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Catching Up With Krista Tesreau

(Mindy Lewis, GUIDING LIGHT, 1983-89, 2002, 2004, 2009; Andie Klein, SANTA BARBARA, 1992-93; Tina Lord, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, 1994-96, 1997)

What stands out the most about your years as Mindy? “What a fun character. She was pretty much good trouble. I look back so fondly on those years. I didn’t even realize the extent of our popularity at the time with the Four Musketeers and how successful it was. We had so much fun. It really didn’t feel like going to work. I have to give so many props to the writers. I have to give props to [Casting Director] Betty Rea, who cast Michael O’Leary [ex-Rick], Grant Aleksander [ex-Phillip], Judi Evans [ex-Beth; Bonnie, DAYS] and me. We just clicked.”

Did fans chastise you back when Mindy was trying to come between Beth and Phillip? “Yes! I would go to airports, and I remember people would wag their finger at me. One lady said, ‘Mindy, I want to slap you.’ And she did! She took me by the shoulders, shook me a little bit, and said, ‘I need to slap some sense into you.’ But that’s the soaps. Mindy did the wrong things for the right reasons. She was selfish and spoiled.”

Do you have any special memories of being a member of the Lewis family and working with Jordan Clarke (ex-Billy) and Larry Gates (ex-H.B.)? “Where do I start? They were just complete family to me. I still talk to Robert Newman, Uncle Josh. It couldn’t have been a better experience. From the minute I stepped into that studio, Larry Gates was my grandfather. That’s really how I viewed him. Jordan was just a cool, fun [guy] and more of a big brother.”

You joined SANTA BARBARA for a run in 1992. Was that experience different from GL? “Very different. At the time I went on, I knew it was a sinking ship. They had less than a year left. When I came on GUIDING LIGHT, I was thrown into a main storyline, working four or five days a week. On SANTA BARBARA, I was not. We had different call times, so I wasn’t around the cast very much. I didn’t get to know them like I’d gotten to know my GUIDING LIGHT castmates.”

Your next soap was ONE LIFE TO LIVE, where you took over the role of Tina. Were you nervous going into that? “Karen Witter was the actress who played Tina before me. I didn’t watch the show, but I was told that Andrea Evans’s portrayal of Tina was a lot more vampy and vixen-y. From what I’d heard, Karen Witter played the role tamer and more flirtatious. There was a little bit of nerves; Karen Witter, from what I understand, was a very uninhibited actress, and for all the years I’ve been on soaps, I’m still inhibited. You can take the girl out of St. Louis, but you can’t take St. Louis out of the girl! I’d come from an all-girls high school. When they wanted to do some of these provocative scenes and really push the envelope, I was like, ‘Ohhh, that’s not me.’ I was always uncomfortable.”

What stands out the most about your years as Tina? “I loved all my scenes with John Loprieno [ex-Cord]. He made going to work seem so easy, like walking and chewing gum.”

What was it like working with Erika Slezak (ex-Viki)? “She was the consummate professional. She knew her lines and was a pleasure to work with. I would watch her, pick things up and learn. She wouldn’t have to say anything. You just watch somebody that’s that talented.”

What do you miss about daytime? “I miss the people I worked with, combined with how, whenever I would get a funny script, I just couldn’t wait to go act it out. I remember being in line at a drugstore reading my script, and I’d just burst out laughing. I miss the work. Daytime is such an unusual medium; you have that consistency and that security. I have that security in other ways in my life now, but I really enjoyed going into the studio every day. I miss it, but my life is so full and different. I feel like there’s my single years in soap opera life, and now there’s my married life and family life — two different books. I have two teenagers. My son, Mikey, is 17, and my daughter, Julia, is 14.”

How did you meet your husband, Glenn Strauss, who you wed in 2004? “It was on a blind date in 2002. We had a 12-hour first date. It was the best and longest first date ever.”

What have you been doing since leaving daytime? “I always saw myself living in California. I’ve moved coast-to-coast five times. What fell in my lap was hosting infomercials. I don’t know how many I’ve hosted, but it’s been a lot. That kind of afforded me to just relax and have a social life. I’m on the board of the Santa Monica Protective Association. I try to help out the community. I was room parent every year with my kids. I volunteered at school. I was on the executive PTA board. Even this past year I was at school almost every day volunteering I really enjoyed that.”

Would you be open to doing another soap at some point? “At some point in time, yes, I would be open. I would say no time soon. A producer had asked me if I was interested a couple of years ago. I thought about it, but I know the kind of commitment and the time [it requires]. I just thought, ‘I’m not there. I would be split too much.’ One of these days [my kids are] going to be off on their own, and, maybe at that point, I’ll reconsider getting back into [acting].”