Gone Girl

GH’S Hay­ley Erin says good-bye to Kiki and hello to prime-time.

Soap Opera Digest - - CONTENTS - By Mara Levin­sky

■ When Kris­ten Alder­son va­cated the role of Kiki early in 2015, GH tapped Y&R alum Hay­ley Erin (exAbby) as her re­place­ment. Fast-for­ward nearly four years, and the ac­tress has wrapped up her run and started film­ing Freeform’s up­com­ing PRETTY LIT­TLE LIARS spin-off, THE PERFECTONISTS (and Kiki be­came the lat­est vic­tim of se­rial killer Ryan). She gave Di­gest the scoop.

Soap Opera Di­gest: So, how did your de­par­ture come about?

Hay­ley Erin: Well, we all know that I was headed up to Port­land [Ore­gon] to film this other show. I wanted to do both shows, and we were all say­ing for the longest time, “We’re go­ing to make it work, we’re go­ing to make it work.” But when push came to shove, it just wasn’t as easy as it sounded and this was re­ally the only op­tion left. Ev­ery­one was re­ally sweet and gra­cious about it, so I didn’t feel like I was be­ing cast aside or sent off in some sort of neg­a­tive way. It was sort of a cathar­tic way to leave and move on to my next project, the death of the char­ac­ter that I’ve been play­ing and lov­ing for all these years. Di­gest: What was your re­ac­tion when you found out that Kiki was go­ing to be mur­dered? Erin: It’s in­ter­est­ing. I would have thought that I would have been more upset than I was, just be­cause it’s a very fi­nal thing. Well, as fi­nal as they can be in soaps! Frank [Valen­tini, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer] had called me up to his of­fice and let me know in a very re­spect­ful and pro­fes­sional way, and I sort of felt re­lieved, in a sense. I’ve made so many big life changes in the past year and it was one of the fi­nal things that closed this chap­ter in my life. I’ll carry on all my re­la­tion­ships and friend­ships with the peo­ple there, but it re­ally let me know, “I’m re­ally mov­ing on from all of these things that have been my life for so long.”

Di­gest: What were your last few weeks on the show like for you? Erin: The past cou­ple of months of shows I did, we filmed in, like, two weeks and it was re­ally all out of or­der. Matt Co­hen [Grif­fin] and Sofia [Matts­son, Sasha] and I, the three of us kind of had our butts handed to us with ma­te­rial. We taped all of the death stuff, like, weeks be­fore I ac­tu­ally fin­ished tap­ing and be­cause that wasn’t the last stuff I taped, it got to be kind of fun. The last scenes I shot were the scenes where Sasha puts the glass to Grif­fin’s face, so it wasn’t re­ally this big, sad good-bye scene. I think how it panned out made it a very easy tran­si­tion. It wasn’t so harsh; it wasn’t like I got killed and that was the last time I was ever there. It was more of a gen­tle push out the door [laughs]. When I was done with my scenes, ev­ery­one was so sweet, and we did a good-bye cake. At that point, look­ing out at ev­ery­one while I was stand­ing next to the cake and ev­ery­one was clap­ping [gets choked up] ... You know, I can jus­tify all of the pro­fes­sional rea­sons for mov­ing from one project to an­other, but the hard­est part was say­ing good-bye to the peo­ple who have be­come my fam­ily over the past cou­ple of years. Ugh, that broke my heart, look­ing out and see­ing ev­ery­one’s faces all at once. But ev­ery­one was so happy for me, and I think that just speaks to the ca­ma­raderie of the cast.

Di­gest: What was it like say­ing good-bye to Maura West (Ava)?

Erin: Un­for­tu­nately, or maybe to­tally for­tu­nately, she wasn’t there on my last day, so I was never faced with ac­tu­ally say­ing good-bye to her, which would have de­stroyed me emo­tion­ally. We’ve talked since then, so we just keep car­ry­ing on our own friend­ship, but in a new way.

Di­gest: What about Roger Howarth (Franco)?

Erin: Ev­ery time Roger and I had scenes, we thought it was our last set of scenes, so we said good-bye, like, three or four times [laughs]. By the time it ac­tu­ally came

around, it was like, “Okay, okay — good-bye, I’m leav­ing!” But he was so sweet and said some sup­port­ive stuff that I will never for­get. He is such a doll.

Di­gest: What about Matt Co­hen? Erin: Matt and I have been in touch a whole lot, be­cause I ac­tu­ally went to do a bit in his short film [Mama Bear]. Stay­ing in touch with him has helped me re­al­ize that it wasn’t ac­tu­ally good-bye; it was, “I’ll see you guys later, in a new, dif­fer­ent way.” Like, no one ac­tu­ally died.

Di­gest: And what was your good-bye with Frank like?

Erin: He’s so sweet. He gave a lit­tle speech at my cake cer­e­mony and said a bunch of re­ally lovely things about me mov­ing on and new op­por­tu­ni­ties and wish­ing the best for me. I’m al­ways go­ing to be grate­ful to him for this op­por­tu­nity. This is al­ways go­ing to have been such an im­por­tant part of my life and I’m al­ways go­ing to be grate­ful for it. I wouldn’t be go­ing the places I’m go­ing with­out hav­ing had this ex­pe­ri­ence and I am al­ways go­ing to hold GEN­ERAL HOS­PI­TAL and the en­tire soap com­mu­nity as fam­ily. It’s al­ways go­ing to be my first home.

