CENTER STAGE: Christel Khalil Opens Up About Weddings, On-Set Pranks and More

John Paschal/JPI Studios
John Paschal/JPI Studios
Sean Smith/JPI Studios
Sean Smith/JPI Studios

As surprising as it was to hear that “’” (Cane Ashby) absolutely loves everything about weddings (which you can read more about here), it was equally surprising when his onscreen partner, (Lily Winters) admitted that, in opposition to Goddard’s romantic view on the soap staple events, she really can’t stand them! And that’s just one of the things the candid actress revealed when Soap Opera Network recently caught up with her for a revealing chat.

“Oh, I hate wedding scenes,” the Los Angeles native says without a hint of hesitation. “Cane and Lily’s second wedding was fun, because we were on location, which was cool; we got to get out of the studio. But weddings are horrible. They take forever, and if it’s your wedding, you usually have a lot of lines and a monologue, because you’re saying your vows. It’s just really awful.”

That being said, Khalil says that working with Goddard makes the scenes more bearable, because he’s such a blast to tape with. “He’s a very sweet, caring person who’s very thoughtful,” she shares, adding that finding genuine, warm co-stars isn’t always easy. “There are a lot of people in this industry that aren’t like that!”

Aaron Montgomery/JPI Studios
Aaron Montgomery/JPI Studios

Fortunately, Khalil has lucked out when it comes to her “Y&R” castmates and has had a great experience with them ever since she walked in the doors back in 2002. “At that time, I was working with Victoria [Rowell, Drucilla Winters] and Kristoff [St. John, Neil Winters], so I definitely bonded with them,” she shares, adding that she credits St. John for teaching her “about life in general, and also the show and how things go and how things run.”

Aaron Montgomery/JPI Studios
Aaron Montgomery/JPI Studios

Of course, she’s a pro in her own right these days, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be fooled every once in awhile! “One time, back when it was the Lily and Kevin [played by Greg Rikaart] storyline, when Kevin and Lily first met, they met online, and the way Lily was supposed to recognize him was he would be wearing a Hawaiian shirt,” she recalls. “And we were doing the scene, and all of a sudden, like 20 guys walked into the coffee house with Hawaiian shirts on, and our director was one of them! It was a little joke that they played. A prank basically.”

So yes, she was fooled once, but those pranksters had better watch out, because Khalil has three older brothers (Alex, Adam and Chris) who could kick some butt if their little sister is messed around with too much! But then again, growing up as the youngest with so much testosterone in the house has made the actress one strong chick in her own right. “It definitely made me tough and made me learn really fast what tough guys were, because I would see how my brothers were with girls or how they were with me when they weren’t around,” she says with a laugh, adding that surprisingly, though she grew up in a very man-centric environment, she’s always been pretty feminine. “I was very girly, much to mom’s chagrin. She did not like that I was girly. She wasn’t girly, and she was like, ‘I don’t know where you got this from!’ It was pretty funny.”

However, in addition to playing dress up and dolls, Khalil always made sure to have time to ride horses — a passion that she still carries to this day. “I’d probably be working at a barn and working with horses and that sort of thing if I weren’t acting,” she admits. “I grew up with my dad, and he rode horses. And we always had some sort of animal. So yeah, it was basically my whole life pretty much, up until I was about 16, when I stopped being around horses all of the time.”

[pullquote_left]I was very girly, much to mom’s chagrin. She did not like that I was girly.[/pullquote_left]

These days, the actress tries to make as much time for horseback riding as she can, but her busy schedule doesn’t make it easy. Especially recently, as “Y&R” has been gearing up for some of its juiciest stories yet. “It was [really challenging] when Lily thought Cane was dead and was seeing his ghost, but I think things will get even more challenging,” she teases of the twists and turns to come. “The storyline is great, and I don’t know exactly what’s coming up, but good things are coming.”

  • Harlee

    What can you say but she’s Lily Winters. I know she gets bashed quite heavy but I’m stuck on the fence about Lily. I loved her early stuff wKevin, wDaniel, how she interacted early on with NeilDru…can’t say I feel enjoyment and haven’t between LilyCane, they do nothing for me…..but I loved the interview read thanks

    • Tiiga

      I agree. Cane and Lily do nothing for me either. They actually put me to sleep. Lily was such a vibrant character back then when she was interacting with Kevin and Daniel. She lost me when she had her children with Cane. But I’m loving her again with this new storyline with Tyler. I think it is time to bring the sexy back. I love Tyler and Lily together.

