December 23rd, 2010  |  Leave a comment

The Rebecca Budig Interview – Skating with the Stars

Courtesy/ABC

If you watched ABC’s Skating with the Stars over the last six weeks of the competition, there was one competitor who stood out among all the rest, and she just so happens to be one hell of a soap star, too!  Of course, we are talking about All My Children’s Rebecca Budig, who puts the spice into Greenlee Smyth each week on the long-running daytime drama.  But in a competition filled with thrills, spills, spats, illness, injuries… and for a series that did not receive a favorable reception with low ratings from the overall viewing public… Budig through it all shined the brightest.  Along with her fantastic skating partner, Fred Palascak, each week Rebecca and Fred improved upon their teamwork, and we watched Rebecca, the competitions most naturally gifted skater, truly come in to her own.  Budig was living her childhood dream of being an ice skating champion.  And, who cannot resist going on the ride with her, especially if you are a Greenlee, AMC, or skating fan?

The final nights of Skating with the Stars aired this Monday and Tuesday, with first the shocking elimination of Olympic skier, Jonny Mosely, who was considered the other favorite to win the trophy at the end of the competition along with Budig.  Once Mosely was out, it left reality television star, Bethenny Frankel from The Real Housewives of New York to do battle with Budig.  And on Tuesday’s night’s final skate, the couples were asked to repeat a skating program they had done earlier in the competition and improve upon it.  Rebecca and Fred certainly did that!  Performing to Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold, the duo got a perfect score from all the judges (i.e. Dick Button, Johnny Weir, Laurieann Gibson) a first in the
competition. In the end, Rebecca and Fred were victorious and awarded
the skating trophy.

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Rebecca last night for this exclusive interview, less than 24 hours after her childhood dream came true.  Rebecca gives us the inside scoop on the competition; how she got through the rehearsals and the injury that sent her to the ER, how her AMC castmates were there to cheer her on, and the journey that meant so much to her.  If you did not see an episode of the series to see how beautiful Rebecca was on the ice, you really missed something special.  (There is always YouTube)  Here is Skating with the Stars celebrity champion, Rebecca Budig!

MICHAEL:

First of all, I watched every episode and I am so proud of you.  I think it’s great that you went out there week after week and performed beautifully.  And, what really got me is that you were living you childhood dream.  Did it feel, when all was said and done, that you did live your dream?

REBECCA:

Courtesy/ABC

I did.  I absolutely did, besides that it’s not the Olympics. It truly was like living out my dream for sure!

MICHAEL:

You had been skating since you were a little girl, right?

REBECCA:

I skated singles when I was a kid, and my sister did as well.  So we used to play that we were a pair’s team at home.  And, when we would get home from the rink we would play that we were this couple that we would see at the rink. We were like six or seven years old, and I quit when I was eight.

MICHAEL:

Were you then one on those people that would watch the Winter Olympics for the figure skating competition?

REBECCA:

Oh yeah! And then we would yell at my mother for allowing us to quit when we were eight years old, because you have to start to get in the Olympics when you are very young at least.  We started, but we gave up.

MICHAEL:

Were you skating all this time on your own as a hobby?

REBECCA:

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

No, no.  Off and on I would go to the rink occasionally, but you know when you get older you lose your gumption.  I got skating lessons as a gift one year and I took a couple of lessons, but I was so intimated by all the kids whizzing by me!  When I got to college I thought I would pick it back up and go to the Olympics.  But, I realized I was a little too old to be ice-skating at that age.

MICHAEL:

Fred was so great to watch as your partner.  What was he like to work with?

REBECCA:

Fred has a degree in education, and by nature he is very good at teaching, and it was his experience and his degree that helped.  And, he is also a math teacher, and figure skating can be based in Geometry.  Everything is based on an edge or a circle, or an angle.  He was really diligent and he had a game plan.  He had a syllabus.  He knew what he wanted to do every day and that is what we worked on.  I needed someone like that.  He had everything mapped out and he was super hard on me and he wasn’t giving me compliments.  He was not giving me them freely, that is for sure.  Fred would only give me a compliment if I deserved it, and that sort of mentality sort of works with me.

MICHAEL:

I also thought what was great was when you watched the two of you on the ice, there was chemistry.  I can only imagine on each show what went through your mind!  I mean you had to get through the performance, hit your marks…what was it like going out there on live television?

