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TV Guide Online Q&A with Andrea

Fans of soap veteran Andrea Evans, best known for her outrageous run as Tina on One Life To Live, were saddened the when story ended for Tawny Moore, Evans's character on The Bold and the Beautiful. But the fan favorite performer wasn't out of work for long. When Passions needed a new Rebecca Hotchkiss to take the place of the departing Maureen McCormick, Evans found herself back on the daytime scene.

TV Guide Online recently caught up with the friendly actress at City of Hope's Walk for Hope Against Breast Cancer. Evans joined other celebrities including her Passions co-star Eva Tamargo Lemus (Pilar), Patrika Darbo (Nancy, Days of Our Lives) and Eriq La Salle (Peter, ER) at the ribbon cutting ceremony prior to the 10K walk. While most interviews take place in actors's dressing rooms or over lunch, the Emmy-award nominated actress invited TV Guide Online to put on its sneakers, join her, and conduct the interview during the 10K walk! Read on for Evans's candid comments about her new soap, her old soaps, being naked on stage and her "cameo" on The Sopranos. — Michael J. Maloney

How did you get involved with the City of Hope's Walk for Hope Against Breast Cancer?

My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so anytime there's a cause for breast cancer, I'm there. City of Hope does a lot of really good work. I know from personal experience what it takes to survive cancer. My mom's been cancer-free for over ten years. The advancements that they had made even back then were incredible.

Tawny was pretty popular and fans were hoping that she'd be paired with Eric, but, as history has shown, there's just not enough air time on B&B for all the characters.

Tawny was great, but I needed something that would develop into a fuller character. And that seems to be happening over at Passions.

It's hysterical the way your Rebecca pronounces Pilar "Pee-lar."

(Laughs) I was deciding between that and "Pillar." I think it fits Rebecca. She thinks she's above "Pee-lar" so it's a natural thing. It's a subtle way of putting her down.

Had you seen Maureen McCormick's work in the part? No. But like every other girl in the America, I wanted to grow up and be Marcia Brady so I was honored to take over the role of Rebecca.

Had you ever met Liza Huber, who plays your daughter Gwen, before?

No. Even though we obviously have many, many acquaintances in the soap world at ABC. (Editor's note: Huber's the real-life daughter of All My Children's Susan Lucci, who plays Erica.) Liza is very sweet and fun to work with.

Passions has a lot special effects, but B&B only has one, of course, which is Sally Spectra's hair.

(Laughs) You said that. I actually haven't worked with any of the witchcraft stuff yet, but Rebecca is kind of a witch on her own so you never know.

Does being on Passions reunite you with anyone from other soaps that you've worked on?

Some of the crew. There's Marie, the hairstylist and Brett, the stage manager. They both had been at B&B. Also, Passions's executive producer Lisa Hesser had been a producer on One Life to Live.

Had you ever taken over a role before?

Yes. I was the second Patty Williams on Y&R. And Patty had been a much more established character than Rebecca. People have asked what the challenges are in taking over a role that someone else has played, but I don't know that the challenges are any different than if you were the first one to play it. It's my job to go in and play the character to the best of my ability and make the character mine.

While other actresses have had successful runs in the role, you are considered by many to be the definitive Tina on One Life to Live. How does that feel?

It's flattering. It's a wonderful feeling. It was a great time in my life and a wonderful role. When people associate you with a role, either in prime time or daytime, it's because the role fits you well. I enjoyed playing Patty and Tawny, but neither of those roles were [comparatively] quite as good a fit. A good role can fit like a glove. And when a character fits that way, as Tina did with me, then there's much more of an identification, and I think that the audience senses that. I think the audience will see that with Passions. Rebecca is a very good fit with me. I am having a blast. I think Rebecca's a grown-up Tina in many ways.

People also see Rebecca as Tawny with money. Just as Tawny looked out for Amber, Rebecca's doing the same thing with Gwen.

Yes. That's a mother thing. It's a maternal thing. If you play any role that's a mother, there's going to be such a natural and maternal feeling that goes along with it. I have to say that Passions has a really strong young storyline and stories in my age group, too. I have never seen so many hot looking babes in my own age group as I have on Passions! I was talking to my publicist, Paul Sheffrin, and we were discussing the "sex-cats" of Passions.

Eriq LaSalle was here earlier for the ribbon cutting. Did you get to meet him?

Not only that, but we actually worked together on One Life back in the 80s. One of his first jobs was working with me. The storyline was with Cord, that much I remember. We were catching up on old times which was nice.

You were on The Sopranos last season. Rather a B&B clip featuring you and Adrienne Frantz (Amber) was on.

Yes. One of the characters within the show is a soap opera fan. The funny thing was that I was watching the show, and I'm watching James Gandolfini and see this redhead and I think, "Who's that?" And then I thought, "Hey, it's me!"

What kept you busy in between B&B and Passions?

I did a play called Candles with Michael Learned (who played Olivia on The Waltons). All the proceeds from that went to the two biggest cancer clinics in Los Angeles. One provides wigs for women and men who have lost their hair from chemotherapy. The insurance companies don't cover that.

And when you think of how self-esteem factors into recovery...

Absolutely. That's what this was about. My character was this beautiful woman who gets breast cancer and during the course of the play, and she discusses how worried she is because beauty has been so much a part of her identity. During the play, my character shaves her head in defiance. It was actually a bald cap that I wore. But it gave me an inkling as to how people must really feel. It was actually difficult to perform that way. It's like being naked in a different way. It's such an important thing to women, I feel. It's not that it's not to men either, but...

But we can be Patrick Stewart and be distinguished.

Yes. And when you see a bald woman...I've seen pictures of Judith Light [who played Karen on OLTL], who shaved her head for the play Wit. I applaud her courage. It really is a different kind of nudity to walk out on stage without any hair.

People have said that there's a sense of outrageousness that's been missing from soaps the last few years.

Not at Passions, which I love. I love [head writer] Jim Reilly's writing and the stuff that Lisa Hesser's been giving me to do. There's a level of camp that I embrace. It fits me very naturally. I'm having a blast, and I think that the audience will really like it. All the people who watched [OLTL] and helped make it one of the top-rated shows in the 1980s and who liked Tina will love Passions. There really is that same feeling.

This walk today is about raising breast cancer awareness and also raising money.

Yes. It does both of those things. City of Hope does a lot of good research for cancer. Cancer hits an alarming amount of people. It's really hard to find someone who isn't affected by it.

It's ironic when you think of your former OLTL TV sister Viki having a breast cancer storyline. Do you feel that shows can educate or should they stick to entertaining? Or can they do both?

I absolutely think that shows can do both. You can be entertained by the information. If your favorite character is threatened by a disease like breast cancer, as Viki has been on One Life, then you can't help but learn something about that disease. I don't think shows should ever be preachy. That's not our job. Our job is to entertain, and if we can get a message across in the meantime, then, hey, that's very cool.

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