      • Harlee

        CK has been better & rocking those short, tight dresses!…but just not feeling LilyTyler, chemistry is missing. I would rather have a LilyMason pairing because Mason is more adept as Lily in business & he’s not a walking billboard for a STD as Tyler…just jesting…that’s my problem wTyler I will admit it ….it is how Tyler was introduced as this hardcore, aggressive player…it wasn’t thought out, you are putting a wedge in bwt YR’s biggest couples in “Lane” (snorefest personally). I think it’s time to breakup “Lane” to create some drama it’s a soap because there could be backlash from “Laneheads” so do it right…! It’s not organic and you can tell “Tily” (ty david) is being pushed…now wTyler and Redric has grown a lot as an actor since coming on the show & I’m warming to him especially wAC. Flesh out his character bring in an ex and move on with him and forget Lily, try LilyMason would be HOT & more natural.

      • Runningmouth

        Tyler/Lily have no chemistry or sex appeal together….Tyler makes Lily look less than ordinary, that’s a very hard thing to do.. Not by any stretch of the imagination or on her worse day does CK ever look less than ordinary, except in scenes with Tyler…

  • Brittany

    IMO, Christel is one of the most talented and certainly the most beautiful actress on Y&R! This sexy stunner should be onscreen 5 days a week with her OWN story, rather than the newbies jammed down our throats by TIIC. The Emmy winner has proven something they have yet to show even a glimmer of–SHE CAN ACT and is a Fan Favourite! And Lily and Cane? The best, most natural pairing on Daytime–love them!

  • Laurel Twist

    Well, I am a ” Lanehead” as you so aptly describe! I agree with all you say regarding Tyler, but disagree with the later. If Lane bore you, FF, I say. So much I presently FF. Not all characters need to play ring around the bed. After 40 years, I think it is time to reinvent soap couples. Why not start with Lane? This couple has indured so many 3rd party interlopers, it is ridiculous. Not all couples need to bed hop to bring about drama. Lane are one of those couples. The ” formula” does NOT work, with Lane. They are & always have been game changers…..simple.

    • Harlee

      It’s time to bring some conflict into Lane to break them up for a minute to bring them back around down the road. I realize how loved they are by many but they are falling into soap couple mode, shake it up abit give each Lily & Cane a different story, my problem (no diehard CK fan but respectful) this is out of character for Lily to be in “awe” of Tyler. If you’re going there than make organic to have Lane have problems within the marriage, maybe disagreeing on the children. If Lily is the one that steps out on Cane after all the years watching Lily from the beginning this is out of character…it doesn’t ring true especially what Cane had done to Lily…it’s propping Cane as “wounded” party…give me break. Just because Lane bores me most times doesn’t mean that I have to accept Lane as herculean couple that can do no wrong and gawd forbid if their marriage isn’t pristine perfect constantly, that’s not what good soap is about…always about soapy conflict.

      • Laurel Twist

        I agree conflicts need to be organic. This Lily, Tyler s/l is not true to the core of Lily. I disagree that a couple needs to constantly break up & make up… to make them interesting. Lane are not perfect. Never said they were. I stated angst can be created while telling their story. If someone comes into their orbit, that’s brings organic challenges, then so be it, but Chloe fail, Tyler…..double fail.

      • lanegirl

        If the ONLY thing you can write is a ridiculous breakup and conflict where there is none, you should turn in your union card and get a job at 7111! Case in point, Likey breakup–big mess and big FAIL! Romance in the afternoon is meant to be just that–ROMANCE and LANE epitomizes that in spades! But fear not, you have several other dumpster dive, not even sexy sexting to choose from in Phyllis/Sharon/Avery/Chelsea pairings which are boring romantics like me to tears!

      • lanegirl

        Are you aware that LANE has been broken up longer than they have been together and their breakups are annihilations, not angst light like Villy! Further, attempts at a forced pairing with that non-acting newbie is beyond ridiculous on the part of TIIC and Angelica Mc! It would make more sense to create angst with Billy Abbott since he (a) knows Lily, (b) is her friend, and (c) loved her instead of the current? Better yet, LANE is THE Couple that would and should survive forever as each other’s true love, enough of this breakup to makeup (poorly written by the way) because most people, especially women, are more discriminating and particular than the writers who HATE them pen them as being!

