EXCLUDED INTERVIEW.  Michelle Stafford (The Young and the Restless): "I didn't miss Phyllis!"

After years of absence from The Young and the Restless, Michelle Stafford returned to her role as Phyllis in 2019 in the United States. On the occasion of her return to the air in the French broadcast on TF1, the actress confides in Télé Star…

Télé Star: Why did you decide to return to The Fires of Love ?

Michelle Stafford: When I was asked about it in 2019 (a three-year gap exists between American and French broadcasting, editor’s note), I was very intrigued because CBS (the channel that broadcasts fiction in the United States, editor’s note) and the producers wanted to bring the soap opera back to its heyday, when we were delivering strong storylines. It was their goal. At the same time, my contract on another series was coming to an end so I thought maybe it was the right time to be back!

Did you miss Phyllis?

You know what ? Nope ! I’m an actress, I play different roles, I’m not emotionally connected to them… (laughs)

How well received by the fans and teams of the Flames of love ?

Everyone was lovely, I love them all. Getting back to the teams is always the highlight of my day, honestly. I stayed in touch with a lot of people: Joshua Morrow (Nick), Christian LeBlanc (Michael), Traci Bregman (Lauren), Kristoff St. John (Neal)…

How did you feel the day you returned?

I was amazed at how no one had aged! (laughs) They all look like they’re in their twenties, it’s unbelievable…

Do you think Phyllis has changed over the years?

Absolutely. The fact that different actors play the role already changes the character. Gina Tognoni embodied her for a long time and Phyllis has therefore evolved… But I’m all for it! I love how the character has changed because as an actor you don’t always want to play the same thing.

What do you like the most and what do you hate the most about Phyllis?

I like that she is strong! On the other hand, I hate… her shoes because they are always too tight (laughs) She always has to wear uncomfortable shoes.

Who do you think Phyllis will end her life with: Jack or Nick?

I must be in the minority to say this, but I’m an actress who doesn’t particularly like to interpret love stories. Sometimes I find it super boring! I like to play the villain, the instigator of conflictual situations. Generally, we don’t put opposing characters together… In any case, it’s funny because in all the series I’ve been on, I found myself in love stories and I said to myself “Oh no !”. Anyway, I’m not really thinking about who Phyllis could end up with but rather about “What if she killed someone?”, “What if she was tried at a trial?”...

Which character did you prefer to see her fight with: Sharon, DianaDrucilla…?

All! The dynamic was different with each of them, and I hold all of my fellow actresses in high esteem. But it was great fun on screen with Drucilla, my God! I think about it now and I think we couldn’t do everything we did back then… Like when Phyllis made fun of her and her falling hair. It would never be a written plot these days and we understand why. Victoria Rowell is an awesome actress and was amazing in this role. We worked together every day for a year!

What did Phyllis do that surprised you the most?

When the writers put Phyllis and Nick together, I was in shock!

Is there a particular storyline you would like to see Phyllis live out?

Not really because the writers always take it down a crazy road and I’m always up for it! The wackier, the better! Phyllis is a bad girl. When the production hired me, it was to embody that. Even if she’s in love, there’s always that side of her that’s there that can ruin the whole relationship. She may also not be fully invested or just doing something wrong… We need that in her house, we need that for the show.

Could you be friends with her?

Nope ! She would try to pull the rug out from under me, she would try to steal my life! (laughs) I would say to him: “Keep still, bitch!”

Which former partner in The Fires of Love would you like to see it back?

Kristoff St. John (Neal’s interpreter died, editor’s note), of course. I would give anything for him to come back, like all of us.

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