CENTER STAGE: Emotions Run High With ‘Y&R’s’ Angell Conwell

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

Ever wonder how a soap star can walk into the studio smiling, laughing and high on life one moment yet film a seriously emotional and gut-wrenching scene the next? Soap Opera Network caught up with the “The Young and the Restless” star Angell Conwell (Leslie Michaelson), who spilled her secrets for tackling those super juicy scenes that make us grip the edge of our sofas or bawl so much, we’re practically drowning.

“At first, it was a challenge,” the actress admits of jumping into high drama scenes at the drop of a hat. “And it still is a challenge, but the more I’m thrown into the situations and the scenarios, the more comfortable I’m becoming facing them, and I’m becoming more comfortable in front of the camera.”

Sean Smith/JPI Studios
Sean Smith/JPI Studios

One person she thanks for helping her ease into life at “Y&R” is Michael Muhney (Adam Newman), whom she says gave her great advice. “He was very generous; he gave me… words of wisdom [on] how to keep calm and keep relaxed and not get ahead of yourself. He helped keep me grounded, because I was a little nervous in the beginning.”

The South Carolina native attributes her initial trepidation to pressure. “I felt like, ‘Ok, we don’t have that long, we don’t have much time, we have one or two takes and you got to get it,’ so that pressure can sometimes cause you to freeze up a little bit,” she explains. “But now, I’m getting used to the fact that that’s the way it is. And I feel like I’m taking the bull by the horns and I’m rising to the challenge. So it’s becoming a little bit easier, I have to say. Thank goodness!”

Over the two and half years she’s been in Genoa City, Conwell has come up with a routine that helps her get into a serious and sometimes dark place. And it’s a state of being that she explains doesn’t necessarily come easy. “A lot of the time, human beings try to avoid sadness, and we try to avoid darkness, anything that would make us feel down or make us feel the blues,” she says. “We try to avoid those situations. But I actually lean into them, and I allow myself to feel a certain way, and I let myself cry if I need to, and I listen to music that I know brings back sappy memories. And I don’t really do much talking. I just focus on the work and avoid talking to friends and family during that time. I isolate a little bit.”

[pullquote_right]He was very generous; he gave me… words of wisdom [on] how to keep calm and keep relaxed and not get ahead of yourself.[/pullquote_right]

Not surprisingly, it takes just as much concentration to pull out of those serious, emotional scenes as it does to get into them! And the actress admits that when they’re particularly tense or fervent, it can take quite a while to “snap out of it.” But hey, at least there’s coffee to get her spirits back up. “I love coffee!” she raves, of the magic potion that helps her shake off the day’s emotions. “And music,” she adds. “I put on my favorite songs.”

As for the next emotional storyline she’d love to see on the show — whether it’s tackled by her alter ego, Leslie, or someone else — it would be a character faced with poverty. “There are a lot of people struggling to make it right now, to make ends meet, and a lot of times, that can cause issues mentally; it can cause depression,” she says. “It’s really relevant right now. And especially being in an atmosphere where everyone else around you seems to be doing great, but for some reason, you can’t get your life together, you can’t get your finances together. It’s a trickle down effect that affects everything in your life.”

Conwell couldn’t say whether or not that particular storyline might be in Leslie’s future, but she did tell us that she’s headed for more of those heart-wrenching scenes she’s worked so hard to master. “There will be some revelations, there will be some tears, there will be some pain before there is any gain,” she reveals of the law expert’s road ahead. “It’s definitely an emotional journey, a rollercoaster.”