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This interview originally appeared in the January 11, 2011 issue of Soap Opera Digest.

“I love coming in to work — even at 5:30 in the morning! Smiles Camila Banus, who doesn’t hesitate to gush about her new daytime home. “Everyone is so nice and so funny and just very welcoming. It’s such a nice atmosphere,” she adds.

Banus is well aware of how lucky she is to be in Salem. She screen-tested for the role of Gabriela when the character was initially cast, but didn’t land the gig. “They wanted a kind of younger girl, but I went in anyway and didn’t get picked. A couple of months later, I got a call that they wanted to age the character a bit, so I went in again and here I am!” she shares. Although she had some reservations about playing a recast, Banus is grateful to have received so much support from her new co-stars since joining the show in October. “I got a lot of pointers and tips from Chandler [Massey, Will],” she says. “It’s awesome to work with Chandler. He’s also such a funny guy. Even maybe funnier than Galen [Gering, Rafe]! I don’t think he’s shown it yet to everybody else, but he’s so funny and so witty. He makes it really comfortable. Galen and Lindsay Hartley [ex-Arianna; Cara, AMC] were so awesome and if I ever needed anything, they were always there.” She got her first lesson in working with DAYS’s impressive ensemble cast during Arianna’s memorial scenes. “I didn’t really get to work with everybody, but everybody got to see me weep!” she chuckles. “That was interesting.”

A Miami native, Banus admits that after briefly living in New York while playing OLTL’s Lola, she feels much more at home in sunny Los Angeles — and at DAYS. “It’s hard to adapt when you’ve lived all your life in a different climate and have never had any time of real winter!” she laughs. “It was awful! I love the environment and the set here. It’s different kind of people, too.” She currently lives with her mother and younger sister Gabriela, who is also and actress. “My mom is the one who got us started at age 6 and has always been there. I was a very hyperactive child, and I would go out on the street and lose myself all the time and at the end of the day, my mom would find me sitting down having a conversation with a stranger! One day, she opened up the Yellow Pages and looked for a manager and found one. From then on, I started doing commercials. It was the best way to release all my energy and show off.”

Banus is excited to stretch her acting chops at DAYS and share more screen time with Salem’s lot. “I would really love to work with any of the so-called ‘evil’ characters, like Stefano or even Vivian, anybody who’s really evil!” she winks. “I think I can relate to the crazy.”

JUST THE FACTS

Birthday: July 22

Hails From: Miami, FL

Other Daytime Role: Lola, OLTL (2008-09)

Latin Lady: Banus is Spanish and Cuban

Cake Boss: I’m addicted to cupcakes and cake shows. I was just watching AMAZING WEDDING CAKES and those people are beyond amazing!”

Diva Alert: “I love Cher!”

Novel Approach: “I’ am a big fan of Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist. I love his work. I’m on his latest book, Brida. It’s beautiful.”

Bust A Move: “I can’t watch DANCING WITH THE STARS because I get so mad because I’ll be like, ‘I could’ve done that better!’ It gets me all fired up.”

 DID YOU KNOW?

Banus is a former competitive ballroom dancer. “I was born pigeon-toed and my mom put me in ballet immediately. That was my first taste of dance. I did compete in Florida and in pro-am competitions.”

She has appeared on several Spanish soap operas. “I was a vampire on one of them!”

Banus has also appeared on Disney’s ZEKE AND LUTHER.




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How far is too far when it comes to contrived plot twists? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.

Contrived plot twists are a soap staple, but they fizzle when they go too far.

DAYS killed Stefan DiMera, donated his heart to Julie, then killed Jake DiMera so his heart could be given to his twin — and that’s not the most contrived part.

Kristen (to Dr Rolf): “Please tell me you’ve made progress getting Stefan to forget his feelings for Gabi.”

So we’re to believe that a heartless Stefan (literally) survived four years in the basement with only a magic bathing cap to keep him alive and now Dr. Rolf is going to brainwash him into loving Chloe so convicted criminal Kristen can “be a family again” with Brady and their daughter?

Kristen: “I’m going to be with Brady, and Stefan is going to be with Chloe, and everybody is going to live happily ever after.”Dr.

Rolf: “Everybody except Gabi Hernandez.”

A.k.a. the only person with real feelings in that messed-up pentagram. Characters donning masks, being brainwashed, etc. are no substitute for genuine feelings, which are the heart of all good soap stories. Stefan and Gabi were fun, and it was smart of DAYS to flash back to their courtship to remind us they are a money couple. But the double whammy of his resurrection and brainwashing strains credulity even with the crazy chemistry of the main players.

