Kate Ex­pec­ta­tions

Kate Mansi opens up about her re­turn to DAYS as Abi­gail.

Soap Opera Digest - - CONTENTS - By Stephanie Sloane

Soap Opera Digest: Wel­come back! When did they first ap­proach you about re­turn­ing and what was your re­ac­tion?

Kate Mansi: When Marci [Miller, ex-abi­gail] didn’t re­new her con­tract, I was asked to come back and it worked out with my sched­ule.

Digest: How would you de­scribe your first day back on set?

Mansi: It was fa­mil­iar and com­fort­able but also sur­real be­cause it’s like I was re­turn­ing to an old friend and we could pick back up where we left off, es­pe­cially with the na­ture of the sto­ry­line. I was pick­ing up where Marci left off, but also pick­ing up where I left off as Abi­gail, in a way. It was in the men­tal in­sti­tu­tion and that worked to my ad­van­tage for ob­vi­ous rea­sons. I felt like no time had passed, es­pe­cially be­cause I was lit­er­ally step­ping in on my first day in the first scene with the same wardrobe I left in — mi­nus the mask! It felt like I was the only one go­ing, “Whoa, this is so trippy,” and ev­ery­body else was kind of ac­cus­tomed to it. For me, it felt bizarre. I was in the same place phys­i­cally, as in on that set in the hos­pi­tal, but every­thing in­side me as a per­son had changed in the last two years, and for Abi­gail, too.

Digest: How did you get up to speed as Abi­gail?

Mansi: As we know, the show works very quickly and by the time I had agreed to come back, they al­ready had an idea of where the arc would go. I had a con­ver­sa­tion with Ron [Car­li­vati, head writer], I had a con­ver­sa­tion with Al­bert [Alarr, co-ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer], and a very close fam­ily friend of mine, who we’ll call Aunt Janet, is a huge long­time fan of the show, so I went to her house for tea for like four hours for her to ex­plain ev­ery sin­gle thing to me of what I missed to catch me up.

Digest: Were you sur­prised to hear about Gabby/abby and Dr. Laura?

Mansi: Peo­ple were tweet­ing me things, “Have you heard this is hap­pen­ing?” but I didn’t know too much. I didn’t watch any of that. It was an ex­tremely com­pli­cated story to dive into. I didn’t an­tic­i­pate to jump into that part of the story, the Gabby part. I ac­tu­ally as­sumed it would be wip­ing the slate clean and start­ing af­ter that had fin­ished up. It was a chal­lenge for me that I ac­cepted be­cause there was a lot to dive into and a lot of com­plex­i­ties to fig­ure out where the pieces fit to­gether, but be­cause I played Abi­gail for five years and be­cause my con­nec­tion to her was so strong, I felt like the un­der­pin­ning of all of it was the same and that’s why I could ac­cess her so eas­ily again.

Digest: What was it like for you to get back into char­ac­ter?

Mansi: I think the an­swer is sim­ple: In some ways I don’t have to work too hard be­cause it’s just nat­u­rally there and it’s a part of me that’s never left, but just like true to life, we change and grow and there’s more depth as time goes on. So with Abi­gail, when I got back, I had to reac­quaint my­self with every­thing that I al­ready knew, plus my per­spec­tive on how the cir­cum­stances in her sto­ry­line would play out for her in her psy­chol­ogy and how that would af­fect her de­ci­sions. For ex­am­ple, Marci Miller’s ver­sion of Abi­gail was quite softer than mine. Be­fore I started, peo­ple were in­form­ing me about the real dif­fer­ences be­tween Gabby and Abi­gail and it came down to Gabby acted more from her emo­tions and Abi­gail is more ra­tio­nal and that Gabby was a lit­tle more brave and self-as­sured. That was the most dif­fi­cult thing for me to ad­just to be­cause all of the qual­i­ties they were telling me of Gabby were qual­i­ties that I strongly con­nected to and en­hanced with Abi­gail. When I got back to be­ing Abi­gail, I had to work harder to ac­cess that part of me than I did to cre­ate Gabby be­cause that was ac­tu­ally more fa­mil­iar to me.

Digest: Who were you ex­cited to see when you went back?

Mansi: Missy [Reeves, Jen­nifer], Lau­ren [Koslow, Kate], Kris­tian [Al­fonso, Hope],

Mary Beth [Evans, Kayla], Eric Mart­solf [Brady], the peo­ple I re­ally spent time with when I was there. And also I was so ex­cited to see Greg Vaughan [Eric]; we’re very close. I was ex­cited to see Thomas, my son, again. My sis­ter had iden­ti­cal twin boys and I wanted to have them play Thomas, but I didn’t re­al­ize he’s been aged so much, so I was ex­cited to meet my chil­dren. Digest: What have you been do­ing since you left? Mansi: I’ve been with my fam­ily a lot. I have done a cou­ple of films, one with Kelly Mcgillis in Ber­muda, which was re­ally fun. Im­me­di­ately af­ter leav­ing DAYS the first time, my first and fore­most fo­cus was to spend some real time on self-care be­cause I had a dif­fi­cult time por­tray­ing such a dark story for so long and it co­in­cided with a time I was hav­ing some tricky health is­sues. It was re­ally nice for me right after­ward to have some time to re­cal­i­brate and have some time that was my own and I could process every­thing that hap­pened and be ready for what was next. Digest: Did you ever have re­grets about leav­ing?

Mansi: I’ve al­ways been a firm believer in the say­ing, “The right job goes to the right per­son at the right time,” and although the thought never crossed my mind to re­turn to DAYS, the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self at a time that made sense to me in my life and piqued my in­ter­est. I don’t have any re­grets be­cause when you take that leap of faith and you show up for your­self in a way that is so whole­hearted and com­mit­ted, even though you don’t know what you’re say­ing yes to or there’s a lot of un­known out there, it’s al­ways been an in­cred­i­bly re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and some­thing that I feel like was sup­posed to hap­pen. I don’t have any re­grets for leav­ing and I think that at the time, go­ing back to DAYS was the next nat­u­ral step, and who knows where the fu­ture will be?

Digest: How did you feel about the out­pour­ing of fan sup­port that you got when it was an­nounced you’d be back?

Mansi: Just so grate­ful and com­forted and ex­cited that they were ready to go on this jour­ney with me.

Some­thing New: “Tyler [Christo­pher, Ste­fan] was great,” en­thuses Mansi. “It had been a while since I worked with some­one new as Abi­gail, so that was fun. Tyler brings a lot of in­ten­sity to the role and is a very com­mit­ted ac­tor.”

Tro­phy Time: Mansi nabbed the Out­stand­ing Sup­port­ing Ac­tress Emmy in 2017 for her por­trayal of Abi­gail. “I keep it in my of­fice, but I also kept it for a while at my fa­ther’s house so he could have it,” she shares.

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