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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow Chats On Nick’s Standalone Christmas Eve Episode

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) is one tired Santa! After delivering presents to the less fortunate for Christmas, he is tuckered out, and thus will begin the special episode The Young and the Restless is serving up on Friday, December 24th.

The Christmas Eve airing of this all-new standalone episode marks the fourth time in Joshua Morrow’s career that he has been featured like this on the top-rated CBS soap.

In this story, Nick will try to come to terms with where his life is headed when he is taken on a journey through his dreams. Enter plenty of your other favorites from the Newman clan and more, who will definitely make an impact on Nick.  At the end of it all, will Nick come away with some revelations and reflections? Will he learn anything that will change him for the better and give him a clear direction?

As viewers recently witnessed, Nick and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) called it quits in heartbreaking scenes, leaving Nick once again at a loss in the love live department.  Will he, in turn, eventually reunite with Sharon (Sharon Case), when all is said and done?

Michael Fairman TV talked with Joshua to get insight and a preview on what to expect during this holiday episode including: if he feels Nick is adrift, how he sees each of the characters from Adam (Mark Grossman) to Victoria (Amelia Heinle) impacting his alter-ego, and of course, Nick’s relationships with the women in his life.  So, with that, ‘ho, ho, ho,” here’s our yuletide chat with Mr. Morrow.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

How did you feel when you got a script for this special Christmas episode, and that it was all centered-on Nick?

JOSHUA:  My first reaction was, “Do people really want to see more of Nick? (Laughs) When you see an episode like this, you instantly know that you’ve got to do a lot of work. You’re basically in every scene, and I think it’s pretty common knowledge that I learn my lines in the morning when I get to work. However, on those days, you can’t do that, so you just know that you’ve got to prepare, and everyone is counting on you.  I like doing my scenes as fast as possible, but when you have that much material, you’ve got to put the time in.  As an actor, you hope it’s written well, and that you perform it the way they want you to, and you just go from there.

It’s not about which women Nick should sleep with next?  (Laughs)

JOSHUA:  I think all of Nick’s dreams are women-based. (Laughs) He’s walking around town going, “Who’s next?”  No, it’s a dream about figuring out who he is.  He is going through this kind of loop in his life where he’s not entirely sure where he is, where he should be, what he should be doing, how he’s treating people … it’s just kind of a look inside himself to see if he can come up with any solutions because he knows that what is happening and what he is doing right now is not working.  He doesn’t necessarily know why or how he got to this place, but with the help of some family, hopefully he will figure it out in the dream.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Sounds like Nick is very much at a crossroads here.

JOSHUA:  Yes, that’s a good description of it.  He’s just kind of wandering, and the biggest thing (and he’s been going through this a lot throughout his whole life) is that he just doesn’t know why he gets to this place.  It’s like, is it something he’s doing?  Is there something wrong with him?  He’s just questioning a lot of things, so during the holidays, it seems like the perfect time to come up with solutions for oneself.

So, in his dream, should viewers expect to we see different characters coming to him, like we’ve seen in other Y&R episodes similar to this?

JOSHUA:  Yes, in the dream, we’re seeing his family coming into his life, and they’re talking about who he is, the good parts about him, sometimes the bad …

… Wait, Nick has bad parts about him? 

JOSHUA:  Well … just maybe some things that he needs to improve on. (Laughs) Without him knowing it, I think Nick is kind of hard on people.  If they don’t necessarily think like he is, without knowing it, he tends to hold that against them.  Just because somebody doesn’t think like you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wrong.  He is just struggling with where he is in life.  He is wondering if he is doing things right.  The dream comes up, and it helps him realize some things.

Photo: JPI

You and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) did some wonderful scenes recently that aired when Phyllis and Nick broke up.  Do you remember taping those?  How did you feel about the on-screen relationship going south … again?

JOSHUA:  For me, Stafford is my bro.  When you start doing those types of scenes, you realize it’s the end of something for now.  I realized that there was a window when I was with her every day, laughing, making fun of each other, doing the fraternity style comedy that we do with each other.  I did those scenes with sadness because I knew that they were breaking us up and that I wouldn’t get to see her every day, but they were great.  Michelle is such a freaking tornado of talent. I was excited to see her really do the thing I think she does best, which is just unbridled passion, whether it’s positive or negative.  She obviously crushed it.  I was just happy to be a part of it.  I don’t have to do much heavy lifting in those scenes. I just wanted to be there for her.  I think that the scenes did turn out very well.  I wasn’t happy to do them, but I always want to do good work.

