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Exclusive: Mishael Morgan (Amanda) On Her YOUNG AND RESTLESS Comeback

Mishael Morgan, Jason Thompson, Bryton James

Howard Wise/

Reunion Special: Morgan with Bryton James (Devon, l.) and Jason Thompson (Billy) on her first day back as Amanda.

Daytime Emmy-winner Mishael Morgan, who returned to Y&R this week as Amanda Sinclair after an on-screen absence of nearly a year, describes her comeback as a spur-of-the-moment development. “It was a very last-minute call,” she begins. “Somebody wasn’t able to come in, and I was asked to fill in for them [to] help kind of push that story forward, so [the storyline] didn’t have to be at a standstill. I think that’s the great thing about still being on the canvas, and still being attached to the show as recurring — I can show up and I can do those things and when it works out for my schedule, especially when it’s last-minute, it’s almost better. [Then] I can come in and have some fun and play in Genoa City.”

Y&R’s outreach led to a scramble for Morgan, who is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with her husband, Navid Ali, and their two children, son Niam (born in 2015) and daughter Naliyah (born in 2018). “I got the call on Thursday asking if I could come in,” she recounts. “I decided to say yes on Friday, so I basically had the weekend to book my flight [to Los Angeles], figure out where I was going to stay and fly down on Monday.” She decided to make the trip solo (“I didn’t really want to think about the kids and where they were going to stay and child care in L.A.”) and was delighted to escape the frigid temperatures of a Toronto winter. “I [had been] looking up vacation spots because it was negative 10 degrees in Toronto and it was bone-chilling cold,” she reports. “I was just talking to my husband, saying, ‘I can’t stay here! I need to get out for a week or two weeks. We need to do something. We need to get away.’ And then Y&R called! I felt bad for leaving my family behind, but somebody’s got to do it [chuckles]! When I went to L. A., the weather was perfect and then I got back to Toronto and it warmed up, so I brought the warm weather back for them.”

When Amanda made her surprise visit to Chancellor-Winters to inform Devon of Jill’s desire to add Abbott to the company’s name — a notion he’d already nixed — she maintained a curt and businesslike attitude toward her ex. Of her first scenes with Bryton James (Devon), Morgan shares, “I loved putting in a little bit of snark and I was directed take the snark out and keep her a little more direct and professional. But I think I got an opportunity to kind of have a little underbelly of vindictiveness, a little bit of scorn. That’s always fun, to have those nuances where she’s professional but there is history there and you get to use some of that and bring some of that into the scene.”

History — and an underbelly of vindictiveness — also came into play as Ms. Sinclair sought out Devon’s current paramour, Abby, who he cheated on Amanda with. “I just felt Amanda is back in town and she has a reason to exert some dominance,” the actress muses. “Maybe there’s a little bit of a Hilary trait here. Amanda feels like a woman scorned and she hasn’t really gotten over it and she has an opportunity to kind of shake things up, because she’s not super-happy about what’s going on…. I think she wants to look Abby in the face and really see what’s going on between her and Devon and see how deep it is. I think she’s doing her own investigation for herself and for her heart at the same time. It doesn’t mean that the other woman has to be weak. It’s really nice to see when there’s two women that can stand in their strength and feel empowered with their experiences and what they’ve gone through, good and bad.” Morgan had a blast reconnecting with Melissa Ordway (Abby). “Melissa and I have a lot of fun together. Our dressing rooms are right across the hall from each other, so we’re always talking and chatting. It’s also fun, I think, to play mean and to bring that stuff out because you have no fear of how mean you can get because it’s all just play. You can always get deeper and really push the envelope and you feel really comfortable because you already have a human connection with that person and now you’re just having fun.”

Mishael Morgan-Michelle Stafford


So Happy Together: Morgan with on- and off-screen pal Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) outside of the Y&R studio.

The actress was also elated to share screen time with Michelle Stafford, whose Phyllis is tight with Amanda. Notes Morgan, “It’s just such a completely different energy than the relationship that Hilary had with Phyllis. It really is like two very distinct relationships. I think Hilary and Phyllis were friends because they were so similar, but Amanda and Phyllis are friends because they’re total opposites. They always have a lot of fun hanging out with each other, just like Michelle and I have a lot of fun hanging out with each other. They’re getting a chance to connect and catch up on all of the things that are happening in each other’s life and I know that Amanda is always ready to give Phyllis a little bit of advice.”

Although Amanda’s visit to Genoa City will be short, Morgan promises it will be impactful. “She wants to shake things up, but she’s also there to keep things in order, if that makes sense. So she has a battle for herself. She has this urge to shake things up, but she also has a job to do, so she has to figure out how to navigate that.”