A lot has changed in Carrie Genzel’s life since her last Digest feature in 2016. “I live in Atlanta,” she begins. “They call it ‘Hollywood East’ here. I moved here about two-and-a-half years ago for all the right reasons — for love — and since we last talked, I’ve gotten married and we are very happy living here. It has been a very interesting time to live in Atlanta. Moving from Los Angeles and being a Canadian girl, I’ve never lived in the South — and it has been a pretty interesting time to live in the South. There’s a lot going on. Atlanta became the complete center of the last election, civil rights is a hot topic of conversation…. Everything!”
The actress has made the most of her new location for work, as well. Coming out of the pandemic, she landed the recurring role of Tony on SISTAS, who will be making a comeback in June, and has appeared on THE WALKING DEAD, both of which film in the Peach State. “I have to say I feel that I am an actual Atlanta actor now that I’ve worked for Mr. [Tyler] Perry,” Genzel smiles. “I feel like now I’ve been accepted, and it was just a blast to step into that world. We shot in February, so we had to quarantine on the Tyler Perry Studios lot. I had to live there! As far as I know, he was the only one who was doing that because he has his own studio, and he has the opportunity to have us all live in a bubble, which we did. He went to great expense and took great care to make sure everybody was safe and it was a safe work environment. It was pretty incredible to go through that process. If we needed anything, they would bring it to us, and they would come in, like, a Hazmat suit. I felt like I was in a movie! Because the Tyler Perry Studios used to be a military base, there’s actually a ton of housing on the lot, all real homes. They were used when they had the officers and their families living on the base, that was where they lived, so there are these beautiful brownstone heritage homes that we got to live in. It was definitely a memorable experience.”
Genzel shares that her soap experience proved invaluable while working with Perry. “I also have to say I was warned about this by a number of friends who have worked for Tyler Perry — he moves at the speed of light,” she chuckles. “He makes soap opera schedules look lazy. I am not kidding. On ALL MY CHILDREN, it was just get out there and you either sink or swim with your 35-plus pages a day, but Mr. Perry does 100-plus pages a day, which is why he tends to really like people from daytime because they can work quickly.” But she admits that she didn’t realize just how quickly. “Mr. Perry comes up to me and says, ‘Hi,’ and then he says, ‘Carrie, you’re going to start here on a cart. You’re going to get off,’ and then he just points in a general direction and says, ‘You’re going to walk over there and say the dialogue,’ and then he walks back to his monitor. So, I did that, but unbeknownst to me we were shooting — and I had no idea! I thought we were camera blocking. We finished a couple of scenes and someone came up to me and said, ‘You’re wrapped for today,’ and I said, ‘What are you talking about? You were shooting that?’ and that person looked at my face and said, ‘Welcome to Tyler Perry Studios [laughs].’ I am so grateful for my time in daytime because it really prepared me for situations like that.”
While Genzel looks back fondly at her days on DAYS, it’s AMC that truly holds a special place in her heart. “I played a nurse on B&B for a few episodes but AMC was my first big job,” she reflects. “We were such a tight-knit group, and there was such a family atmosphere that you felt safe and so when things did change last minute or you needed to speed things up they were like, ‘Hey, do you mind if we go straight to tape?’ You go, ‘Absolutely, I’ve got David [Canary, ex-Adam/Stuart] here. Let’s go!’ I’m so grateful for that, and I learned so much from Francesca James, who was our EP at the time, and working with David and Kelly Ripa [ex-Hayley] and Robin Mattson [ex-Janet] and Michael Sabatino [ex-Jonathan], the list goes on. I was so blessed — and who can forget Susan Lucci [ex-Erica]? She’d blow me away every day with her photographic memory. She’d know her lines and your lines. She kept me on my toes, let me tell you. I was also very sorry to hear about the passing of Ray MacDonnell [ex-Joe, last June]. He was a lovely man, very warm and kind. We had a few great patriarchs on AMC and Ray was one of them.”
As far as her new life as a Southern belle goes, Genzel is thrilled about being a newlywed. “I met Michael in Los Angeles,” she says. “We both lived in L.A. back in 2011. We were friends, and we stayed in contact. We’d meet for coffee every once in a while and just stayed in touch. It wasn’t until years later that we reconnected and it was like, ‘Hey, there is something really cool here.’ Michael is an artist and an inventor and entrepreneur so he doesn’t have a typical work schedule, either. It’s nice when someone is doing something completely different and you’re not reliant on one industry, but he has come to set with me a couple of times. He’s actually very good with running lines with me. He has gotten very good, and he has a lot of fun with it. It’s a great quality he has. He gets into it.”
The bride and groom got to know each other very quickly after they said, “I do,” which was mere months before the pandemic left the country in lockdown. “We have since moved into a townhouse, but we were in a two-bedroom condo during the pandemic,” she states. “I had to laugh because people always told me the first year is the most challenging, but nobody told me I’d have to quarantine inside with my husband! However, we were happy to have each other and grateful that we got married prior to the lockdown. We had been planning a wedding and then things had come up, so we eloped in Atlanta. Thank goodness, because we would have been planning this whole thing and then have to put it on hold. We may do something with friends and family later on but right now, we’re just happy that life is starting to come back to normal.”
Though Genzel doesn’t rule out a return to her daytime roots at some point — “Never say never” she says — there is one nighttime soap she’d like to land a role on, especially since it shoots in her current Atlanta stomping grounds — DYNASTY. “How perfect would that be?” she muses. “I did audition for it a few times but it just didn’t go my way. I was like, ‘Really? Come on. This is my wheelhouse!’ I’m dying to do something on that show and cause some trouble. When I went to tape, I got right into my whole closet. I had the Escada dress and the Louboutin shoes. It was so fun for me, it totally reminded me of my soap days. It was just so fun and juicy.”
Dead Woman Walking
Genzel really enjoyed toiling on THE WALKING DEAD. “I was so glad to finally talk about it because they’re so secretive with story,” she smiles. “I read that Jacob Young [ex-J.R., AMC, et al] did two episodes, too. We didn’t work together but I thought it was kind of cool because there was a Chandler connection there. What’s great is I got a lot of nice comments about it, and not just from fans of the show but from soap fans, too. I did a virtual soap panel for Wizard World with Catherine Hickland [ex-Lindsay, ONE LIFE TO LIVE et al] and a bunch of others, some I’d met and some I hadn’t. That’s always great fun, and I have to tell you, soap fans are truly the best fans in the world.” You can also catch Genzel’s AMC Zoom reunion on YouTube’s The Locher Room, hosted by Alan Locher, with Catherine Gardner (ex-Rosa), Laura Roman (ex-Laura) and T.C. Warner (ex-Kelsey) — and look for the actress to return for more episodes of SISTAS later this spring.
Just The Facts
Birthday: September 18
Hails From: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Official Web Site: www.carriegenzel.com.
Spouse In The House: Wed Inventor/IP Consultant Michael Rivellino on November 5, 2019.
Let’s Doodle: Proud mom of Daphne, a mini goldendoodle who turned 3 in December. “She keeps us pretty busy.”
Otherwise Known As: Ali, DAYS, 1997-98; Skye, ALL MY CHILDREN, 1996-97
Fit And Trim: In her spare time, Genzel is part of Community Ambassador Program at Club Pilates in Brookhaven, GA, where she is known as the “Pilates Fashionista”.
The Write Stuff: Created the inspirational blog www.stateofslay.com; SLAY stands for “Self Love/Appreciate You”.
Preventive Medicine: Is an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is a member of the Attitudes In Reverse Advisory Board.