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Character Study: Laura Wright

What do you like best about the character of Carly? “Everything! I love her energy, I love her passion for her family, I love her selfishness and how bratty she is. I love the child in her. I love the sexiness that she exudes — when she wants something, especially. I love how justified she feels in anything she does.”

Is there anything you dislike about her? “I think she’s softened a bit but I think her quick defensiveness could be really harsh, especially when I first started playing her. I don’t think she does it as much anymore; I think that comes with age and being wiser and burying a child and having a daughter watching every move she makes. But that was something where I would be like, ‘Oof, sorry!’ to the actors I worked with.”

What life event has had the biggest impact on Carly’s evolution? “The birth of her daughter and the death of her son [Morgan]. I would say daughters, because now she has Donna and Avery, who she shares with Ava, but when Josslyn was born, that was when Carly first realized she had a little girl watching every move she was making.”

What do you consider to be your signature storyline as Carly? “It’s not one specific storyline, but the overall relationship with Carly, Jason and Sonny. That trio is very much a part of her identity, which she’s now rediscovering, what that really looks like now. And anything with the children — Michael was shot and in a coma, Michael went to prison, Morgan was killed, anything with Josslyn is always a big thing with Carly. The Morgan dying storyline was really huge because it encompassed a lot of people in the family.”

Which of Carly’s kids is she closest to? “I think she has a different [bond] with each one. There’s an attachment to Michael because he’s her firstborn and changed her life. Your first kid changes your life in a way that no other child does; when you become a parent for the first time, your whole life changes. And that happened in such a way with Michael that connected her to Jason and Sonny, and it was the three of them raising him. Having Morgan, her biological son with Sonny, was huge; Josslyn was the first girl and with Jax, which was another amazing love story. And then Avery was when Sonny and Carly got back together the last time; I remember holding her when Sonny proposed to Carly. Avery was a beautiful gift that connected her and Sonny on a different level. Then Donna was a huge surprise, later in life after they’d lost Morgan. Each child represents a different stage for Carly in her life and to her, they’re all incredible and amazing.”

Who does she trust the most? “I think she’s trying to figure that out herself right now. When you feel betrayed by the person you felt the closest to, that’s a hard one, to let people back in. She trusts her mother, she trusts her daughter, she trusts Michael, but Jason is gone, Sonny has chosen a different life. She’s letting Drew in and that feels great, but it’s not 100 percent easy after being rejected and betrayed and left, basically, by Sonny.”

With Jason gone, who is her closest confidante? “Right now, Drew and Olivia and her mother, Bobbie. She adores Olivia. Olivia is probably the best friend that she has.”

Who is her greatest rival? “The greatest rival of the heart would be Brenda because Carly is so different than Brenda; Brenda is tiny, with long, beautiful, brown hair and it’s just a very different visual, you know? Brenda was the first love of Sonny’s life and Carly can’t compete with that. I go back to Robin, too, because in Jason’s world, it’s like Carly never felt good enough or like she could compete with Robin. The way he would defend her was different than with Elizabeth, and Robin was always the thorn in Carly’s side with Jason. Right now, Nina is, somewhat, because she has Carly’s husband and hotel! But I think Carly is over the games and wouldn’t take Sonny back now if he wanted her. Ava has been a really good rival in terms of going head-to-head and having to watch her back because Ava knows how to play with the guys. Ava’s a mobster!”

Who does Carly admire? “She admires her mother a great deal, and I think she admires Anna. Anna is a strong woman who is not perfect, is flawed and makes mistakes, but also is a survivor. I think she respects Anna.”

What is her biggest regret? “I go back to Morgan — any move that she could have done differently, she questions, ‘Would he still be alive?’ There’s no bigger regret than anything around the death of her son.”

What is Carly most proud of? “Her children. Every single one of them.”

If Carly could get a do-over on one decision, what would it be? “Well, clearly she wouldn’t have invested so much of her money in Drew and Michael’s business! If she got a do-over,  maybe she didn’t have postpartum and leave Michael with Jason and not slept with Sonny the first time, and maybe still had been with Jason the whole time. That’s what destroyed her relationship with Jason: She assumed that Jason was with Elizabeth and ran and had hate sex with Sonny, but yet, it’s great soap; because she did that, it spiraled into the most amazing story. And Carly stands where she stands today because of the life experiences and choices that she made, right or wrong, good or bad. I don’t think she wants to do anything over. And I think she’s really proud of the life she’s lived.”

What has been Carly’s happiest romantic relationship? “Jax. It wasn’t about death or fear or fighting and protecting and holding onto and ‘us against them’ — the white knight came in and showed her a world that she did not know existed. But in true Carly form, she couldn’t stay there; if Sonny or Jason needed her, she was always pulled back in.”

What do you think Carly does for fun? “I think Carly plays pickleball. I don’t think she is much of a yoga person; I think she would try, but I think she’d be doing something more active. Maybe she goes to those ‘wine and paint’ things? That would be funny!”

Who is the one that got away? “Absolutely, 100 percent, the one that got away is Jason.”

What era of Carly’s life would be the most fun for you to get to play over again? “Oh, how she came to town. I would love to have originated Carly. Sarah [Brown] did an amazing job and it was just so much fun watching her, but I always have to refer to it and play all that history. I’m bummed that I didn’t have the first six years of Carly. I want it all! I’ve had 17 years so far, but I didn’t get the whole kit and caboodle, even though, God bless the women that did. They gave amazing performances and the audience loves them, as well.”

How would you sum up how Carly has evolved since you began playing her in 2005? “I think Carly realizes life in her world doesn’t revolve around Sonny. When I first started, Carly wanted Sonny back and her family together with him, no matter what, at all costs. It didn’t happen immediately — she fell in love with Jax for five or six years — and when she finally got back together with Sonny, it was like, ‘Right, this is what it should be.’ There were family and life experiences that helped her evolve. They buried their son together and she was by Sonny’s side when his father took his last breath. I think life hands you situations and circumstances, especially once you have children, that force you to show up differently every day. And, when Sonny fell off the bridge and Carly thought he was dead, that was a whole new world. Sonny had amnesia, but they both had to figure out how to live without the other, and that really was the final shift, I think, for Carly [to realize], ‘I can do it on my own.’ And now she’s having to do it without Jason. So I think the major change or evolution came in the last year and a half, when Sonny was presumed dead and he came back and didn’t choose her and their family, and Jason died — the rug was truly pulled out from under her and she had to figure out how to rise again and stand on her own two feet. So I think you are really looking at a very different Carly.” 

Me vs. Her

Who is better in a crisis? “Laura.”

Who is luckier in love, Laura or Carly? “Laura.”

Who is a better mom? “Laura.”

Would Laura wear Carly’s wardrobe? “Depends on the occasion.”

Who spends more time styling her hair? “Carly.”

Who is more patient? “Laura.”

Who is better at keeping secrets? “Laura.”

Who has a better sense of humor? “Oh — 50/50.”

Who is more forgiving? “Definitely Laura!”