In December 2015, Sal Stowers was let go from her role as Lani Price on DAYS. Five months later, she received a text that sent her heart soaring. “It was from Marnie [Saitta, casting director] saying, ‘Hey! The show wants you back!’ ” recounts the actress. “I was floored. It was so unexpected. I just remember being so happy. I couldn’t wait to come back.”
The invitation to return came just as Stowers was recovering from a fall. “There’s no good story about it,” she laughs. “It was one of those clumsy things that just happened. I went to bed that night, and I didn’t think anything of it. The next morning, I woke up and realized, ‘Okay, something is definitely wrong here.’ I went to the emergency room and found out I broke my patella. It was not a fun time.”
The injury to Stowers’s knee rendered her immobile. “My mom came down [from Madera, CA]. I couldn’t do anything. I was pretty much either in the bed or on the couch. I probably watched every Netflix series you can think of. I spent a lot of downtime just recovering and getting my health back together. I stayed in class. I was auditioning. But the most important thing was getting back on my feet.”
After she recovered, Stowers was understanably thrilled to be shooting at DAYS once again. “A lot of people didn’t know that I was coming back,” she relays. “So when I first walked into hair and makeup, everyone was surprised to see me. There was a lot of excitement from everyone. Some of the cast members told me, ‘We knew you would come back!’ That was really wonderful to hear. It kind of felt like I never left. I think because of the injury, it seemed like I was gone longer. But when I finally got back, it was like I had just been there.” Her first scenes were with James Reynolds (Abe) and Kyler Pettis (Theo). “James and Kyler are like my family. I love them. We share such a strong bond with each other. Seeing both of their smiles made me so happy.”
Stowers feels coming and going from the show helped her to develop as both an actress and a person. “When I walk onto the set now I’m very confident about what I’ve created with Lani,” she explains. “I feel really good about the work that I’m bringing and I’m even more excited to film what we’re now doing. I’ve been working so hard, and I can apply it all. I’ve definitely grown, not only as an artist on the show, but also as a human. I’m learning so much about myself in this career. By giving Lani a voice, I also gave myself a voice. That’s not easy to do, especially [with] a new job. We get so nervous and scared. We want to impress everyone and do things right, and I think that’s where we go wrong. Instead, it’s just going in, being ourselves and diving into the work; that’s more important.”
With Lani’s return, the character is more integrated into the fabric of the show. “I love that she’s actually a part of Salem!” Stowers enthuses. “Everyone respects her. She’s making great friendships. I think in the beginning [when I first started in 2015], that wasn’t there. Now, it’s there and it’s really cool to see. It’s amazing to get the scripts and see that my character is growing. Her life in Salem is growing.”
As is Lani’s love life. “I love Casey [Moss, JJ]. He’s so wonderful to work with,” she praises. “I think we have this energy with each other when we work together that is fun and playful. We also respect each other as artists. I think that makes it so easy to work with him and vice-versa. He makes me feel really comfortable. We have such a blast working together.”
Stowers also shares screen time with Lamon Archey (Eli), which she considers a happy coincidence. “It’s funny, because Lamon and I have actually been friends for a very long time,” she discloses. “I know his fiancée, as well. We all modeled back in the day together. It was really fun when he got the job. We’re super-comfortable around each other because we’ve known each other for so long. We’re both living our dreams. The cool thing about Lamon and Casey is they both like to run lines. We’ll go into whoever’s dressing room and work on our stuff together. I love that. I need that. It’s really cool that they both are willing to do that.”
Off-screen, Stowers has become close with Camila Banus (Gabi) and Marci Miller (Abigail). “Those girls make my heart smile,” affirms Stowers. “I love them so much. I came back on the show right when Marci first started. Her energy was so wonderful to be around. I went up and introduced myself and let her know that I was always around to hang out or talk. With Camila, we’ve always had that, even before I left the show. Camila is so outgoing, a wildflower. She loves to smile and be happy. That’s contagious. I think when we get together we have fun and genuinely enjoy being around each other. We’ve been out a few times together. It’s our goal to do better with that, but sometimes it’s hard. Marci is married, and Camila is working on her house. Life gets in the way, but we do try our hardest to see each other. When we can, we do. We’ll go get food and just do girl talk.”
With her personal and professional lives in a good place, Stowers can’t help but look back with pride at the changes she’s made over the past year. “I’ve had a take-away from everything,” she reflects. “During the time when I wasn’t on the show, I would go over everything, the scenes that I worked on, and recognize the things that I learned, along with my new thoughts and feelings, and the new strength that I carry in my acting and my work. It’s letting go of fear, trusting myself more, and not being afraid of jumping off the cliff with my work, to let myself be fully present and not hide myself.”
Did You Know?
• She enjoys horseback riding.
• She supports the animal rights organization PETA.
• Stowers has modeled for CoverGirl cosmetics.
Do It Again
When Sal Stowers appeared as Cassandra in the online version of ALL MY CHILDREN in 2013, her storyline had parallels to her recent DAYS plot, when Lani went undercover to nab a drug dealer and pimp. “With Cassandra’s story on ALL MY CHILDREN, she was much younger, more innocent and vulnerable,” Stowers points out. “She was forced into a world that she knew nothing about.” Both characters went through withdrawal. “Both shows were really hard,” she recounts. “I had to put myself in two really dark places. In order to feel what someone goes through in withdrawal, I had to do the research. I remember lying on my floor in the dark, just shaking, crying, feeling alone. I really put myself into the shoes of someone who had been drugged. I wanted to show the audience the truth of that experience.”
Just The Facts:
Birthday: January 20
Hails From: Pasadena, CA
The Single Life: “I’m dating. I’m having fun and if someone special comes along, someone special comes along. But I am dating.”
Keeping Green: “I eat avocado every day. It’s my favorite thing.”
American Beauty: She was the winner of the ninth season of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL.
Traveler’s Remorse: “When I did AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, we shot on the Great Wall of China. I didn’t really take that in. I wish I did because I don’t know if I’ll ever go back there.”
Welcome To The Jungle: “We definitely had fun [with the Jungle Madness story]. You had seven different personalities on set every day. We fed off of each other. It’s such a breath of fresh air when everyone wants to do good work and be in the moment and play off of each other. There were a couple of scenes where I remember laughing. It was an authentic laugh. That’s what I look forward to. I love those moments. We definitely had our challenges, too, but you just have to push that aside and roll your sleeves up and get to work.”