing is that it’s with kids.  So, sometimes I have to turn down my ‘potty humor’ a little bit, but in the skating world, I’ve worked with kids for a few years teaching.  I think that’s kind of the mentality that I bring.  I’ve always found that you want to talk to them like you’re on their level.  You’re still able to find humor in that.  I think that when you’re able to laugh at yourself, you automatically break down that barrier, and you’re ready to listen, and that’s what I hope to do on the show.

Photo: ABC

Could you see yourself doing the Johnny Weir/Tara Lipinski coverage or commentary on the Olympics during the figure skating competitions?

ADAM:  I think that they do such a great job, and they are such a fun duo.   I hope I can continue to do some different things, because I think that they are so good at what they do.

When you look back on your journey at the Olympics now, what do you think? You made such an impact representing the U.S. the gay community, and skaters who never give up to finally live their Olympic dream.

ADAM:  You know, it’s a little surreal.  On one side of it, I’ve just lived in my own world and had my own experience, and yes, I’ve talked to, and met with some really crazy and incredible people.  I think I really focus more on the journey, and how I got there, and how I get to even just be here now at Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.   I focus on each day and every project that I get, giving one hundred percent, and when I really focus on that really cool and special things come along.

Photo: ABC

A lot of good things have happened.  So, when we watch this season of DWTS: Juniors, will you be giving some snippy remarks, or will you be positive and upbeat, too?

ADAM:  You know what?  I think I’ll be giving some honest remarks.  I want the kids to laugh.  I want everyone at home to enjoy the show, and I want to be honest, because I think when you’re honest, kids improve.

Would you ever go back and try to make the U.S. Olympics figure skating team again?

ADAM:  No.

It was so emotional watching your last journey during the Olympics!  So, you’re done with all of that, right?

ADAM:  I am way done.  I have my medal.  It’s done.  I’m done.  When I was at the Olympics, I knew it was it.  It was a one and done sort of thing.  It’s such an amazing and incredible honor, but there are moments where you’re about to go out there, and you’re standing backstage and you’re like, “I could just completely diarrhea-s**t-my-brains-out right now, why do I do this to myself?” (Laughs) It’s crazy, but when you push yourself to those extremes, really amazing things happen. Within skating, I achieved so many of the dreams and goals that I wanted, that to step away, feels right.  

So, will you be checking out how Adam judges Hudson West and the kids competing in Dancing with the Stars: Juniors?  Have you followed Adam’s personal and professional journey form champion skater to TV personality? Share your comments below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Tamara Braun Talks On: Kim’s Plight With Her Son Oscar, Her Relationships With Julian and Drew & Coming Home To Port Charles

When Tamara Braun stepped back on to the canvas of General Hospital back in November of last year, the one-time and wildly popular Carly Corinthos #2 was now taking on the role of Dr, Kim Nero – a single mom of a teenage son (who is very protective of him), top-notch gynecologist in the medical profession, and a woman with a past with Drew Cain (Billy Miller). It was eventually revealed that Drew is her son Oscar’s (Garren Stitt) biological father.

Now as viewers have seen on recent episodes of the ABC soap opera, Oscar’s life looks like it could very well be cut short after the story shocker that now has the young teen diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor from cancer.  Kim had kept the truth from her son until he confronted her upon learning the news on his own (with an assist from Cameron) and putting two and two together.  This sets the stage for some difficult and heartbreaking moments ahead.

As for Braun, she rose to the top as one of soap operas most critically-acclaimed actresses after having the challenging task of taking over the role of Carly #1 in 2001 from three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Sarah Brown.  Tamara not only met this challenge, but made Carly her own scoring an Emmy nod along the way.  After departing GH in 2005, Tamara returned to daytime in 2008 in the role of Ava Vitali on Days of our Lives, which indeed earned her an Emmy.   Next, she headed to Pine Valley and All My Children to take on the role of Reese Williams, the love interest to Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel), who eventually married from 2008-2009.  Tamara even came back to DAYS for awhile in the role of Taylor in 2011, and later reprised the role of Ava in 2015-2016.  With an impressive resume, GH is lucky to have her back and Braun finally felt the time was right to take on a new role on her first soap home  upon her return in 2017.  Viewers hope that they get to see more of those emotionally raw, honest performances that Braun is known for as more layers of Kim are revealed,

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Tamara to get her take on: the latest storyline involving Kim, Oscar and Drew, where Kim’s relationship with Julian Jerome stands, and how she feels it’s important to shed light on causes of the day needing our help and how we can all ultimately live in a kinder, more thoughtful world.  Here’s what Tamara had to shared below.

In the episodes we saw last week, Kim had no choice but to tell Oscar the truth. What have you thought about this whole story where now Oscar is hating his mother, and upset with her, when she did not come forward with the truth about his medical condition to him, because in her mind she was protecting him?