REBECCA:

It was hard; I am not going to lie.  I was nervous.  I was very nervous, but I tried not to go into that mode.  I tried to say to myself, “Well, you know what?  If I fall, I fall. I am going to do my best.”  I would just go through the routine in my head and during the commercial breaks, Fred and I would work on the parts of our program that were the “tricky parts” and I just tried to have fun and do my best.

MICHAEL:

I will never forget the episode where you injured your wrist in a bad fall during rehearsals and you wound up in the ER of Cedar-Sinai Hospital.  And, being that Skating with the Stars is a reality/competition show; the cameras followed you there.  Your face told the story which was, “I gotta get through this and get back to work on my skating.  I am not going to let this derail me, but I am in terrible pain.”   And you could see it in your eyes… you thinking, “OK, what do I have to do to get out of here?”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

REBECCA:

(Laughs) That is exactly how I felt!  I mean, exactly how I felt.  When it first happened I skated to the side of the rink, not because of the pain I was in, but the fact that I may not be able to skate, and I said, “Oh, no, my wrist!”

MICHAEL:

Then, in the finals on Tuesday night, you did the same move that injured you three weeks earlier!

REBECCA:

We did, and we did the move longer than we did the first time, and that is another thing about Fred.  He is very careful and cautious, and he did not do anything that would aggravate the wrist until the night of the finals.  We practiced it, and the day before on Monday’s show, we did the group number and I tweaked my wrist.  They had a physical therapist there and I worked with her.  I tried to control the swelling, but its swollen today and black and blue! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Oh gosh!  What we do in the name of competition!  You know the day that you brought Fred to see you work on All My Children, was documented on Skating with the Stars. Was that a set-up by ABC to cross-promote everything, or did Fred really want to come see Pine Valley and Greenlee?

REBECCA:

He did want to come to my work, and he was excited to be at All My Children and see what I do.  I mean, I saw him at work ice-skating everyday as that is what he does for a living.  I wanted him to see what I do, too.  I think what he took away, and what he realized is that soaps are a lot of hard work and not easy.  And, because we do not get a lot of rehearsal time, we have to be in the moment everyday at AMC, and I think that is another thing he took away from it, but I can’t speak for him.  It was different for Skating with the Stars. We got some rehearsal time for the ice-skating, so we did not just go out there and do it. 

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

When you found out that Jonny Mosely got eliminated, and he was the one that everyone thought could possibly be the spoiler of a Budig victory, were you truly shocked?

REBECCA:

Of course, we were all shocked…everyone!  Bethenny Frankel was even ready to skate over to the judge’s table and Tanis and Vernon, our hosts.  But yes, it was a shock.

MICHAEL:

Well you know, there is always one big shocker in these reality show competitions, to keep viewer interest.  Speaking of Bethenny, there was so much trash talking by her during the competition.  Did you two really get along?

REBECCA:

Yes, we did get along.  I really liked her.  She is very, very, funny and I really respect what she has done.  She has built a brand, and she is successful.  Bethenny is sassy and she is the girl that I would always say to myself, “Gosh, I wish I could be more like that,” because I was always respecting authority (Laughs) and being the good girl, and she is like the bad girl I wanted to be.  She is actually very nice, and again, very funny.

MICHAEL:

Your AMC co-stars, past and present, would be in the audience on certain nights of the competition, including Alicia Minshew, Cameron Mathison, Ian Buchanan, Melissa Claire Egan, and Finola Hughes. You had your buds there.  And what did those buds say to you Tuesday night when you won your Golden Skates?

REBECCA:

Well first off, yes, I had my buds there.  My buds stood behind me.  They were all very happy when I won the Golden Skates.  Ian Buchanan gave me a necklace today with a skate on it!  They were all very sweet to me.

MICHAEL:

You have not gone back to work, obviously, since you have won.

REBECCA:

Courtesy/ABC

Right, I haven’t.  But, I heard from my co-workers, and our executive producer at AMC, Julie Hanan Carruthers texted me, and everyone was very sweet.

MICHAEL:

How did being on Skating with the Stars impact your schedule at All My Children?  I had heard they worked around it.

REBECCA:

They did work around my schedule, and AMC was great.  You know it was very difficult.  It was difficult for them, it was difficult for me, and it was difficult for skating, but we managed to pull it all together and do it.

MICHAEL:

What did you think when judges, Dick Button, Johnny Weir, and Laurieann Gibson would give you their evals?  Sometimes they were funny and sometimes they were really hard on you.  What were your thoughts on their critiques?