That said, DAYS is wringing some dark humor from this twisted tale — like EJ and Tony comparing notes on Ava’s mental state and Kristen cracking wise about her dead brother after Stefan escaped.

Kristen: “Did Gabi see him?”

Dr. Rolf: “I was able to get to him before he could reveal himself to her. Ava did see him but she believed she was hallucinating her dead husband, Jake.”

Kristen: “Then we dodged a bullet. Unlike Jake.”

That’s funny.

Phyllis and Nikki’s plot to oust Diane from Marchetti on Y&R is funny, too. It’s a little unbelievable that Phyllis would sell her dream hotel just to get revenge on Diane (by working at Marchetti) but they’ve played it like the manipulative Diane is an imminent threat to everyone they love, so it works. Nikki’s been a riot, purring insults while innocently insisting she has no agenda.

Nikki: “It’s easier to ignore you than engage. I have a full life.”

Diane: “Something is clearly afoot.”

Nikki: “Not everything is about you, dear.”

Every “dear” is laced with sarcasm, especially when Diane tries to guess what her enemies are up to.

Nikki: “You can forget about your conspiracy theory. Nobody is thinking about you.”

Jack (entering): “Are we interrupting?”

Nikki: “Not at all. I’m just finishing my lunch at my table for one.”

Me-ow! I could watch Nikki insult Diane all day. And for the record, Talia printing a bunch of facts about Diane is not a hit job. It’s journalism.

For plots that didn’t work, see the limp resolution of Ashland’s murder. One cop cannot decide to drop the charges against his own brother-in-law and father-in-law. No discussions with superiors, no lawyers, no pesky courthouse appearances. Worse, that poorly constructed resolve undid Chance’s history as a solid military man who always does the right thing.

Nick: “I’m afraid we may have compromised the most moral man in Genoa City.”

And at what cost? We don’t need any more compromised Newmans roaming Genoa City.

Compromise is the Cassadines’ m.o. on GH, especially when Uncle Victor is pulling the strings. Nikolas having sex with Esme was farfetched (he had been Ava’s lapdog for months) but it gave us Ava throwing Esme over the parapet, which was not — Katherine Bell, Julian Jerome, Brad and Ava herself met the same fate. Kudos for having Anna hold her own against Victor because we know The Divine Devane yields to no one.

Victor: “Valentin has family now. Families close ranks when the situation demands it. Doubt our loyalty at your own peril.”

Anna: “Is that a threat?”

It would have made more sense for Valentin to tell Anna that Victor kidnapped Charlotte so they could battle him together, but her cat-and-mouse with his father works, too. So does the unholy alliance between Anna and Lucy to pump Victor for information.

Anna: “Exploit his attention. You have all the assets to be my … asset.”

For forced, please see the insta-romance of Carly and Drew, which doesn’t work because Drew is a pale imitation of the complicated men Carly falls for: mobsters Sonny and Jason. GH dropped Drew’s violent side (he previously assaulted Nikolas, Shiloh, Franco, Valentin, Andre and Jason) and now have him squatting at the Q mansion like some kind of unpaid “manny” to Leo and Wiley while his own kid (Scout) grows up across town without him — and he never visits Oscar’s garden (sniff!). You know what would work? Drew and Sasha. He’s a rescuer and boy, does she need it.

We need rescuing from that Ridge/Brooke/Taylor love triangle on B&B. Brooke demands Taylor leave Ridge alone while Ridge orders Deacon to stay away from Brooke and it’s all so high school.

Ridge (to Deacon): “You’re bad for Brooke. I don’t want you in my house, the house I share with Brooke.”

The house they share when he isn’t nuzzling Taylor at Forrester family parties Brooke wasn’t invited to. Some day B&B will let these A-listers grow up and learn from their mistakes — but today is not that day.

Ridge (seeing Brooke and Taylor covered in paint): “Really?”

Brooke: “She laughed at me.”

Taylor: “Oooh, I laughed at her. This fight was about you. It always is.”

How do I define contrived? Two grandmothers trying to settle their rivalry over a man by having a paint fight.

Hey. It’s only my opinion.