Courtesy/ABC

TAMARA:  Yes, that was reasoning.  She did all of this to protect him so that he could have a normal teenage life without all of that hanging over his head.  What do I think of it?  I think that it has been hard for me, Tamara, to play.  It has been hard for me to wrap my head around why a physician would not tell her son that he’s ill.  It’s also been hard for me to wrap my head around because the way the writers have made Oscar and Kim’s relationship such a beautiful one that has been seemingly full of honesty and openness, that they can really talk to each other, which is one of the things that I really like.  In terms of the storyline, what it does do is create conflict which is what’s needed in shows.  Things can’t be ‘happy, happy, joy, joy’ all of the time, so it’s created conflict for Oscar and Kim and now Drew, because Kim dragged him into keeping the secret too for a little bit. 

Courtesy/ABC

We just also learned that Kim’s reasoning to come to Port Charles in the first place was indeed because of Oscar.

TAMARA:  Like Kim said, she came because she did an ancestry report, and it turned out that he has relatives in Port Charles.  So, she wanted for them to get the opportunity to know him and him to get the opportunity to get to know them.  I’m sure we will learn something about Kim’s past which would explain why in her mind she felt this was the right thing to do.  We know that it seems like a very controlling thing.  As a mother, take the physician out of it, I still think that Kim would have shared his diagnosis with him, but I don’t think one ever knows what they would do in that situation.  You think you know what you would do, but perhaps she felt that she could control it; she could figure it out.  Perhaps, Kim felt that because she is a physician she’ll find some answer, and she’ll be able to fix it.  These are the questions, and these are the things that as an actor, I have to put in my head because it’s not what I believe I would do.  It’s not even what I believe the character of Kim as I knew her would have done, but it’s what the writers have written.  So, they have to have a reason, and I think that it has got to be more than just to create conflict.  That’s what stories rely on.  It’s soap, and a lot of people on soaps have to do crazy things and find out ways to justify them when they seem out of character.

You’re right.  Kim and Oscar had a very open relationship.  Yes, she was a “controlling mother,” if you want to say that, but they were honest with each other.  Garren Stitt has been very endearing in the role.  What can you say about working with him?

TAMARA:  I just adore Garren. I have adored him from the minute I met him.  I think he’s a lovely, sweet, kind person, and I feel so fortunate to get to play his mom.  I really do.  I think he’s wonderful, and I’m lucky.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now as to the situation with Drew, Kim truly did not know he was in town when she got to Port Charles, right?

TAMARA:  Correct.

What does she feel towards Drew now, and does this situation ultimately draw them closer together?

TAMARA:  I think it absolutely draws them closer together, because now they have to deal with Oscar.  Because once Kim accepted Drew back into their lives (she thought he was dead long ago), she opened up her arms to him in the capacity of being a father for Oscar.  Kim has had to deal with everything with her child all on her own for fifteen years.  It’s just been the two of them.  So, I think that at some point it has got to be difficult to allow someone else in to help make decisions, and to lean on, and to co-parent with.  I think it was difficult at first, but I think now she is grateful to have him to share it with, even though they may not see things eye-to-eye all of the time.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you foresee Kim and Drew, at any point, growing closer romantically?

TAMARA:  I don’t know.  It’s not looking like that.  It’s looking like a nice friendship and one that is very caring and understanding, but as of now, I don’t see hints of it.  You never know.  As you know, it’s a soap.  Anything could happen.

How has it been working with Billy Miller? He has also done some wonderful work as the devastated father.

TAMARA:  It’s been great.  The last few scenes that we had to do, there have been those special moments you get as an actor where the angels are just with you.  It all just kind of connects and flows together.   I think we’ve been lucky to have gotten a few of those as of late, and that’s been really nice.

Courtesy/ABC

In story, it was revealed that Oscar could enter an experimental trial that could help his tumor and the cancer, is that what Kim wants her son to do?

TAMARA:  Absolutely, because she feels anything that could possibly save his life or give him more time, she wants for him.

I also like that they made Dr. Terry Randolph (Cassandra James), Oscar’s pediatric oncologist.

TAMARA:  Yes.  Cassandra is really lovely to work with, and she’s just a lovely human being as well.  I’m fortunate right now.  I get to work with some lovely people.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Kim’s going to let Julian (Will deVry) know about what she is dealing with?

TAMARA:  Julian does not know.  Oscar doesn’t want anyone to know and especially Julian.  He wants his mom and dad together, so he’s decided not to let Julian know.  I think only for those reasons.  Kim really didn’t honor Oscar by keeping this news of him being ill from him, so she has to honor him in his request not to share this with Julian.