REBECCA:

I think being an actress helped me, because I can take criticism and use it constructively more than most.  I actually looked forward to hearing what they had to say.  I respect them and what they have accomplished.  I mean, please, I grew up listening to Dick Button!

MICHAEL:

I have to tell you, who wouldn’t watch the Olympic skating and wait to hear what comments Dick Button would make, like, “Oh, my God. She fell. What a klutz.”

REBECCA:

Courtesy/ABC

I know. (Laughs) He was so funny and is so funny.

MICHAEL:

And, I thought it was cute what he did to you and Fred, when he was giving his scores for artistic impression, he looked at the other judges scores, hesitated and then lifted up a scorecard of 10, giving you the only perfect score in the six weeks of the competition!

REBECCA:

Yeah, I know, he is so cute.  And then, you know, Johnny Weir, I just think is just so creative and talented.  I admire what he has done and accomplished, and Laurieann, too. Therefore, I always looked forward to what they were going to say.  I wanted them to help me become a better skater.

MICHAEL:

Was there ever a moment in the competition when you looked at Fred and went, “Screw it.  I can’t do this anymore.  I am done.”

REBECCA:

No, never.  But there were days when I would come to rehearsal and say, “I don’t know how I am going to get through today.  I am so tired and my body hurts.  I don’t know how I am going to skate today.”  And Fred would say, “We are just going to do it and take it easy, and I feel the same way today.”  He was putting his body through a lot, too, and he is used to it a lot more than me.  Fred had gone to the National Championships before, I believe, and he had not competed in a long time, because he has been skating professionally for many years.  There were some programs that were harder than others on him, and some programs that were harder than others on me.  It just depended on what we are doing.  I mean, he had a lot of lifts…

MICHAEL:

…I know he had all those lifts, and then you flying around in the air! (Laughs)

REBECCA:

Courtesy/ABC

That is hard on him.  One week he had the professional program and our program, where he would be lifting the professional skater, and then me, and so his legs would get really tired. There were hard days.

MICHAEL:

So Rebecca, you mean to tell me you were not scared out of your mind when you were flipping around in the air like that?  You were amazing!

REBECCA:

(Laughs)  It was scary to learn all that stuff, and once we did it over and over again, I trusted him.  So I knew Fred wouldn’t let go.  I knew he wouldn’t lift me if he did not feel comfortable.

MICHAEL:

Which was your favorite routine of the competition?

REBECCA:

My favorite was Fix You by Coldplay.  That was by far my pick, because it was a classic skate and I got to skate more in the program.  I liked the mirroring we did, and I really felt it was a classic ice skating program and it had feeling in it.  I also liked the song.

MICHAEL:

Skating with the Stars was trounced on in the ratings, and television critics panned it. And that was unfortunate.  It was an incredibly hard task to find celebrities who could actually skate and want to do the competition.  Some of the stars in the show were extraordinarily clunky and there were some that were good.   Do you feel that people did not give it a chance?

REBECCA:

I’ve got to be honest with you; I did not pay attention to any of that. (Laughs) I didn’t even go online.  I did not ask if it was doing well in the ratings. To me, honestly, this was purely selfish because this is something I have always wanted to do since I was a kid.  So I was really just living out my dream.  And, I would have loved for the show to have done well, because what I also wanted to do was have kids who watched, aspire to get into skating and to go and skate at their local rink.  I think it would be good for skating as a whole, because it’s hard right now for the teachers. But that said, I really enjoyed doing it.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Before they said, Rebecca and Fred are the winners; did you at any moment think you were not going to win?

REBECCA:

Yeah, I did.  In fact that whole day, I convinced myself that Bethenny was going to win.  I figured Bethenny is taking this home.  She has a huge fan base and a huge personality and I definitely felt she was going to win this.  When they announced my name, I was really happy.  But I was just happy that I got all 10’s that night.  I was sitting there feeling like all eyes were on us before they announced our names as the winners.  But, I am just happy that I did this, and that I was there and part of this.

MICHAEL:

I kept thinking it was going to be an ice trophy you were going to receive, because I did not know what they were going to give you.  So when you went over to get your trophy, we all saw the Golden Skates!

REBECCA:

They were actually bronze skates.  I got to take it home with me, and Fred gets one as well, and they are heavy.  I did lift it over my head in victory, and yes, it did hurt my wrist. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So will you and Fred stay in touch and be buds?

