Riot Girls

Will they or won’t they? That’s the question on many ALL MY CHILDREN fans’ minds as the show takes baby steps toward its first lesbian pairing. Here, real-life pals Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie) and Eden Riegel (Bianca) discuss taking their on-screen friendship to the next level.Soap Opera Digest: How did you two make the leap from co-stars to friends?
Eden Riegel: I thought Liz was awesome from the first day she was on the show [as Frankie]. She’s really outgoing and fun, and she’s such a sweetheart. We just clicked. She makes me laugh; we laugh and have fun. We like each other! We can’t help it.
Elizabeth Hendrickson: There’s nothing to not like about the girl. I mean, really. She’s extremely bright and sweet and warm. The first time I met her, she came straight up to me — I was very nervous on my first day, and she was easing the pain, telling me what to expect.
Riegel: I never would have known she was nervous. She was cool as a cucumber. She had a lot to do that day, a lot of scenes with Susan [Lucci, Erica], and she would just give it to her, really feisty. There was this energy about her. [To Hendrickson] That first day, I went down to Judy [Blye Wilson, casting director] after you were done.
Hendrickson: You did?
Riegel: I was like, “Thank you, Judy!”
Hendrickson: Oh, wow.Digest: When Liz left the show last year, was it hard to say good-bye?
Hendrickson: It was. I was very upset. I just felt…. I felt I shouldn’t be leaving. I wanted to get something nice for her, so I went to the store and got a couple of fun things.
Riegel: I totally didn’t expect it. She got me this address book, and in between where you write the addresses are interspersed different movie posters from the genre of the lesbian vixen. I’ve never seen any of [the films], but the posters are extremely interesting, like, “What happens behind the walls of the all-girl boarding school [laughs]?” But saying good-bye was really hard. She told me early on that she had a short-term contract, but she was so good that I didn’t believe it. I thought, “They’re going to keep her. They’d be so stupid to let her go.” And then, when she got word of the exact day she was leaving, I was devastated.Digest: Did you keep in touch while Liz was gone?
Hendrickson: We e-mailed a lot. And I had a housewarming party. At, like, 1 in the morning, my roommate came running over: “Eden’s here, Eden’s here!” I got so excited: “She came!” I ran, and she was there, with a bottle of champagne. Oh, it was so great.
Riegel: Then she told me over e-mail when she got the call from [Executive Producer] Jean [Dadario Burke] asking her to come back. I was like, “See, they’re not stupid. They know when they’ve got a star.”Digest: Do you hang out a lot outside of work?
Hendrickson: We mostly hang out at work. It’s funny, because as good friends as we are, we are really night and day.
Riegel: I think night and day is actually a good way to describe it. I’m a day person, and she’s a night person. Liz is helping me get in touch with my wilder side.
Hendrickson: I’m not that wild! I mean, I’m not out of control by any means.
Riegel: And she has so many friends! I went to her birthday party — how many people were there?
Hendrickson: A little over 60.
Riegel: Sixty people! I don’t know 60 people.
Hendrickson: But I never had that before, you know? Girls never really liked me.Digest: And now all the girls like you!
Hendrickson: The straight ones and the gay ones!
Digest: What do you think accounts for your on-screen chemistry?
Riegel: Chemistry can’t be faked, I think. And when two people like each other, there’s an energy between them that’s undeniable.
Hendrickson: When I started, my friends were telling me what great chemistry we had, and I didn’t notice it. But now that I’ve worked with probably half the cast, I realize what amazing chemistry we have together. I’ll have to work with men and really, I’m heterosexual, but I have more chemistry with her! I’m trying to have romances with boys, but I don’t know, I just feel it with her!
Riegel: I feel it too, Liz! You’re not alone.
Hendrickson: I called my mother and I said, “Mom, I don’t know what I’m going to do! What if I work on another show and I have to be with men? Am I secretly hiding something [laughs]?”