Is Kim aware of how Cameron (William Lipton) is trying to maneuver himself into a relationship with Josslyn (Eden McCoy)?  Does she understand what’s going on there? 

TAMARA:  Kim doesn’t know anything about it.

Photo: ABC

Does Kim want Josslyn to be with Oscar?

TAMARA:  She does, because she knows that Josslyn makes Oscar happy, and to be happy, is what’s most important right now, because that also can help any type of recovery.  When we are happy, or are doing things that make us joyful, or raise our endorphin levels in a positive way, that’s good for health.  That’s good for recovery, and she wants her son to be happy.  What mother doesn’t want her son to be happy?  Especially now, with everything going on.

Kim was having an issue that Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco (Roger Howarth) knew about Oscar’s prognosis.  Do you think she’ll be more lax about that now, or do you think she’ll be more even intense about people not finding out?

TAMARA:  I think she doesn’t want people to know because Oscar now knows, and he doesn’t want people to know.  I think that she wants to keep his confidence.  I think she doesn’t want anyone else to know because she needs to respect Oscar’s wishes.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think that it’s possible that Drew’s twin, Jason (Steve Burton) is somehow the bio-dad of Oscar, and not Drew?  The character of Jason has a history of brain injuries and trauma.

TAMARA:  I never thought of that! (Laughs)  That would be a fun kind of plot twist!  I don’t think so because there have been lines a couple of times when Kim is with Jason and she says, “You know, you look exactly like him.  It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around that, but you act so differently.”   You know what?  Even if Jason did have a brain tumor, he is Drew’s twin, and Drew is Oscar’s father, so that does still genetically match and run in the family.  It’s an interesting twist there that you bring up!

I remember watching the episode where the audience learned Oscar was dying and I was completely shocked!   I had no idea where the writers were going with it after the seizure.  When the powers-that-be filled you in on what was going on, what was your reaction to that part of the story?

Photo Credit: ABC

TAMARA:  Illness in any form on a soap gives you something to play.  So, that’s good.  When they start saying in the dialogue, “terminal,” you’re like, “What!?” But then you also have people saying, “There’s always hope,” so, you never know where it’s actually going to go, or how the story lines will play.  I understand how people keep saying that it came out of the blue and they didn’t even hint at that.  So, I will say they did write a scene the day that Michael (Chad Duell) lost the baby, and I believe Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Michael were in the church. There was a scene that I was ready to shoot that day, and it was a monologue in the church.  It was after Nelle’s (Chloe Lanier) baby had died and after Kim and Nelle had scenes.  Kim goes to the chapel and she has a monologue talking to God, and it was a bit of a hint, but they had to cut the scene because the tape day ran long.  I didn’t even shoot it.  I think that had they had left it in; people would have been like, “Oh, that’s what that meant.”  I think now that I see the reaction of viewers and you’re bringing it up, that would have been the moment you could have gone to and said. “Oh!  That’s the moment.  That’s what she meant,” or when it happened, the audience have been like, “What’s going on?  What don’t we know?”  I think had that scene been in there, people wouldn’t have been taken aback so much.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what would you say the audience can look forward to with Kim coming up?  Are we going to see her with a lot of stress on her relationship with her son?  Do you see her holding it together, or falling apart? 

TAMARA:  I think probably all of the above… trying to pull it together, falling apart, a rift between them, trying to bring it back together, making mistakes, doing the right thing … I think it’s everything.  I think reality just smacked Kim in the head, and her son… but when you’re so closed and tight about something in life, and when you no longer have control over it… you’ve got your best-laid plans, and you know what they say about your best-laid plans.  (Laughs).  It explodes, and then you have to deal with the aftermath.  So, hopefully we will see some nuance in there.  I’m hoping for it.  Hopefully, we will see Kim and Oscar work through stuff because people make mistakes; people do the wrong things for what they think are the right reasons all the time.  If Oscar is dealing with an inoperable, terminal brain tumor here, then time is of the essence for them to get it together and come together.

Well, I hope that it’s hankie-inducing, poignant and does have those beats for you to play, and they don’t kind of skip story beats.  As you said, time is of the essence for them and there is, usually no matter what, an unbreakable bond between mother and son.

TAMARA:  I hope so, too!  We can keep our fingers crossed for that!

Photo Credit: ABC

What attributes of Kim do you like playing?

TAMARA:  Kim’s no pushover, which I do like about her.  She’s strong, but she’s a quiet strong.  She doesn’t come at somebody charging, blazing, knocking things down or with a baseball bat like Carly does.  She has strength as a woman, and it’s in a very different way.

Do you think Kim is in love with “Charlie” AKA Julian? 

