Dave Baunoch Dishes On His Famous Daughter Cait Fairbanks

What was Cait like as a child? “A miniature version of who she is today. She got in trouble at a very early age for singing loudly in class. She just couldn’t help herself and she was constantly in this world of imagination. When we would go to Disney World, she would end up with a war chest of every princess dress. On top of that, she had countless Barbies. She would be in her own little world all day. She was a joy to be around.”

Was she pretty easygoing or did she keep you on your toes? “The only challenge was that by, oh, maybe 8 or 9, she developed a Broadway-caliber voice that would get a little bit out of hand. So imagine somebody singing something from Wicked or Backstreet Boys just inches from the back of your head and loud enough for an 800-seat theater. Let me tell you, it was quite the experience. I figured out really quickly that she was smarter than me and it was very intimidating and scary how she processed information and then asked questions. So, I’d have my 8-year-old basically outarguing me,  which was really challenging. However, she wasn’t the type to get in trouble. That just wasn’t her. She was more the peacemaker.”

Did she have other hobbies or interests aside from singing? “She was very creative. She loved to cook and draw and write scripts and songs. Our house was like a war zone of all these different artistic expressions.”

How would you rate her as a student? “Because she was acting at such a young age, by 11 she was either going to on-set schools or homeschooled. When she did [the musical] 13 with Jason Robert Brown, school was literally on the set from 10 to 12 each day and then you’d rehearse. She’d do 5:30 to 10:30, eight shows a week. You can imagine how that changed her perception of school. We lived two hours from  Los Angeles and her mother would drive Cait four days a week to do shows or go on auditions. We were going through a car a year.”

She sounds very career-focused. “Yeah, but at the same time, she would have to make a choice. The times that she did go to a public school, she wanted to play Belle in Beauty and the Beast, so she put all of her heart into that and didn’t go on any auditions for a couple of months. In fact, THE VOICE wanted her to be on the first season but she skipped that to be Belle.”

Did you care about whether or not she went to college? “It’s funny, even though I have my PhD, my thought process was, ‘You go to college so you can get a job. Well, now you have a job you want to do.’ So, her mom and I were totally supportive of [her pursuing her career instead].”

She is part of a groundbreaking storyline on Y&R. What do you think of the “Teriah” storyline? “I read a lot of what her fans write on some of the Twitter pages and what struck me are the women who have reached out and said, ‘I was thinking of killing myself, and I saw you on TV representing me. You changed my life.’ That means so much to me. My daughter is changing a generation of women who have been so underrepresented and dismissed but can look at Mariah and Tessa and say, ‘That’s us.’ Who gets to do that? It’s amazing. I’m so proud of her.”

What was it like to see Cait in a wedding dress? “It’s a father’s dream, right? But I must admit that I didn’t picture her in a ’70s wedding dress. The only thing I know for certain is when and if she ends up in a wedding dress, it’ll probably not be the one that I predicted.”

How did you celebrate Father’s Day when Cait was growing up? “We’d do a barbecue or go to some restaurant and then play a lot of games. We were always a big games family and I always loved that. In fact, I’m guessing that’s what Father’s Day this year is going to turn out to be, as well. I think we’ll get the clan together and barbecue, then play a lot of board games.”

How would you describe your relationship now? “We’re still very close. There’s that corny saying that goes something like, ‘You have to let go of your daughter’s hand, but you never let go of her heart,’ and  that’s real. I’m amazingly proud of her because she got to do the dreams that she’s wanted to do and they’re not done.”