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(David Michaels, MODELS INC., 1994; Bobby Warner, ALL MY CHILDREN, 1995-97; Rafe Kovitch, PORT CHARLES, 2001-03; Oscar “Ozzy” Marone, B&B, 2003-04; B.J. Green, AS THE WORLD TURNS, 2005; Dylan Lewis, GUIDING LIGHT, 2007-08)

Your big break was Aaron Spelling’s MODELS INC. What was that like? “Linda Gray [ex-Hillary; ex-Sue Ellen, DALLAS et al], I’ve been recently in touch with her and I’m at the age now that she was when we did that show [laughs]. She made things so comfortable for me then. I was out of my comfort zone doing that show, but there were good people there.”

You got your daytime start on AMC. What do you think about when you look back? “I grew up with ALL MY CHILDREN. That was the top show my mother watched. For me, it was summer vacation, snow days, knowing all the characters, so being on the show was surreal. Susan Lucci [ex-Erica] actually invited me into her [dressing] room. She didn’t really know me but she wanted to sit and talk to me because she liked the work I was doing so we were very friendly. I loved the writing. I’m still friends with some of the writers. I really felt a part of the family for a couple of years.”

On PC, you made a huge splash playing an angel named Rafe. “That was a gift from the gods. I came in for one story arc and when that was done, they did this short little arc for Christmas called ‘Miracles Happen’, and that’s when it really kicked in for me. I was in heaven, literally — well no, figuratively. I’m sad that they were canceled. There was something really special about that time.”

What stands out about your next soap gig, which was on B&B? “I was actually offered to go back to ALL MY CHILDREN after PORT CHARLES, but then B&B came in. I had fun in the beginning. They gave me a lot of freedom and they probably regretted it [laughs]. It was a good experience. I’m still friends with Katherine Kelly Lang [Brooke]. As far as the work, I remember there was one time when I just started laughing in a scene and that was how they went to commercial, and they were like, ‘We didn’t like you doing that but we are moving on,’ and they kept it! I really enjoyed that show. That was some of my favorite work I’ve ever done.”

Then you were briefly on AS THE WORLD TURNS. “B.J.! [Executive Producer Christopher] Goutman called me to do it. He had directed me on AMC. We always had a great relationship. The character was weird and quirky and over-the-top and strange. I had fun doing it. I recently wrote a song with Jon Hensley [ex-Holden] and I just [illustrated] his album cover.”

After that, you played one of the many Shaynes on GL. “I never wanted to be a recast because there is so much responsibility there, but I didn’t really have a choice. I tried not to think about it. The thing was, I was commuting from Alabama. They didn’t know; they thought I was in New Jersey. I needed the job really bad. When they invited me to the Emmys in L.A., I was happy to go but I had to fly myself to New York to fly to L.A. I went from Alabama to Chicago to Newark, got a cab to Battery Park, where I was staying with a friend, got my suit, ended up sleeping at the airport waiting for everyone to show up, got on the plane, and the casting director sat next to me and said, ‘Well, it was easy for you to get here.’ I was so tired, I almost told him everything but I just smiled and said, ‘Yeah, it was.’ When they found out, they dropped me.”

You have a new film coming up, A BACHELOR’S VALENTINE, where you play the titular character, Paul Bachelor. How did it come about? “The director, Lana Read, we became friends on Facebook and she was like, ‘Would you like to read this script?’ and I was like, ‘Sure.’ I’m not great at reading scripts [but] I was totally drawn into it. I really like this character. He’s an introvert. His wife has died. He doesn’t like the way his life is going. We really poured our hearts into this. It’s a great story. In this movie, I actually wear the pendant that I wore as Rafe on PORT CHARLES, and that was truly representative of me. I’ve had parts here and there, but I haven’t had a substantial role since GUIDING LIGHT, which will be 15 years, and it feels like a snap of the fingers. I’ve been to hell and back since then but acting-wise, it feels like yesterday, and I’ve become a totally different human being.”

Would you be open to doing another soap? “I had an audition for GH earlier this year. I usually don’t audition for soaps because they seem to be looking for 25-year-olds [laughs]. But I’m not in a position to turn anyone down who wants me. I love the medium and I think I have a lot to bring to the table. If the part was right and if I was right for it, I would love to do it.”




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Lynn Herring was born on September 22 in Enid, OK.

As Miss Virginia, she was the runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in 1977.

She graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Lynn has been married to Wayne Northrop (ex-Roman, DAYS et al) since 1981. The couple met in an acting class and have two sons, Hank and Grady.

In addition to GH, Herring has also appeared on DAYS as Lisanne, PORT CHARLES as Lucy and AS THE WORLD TURNS as Audrey.