Photo: JPI

So, where is Nick at with Sharon (Sharon Case) at this point?  How does she impact him in the holiday episode?

JOSHUA:  Sharon is in the special episode offering Nick a lot of advice and guidance.  Sharon is one of Nick’s biggest cheerleaders.  She is constantly trying to make him feel good and better about things that he does.  They’re really good friends.  They are coparenting, you know.  I’m no dummy, obviously the writing is on the wall as to where this will lead, but the journey of how they get there will be the question.  I don’t know when it will happen, but obviously Nick and Sharon have a tremendous history, and anytime they get together it is usually beautifully told.  I don’t know for certain because I don’t ask, but if that is indeed the path that they are going down, I am sure that it will be something the long-time “Shick” supporters are very happy with.  Like I said, there is no romantic anything at the moment. They’re nothing about that.  It’s just that around the holidays, it’s tough not to have someone, and they’re there for each other.  They’ve got kids, and they’re just trying to have a good Christmas.

Photo: JPI

Nick and Adam (Mark Grossman) have a very contentious relationship that is very complex. How does that figure into the equation?

JOSHUA:  It’s an interesting dynamic because Nick is forever grateful to Adam.  I literally think he has saved every one of Nick’s children’s lives at some point in their past, and maybe even Noah a couple of times (Laughs) It’s a delicate relationship because whether he mentions it or not, Nick is jealous that Victor (Eric Braeden) seems to turn to Adam now.  Despite all of Nick’s, “I want to do my own thing, leave me alone, etc.” it really hurts him that Victor turns to Adam when the family needs it.  For all of Nick’s, “I’m my own man,” he still really believes in the strength of the Newman family.  He will always have its back, and if it’s being threatened, like it was with what Nick perceives Ashland (Richard Burgi) to be doing, and Victor doesn’t come to Nick to help with that (or … he does in the beginning, but when it comes to an end, he basically casts Nick aside), that really bothers him.  It’s hard not to take that out on Adam. Still, he doesn’t trust him fully, and he is always kind of on edge around him.  It’s a delicate balance of trust and acceptance with Nick and Adam.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

Does Nick feel like the ‘odd man out’ with Victor, when it always seems that Adam and Victor team up?

JOSHUA:  He absolutely does, and again, Nick had brought a lot of this on himself.  He is constantly saying, “I’m going to do me.  I’m going to make my own decisions.  I don’t want you impacting any of those,” but then when Victor turns to Adam and not Nick in a very important situation that involves his sister, Nick is pretty hurt by that.  Nick does feel like Adam has come into his relationship with his father.  They’re working together very closely.  It seems like Adam had Victor’s ear.  It seems like Victor trusts Adam – at this point, maybe even more than Nick.  That definitely bothers him. I don’t fault Victor in this because all Nick has done is stomp is feet and say, “I don’t like the way you handle things,” and, “Leave me alone.  I’m going to handle things my own way.”  It’s an interesting situation for Victor to be in because I think he wants Nick to be in the fold.  He wants Nick to be there whenever he needs him, but Nick has not made that easy.  He is very hardheaded when it comes to the family dynamic at times.  Nick has created all these difficult relationships now in his family, except with his mother.  He and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) are at odds.  He and Victor are always staring each other down at opposite sides of the fence, and then Adam comes in, and threatens what he perceived to be his role in the family, and that also kind of leads to the whole dream.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

You brought up Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).  How do you see the bond between mother and son?

JOSHUA:  Nick and his mother have always had an extremely close relationship.  Nikki leans on Nick to bring peace in the family, and Nick leans on her to talk him off the ledge at times because he does overreact, and he acts impulsively at times, while Nikki is very cool, calm, and collected at all times.  Usually, he does everything she asks of him.  Nick is very clearly a Momma’s boy, and he always will be, and if his mother needs him, he is going to step up and do what she wants.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

In terms of his sister, Victoria, how does Nick feel about their stormy relationship?

JOSHUA:  I feel like they are not contentious now, but there is a level of sadness because they’ve always been the best of friends.  They have always relied on each other for everything, and now that has been completely cast aside.  They realize they are no longer each other’s person, the person they go to for anything: advice, support, comfort, whatever.  That is gone for each of them now.  It started with the Phyllis situation with the hotel, and now, it is certainly taken to another level with the Ashland thing.  I think that’s what the overall feeling is between the two of them at this time.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

What’s amazing is that you, Amelia, Eric, and Melody are all really close in real life.  It’s like you truly have a second family.

