Tea Toddlers

Kate Linder (Esther, Y&R) recently hosted a charity tea party in British Columbia to benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Here, the actress talks about her special event, which, this year, included appearances by her co-stars Christian J. LeBlanc (Michael), Michael Muhney (Adam) and Stacy Haiduk (ex-Patty/Emily) at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel.Soap Opera Digest: How did this tea party get started?

Kate Linder: I had been involved with events for Robin Wyss, who does a lot of charity events. One year, I was up in Canada for an appearance and while we were having breakfast together, all these people kept coming up to me and saying, “Oh, my God, Esther!” He was just blown away by that and I said, “You know, you are really missing the boat because YOUNG AND RESTLESS is very popular here. You need to do a charity event and bring up YOUNG AND RESTLESS people.” He asked what I would do if it was my event and right there, I knew I’d have a high tea because my character serves tea and I would make it very classy. So Robin said, “Okay, you’re on.”

Digest: Just like that?

Linder: Yes! The first one, we did in Victoria. Then we started doing two a year, one in Victoria and one in Vancouver. Then we ended up just doing it once a year in Vancouver and this was the 12th one. I can’t believe it!

Digest: Are there fans who come back every year?

Linder: Oh, yes! There are a lot of the same people. There’s this one woman in her 80s, who comes with her cousin every year. It wouldn’t be a tea without them. We see a lot of the same people but this year, there were quite a few new faces. I was shocked. It just keeps getting better every year.

Digest: Were you pleased with how your tea party turned out this year?

Linder: Very. This year, it was almost sold out before the fans even knew which Y&R actors were coming. I try to bring up different people every year for variety. I’m so grateful for my cast because no one gets paid. They come and work really hard for no pay but we have a great time.

Digest: But Christian comes year after after, right?

Linder: He has been coming for quite a few years. He’s become the emcee and he’s excellent at it. We sort of work the event together and it turns out really well.

Digest: How did the fans react to Michael and Stacy?

Linder: The fans loved them! Michael is hysterical. He and Christian were so funny together. Stacy was great. They all did such an amazing job.

Digest: Do you plan anything else for the event besides serve tea?

Linder: We do a Q&A session, an auction and sign autographs. We stay until we’ve signed autographs for every single person and everyone leaves with a gift. This year, we raised over $30,000 with just the auction.

Digest: Wow! What were some of the items up for sale?

Linder: Christian donates a couple of his prints every year. The big item is the tour of the YOUNG AND RESTLESS set, which includes airfare and hotel. It’s always a big deal. Also, [Makeup Artist] Patti Denney and [Hairstylist] George Guzman come now so we can auction off two makeovers. They do them right there at the event. There’s this one woman in a wheelchair, who’s been coming every year and she got a makeover this year. She was positively glowing.

Digest: Do you have a similar tea party in the U.S.?

Linder: Not yet but we’re looking into adding a tea in the United States to benefit the Susan G. Koman Foundation. It’s a really good event and I’m very proud of it!