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On the September 20 episode of GH, Johnny Wactor’s Brando Corbin became the first victim of Port Charles’s new serial attacker, The Hook. In an exclusive interview in the issue of Digest on sale Friday, the actor says that in his hectic final days on the show, “because I was filming so many pages, I didn’t really have time to kind of think or be emotional or reflect on anything,” but after wrapping his scenes, “I gave a little speech. I knew that I would want to say something just because of my time there and my relationships with the people in the cast and crew. I was a little emotional.” While he wasn’t expecting to be saying good-bye to the show so soon, “I’ve got no bad blood and I wish everyone at GH the best,” Wactor declares. For the full interview, check out the new issue of Soap Opera Digest, on sale Friday.




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David Lautman (Smoltz) credits his on-screen supervisor, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), with helping him acclimate to GH. “I owe a lot to Nancy,” he declares. “First off, she is an extraordinarily talented actress who has a great habit of making her scene partners look like rock stars, which clearly has been substantiated by her multiple Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award wins. When I first came on the show she took an immediate liking to me, even proclaiming after I wrapped, out loud for all to hear, ‘I love this guy, we gotta bring him back! He could be like my quirky sidekick.’ I jokingly volleyed back saying ‘That sounds good to me, I’m down for anything, I can do light dusting around the office, organize files, whatever you need, Alexis!’ I think right from the get-go we had great chemistry together and the scenes seemed to click. Part of that could be attributed to the fact that Nancy is really great at making sure we find the time to speed-read our scenes together a bunch of times before shooting, so we really get the rhythm, words and blocking of the scene in our bones.”



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I always say I was born to perform, as soon as I came out of the womb,” says Tabyana Ali, the GH newbie who assumed the role of Trina in March. “I feel like my birth was a performance! Literally, my mom went into labor and was trying to have me and all of a sudden, the doctor was like, ‘She ain’t coming out no more!’ and they had to do an emergency C-section. They said I looked like I was drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette — like they interrupted me!”

Her creative streak was obvious throughout her early childhood. “As a kid, I would write scripts all the time — even before I knew how to write, I would try to draw pictures of what I was trying to describe. I would force all my friends to be in my plays. I think my family just kind of picked up on, ‘Oh, okay. She has something there. She can actually perform.’ ”

By 2013, Ali had signed with a local agent in Texas, and almost booked an NBC pilot, BRENDA FOREVER, starring Ellie Kemper (THE OFFICE, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT). “The role was not for me,” Ali says. “It was meant for a little white girl, and obviously, I wasn’t a little white girl! But they told me to do the audition anyway and I followed through on that and I went really far [in the casting process]. That whole experience kind of just skyrocketed my acting career. That’s when we started to take things a little bit more seriously, and I started to think, ‘Okay, this could be my life. This could be something I do all the time.’ ”

At the age of 11, she and her mother moved to Los Angeles to pursue her show biz dreams. Along the way, there were setbacks, from a shortage of roles for young Black actresses (“In auditions, I was usually the only Black girl in the room”) to a job she came thisclose to, only for it to fall through when network executives deemed her look “too urban, if you get my drift.” There were also triumphs, like booking a part in 2015 on NEW GIRL, her favorite show. The ups and downs could be discouraging, particularly “when I would see who they would pick and it was someone drastically different from me. At the time, I was kind of a tomboy. All these other girls were so cute in their dresses and long, flowy hair; I liked sneakers and jeans and oversized T-shirts, and I wore my hair curly and natural. I wasn’t really into the glitz and the glam like I am now.”

The various bumps in her professional road sometimes felt overwhelming. “It was honestly kind of like a back-and-forth battle for me,” Ali admits. “There were multiple times where I was like, ‘You know what? I don’t want to act anymore, I just want to go to school.’ But as I got older, I knew, ‘This is what I really want to do and I don’t see myself doing anything else.’ And I do remember people telling me as I got older, ‘There’s going to be a time when you’re going to be “in”.’ And now, it’s like, boom! People of color are getting to be the lead characters and they’re no longer the sidekick. They’re starting to get the love triangles rather than just being the best friend of the person that’s in a love triangle.”