JOSHUA:  It’s a real family.  The four of us are, for sure.  Without question, my favorite scenes to do on the show are when the four of us are together because we really are so close. Those dynamics are the fabric of what the show is about.  It’s not just the Newmans, but with the Abbotts and the Winters as well, and when the show highlights that, and really puts those small details at the front of the show, the fans realize that you don’t need those big, dynamic stories.  You don’t need the big explosive things.  When you just see those tender moments between those family members, that is everything.  That is the Bill Bell (Co-Creator, Y&R) playbook.  It’s easy to play because we care so much about each other, and I think it comes across on the screen.

Photo: JPI

Now, you’ve got a new Noah in Rory Gibson, and you got a new Faith in Reylynn Caster, both who came on to the show in the last several months.  How are they doing, and how has it been for you to adjust to working with them as their on-screen father?

JOSHUA:  It’s been awesome.  I’ve always said it’s a very tough job because I fall in love with these kids who play my children, and eventually they go off and do something else, or when they are little, sometimes there is a window when they turn about four, where they go, “I don’t want to be here! (Laughs) But when they’re babies, they’re just kind of in your arms, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them, but then when they get older, I see them grow up and turn into young adults.  Rory is an absolute stud. I did screen-test with the actors auditioning for the role of Noah, and he went first. I’m not exaggerating when I say two beats into our rehearsal, not even the actual screen-test in front of the network, I locked eyes with him, and I went, “This is him.  What are we doing?  I don’t need to do this with anyone else.”  He’s got a soul to him that is really amazing to watch.  He’s got depth.  He’s a really tremendous actor.  He’s a good kid, too.  He works hard, and he really wants to do well, and he’s humble.  In the special episode, Rory steals the dream. He does a scene in this show that is going to break women’s hearts around the world.  I am excited for people to see what he can truly do.  The sky is the limit for this kid.   I love having him here.  I super miss Robbie (Robert Adamson, Ex-Noah).  I love him like he is a son of my own, but Rory has taken this role and done something really good with it.  So has Rey-Rey.   She is obviously a tremendous talent.  Losing Alyvia Alyn Lind (Ex-Faith), who was one of the great loves of my life, killed me.  However, I couldn’t be prouder of her.  We text weekly about what’s going on with her, and she’s off crushing it, and the world is not ready for Aly, trust me!  Rey-Rey has come in, a beautiful, talented, young girl, who really wants to do well, and she fits right into the Newman mold.  I’ve been very, very blessed.  The casting department has really knocked it out of the park with these two.

Photo: JPI

I know Hunter King (Ex-Summer) is not on the show right now, but I know you two are really close.

JOSHUA:  Yeah, good grief.  It’s hard for me.  Probably Hunter and Amelia are the two others loves of my life along with Aly.  Hunter and I will text each other constantly, making fun of each other.  We have such a special relationship.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.  I just know that she will be back someday.  I don’t know why.  Whereas I know Aly is gone forever.  She is off, and she is going to be a huge star.  Some fish outgrow their ponds, and I said that about her when she left.  Aly is off to a much bigger world, but I have a feeling (and maybe it is more of a hope) that Hunter will come back to me, and I say “me” because nobody loves her more than me. My kids are just everything to me on this show.  Honestly, it is one of the things that keeps me coming back for now almost 28 years.  I love them.  They’re all great people.

Photo: TMorrowTwitter

What are you and your wife, Tobe, and the family, going to do for the holidays?

JOSHUA:  We always go snowboarding.  We didn’t go last year obviously because of staying safe from COVID, but we tend to go Colorado every year, and we will be doing that again.  My oldest is away at college this year, so it will be fun to get him home and go off and do what we do.  I remember when I was in my teens learning to snowboard, I was like, “Someday, I cannot wait to lead a bunch of sons down big mountains!” and I’ve been doing that for years with them.  Two years ago, my middle son, who is just this testosterone-raged-alpha-male, finally said, “Dad, I’m leading us down.”  I was like, “Okay.”  He is the one son who has surpassed me in speed, and now we follow him. (Laughs)

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Now let’s talk College Basketball! (Laughs) Gonzaga has already had two losses and it seems every week there is a new team at #1 in the rankings.  Who do you think is looking good? 

