Getting to Know...Greg Rikaart

YOUNG AND RESTLESS’ Kevin is about as creepy as a character can get, but offscreen, portrayer Greg Rikaart is more like the college grad next door. Here, he talks about breaking into acting, breaking up sets and breaking hearts on the West Coast.Soap Opera Weekly: When did you know acting was for you?
Greg Rikaart: Instinctively, I always knew, but it wasn’t until college (Villanova University, Pa.) that I began to realize it was actually tangible. My senior year, I realized, “Wait a second: I don’t want to just do what people are telling me to do,” which was going to graduate or law school and getting the 9-5 job. After I graduated, in May of ’99, I figured it was now or never. I moved out to L.A. that September.Weekly: How have you adjusted to life on the West Coast?
Rikaart: My first year was rough, because my entire network of family and friends was in New York and Philadelphia. I was pretty much by myself, so it took a while to find my feet, make friends and start my life out here. But now I love it. You’ve got the beach, the mountains, the phenomenal weather and this great, laid-back lifestyle. This is home now. I hope to someday have enough job security that I can have a place here and [in New York].Weekly: Has the road to Genoa City been easy?
Rikaart: I waited tables for close to three years, but the past year and a half things have started to happen. People always say, “Work breeds more work.” It sounds like lip service before it happens to you! Within two weeks, I booked two small roles in two films, Prey for Rock & Roll, which came out in October, and X-Men 2. X-Men 2 was a surreal experience. Here I was working with Anna Paquin and Patrick Stewart! Then, less than a month after I [finished shooting in Vancouver], I booked Dawson’s Creek. That kept me busy from September through March and then Y&R came along at the end of May.Weekly: Has it felt like a whirlwind?
Rikaart: Yes and no. It’s happened gradually, but some days I want to pinch myself and say, “Is this really my life?” It’s great, [though] it’s bizarre having people know you that you don’t know. It’s flattering and endearing, but it makes me a little shy. It’s something I have to learn to deal with.Weekly: What did you know of daytime before you nabbed the role of Kevin?
Rikaart: I have friends who are actors who warned me and told me what to be prepared for. I used to work with Jessica Morris (Jennifer, OLTL) at a restaurant out here, so when she first booked that job I made a point to watch. Then, when I worked on Dawson’s, my storyline paralleled Jensen Ackles‘ (ex-Eric, Days), so we became friends. He told me what was different about daytime and about his experience working on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. I had the inside story, but at the same time, it wasn’t until I started working that I really understood what it meant to have to memorize 15-20 pages of dialogue a day!