Ali first auditioned for Trina back in 2017 and was one of the final contenders, but had no sour grapes when Sydney Mikayla was hired instead. “At that time, I wasn’t [being considered] for the roles that I wanted,” she explains. “Everything was funny and silly and being the clown. I wanted something serious, something that showed I have depth. So to go as far as I did with Trina, it felt like a sign, like, ‘Okay, you have talent and you can do more than comedy, you can be the smart, intelligent girl.’ ” Besides, she notes, “I don’t think I was necessarily ready for GENERAL HOSPITAL at that time.”

When the role became available again late last year, after “going through this whole new awakening of self-discovery,” Ali was more than ready. “The year before that, I was having a ton of being put through the wringer,” she reports. “I was in a bit of a depression and I was actually going to give up acting. My managers dropped me, and I couldn’t deal … I was just having a hard time and I didn’t know how to grasp myself. But I am really thankful to God for giving me that time, those three years of healing, whatever I needed to heal in order to get where I am today. I feel like those years — and my whole life — were preparing me for this moment of, ‘Whatever is thrown at you, you’ll be able to handle it.’ ”

That hard-won self-confidence came in handy when she jumped right into heavy storyline (Trina’s arrest for a crime she didn’t commit), though it took her a while to feel grounded in her new job. “For the first couple of months, I put more pressure on myself than I should have,” she muses. “Then I had to grab my reins, like, ‘Listen, you can’t keep doing this.’ I don’t know what fairy flew in my ear and switched my brain, but thank you for doing it! Now, I feel really good about myself and my performances. From March to now, I don’t even feel like the same person.”

She doesn’t take that — or her own success — for granted. “There were times I would ask myself, ‘How am I going to break in? Is it ever going to happen?’ This [interview], in itself, is a blessing, because I didn’t think I would be in a position where someone who looks like me would get an opportunity where people want to hear about me. When I had [tough times], I would tell myself, ‘I’m going to get out of this.’ And to actually see myself coming out of it — things that families go through, my own personal stuff — it makes me want to cry. I remember thinking, ‘The person I always wanted to be will come,’ and I can feel it inside. I feel like getting this job has opened it to the 10th power. It makes me emotional. I’m so happy to be here now and so happy for my life. I would not change it one single bit.”  

“Sprina” Awakening

Taking over as Trina meant that Tabyana Ali was taking her place as one-half of GH’s most buzzed-about new duos, Trina and Spencer, a.k.a. “Sprina”. Ali says she came in determined “to blow the socks off” “Sprina” fans. “A switch will turn on in me where I become competitive and I felt like, ‘Sydney [Mikayla, ex-Trina] did an amazing job, but now I am going to come in and show you what I can do and you’re going to like that!’ I was very confident in what ‘Sprina’ could do and what I could deliver. Once I started working with Nicholas [Alexander Chavez, Spencer] one-on-one, that made it even better. He is a great scene partner. I enjoy working with him. We always take the time to sit down and go over our lines and flesh it out and see what we want to do, what we don’t want to do, and, you know, ‘What does the line mean? What is underlying the meaning of that line?’ He really morphs into his character and I really appreciate that about him because it makes my job easier.”

Did You Know

She wrote a 2020 children’s book, My Flower Child, which is available on Amazon.

She and on-screen rival Avery Pohl (Esme) have become fast friends. “I text her often and we talk and FaceTime, go get lunch and go on hikes. It’s fun playing rivals with someone you like! You can call each other the ‘b’ word [in scenes] and then laugh about it after.”

Just The Facts

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Mommy Dearest: “My mom is the queen,” Ali says fondly. “She’s elegant and hardworking and very much a caregiver. When she was younger, she was a model and she almost booked a show in Texas. Can you imagine if my mom had become an actress? Like, we could be friends with Will Smith right now!”

Sibling Revelry: “I kind of grew up an only child because my siblings are 20 years older than me or 15 years older than me. My siblings were like mothers and fathers to me.”

Knowles Thyself: “I listen to whatever music feels good and right now, Renaissance by Beyoncé makes me feel great! ‘Alien Superstar’ is my theme song right now.”

Manifest Destiny: Ali hasn’t been assigned a permanent GH dressing room yet, but when she is, “I want to go to Mr. Frank [Valentini, executive producer] and ask if [my nameplate] can say, ‘Tabyana Multimillionaire Ali’, because being a multimillionaire is one of my goals and if I see that every day, it will make me work harder.”

Corporate Intrigue: Ali hopes to one day put her many business ideas into action. “I love lotions and soaps and stuff like that, so I want to have a body care line. I also want to have a doggy day care. I love animals to death and so I’m going to have, like, a cute little animal resort. And I’d love to have a restaurant.”




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