JOSHUA:  I only watch Oklahoma hoops. (Laughs) The days of going off to March Madness with all my friends and acting like jackasses for multiple days are gone because I have soccer and lacrosse commitments with my family, but I am still equally as passionate about Oklahoma basketball as I’ve ever been.  I always say it, and it is definitely more heart than mind, but Oklahoma is going to win the national championship this year.

Okay, Joshua.  We will put it out there in the press!

JOSHUA:  You’ve got to put it in the universe!

So, looking forward to Nick’s Christmas journey on Y&R? Which women in Genoa City would you like to see Nick have a relationship with next? What advice would you give Nick Newman to get his life on track? Share your thoughts on this, and our conversation with Joshua, via the comment section below.

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What a great interview! Thank you so much Michael. Merry Christmas!

While I haven’t really enjoyed one of these “come to Jesus” episodes since Billy Miller’s classic 2010 (?) edition, I’m happy that Nick is turning a very judgmental corner and may start to accept his loved ones as is. So this may turn out okay. I know Nick has detractors but Josh is such a likeable guy I can’t help rooting for him. On a superficial level, I hope they show flashbacks without this awful buzz cut he’s sporting. It throws his face off and his longer hair is really awesome. Looks like he and Sharon are getting close AGAIN which I would normally object to except I’d love to get rid of Rey, an essentially unneeded character. Love the interplay with Nick, Sharon, and wonderful nuNoah Rory Gibson. They really seem like a “lived-in” family, not just actors swapping lines. And Nick & Adam FINALLY connecting would be fun and reassuring.

Great interview & I love how he gets so attached to the actors playing his kids. I know he was super close with Camryn Grimes but he didn’t mention her. I assume that’s because Mariah isn’t Nick’s kid. They should never have killed Cassie off. That said, I like how Joshua Morrow isn’t a trouble maker, does his job and he’s well liked by his cast. He always said he was appreciative of this job and was still able to raise his family and see them everyday. As an actor, it’s a good gig. Especially for him after 25 + years.

I love Joshua/Nick I think he’s sexy, a great husband and ex to whomever he’s with, a Saint to put up with Phyllis,a good son and loyal brother and friend. He’s everything Faith especially, told him. It’s like the better he is, the more people want and expect of him. Anyone and everyone should be lucky to have him in their lives. Merry Christmas and Happy New year to everyone who celebrates.

Terrific interview. Josh morrow is a class act. You can tell he’s a good colleague and I must say he deserves a lot more credit than he gets as an actor while restless has been a hard watch lately I will say any scenes with him stafford or case are the best

I have not watched in three years I do keep hoping will get just a little of Bill Bell soap but no I see they are still stuck with JoshG ! We are writing stories that are fifteen years ago !! Phyllis is still acting like a teenager Sharon still pouring coffees Nick has not grown up the same horn dog ! Very sad! Cassie he adopted and I hated that they brought back the twin crap ! Not the same

I like Josh Morrow, and I like the character he plays. He’s just a natural actor. However, I hate these solo Y&R dream episodes. All it says to me is the well had run dry as far as the writing is concerned. There are no interesting or solid storylines transpiring right now. I only periodically show up to see what Sally and Adam are up to. Ninety-five percent of Y&R is a complete and total bore. I fast forward through Abby, Chance, Devon, Phyllis, Jack, Mariah,Billy, Lily, Sharon and Rey. I even fast forward through scenes involving Nicholas because the writers don’t seem to know what to do with him anymore.

What is name of the book that Nick read from on Christmas Eve episode?

Oh yeah…like that DROOLING AND LOVESICK MORON Nick really deserved a standalone episode…N-O-T!!!!! And on Christmas Eve?!?!?!?!?! OH GIMME A BREAK ALREADY!!!!!

Ha ha ha! Jay, you crack me up!

Sorry that so many of us like Joshua and also his good looks and many talents. So, what would you like to have broken exactly?

Halfway through, it put me to sleep, actually.
When I woke up I didn’t bother to resume.
It was too boring.
Not the actor – but the story wasn’t good.
But that was me- there were a great many that enjoyed it so happy for them- 🙂

Violet…I have nothing personal against Joshua Morrow. It’s just that…I wish that his character of Nick Newman wouldn’t flop-flop back and forth so much between both Sharon and Phyllis. To me, all of that gets very, very old.

