There is no question that The Young and the Restless’ Michelle Stafford is one of the most phenomenal actresses in the history of the soap genre! And now this year, Stafford scores her tenth Daytime Emmy Nomination for her role as Genoa City’s fiery Phyllis! Already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner, could this be the year that Michelle adds to her gold collection if she takes home the prize for Outstanding Lead Actress?
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Michelle in her dressing room at Y&R’s studios at CBS to get her thoughts on the recognition from her peers, what episode she picked when she always has some amazing work to choose from, and how not to let an Emmy win, or never being nominated, define your hard work and performances.
Always a straight-shooter, always humorous, and always someone who understands the human condition, here is our Emmy chat with Michelle! Don’t forget, the 40th annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be handed out on Sunday night, June 16th and broadcast live on HLN!
What episode did you submit that landed you in the finals of the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category this year? And, why did you decide to go with that episode?
MICHELLE: I actually loved the show because on paper it was very different than how I played it. I always go with what I like, and if I don’t get in, I don’t get in. Like last year, I loved the show I submitted and I didn’t get nominated. And you know, I feel better not getting nominated, or not winning based on integrity, and what I thought was good. I don’t always go with how I think people will perceive it. I liked this because there were a lot of twists and turns in it. In the episode, Phyllis goes after Christine (Lauralee Bell) in the coffee house, and I kind of made it funny. Then I was pissed, and then it was like a ‘screw you!’ It was a rollercoaster ride, which I liked. And, then there are scenes with Nick (Joshua Morrow) where she is hurt over his relationship with Avery (Jessica Collins).
How was it on paper, or written in the script?
MICHELLE: On paper they wanted me to come in a like a bull and lose my mind on Christine. I was like, “Well, you know … she is a lot smarter than that.” The thing was, Phyllis already won. She got off for the crime. So when you already won, you don’t need to throw it to be mad, because you won! I put some gloating in there! Like, “I’m free, bitch!” (Laughs) Phyllis was just making fun of Christine, and Lauralee Bell was awesome in the scene! In fact, she pushed me as Christine, and that was not in the script, and so I pushed her back! (Laughs) It was a good old-fashioned bitch fight! (Laughs) I am so glad though that the writers had these scenes for me to play.
Who weighed-in on your choices for your Emmy submission? I know Christian LeBlanc (Michael, Y&R) always usually helps you pick, or offers up an opinion to you come Emmy time!
MICHELLE: It was one of those years that I had some really good scenes in episodes, and then two boring ones at the end. Everyone falls into that. I had two really great shows, but then at the end of that I had these two scenes, where I talk about nothing for a long time with somebody. So it was between this one with Lauralee and Josh, or the other episode was with me and Christian going back and forth. I sent it to Christian and I also sent to Nancy Lee Grahn, (Alexis, GH) because she sends me hers. And, she did not look it at it because she was too busy. So it was just Christian. See Nancy! (Laughs) In the end though, I go with my gut.
What do you think about the other ladies in your category this year … Susan Flannery (Ex-Stephanie) and Heather Tom (Katie) for their work on The Bold and the Beautiful, and Peggy McKay (Caroline) of Days of our Lives?
MICHELLE: There are only four nominees in the category, which is shocking! I saw a performance of Susan Flannery’s (Ex-Stephanie, B&B) in scenes with John McCook (Eric, B&B) as I judged Lead Actor. Having just experienced going through cancer with my sister every single day, the way that Susan Flannery reacted was brilliant. I was so relieved to see she did not go to the tears and the histrionics, and I really loved it. I don’t know what she submitted, but this one I loved. These ladies I am in the category with are all amazing!
We have often talked that the best way to look at the Daytime Emmys is that it’s just a big game, in which you play to win, but in no way does it define you. What advice would you give to other actors or nominees, having been a veteran of these proceedings now ten times?
MICHELLE: I think you can get wrapped up in it. It is a validation of your work, but you put to much credence on it. If you think it means that you’re good, or not good, it can screw with your head, that’s all. I can see if someone is continuously not nominated, like Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke, B&B) up until this year. Now, this year she has said to me, “It’s embarrassing.” And I said to her, “No. It’s not embarrassing. You’re in! It doesn’t matter!” So I am very excited for Katherine. She worked so hard and deserves it, and she is a sweetheart. It is a game. It’s not, “I don’t care if I win or lose,” because when I play a game, I play to win.
And … you have lost many times too!
MICHELLE: Oh, my gosh. (Laughs) I have lost so many times. One year I remember I was just pissed! And I wasn’t pissed that I lost. I wasn’t pissed at the person who won, but I was just like, “Really? I got dressed up tonight! God! I had so much going on! I got my hair and make-up done! Geez!” (Laughs)
You are always, if not thee, one of the stunners always walking the red carpet on Daytime Emmy night! Is it fun for you to get all dressed up? Or, do you feel pressure that you have to top yourself year after year with the look and the dress?
MICHELLE: Yes, it is totally fun, and it is not pressure. Every woman wants to dress up and look pretty. Every woman wants to look good. And every man wants to look good, right?
Well… some men dress up better than others!
MICHELLE: Yes, but in their mind, they look good! (Laughs)
So Y&R fans, what do you think of Michelle’s choice of submission for the Daytime Emmys? Do you think she has a good shot at winning the Lead Actress prize this year? Would you agree she is one of the best actresses on television? Share your thoughts!