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Aketra Sevillian On Her DAYS Exit

Aketra Sevillian (ex-Talia) had heard rumblings about budget and cast cuts before she became one of the casualties at DAYS. “Everyone was kind of on edge and wondering, ‘Is 
it me?’ ” the actress recounts. “Raven [Bowens, Chanel], Carson [Boatman, Johnny] and I were all in a room talking, as we normally did. We were nervous about who it would be.”

Then Sevillian got summoned to former co-executive producer Albert Alarr’s office. “I felt very competent in my character and how I had been performing, but I was like, ‘Oh, shoot,’ ” she shares. “You could be doing great, but it’s like passing by a police officer. You know you’re going the speed limit, but you’re still looking over your shoulder, because you want to make sure you’re not getting pulled over. I got nervous, but [getting cut] was the last thing I thought was going to happen.”

Unfortunately, Sevillian was wrong. “It was very respectful, when he sat me down,” she continues, noting that Alarr explained that it had nothing to with her work, but that she was simply a casualty of cost-cutting measures. “And I was the newest on the show, so I had to be let go. My story had to be let go at the moment. They weren’t going to kill me or anything, and I could come back whenever the budget [increased].”

Despite the positive pink slip packaging, “obviously nobody wants to be told that,” contends Sevillian, whose alter ego went to California last week. “She was getting a little overwhelmed with what was happening in Salem. It was a 
lot for her to bear. So she’s going back to her stomping grounds where she felt the most comfortable.”

Coming to terms with the news took some time for the daytime newcomer. “For the six months that I’d been on the show, I made amazing friends and gained amazing insight,” she explains. “I felt like I was in a family and got very comfortable. I started to really become Talia and resonate with her. As an actor, it’s hard to let a character go. I’d been Talia for six months. It was sad to have to let her go.”

Hence, her final on-screen moments were emotional. “Once everybody sees my last scenes on the show, they’ll see that those were real tears about me leaving,” admits Sevillian. “It was a bittersweet moment, because I learned so much from the show and it was great. I felt like Talia had been a role that was another stepping stone [toward] where I eventually want to wind up in my career. It was opening the doors to bigger roles for me. So this was a great part of my story, a great chapter in my career.”

Reflecting on her time in Salem, Sevillian says she’ll miss “the family dynamic of the show. I got really acclimated and created great strong bonds with a lot of people. It’s kind of weird not to be able to see them every day or every other day. I got into a routine, and I’ll miss that. I got to be a working actress. I worked on my scenes day in and out, my sides and breaking down my character. I got really into that mode. It was kind of weird to let Talia go.”

Sevillian has remained in touch with some of her co-stars. “Raven and I still see each other,” she notes. “We’re in a book club together, and we’re also really good friends. We are in contact all the time. And I still see Lucas [Adams, Tripp], which is ironic, because we never had a scene together. We’re in a basketball league together. We do a lot of sport leagues and teams together. We stay in contact because of that.”

And she has some great takeaways from her daytime experience. “One thing I learned from being on the show is to trust my instincts,” explains Sevillian. “The pace of how everything works on a soap made me more prepared as an actress and made me fully rely on my instincts in the moment. Instead of relying on the 10 takes I could possibly get, to just live in the moment and take the scene as it is. I’m ready to go one and done. I’m very prepared to deliver on my first take.”

Sevillian notes that she’ll miss a lot about playing Talia, particularly her vulnerability. “I’m a really vulnerable person, but to broadcast that and showcase that within a character and allow the world to see that, to put your vulnerability in someone else’s hands, was a challenge,” she explains. “I’m going to miss that. And I’m really going to miss Talia’s style. They hooked me up with the styling with Talia. They gave me all the good fits. I’m going to miss dressing up and being stylish day in and day out.”

Since leaving DAYS, Sevillian has completed aesthetician school. “I have my license, and I’m in the midst of trying to find my own suite in a salon to open up,” she says. “I’ll have my own private business. And, obviously, I’ve been staying sharp with my acting. Once I stopped filming was when the strike started. It was around the same time frame. I still auditioned for voice-overs and small projects that we were able to do within the union.”

Although she has a few irons in the fire, Sevillian would totally be on board to return to DAYS. “Oh, of course. I would love to come back,” Sevillian delivers with a smile. “I love everything about the show, and it’s also my craft. As an actor who doesn’t want to work? If the opportunity presented itself, 1,000 percent I would love to be on DAYS or any other soap opera.”