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Exclusive: Lead Actress Winner Michelle Stafford On Her Emmy Experience

michelle stafford

Steven Bergman/AFF-USA.COM / MEGA

The lead-up to the Daytime Emmy awards ceremony last month caused some anxiety for the eventual winner of the Outstanding Lead Actress statuette, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Young and Restless).

“At first, I couldn’t really find a dress to wear this year,” she reports. “I have limited time because I have so much going on with my kids and with my [skin care] company so I couldn’t do a whole shopping spree and also I wasn’t willing to pay a few thousand dollars. I did ask some fashion houses if I could wear one of their dresses and nobody really bit, nobody was really interested in helping me out. The dress I found was actually inexpensive and I liked the fishtail flare at the bottom. When I put it on, it looked decent and I was like, ‘Okay, there you go,’ and that’s how I found my Emmy dress.”

Her hectic schedule away from Y&R was the reason why Stafford was a no-show at the annual luncheon for the Outstanding Leading Actress nominees hosted by last year’s category winner, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy, B&B). “I couldn’t go because I had to do something with my daughter for volleyball,” Stafford explains. “I’m sure everyone had a really good time because Jacqueline puts on a really great party. She also invited all of the women who were nominated [from Outstanding Supporting Actress and Outstanding Guest Performance], which I thought was very cool.”

On the night of the awards ceremony, Stafford, who had previously won two Daytime Emmys, reveals that she wasn’t expecting to be in the winners’ circle. “I hadn’t won in the last 20 years, so you kind of get used to not hearing your name,” she points out. “I felt I had some strong material this year but I’ve had good years before and didn’t win. When I did hear my name, I was absolutely shocked. I said, ‘Oh, my God!’ and when I went up on onstage, I looked at Steve Burton [Jason, GH], I said, ‘What the f—? What the f—?’ but nobody saw that except Steve.”

The actress had a blast celebrating with her Y&R colleagues after the telecast. “The after-party is always a good time,” she says, “but I tell you, you have even more fun when you just won an Emmy!”