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

The Young and the Restless
"The Young and the Restless"
Sony Pictures Television
John Paschal/JPI Studios
John Paschal/JPI Studios
Sean Smith/JPI Studios
Sean Smith/JPI Studios

As surprising as it was to hear that “The Young and the Restless’” Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby) absolutely loves everything about weddings (which you can read more about here), it was equally surprising when his onscreen partner, Christel Khalil (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.”

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