Portraying Sonny’s down-to-earth high school sweetheart/highfalutin’ magazine editor, Connie Falconeri/Kate Howard, has been a serious balancing act for GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Megan Ward.
Soap Opera Weekly: Kate Howard has been likened to Anna Wintour, the former editor of Vogue. Is she your inspiration for the role?
Megan Ward: At least half the inspiration for the character is Anna Wintour, but she is an older woman who’s had a long career. I’m not of that age yet, but I imagine Kate could become that person, eventually. I draw from Lauren Lauder, Estée Lauder‘s granddaughter, who runs the Estée Lauder company, and a well-known interior designer named Kelly Wearstler, who was one of the judges on [Bravo’s] TOP DESIGN. What I loved about her was every week she had a completely different look.
Weekly: You actually have a fashion background, don’t you?
Megan Ward: Yes. I started modeling when I was 9. I grew up in Hawaii, and there was a large Japanese modeling market there. I went to Japan seven times from the ages of 15 to 19. I lived there anywhere from two weeks to seven months. So I know a bit about the fashion industry.
Weekly: Is it true you speak Japanese?
Megan Ward: Yes, but what’s sad is it’s going away, because I never use it. I took Japanese in high school, instead of Spanish or French. At the time, I was modeling often. I was taking off school and going back and forth to Japan to do jobs three to seven days a month. I was working with Japanese clients, so I had the opportunity to practice.
Weekly: Well, after mastering Japanese, playing Kate/Connie can’t be as difficult — or is it?
Megan Ward: What’s been challenging has been playing Kate — that person who is strong and flawed and one can be critical of — but maintaining the qualities of Connie, the girl Sonny fell in love with. She’s still completely in there. I have to play the projection of Kate Howard, but it’s all covering the Connie Falconeri underneath. Creatively, I’ve had to constantly balance being forceful and dominating in situations, but still let you see that the true girl doesn’t mean to be that forceful and dominating. The true girl is someone you’d like to know.
Weekly: Who can you relate to easier, Connie or Kate?
Megan Ward: Definitely Connie. Connie is a smart girl. She knew what she wanted, but was still grounded in reality and capable of loving and letting someone know that she loves them. Kate is a creation, a manufactured identity. What’s sad about Connie, and she’s learning that as we go along, is that she might have been wrong that she had to be Kate Howard to get where she is. That’s what Sonny represents for her. You have to be strong and ambitious to accomplish great tasks, but you don’t necessarily have to be purely Kate Howard. As Megan, I’ve made choices to have children and be committed to my marriage, which may have gotten in the way of some of my career ambitions. But for me, life is all about balance. It’s choices for good or bad. That’s where Connie is now: discovering that some of the choices may not have been for the best.
Weekly: Is it difficult juggling motherhood and acting?
Megan Ward: I have to say that I’m a lucky girl. This is probably the best job in the world for me right now. The GH set is only 20 minutes away from my home. So I can send (six-year-old) Oliver off to school and hand the (one-year-old) baby over to the nanny, then I can go to work in the morning. I’m usually done by lunchtime, so I can go to the post office, go to the bank, and pick up Oliver from school and have the afternoon with him and Audrey. It’s wonderful.