Camila Banus will be back on DAYS this fall as Gabi, nearly a year after she said good-bye, but only a couple of months after she last aired.
“When I was deciding on leaving in 2019, it was a couple of different factors,” Banus begins. “One of the main factors was that I was involved in not only my story, but other storylines, as well, just weaved around, and it was a lot of work. I’m talking about I was coming in pretty much five days of the week, four days of the week, and it was a lot of hours, a lot of scripts, a lot of words. I was just like, ‘I need a mental reset. My body needs a reset.’ And I also wanted to creatively do something that was different from the formula I had been doing for so long. The break that I had taken before that had been for a couple of years, so for me, it was just kind of a natural, my body was asking for a break, mentally, creatively and physically.”
Banus wrapped up last November, “Which was kind of hush-hush, low key,” she recalls. “When we got back at the beginning of the year, I did not come back for the beginning of shooting, which was so strange for me. It was this really unfamiliar new territory where I was like, ‘Wait, it’s summer all the time? I don’t have to go to work or school or anything? I can just stay home? What do I do?’ It was a little bit intense. Before Covid, I had an issue with my boyfriend because he was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re not really doing anything. You’re watching TV.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m doing. Nothing! I want to do nothing for a little while. I don’t know how long. It’s an indefinite period right now.’ I felt like I needed to just really do nothing. I was watching reality TV cooking shows about cupcakes and decorating cakes and it felt like a relief to not have to think about anything else but letting go and living in this little world of people baking. It was nice, I’m not going to lie to you, it was really nice to do nothing and just order food and not have to cook.”
Banus then decided to take a trip while she had the time. “Right before Covid, I went to Bali at the top of the year, which was amazing, and I got to experience a whole different culture,” she enthuses. “This was the week before things closed down, and Covid was all over the world, but it wasn’t really there in that part of Indonesia so it was just interesting to come back to a world where everything was closed.”
It was during her at-home quarantine that the idea of returning to Salem resurfaced. “Throughout Covid, I kept a positive mind, thinking that I would be still open and available to other projects,” she explains. “I wanted to be part of other creative outlets, it didn’t matter if it was a film or a music video, just something creative and different. So I was definitely open to things and thinking that even though we were closing down, there would still be opportunities for me to self-tape. When that didn’t happen, when things really, really closed down, in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Well, no, I have to still act. This is a part of me, this is part of my body, part of my soul.’ It was nice to get a self-tape here and there and exercise the tools that I love to play with all the time, but it wasn’t the same thing, so that’s when the itch started to come back. I thought, ‘I don’t know how long I can go without acting or without being in front of a camera. DAYS is my home, it’s where I need to be,’ and that kind of evolved into, ‘If we come back, I would love to be part of whatever I can be a part of.’ I didn’t know anything about what was going to hap- pen, and then within the last couple of months there was some back and forth between my management company and me and DAYS, and that happened sort of organically from both sides. I need them. They’re my family, they’re my home.”
At press time, Banus hadn’t returned to the set yet, but was curious about how things would be. “Up until two weeks ago, I was excited, like, ‘Oh, my God, this is going to be so cool,’ and the unknown of it, like, ‘How are we going to be working with each other?’ And so I was giddy about it. And then we had a [Zoom] safety meeting and it was so serious and I was like, ‘Holy, moly. We can’t leave our dressing rooms.’ It’s very safe, which is amazing, but I’m kind of like, ‘What about my friends? I need to talk to them! I need to hang out with them! I need to run lines with them! What do you mean?’ So it’s a little bit bittersweet just because we’re going back to an environment that is completely different, but it’s what’s needed to keep everybody safe.” Bottom line, though, she’s just looking forward to being back in the mix. “I am really excited to play Gabi again,” she says. “I was reading something that Ron [Carlivati, head writer] said in response to what the fans can expect when Gabi gets back, and I’m reading it like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that. Okay, cool! Thanks, Ron!’ I don’t really even know what it is expected for Gabi. I have no scripts. I just kind of know a very basic outline story. I just told them, ‘Whatever it is, I’m there for it. I’m game.’ ”