TAMARA:  I think she loves him.  It’s been a long time since she’s been in a relationship.  Her primary relationship, for better or for worse, has been her son all these years.  She’s made him her number one and didn’t feel she had time or that there was anyone who was worth that time.  So, I think that with Charlie, or Julian, whoever the hell he is (laughs)…

… Wait! She knows he’s Julian, right? (Laughs)

TAMARA:  Yes, she knows, but she likes to call him, “Charlie” because of the bar.  It was a cute little thing from the beginning.  I think that he doesn’t pressure her.  It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s light, and that’s what I think she can handle right now.

How has it been playing the mother of a teenager?  Is that odd for you?  It seems like a bit of a jump.

TAMARA:  It seems like a jump from what people have seen me do for a long time.  If you think about it, the last time people saw me on General Hospital with a kid, it was Michael (formerly Dylan Cash), and I mean, not in soap terms, but in real life terms, he was playing I think 6 when he was 8, and now he’s 23 so he would have been playing 21 if he had stayed.

Courtesy: TBraunTwitter

Is it ever odd for you that you aren’t the character of Carly anymore when you see Michael and characters that you have shared and played emotional attachments with your first go-round on GH?  I would suppose as an actress you can switch that on and off, but what about as a person?

TAMARA:  Yes, as an actress you switch it off, but as a person Michael is not the same Michael.  I think if he had been the same because we were so close, and we were so connected it might have been more difficult.  If it were him on set playing him every day, I’d be like, “Hi honey!   Hi my son!”   He was so in my heart.  I think because it’s Chad Duell now playing the part, who is lovely and wonderful, there’s no history with us, and that made it really okay.   I loved Dylan as a little boy.  I still love him.  He stopped in at my fan event, which was wonderful!

When you think back on all of your soap roles, it’s pretty amazing what you’ve done. Although we hated the end of the Reese/Bianca wedding on All My Children, it was the first same-sex wedding, and was a landmark moment.  You were a part of it.  Forget what happened afterwards, but that moment was key.  When you were on General Hospital, you received a Daytime Emmy nomination for your performance as Carly.  And then there was Days of our Lives’ Ava Vitali!  You got to play the psycho.  You won the Supporting Actress Emmy for your performance.  Do you think Ava is somehow still alive? 

TAMARA:  I think she may be alive.   I mean, no one really saw.  They put a sheet over her and rolled her out.  You didn’t see her dead.  I mean, come on now.  Joey (James Lastovic, Ex-DAYS) can strangle, but I don’t know that he’s that strong.  Ava’s got some fire in her.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Such a great role!

TAMARA:  I have been really, really blessed to play very strong or pivotal or interesting, dynamic roles on daytime.  I have been very fortunate to do that, and I have been very fortunate to work with people who allow me to do my thing.  They don’t hamper it.  They say, “Go.  Go for it.”

I love your Instagram posts, and I love when you talk about social issues and things that are important to you.  Could you talk a little bit about how you’re using that platform to make a difference?

TAMARA:  I just like to post things that are important to me. There are a lot of people who are using social media for brand identity.  I’m glad that I don’t even know what that is.  I mean, maybe I should know.  (Laughs)  It probably would be better for me, but –

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You realize on Instagram; if you post a shirtless pic along with a quote from something unrelated and are a guy, or are a very sexy woman, you’re going to get millions of likes.

TAMARA:  Yeah, and that’s not my brand.  (Laughs) I guess if I had to say what my brand is; it would be “Truth. Real. Honest.”  You know, here’s the real deal from me.  I think it’s important to bring awareness to what’s going on that touches your heart.  I think that if you can shed light on issues in a positive way, to make people think, to make people feel; that is important.  I have always wanted to do good things in the world, and you can do that at any place and time in your life as a human being, but when you have a bit of a platform, I believe it is a responsibility to use that to share things of importance to the world for humanity.  We’re given this one life.  Whether you come back, or whatever you believe this is the one life we have, if we don’t do something good with it, what’s the point?   I think there’s too much, “Me, me, me, me, me.”  I mean, that’s what this business is, right?  But we need to step back, and we need to remember that there is a real world going on out there where people are dealing with issues, and we need to be kind.  That being said, I do post stuff of myself, and people want to see it, so I want to give them what makes them happy, but I think that as long as I’m doing that too, I think it also makes people happy to see things good going on in the world, bring light to issues that need light brought on them.  I really just feel that we need more kindness.  We need more positivity because right now is a really hard time in our world, in America especially. It’s important to be more generous and kind-spirited than what we’re so often seeing these days.

So, what have you thought about the way Kim handled telling Oscar of his cancer diagnosis?  Do you hope Kim continues to stay in Julian’s orbit, or would you want her to become involved with Drew?   What do you think will happen next in the story … will Oscar survive?  What has been your most favorite performance of Tamara Braun of all her soap roles through the years? Comment below.

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This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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