Just saying…

Nothing personal? DROOLING,LOVESICK MORON.Sure sounds personal to me. He can only do what he’s given. Iam sure he doesn’t write his own scripts, they are probably done by drooling, lovesick,morons!

Violet…I see your point. Thank You.

HAPPY 2022!!!!!

Days Of Our Lives

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.

Photo: JPI

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.

Photo: JPI

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.

Photo: JPI

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).

Photo: JPI

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)

Photo: JPI

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.

Photo: JPI

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.

Photo: JingleJam

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.

Photo: JPI

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.

Photo: JPI

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.

Photo: JPI

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)

Photo: JPI

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.

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Y&R’s Hayley Erin Talks On the Revelation That Shocks Claire, Vendetta Against the Newmans, and Working with Her Co-Stars

The Young and the Restless recently cast former General Hospital star and Daytime Emmy-winner, Hayley Erin in the role of Claire Grace, who may be proven to be the biological daughter of Victoria (Amelia Heinle) and Cole (J. Eddie Peck), who they thought died as an infant and who they named “Eve”. The baby was named after Cole’s diabolical mother, Eve Howard (the late Margaret Mason).

Now as the story has played out in riveting fashion, fans of Y&R have witnessed how the seemingly businessman-minded and trusted new assistant of Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott), is actually a terror with a vindictive streak that knows no bounds. Once Claire lures Nikki to her Aunt Jordan’s (Colleen Zenk) house in Oregon, things take a deadly turn as Jordan and Claire tried to take down the Newmans. However, in the process, Claire learned some shocking news, herself.

Hayley Erin chatted with Michael Fairman exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel where she discussed all the inner-working of Claire/Eve, the dramatic scenes, working with her new co-stars including ATWT’s beloved Colleen Zenk, and more.

Photo: JPI

Erin previously appeared on Y&R back in 2008-2010 as a young Abby Newman, so during the interview she shared how interesting it has been to come back to the show for a second go-round. Plus, she delves a bit about her time on GH working with the likes of Maura West, Chloe Lanier, Robert Palmer Watkins and more.  Here are just some of the topics and Hayley’s responses from the livestream conversation below.

On Y&R, viewers just saw this week how Claire’s motives were revealed, and that she believed she was thrown to the wolves as a baby and her parents, presumably Cole and Victoria, didn’t want her, only to find out Aunt Jordan stole her from the hospital and switched babies.

Hayley shared on the on-screen moment: “I can’t think of anything more shocking than to find out that basically your entire life has been a lie. So for Claire, that is moment that her entire life comes crumbling down. The moment that Jordan said, ‘I took you from the hospital.’ That is just world shifting. Claire was led to believe that she was put up for adoption, basically, and that they (Victoria and Cole) didn’t want her. And now the truth comes out.”

Photo: CBS

Josh Griffith, the head writer and executive producer of Y&R, is said to have had Hayley read a few scenes to showcase both sides of Claire to land her the role. Erin expounded on that, sharing, “There were two scenes that I read. I did a test with Melody Thomas Scott, who I just love working with. So, the first scene was very much beginning Claire, assistant, very good at my job business talk, like so many business words. And then the second scene was, ‘I hate the Newmans. I hate them. I hate you all. You’re just like disgusting and so full of yourselves and you think you’re so amazing.’ So, I had done the scenes and then I got note from Josh and he’s like, ‘Can you hate them a little more?’ I was like, ‘sure’.  So, we read the scene again and he was like, ‘That was great. Thanks.’ That was the whole process.”

There was such intense scenes when not only Claire stuck Nikki with a hypodermic needle but set her up with an IV drip of booze and left a bottle behind. It was a horrifying act. Hayley admitted those scenes with Melody Thomas Scott were some of her favorites, thus far.

Photo: CBS

“I loved every minute of that. I mean the dark, dark Claire, that was the most fun I’ve ever had,” Erin said. “Particularly the hallucination that Nikki had.  I think, my favorite scene I’ve ever had the pleasure of filming. It was so much fun.  There’s so much going on. Claire’s psyche is such a strange thing. It’s so fragile and manipulated and just playing with those different layers has been a really enjoyable experience for me.”

