Carly is heading back to Port Charles after her time in Florida. Tell me about your experience shooting that arc. “It was great, super-fun. Linda Purl [ex-Payton], I absolutely love her. My God, I want to bring her back so bad! And it was a great way to really connect Drew and Carly and solidify their relationship.”

It was interesting to revisit some of the things that happened to Carly in her past through a 2022 lens, if you will. “Yes. This story was about what happened that shaped Carly’s life and what she ran away from at the time. I saw people [online] saying, ‘Why didn’t Carly get in Payton’s face?’ And I thought it was interesting that the reason Carly didn’t, at least at the time, is that she feels that [Payton] is right. This is your best friend’s mother telling you what a piece of trash you were, and you slept with this woman’s husband. I just found that this is the journey Carly is on; she had to come to terms with everything that had happened to her and the choices she made that came from what happened to her. She had to reconcile with that. Carly ran from Jacksonville; she couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. And there was a lot of ugly stuff that she ran from. I feel like now, she has come full circle with it and realizes that all those things made her who she is and she has nothing to be ashamed of. She was 16 years old when she was seduced by this man. She was a child, you know? It wasn’t like she was able to make grown-up decisions. It allows her to really look at what happened to her when she was a young woman, a teenager, and to really realize that Virginia did everything she could and really realize, ‘I didn’t have it so bad.’ And Jackie Zeman [Bobbie] comes into it; her real mother, Bobbie, is involved and is really there for her, which is really nice.”

How do you think the experience will affect her moving forward? “It’s very much growth for Carly. When she goes home, you’ll see a new side to her. We’ll see for how long! She still is who she is. She’s still a scrapper, she still won’t take stuff from anyone and she is still a mama bear, protective of her family. But this is something that was like divine intervention almost. She had no intention whatsoever of ending up in Jacksonville, but she did. This all fell into her lap, and there are no accidents.”

What do you think it meant to her to have Drew there with her and to understand what the experience meant to her? “I think it was extremely important. She says to him that he was someone she could talk to about this and talk through it with. She didn’t need to be coddled or carried. He stood by her side through this and was extremely supportive and very honest and I think she is going to go home with no shame, you know?”

Do you think she might return home with a different view of her decision to sit on the secret that Nina is Willow’s biological mother? “No! Here’s the thing: Willow looked Carly right in the face and said, ‘I don’t want to know because it may turn out to be someone like Nina.’ Say no more, you know what I mean? When people are like, ‘Carly is terrible for not telling,’ I’m like, ‘Why?!’ This is such a Carly thing: ‘She specifically told me to my face!’ Right now, there’s someone running around town with a hook, Carly had to deal with her mother, and nobody knows Willow is sick. If it’s necessary, in Willow’s world, I’m sure Carly will then have to figure out what she’s going to do. But for now, Carly’s kind of let that one go.”


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