  • Kora

    Christel has no acting range whatsoever and is not sexy. Lily is long overdue for a recast to breathe life into the character

    • lanegirl

      Ah, someone who lacks sight and taste! So who do you think has the qualities Christel has in spades? Bet you favour one of the non-acting, manly looking not-even talents from ABC or the OAPs still trying to be relevant?

  • Phyllis

    I think Christel is great. She is beautiful, talented and sexy. I love Lane and think that they are very convincing as a couple. It’s as if you are watching a real couple. I am glad that CK is thriving and not letting the naysayers get her down. She seems like a truly nice genuine person.

  • PatF

    I am actually tired of all the Lily bashing. She pretty much has chemistry with everyone she’s worked with. For some reason people say she doesn’t act like Dru and that her recast was better. But I don’t act like my Dad, so what kind of point is that?
    Soaps do need conflict, so I am for breaking up her and Cane.
    But quit bashing the actress.

  • AH

    I adore Christel Khalil! She is a great actress and I enjoy Y&R even more because she is a part of it. Loved hearing her praise her co stars and learning more about her personal. I wish her all the best! Thanks for the Interview SON!

  • Page

    Eat your hearts out, LONG LIVE #LANE most beautiful vibrant couple on soap. just ask the world at large. theres other ways to create drama for dem rather than to tear every beautiful thing apart. SOAP is never the same bcos of them. reason why they mad. get over ur selfs! DG AND KC roc together. #Laners world class fans. largest soap fans.

  • Lisa

    I love Christel’s portrayal of Lily. She’s beautiful, talented and a fan favorite. And Lily’s coupling with Cane is one of the best things about Y&R for SO MANY viewers of the show. It would be great if this show invest in Lane instead of trying to destroy them. Right now, Lily is being written so out of character, its hard to watch. But I will continue to support the character and the actress because I’m a fan.

    I just hope these writers, CBS and Sony come to there senses sooner rather than later. Angst for a couple is fine. But it should make sense. And this thing with Tyler doesn’t.

    Also, would love to see The Ashby twins more than twice a year. And please give Lily a girlfriend. Enough of her dad, brother and the guy who’s being forced down viewers throats, Tyler, being the only people she confides in. I miss Colleen. Sigh…

    Thank you for the interview!

  • lblanson

    I love Cane and Lily, they are the best couple on small screen, big screen, or any screen, for that matter. they are the best “EVER”

  • Lena

    Shannon Kane blows CK out of the water

    • Nk3play2

      Wow…. she would’ve been epic had Christel Khalil chosen to leave. She’s got that kind of Victoria Rowell fire which I think Lily so desperately needs.

      However, Tyler does make the currently Lily a bit more interesting for me.

  • Kat

    Gr8 interview…I have so much love and respect for Christel. A very talented young woman one of the most talented In daytime. She is a leading lady even though she is never written like one but I love her chemistry with DanielGoddard. They have taken daytime by storm in their portrayal of Lane one of the most beloved and most popular couples in daytime in the Hx of daytime IMHO.
    I love the differences between her and her leading man on the show (DG)…but they also get along great which is very much notable and they play well off each other and another thing I have noticed is that they are very selfless in their scenes together.
    They respect each other and that is also very notable and they both have a wicked sense of humour.
    I love the Lane weddings all of them LOL
    It is so wonderful she lives her life and enjoys her life. I’m so happy for her!
    Keep going strong in all your awesomeness Christel Khalil! 😉

  • Kat

    Also Christel is beyond gorgeous and she is sexy as hell… she deserves all good things in her life. I always wish her the very best! Keep the faith CK.

  • Kat

    Christel is the best…she is an extraordinary actress and a lovely human being from the inside out. No matter all those who would try to demoralize her or put her down, guess what…she rocks and she will continue to be success in her life and she will continue to be a bright star.

  • Kat

    Thanks for sharing the interview with us Christel xo 😉

  • Amythst

    Thank you for the interview with Christel Khalil She and Daniel Goddard are my favorites on YR I appreciate when an actor takes the time to comment and speak to the fans whether through an interview like this or a meet and greet. Christel Khalil seems strong,tough,and vibrant. I love her portrayal of Lily. I love the dynamic that she as Lily and Daniel Goddard as Cane bring to the YR canvas. Their love story is beautiful and I want to see more of it.

    • Katb

      I completely agree 😉 Christel is the best young vet in daytime she rocks and so does DG and their pairing Lane. The best thing in daytime in a long, long time.