The pairing of Colleen Zenk as Aunt Jordan and Hayley as Claire/Eve has interjected some new life in Y&R. Erin shared her reaction to working with the ATWT favorite: “I mean, ‘Aunt Jordan, aunt Jordan, aunt Jordan,’ I feel like I said about 70,000 times, planting the seeds.  I knew Colleen, actually, I had met her few years ago at an event in Marco Island called Soap Fest. However, I wasn’t super familiar with her work, but I knew that she was a legend. So now, I’m very familiar with her work I just couldn’t be more grateful for such a powerhouse of a scene partner.  I’m so lucky. The women I’ve been surrounded with at Y&R, I think that’s such a cool thing, too. The storyline has really been female driven.”

Photo: CBS

Now the question becomes, if Claire is proven to be Eve, will she form any kind of meaningful relationship with her ‘mother’ Victoria. Erin weighed-in: “It’s hard to say because I look at Claire and I see that there’s so much resentment that has been drilled into her that, how do you undo that?  How do you start fresh? It’s a great idea, it’s a nice fantasy, but that means unlearning decades of  manipulation. So, that’s how her brain was formed. Her brain was formed believing these things.  I mean, I hope there’s a really good therapist maybe in town!”

Check out the replay of the entire livestream conversation below with Hayley. Then, let us know in the comment section, if you’ve enjoyed her performance as Claire/Eve thus far, and what you hope happens next the character in the story? Do you want her to scheme again with Aunt Jordan against the Newmans, or get a new lease on life?

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The Bold and the Beautiful’s Annika Noelle Chats on Hope’s Feelings for Thomas and Her New Attitude, Moving on From Liam, and Being an Advocate

2023 has been the year of Annika Noelle on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful. As Hope Logan, she found herself fighting the fire and passion she felt for Thomas Forrester (Matthew Atkinson), while trying to figure out where she stands in her marriage to Liam (Scott Clifton). As an actress, Noelle has carried much of the story and has been front and center. Something that should be remembered come Emmy time in 2024.

In story, ultimately, a trip to Rome, Italy set the stage for life-changing events in Hope’s life. After the wildly successful showing of her design collection, Hope for the Future, in collaboration with her ace designer, Thomas Forrester, the duo end-up in a passionate lip-lock, initiated by Hope, in front of the overhang at the world-famous Colosseum. Problem was … Liam happened upon the scene and saw his then wife’s betrayal.

Flash-forward, Hope has divorced Liam and is moving on with her life seemingly with Thomas, much to the chagrin of most of the entire Forrester and Logan families given Thomas’ twisted past – yes, they are probably thinking, “Baby Beth” and the “Hope Mannequin!” All that aside, on the surface Thomas appears a new man fully ready to embrace a relationship with Hope. Meanwhile, Hope has discovered more of her independence, has a fashionable new short crop hair-do, and is no longer ruled by what others think she should do.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Annika to get her thoughts on a myriad of subjects including: is it truly the end for Hope and Liam? Will the duo known as “Thope” have a shot at any longevity? What is Hope going to do now that her father Deacon (Sean Kanan) is engaged to none other than evil-personified in Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown)? And that’s just for starters! Read on to see what Annika had to share about it all, and her about beautiful new rescue dog, Huckleberry.

Hope just found out that Eric (John McCook) is dying. How do you think she will cope with the news from here? What has Eric meant to her throughout his life?

ANNIKA: Eric has been a loving patriarch throughout Hope’s life. One of her mother’s biggest champions, Thomas’ grandfather, and Douglas’ great grandfather. He is someone that has been a guiding force throughout her life and to lose him would be like losing the cornerstone that built the house of Forrester. It would be a devastating loss to her family.

Photo: JPI

Liam seems to be reeling from seeing just how serious Thomas and Hope appear to be with each other at this point. Is Hope moving forward with Thomas in her mind as a “relationship” or does she see this more as an “affair” for her?

ANNIKA: At this point, she can acknowledge that she has feelings for Thomas and she wants to be with him. However, given his significance in her life (an integral part of ‘Hope for the Future’ as well as Douglas’ father) I think she wants to be extremely careful. She has been burned by love and is hesitant to jump in again. She needs to take things slow and thus far, Thomas has respected that.

Photo: JPI

You carried a very heavy load in the storyline over recent months: from when Thomas and Hope kissed in Rome, to the fallout, to her divorcing Liam, to her feeling more self-assured and independent. What were the more challenging beats of the storyline for you?

ANNIKA: Honestly? This has been a joy. After the heavy “Baby Beth” storyline throughout most of 2019, I have so enjoyed this story arc. From being able to travel to Rome for the first time with the cast and crew, playing beats of strength, laughter, and love as well as the heavier moments, it has been a story I have embraced and given my all.