REBECCA:

Yes, I do believe we will.  He came to my house for Thanksgiving with his wife Melanie, who is also his skating partner.  He is a great guy and he gave me such a gift.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

What about family members, friends, and everyone else trying to contact you in the last 24 hours to congratulate you?

REBECCA:

Oh, please.  I have had so many emails and phone calls that I can’t even keep up right now. (Laughs) You know, I have a bone spur on my toe, and I am having surgery on it tomorrow.  I have had it for ten years.  It had nothing to do with the skating.  It’s just I am using this time to take care of it.  

MICHAEL:

Do you think you have infused Greenlee on All My Children with a lot of Rebecca? Because you are a go-getter and no one could argue that Greenlee is not a go-getter as well!

REBECCA:

She is a go-getter.  I think there are similarities, but obviously Greenlee is a more exaggerated version of anything that I could ever be.  But I do have fun playing her.

MICHAEL:

You never get worried of the “same ole’ same ole’” with Greenlee being paired with Ryan (Cameron Mathison), and the various ways the different writing regimes have brought them together, then pulled them apart, over and over again?

REBECCA:

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Yeah, I do, but I don’t think the writers want it to be the “same ole’ same ole’” with Ryan.  So they are going to keep it interesting.  At least I hope so.  I have great faith in our writers.

MICHAEL:

So what is your final takeaway from this whole journey on Skating with the Stars? You got home the other night; did you have a moment to yourself after all the hub-bub?

REBECCA:

Yes, I did.  I just didn’t want it to end, that is how I felt.  I mean my body needs a break for sure, but I knew come Friday I would be like, “I want to go back to the rink with Fred.”

MICHAEL:

Who are you favorite ice skating stars that perhaps were your influences?

REBECCA:

I always loved Sasha Cohen.  I think she is amazing. Growing up, I was obsessed with Dorothy Hamill.  I had the Hamill haircut, but a very bad version of it.  It was not good.  It worked on her, but did not work on me.  Also, I love Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton, and Scott was always my end all.  He could always do those back-flips on the ice that I thought was so great.

MICHAEL:

OK, but when you had your alone time, did you go, “Wee, I won”?

REBECCA:

Courtesy/ABC

Yeah, it’s strange. When I got back to my trailer after the finals, Finola Hughes was in there with me and we screamed!  It was fun.

MICHAEL:

Do you think by being on Skating with the Stars and being the winner, it might do something for your career profile?

REBECCA:

I don’t know.  Maybe, I could play the lead in a remake of Ice Castles…wouldn’t that be great? (Laughs)

  1. Doe says:

    I am so thrilled for Rebecca. Skating is harder than dancing, and she proved that this was probably her destiny.When you dream about doing this as a child and then winning a trophy as an adult, that is almost like Karma. I know it is not the Olymics, but her will and stamina accomplished her dream no matter what form it came in.I salute and congradulate her for doing what most of us can’t, but would like to be able to do. Bravo, Rebecca!!.. Maybe, you should form your own celebrity team and do exhibtions….I would go to see that!…

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  2. deedeelady says:

    I can’t say how proud of you Rebecca that I was, you’re a very talented and brave young lady to do what you, and your partner did.

    I was sooo excited when you got all of those Ten’s I started to get teary eyed. Really Rebecca it was as if someone I knew won the Olympic’s.

    Your Fantistic, and Thanks for ride, I’m so happy that I got to see you and your partner.

    Reply

  3. mmc says:

    Rebecca, You deserved to win.Watching you get better each week was wonderful.i have always loved watching figure skating.it’s beautiful to watch, It takes a lot of hard work and talent.i never doubted that you and Fred would win. It truly is dancing on ice, but much harder.Congratulations….A job well done!!!!!

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  4. NiiCki says:

    Omg I love Rebecca budig she was great since day 1and she improved every week she is so brave having the heart to skate and trust someone u barley kno I give her credit for how brave she is I love to watch her on all my childrens I really look forward to being on a soap opera one day Rebecca is my role model ……salute a bad bitch

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  5. Jeffrey Moree says:

    I’m thrilled i’ve been a fan of Rebeccas since her early days on Guiding Light. I think she is a charismatic kind of actress that can keep the viewer watching and wanting more. Good for her i watched Skating with the stars and she was the best..

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