  • Tiiga

    It is sad because I noticed that only people who are fans of Christel Khalil are the Lane fans… As an actress, I would have been frustrated. She’s young and should be able to gain MORE fans outside the Lane fanbase, I think… It’s time for “Lily Winters” to make some CHANGES in her life. Bring on sexy Tyler on her side. I’m already a fan of these two and I know, I’m not the only one!

    • Laurel Twist

      Time will tell, yes?!

    • Brittany

      “Only people who are fans of Christel Khalil are the Lane Fans”? That is inaccurate and akin to saying the ONLY people who are fans of Amilie Heinle are Villy fans OR of Phyllis Newman are Phick Fans, and we know before LANE it was “Cane who?”! As the teen ingénue who has been on Y&R for over a decade, Christel’s fans are not only fans of LANE and Romance, but are young women primarily in that much sought after 18-34 demo, not to mention younger women for whom she has always been a role model. This sexy, grown up sensible woman is Y&R’s reigning beauty and other than a much younger Sharon Case way back in the day, very few if any Y&R actresses can make that claim. Even though her association with that pig wanker illiterate Tyler is Angie Mc’s wet dream, even that will not damper the ardour Christel’s fans feel for her and by association, LANE!

      • Tiiga

        I only talked about christel khalil…I didn’t talk about michelle stafford or amelia heinle…I know that michelle stafford fans are not only Phick fans. But I know that MOST of Christel Khalil’s fans are Lane fans. And it is sad. And don’t compare sharon case and christel khalil please,they are far from alike!..Again here you are hating on Tyler…for what exactly? Because he did a little flirt with Lily? What about Cane who literally drove her crazy, mercilessly gaslighted her and willingly put his children in danger? Some of you Lane fans are hypocrites…You only hate on Tyler because he comes between your precious Lane which is pretty pathetic because you know he’s not That bad…No wonder why no one from TPTB take you seriously…They know that most of us are TIRED of Lily and Cane. I am so glad that they brought that pretty black girl for Cane, even though I feel like she’s up to no good.

      • katb

        Tell the truth. I just love when so called fans imply that somehow there is something wrong with the Lane fan base supporting Christel because of Lane. We loved her from the beginning. Most of us have shared in her journey on YR since her debut on YR. On the contrary to what some want to relay as fact, actually most of the audience love Christel. And as the above correctly poster pointed that so called sought after demographic Love her and Lane. She is an asset to this show and lets be honest here, that newbie whats his name does nothing for her.
        CK can hold her own she shouldn’t have to be dragged down to promote others which is the only thing that has been happening ever since Mab and JFP/AM took over. CK has made all of her pairings work due in large part because of what she brings to the table. Its not her fault some people can not stand on their own two feet and must constantly suck her blood.
        People talk about Lane because they are as unique as the actors that portray the pairing and that includes CK. This is her most successful pairing and dare I say there will never be another pairing quite like Lane. They can try and duplicate but cheap imitation will never hold a candle to the real thing. So yes, I want CK to continue to thrive I would not want her in some cheap pairing that does nothing for her. She should be proud of what she has accomplished and she should be proud of the success of Lane. Haters be damned.
        No moving backwards for her she deserves better.
        She has a lot of fans and yes including the biggest fanbase in daytime right, the Laners. I don’t see whats wrong with that. Only someone that could care less about her would want to see her dragged down to mediocrity.
        Keep going strong CK. I love how well CK and DG play off each other on the show.

  • katb

    The only sad thing is that you have the haters who by the way aren’t anywhere near as many as the CK / Lily fans going around heaping hate at her…even more sad when tptp on YR constantly choose to listen to these haters as if the nonsense they love spouting is the gospel truth. That is the sad thing, that CK is constantly overlooked as the leading lady in favours of newbies and pets. She has earned to be the lead on YR ….she deserves to be treated better. Sad is when she is constantly put down by some because she is part of Lane the most popular couple in daytime. Sad is when YR refuses to recognize the fantastic talent of this young vet out of pure petty vindictiveness just because it suits their mindset. Sad is when they bring in some stereotypical offensive mess of a character and write Lily Ashby OOC inorder to bring about her demise.

    Yes its sad and pathetic what this show has turned into. I completely agree.
    CK has a very huge fanbase including the Lanefanbase. Some of those people on that show wish they had such loyal fans cheering for them. Hate and Jealousy is an ugly. And in any case I find it almost interesting that Non CK fans are so concerned about her now. LOL what a world we live in.