Photo: JPI

You have a new fantastic short cropped hair-do. Was that something you wanted to do, or was it related to the character of Hope moving on with her life from Liam?

ANNIKA: This actually had more to do with me making changes and starting new chapters but it also happened to coincide with Hope having major life changes as well. I, of course, had to get permission (contractual obligation and what not) and was surprised to get the blessing to go ahead! It’s been a big adjustment as I’ve had long hair my entire adult life but everyone has been so complimentary and supportive. I think I might keep it for a while…

Photo: JPI

Do you see Hope, Thomas and Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri) being a family at some point?

ANNIKA: In my eyes, they always were a family from the moment Hope embraced the role as Douglas’ adoptive mother. She takes that responsibility very seriously, and was not going to neglect her duties to that child. Even when it was tough with the blended families, she always tried her best to make it work.

Is Hope at all concerned at this point that Thomas could fall back on his former troubled or devious ways?

ANNIKA: I think in order for her to be involved with a man who has done so much to her and her family in the past, she has to truly believe that this man has changed. That he is different. As she has said repeatedly, he has earned her trust and he has done the work. And try as everyone might to ward her away, I think it just makes it all the more appealing. As her father Deacon said… “love doesn’t always make sense”.

Photo: JPI

Do you see Hope doing anything to intervene with her father Deacon’s relationship with Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown)? She clearly is not happy about this, given Sheila’s past.

ANNIKA: I think at the moment she has a lot on her plate with Eric’s health, Liam’s realization, Hope For The Future, the children, not to mention her love life. I think she’s trying to maintain some form of peace and balance, which involves setting a boundary with that. Plus, Sheila has a few screws loose, so I don’t think she’s about to go punching crazy in the face just to see what happens.

Photo: JPI

You recently shared some scenes with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy). Within them, Steffy and Hope sparred with a war of words, when it came to Liam and Thomas. Did Hope use his past with Steffy as justification to divorce him, because she wanted Thomas so badly, or does she truly believe that Steffy will always come first with Liam?

ANNIKA: I think both can be true at the same time. Past resentments, insecurities, and repeated infidelity over years can lead to the downfall of any strong relationship. Hope’s issue is not necessarily Liam’s past indiscretions, as she still choose to forgive him and stay with him during those times. It is the fact that he couldn’t offer her the same grace and forgiveness after she had messed up. Over a kiss. And Liam was so quick to run to Steffy in the aftermath. That is what stung. So, she had the divorce papers drawn up.

You have an adorable new dog Huckleberry that you showed on your Instagram. What can you tell me about how Huckleberry came into your life? What kind of dog is he? 

ANNIKA: Huckleberry is my gentle angel boy who came into my life thanks to Life Animal Rescue. I had been searching for the right fit and I saw a video of him and knew we were destined to be. He is 100% “Korean Village Dog” and was rescued from a meat farm there. He is now safe with me, chasing butterflies, and playing with Burritoman kitty.

Photo: Heirlume photography

You have been a wonderful ally to the LGBTQ+ community and do get involved in charitable causes. Why is it important for you to lend your name and time to help those perhaps misunderstood, or under-presented?

ANNIKA: Funny thing is, I would be doing it even if I didn’t have this platform. I grew up in theatre as much as I did the outdoors. Both have offered me community and a place of belonging. I was bullied as a child so my places of refuge were the forest in my backyard and the escape I found on the stage. So I will advocate, use my voice, and return the love that the community has shown me all my life. They were a safe haven for me, I will fight for their safety too. As Mama Ru says, “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag”.

Photo: JPI

As her fashion line says, Hope for the Future, what are your future Hope’s for Hope?

ANNIKA: I hope she finds clarity for herself, strength in her voice, and love in her heart. With or without a man. And more screen time with her children!

Photo: JPI

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, what would you like to say to all the fans who have been so supportive to you all over the world who watch B&B?

ANNIKA: Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I know it isn’t always easy with the way storyline can ebb and flow. But if you understand me, who I am outside of my character, all I stand for, and you still ride with me? Then my loves, we are family! And I am grateful for YOU. No character choice can ever ruin that.

So, after checking out our interview with Annika, are you rooting for Hope and Thomas to be the end game, or do you think Hope and Liam should find their way back to one another? Share your viewpoints and thoughts via the comment section below.

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Airdate: 7-24- 2023