July 16th, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE RAYA MEDDINE INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

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TV SOAP:
How did the taping day go, with the wedding nuptials between Victor and Sabrina?  Usually soap weddings take forever to tape.

RAYA:
Honesty, it went very smoothly.  We were all shocked that we were out by 9PM.  We had a joke that day between actors and that was, “Did you bring your sleeping bag?  What color is your sleeping bag? “  We thought we would be staying up really late.  The hardest part for the actors, when you are shooting a wedding, is the vows.  You want them to look natural and real, and not fake.  Once Eric Braeden (Victor) and I got the vows out of the way, the rest was really fun.

TV SOAP:
What is Sabrina’s agenda?  Does she really love Victor Newman?

RAYA:
Something will be coming up, but the truth is Sabrina fell in love with this man.  The last thing she expected was to fall in love with her best friend’s dad.   She wanted to get over her ex- boyfriend, and she wanted to meet someone her own age or older, but definitely not Victor Newman.  So, it hit Sabrina on the head.  It happened, and that’s what love does.  You can’t plan it.  So, Sabrina did fall in love with him.  The nice thing about Victor and Sabrina is that she sees a side of him that other people don’t see.

TV SOAP:
Now, Sabrina’s selfish mom, Zara, pops up on the scene. What’s that been like?

RAYA:
I thought it was fun for me to play.  It’s nice, and it adds conflict and vulnerability for the character to have with her mom.   A mother is usually about unconditional love, but this mother is all about herself and her ego, and she puts Sabrina down.

TV SOAP:
Did you pick out the wedding gown for Sabrina?

RAYA:
I picked it out with the “Y&R” costume designer.  The gown was a Monique Lhuillier gown.  I wanted Sabrina’s wedding dress to be classy and subtle and nothing too over the top.  I didn’t want anything ‘fancy schmancy’, and that is why I picked it.  The wedding was in a barn, so it was supposed to be more earthy and simpler. And personally, I am not so into the whole cliché of weddings that are cultural.  Society always loves to emphasize that a girl spends her life dreaming about her wedding.  And, that’s the day she’s got to be a princess, and it’s the most beautiful day of your life.  I kind of despise that a tiny bit.  I am happily married and I adore my husband.  Marrying him was one of the best things I ever did in my life, but I kind of despised the idea of women feeling that everything revolves around that special day.  I think it’s demeaning for a woman to put all their hopes and dreams into a wedding.  When I was a kid I never dreamt of my wedding.  My life was rich enough, and I knew at sometime I would marry someone I loved, and that was important to me.  It’s not about being a princess.  I am not a feminist, but that’s just me.

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TV SOAP:
Did you like the written vows to Victor?

RAYA:
I loved them!  I felt it was very heartfelt, because at the end of the day, the vows are what it is all about.  You don’t want to use some cheesy fabricated formulas that have been used over and over again.
Sabrina told Victor, “I traveled all over the world looking for a home because I never had that home.  I was lonely, and all of sudden you are it.  You represent my home and my security, my protection and my unconditional love.  Just being with you, and being in your presence, is all I need.”  That is the truth, and why their  bond is so misunderstood by everybody in Genoa City.  The citizens cannot fathom why a young European girl is falling in love with this  rich older man.  They think it must only be for the money and the power. They cannot see what she sees.

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TV SOAP:
But, did you say vows in your own real-life wedding?

RAYA:
My wedding with my husband was different.  We were in Lebanon, and in Lebanon you can’t do civil marriage.  There is no such thing.  You can only get married religiously.  In the Middle East it’s all the same.  In Israel, Palestine, the Arab world, you can be married in a church or a mosque, but not in a civil marriage.  Since we are not religious, but from two different religions, we don’t believe or have religion rule our marital life.  So, we eloped to Cyprus, and got married there in the municipality.  We were in jeans and white tank tops and we had a blast!

TV SOAP:
Fans are always asking, what is your nationality?

RAYA:
I am Lebanese.  I am from Lebanon.  My dad was a diplomat and I was raised all over.  I was born in New York, raised in Italy, France, Canada, North Africa, Lebanon, The Arab Peninsula, Tunisia, and Yemen.  It has been an amazing life!

TV SOAP:
Is it true that “Y&R” incorporated your real-life history into the character of Sabrina?

RAYA:
“Y&R” head-writer, Maria Bell, and  executive producer, Josh Griffith, got that from me and thought it was good, and they wanted to make it evolve.  They got that my dad is a diplomat, and that I do speak languages.  It’s incorporated into my identity.  I loved that they used that.

TV SOAP:
What is it like working with Adam, Chris Engen?

RAYA:
It’s really great!  I love it.  It’s interesting, and I have fun, too.  Chris is a very talented actor, because he has a mystery about him, and so does his character, Adam.  He will be saying something and you always feel like there is something going on with him, underneath. You can’t get to the bottom of it and you try to understand.

TV SOAP:
You seem to improvise in some of your scenes with Chris.

RAYA:
I love improvising because, obviously, we stick to the text and we don’t change the storyline (She laughs), and Chris plays along.  I can throw something at him and use it, and he will throw something fun at me, and I will go along with it.

TV SOAP:
Who showed you the ropes your first day at “Y&R”?  Was it Eric Braeden?

RAYA:
Definitely Eric.  As an actor, he had that fatherly influence on me, and making sure I was safe, secure, and happy on set.  We really hit it off instantly.  From the first time we spoke at the audition, I felt like I had known him from a past life.  I really do, and I told him that.

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TV SOAP:
Now, what about what Sabrina did, by sleeping with and marrying her best friend’s dad? Did you think it was odd?

RAYA:
Of course it’s odd.  The problem is not being clear up front.  If, God forbid, I were in a situation where I fell in love with my best friend’s dad, or started having an affair with him, I would go and talk to her right off the bat.  I would make sure she knows and try to get her blessing!  What is important is to try to be as honest or as transparent as possible.
Also, you need to live your life, and you need to honor your feelings and be true to yourself.   It’s not as if Victor and Nikki were together, they were divorced.  So, it’s not as if you went and wrecked a home as a mistress.

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TV SOAP:
If you could write a story for Sabrina, what would you love to see happen to her?

RAYA:
It would become primetime and rated R.  Is that OK? (She laughs)17:05  I would like her to have a secret past; where at night she can be a psychopathic spy who is into leather and S&M… a real dominatrix.  Then, during the day, she is a very sweet housewife to Victor Newman and bakes cookies! (She laughs)

TV SOAP:
Does Sabrina even know how to bake?

RAYA:
She has help to bake it, but if Victor insists, she would do anything for him. (She laughs)

TV SOAP:
What can we tell fans of “Y&R” to look forward to from Sabrina?

RAYA:
We can look forward to Sabrina being anything but what you expected.

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