Michelle Stafford

(NINA, GH)

Soap Opera Digest - - BEHIND THE SCENES! -

■ Michelle Stafford’s cre­den­tials as a dra­matic ac­tress are im­pec­ca­ble, but the com­mit­ment and pas­sion she brings to her work as a ro­man­tic lead are just as im­pres­sive.we were re­minded of this when Nina de­cided to, as she put it, “throw cau­tion to the wind” and re­unite with Valentin.

Af­ter Nina agreed to dine with her ex at Wyn­de­mere, they set­tled in for a chat in front of the fire. Stafford kept Nina a notch shy of re­laxed, her body lan­guage slightly stiff, hes­i­ta­tion peek­ing through in her voice, not quite pulling off the ca­sual in their ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion. Their warm rem­i­nis­cences grad­u­ally melted Nina’s re­serve, so much so that she leaned in for a kiss. He pulled back, sug­gest­ing they call it a night, and Nina’s ex­pres­sion went from smit­ten to con­fused in an in­stant. The mo­ment bro­ken, she loudly de­manded to know why he’d “to­tally freaked out”.

He ex­plained that he was just re­spect­ing her wishes, his chivalry dis­solv­ing her re­main­ing re­sis­tance. Nina rose to her feet, her eyes dart­ing from left to right as she cal­cu­lated her next move, then she set­tled her gaze on him. She sized him up as she voiced her be­lief that he wouldn’t hurt her again, and the sin­cer­ity of his re­sponse filled her eyes with tears as she re­flected on how happy he had made her. Fix­ing him with a ra­di­ant smile, she gasped, struck by a eu­reka mo­ment: “I’m hurt­ing my­self by keep­ing us apart.” Ex­hal­ing deeply, wrin­kling her nose, Stafford re­leased the full bore of Nina’s vul­ner­a­bil­ity and her strength, her voice break­ing as she de­clared, “I’m hap­pier with you in my life than I am with­out you in life.” She then grabbed his face with con­fi­dence, sweep­ing him into a kiss.

Stafford de­liv­ered a stir­ring por­trait of a woman de­ter­mined not to let past dis­ap­point­ments stand in her way — a woman in love, but not a fool for it.

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