Di­gest: What are the stand-out mem­o­ries for you of your time there?

Erin: Gosh. Get­ting nom­i­nated for an Emmy was awe­some [in 2018 as Out­stand­ing Younger Ac­tress]. I loved the Kiki and Dil­lon ro­mance. It was so well­re­ceived and felt so good to be a part of and, ob­vi­ously, it was re­ally fun to play op­po­site one of my best friends [Robert Palmer Watkins, ex-dil­lon]. The “Me Too” sto­ry­line is my other fa­vorite thing that I got to do. To have the story res­onate with peo­ple meant a lot to me. It was just a re­ally im­por­tant sto­ry­line to be do­ing right now and it felt like we were us­ing our platform to reach out and I was hon­ored that they had Kiki be the char­ac­ter that led the story. Di­gest: What did it feel like to leave the stu­dio for the fi­nal time?

Erin: It was re­ally bit­ter­sweet. See­ing ev­ery­one’s faces and say­ing good-bye was def­i­nitely the sad­dest part, but phys­i­cally leav­ing the build­ing and the drive out was such an in­ter­est­ing feel­ing. It felt like I closed such a beau­ti­ful chap­ter in such a pos­i­tive way that I could sort of take stock of it all and think about all the peo­ple I met there and what a pos­i­tive im­pact they made on my life.

Di­gest: You men­tioned Matt and

Maura; who else do you see your­self stay­ing in touch with?

Erin: Well, I love Kin Shriner [Scott]. I am sure I will be shoot­ing him tweets. Josh Swickard [Chase]. Love Josh Swickard. He is a doll. Bry­tni [Sarpy, Va­lerie], of course. I feel like a lot of my close friends that I’ve worked with, like Rob and Ryan Paevey [ex-nathan], all sort of left be­fore I did. So it’s not the big­gest, most ma­jor ad­just­ment in that sense. I’m dev­as­tated that I don’t think I’m go­ing to be able to make it to the hol­i­day party, but there will be Emmy stuff

next year that I’ll hope­fully be in­vited to and I’ll get to see ev­ery­one.

Di­gest: Let’s talk about your new job. The role you play on THE PERFECTIONISTS is be­ing kept un­der wraps, but how has Port­land been for you and how has work been go­ing? Erin: It’s been awe­some, and I love Port­land. It’s my fa­vorite city that I’ve ever been to, in the United States, at least. My brother moved up three years ago and the the first time I vis­ited him, I said to my­self, “If I ever get the op­por­tu­nity to live here, I will take it.” And this is the most ex­cit­ing project I could pos­si­bly be work­ing on as a young adult woman, es­pe­cially com­ing from a soap back­ground. It’s a soap for young adults! And it’s got all these fun el­e­ments of the thriller and hor­ror, and it’s just awe­some to be here. I think the show is go­ing to look beau­ti­ful, and I get to live 20 min­utes from my brother. Things just work out in mys­te­ri­ous ways. I don’t know how I got this for­tu­nate, but I’m not go­ing to ques­tion it, I’m just go­ing to be grate­ful. I can’t say enough about how lucky I feel. Not only are my cast­mates so cool, but the pro­duc­ers and di­rec­tors and the whole crew that I have got­ten to work with are just so friendly and wel­com­ing and I’m just ex­cited to keep get­ting to know ev­ery­one and to do all this ex­cit­ing, new stuff. It’s such a great place to be in life. And I think it will be fun for the GH fans to see me play some­one who is so dif­fer­ent from Kiki.

Di­gest: Would you be open to com­ing back to GH for a dream se­quence or a Ghost Kiki mo­ment?

Erin: Not only would I be open to it, this is a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion for that. I would love that more than any­thing.

Di­gest: Any­thing you’d like to say to the fans?

Erin: I’ve got­ten so many sup­port­ive tweets and I want to say to ev­ery­one, “Thank you. I read them all. I just couldn’t re­ply to them be­cause it wasn’t con­firmed that I was leav­ing yet.” I will miss Kiki, and I’m re­ally grate­ful that ev­ery­one seems to be on the same page — I started out a lit­tle shaky, maybe, but day­time is sink or swim, and I’m grate­ful that I learned how to swim, even­tu­ally! Get­ting to meet the fans was such a spe­cial thing. Ev­ery­one is fac­ing their own strug­gle and this show means so much to them. It was an honor to be in their liv­ing rooms and hope­fully, to brighten their day. Some of the stuff Kiki did maybe wasn’t such a bright spot, like, I don’t know, drug­ging Michael [laughs]. But to feel over­all that I played an im­por­tant part in peo­ple’s lives makes me feel so grate­ful.


(ex-kiki Jerome)

Ab­sent Minded: Erin was re­lieved that she got to skip an on-set good-bye with on-screen mom Maura West (Ava), “which would have de­stroyed me emo­tion­ally.”

“Kil­lon” It: Kiki’s ro­mance with Robert Palmer Watkins’s Dil­lon was one of Erin’s fa­vorite sto­ries.

Bear Hug: Af­ter wrap­ping at GH, Erin re­united with for­mer co-star Jef­frey Vin­cent Parise (ex­car­los) to shoot a role in Matt Co­hen’s di­rec­to­rial debut, Mama Bear.

Pop Cul­ture: The ac­tress loved work­ing with Kiki’s pseudo fa­ther, Roger Howarth (Franco). “He is such a doll,” she says.

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