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Exclusive: Young And Restless's Allison Lanier On Summer's Evolution

allison lanier

Howard Wise/

Soap Opera Digest: You’ve been playing Summer since 2022 and have been doing a phenomenal job, as evidenced by your Daytime Emmy nomination. How are you feeling two years in?

Allison Lanier: Thank you so much. I feel so good about it. I mean, I just feel so lucky to be on the show and to work with all these awesome people and we have so much fun. So when I get an interesting story line on top of that, that just makes it even sweeter.

Digest: So many fans were heartbroken when Kyle and Summer split up. When you learned this was going to happen, were you disappointed that it meant not working with Michael Mealor, who plays your former TV husband, Kyle, or were you excited about new story prospects opening up for you?

Lanier: I love working with Michael, so it was a bit of a bittersweet moment because we knew that we probably wouldn’t work together quite as much. But it’s actually it turned out great because we’re working together a lot with the Harrison storyline. So I think it’s been really good for both of our characters, honestly, because you’re right, it does open things up for Summer. And now she has this new romance with Chance, and the audience has been able to see it happen from the beginning. Now Kyle and Summer get to be sometimes co-parents, sometimes adversaries.

allison lanier, michael mealor

Howard Wise/

Ex Files: Lanier enjoys the new dynamic she gets to play with Michael Mealor (Kyle).

Digest: Summer has rebounded quite nicely with a new romance. A girl couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend than Chance. He’s handsome, smart, kind and a hero.

Lanier: Yeah, he’s just a little dreamy, right? I was super excited about working with someone new and I really like working with Conner [Floyd, Chance]. Obviously, I came into the role of Summer when she and Kyle were already married, so it was fun for me to be able to explore those first moments of a relationship through Summer’s eyes. And I do love Conner. That’s a funny dude. He’s so silly and makes the scenes go by so fast. He’s a good time.

Digest: How do you like playing this dynamic career woman?

Lanier: I really love to play the business storylines. I love that Summer has been able to step into her power and get confidence from running Marchetti. I think that in the past, Summer would sometimes draw confidence from not the most healthy of pces. Now she’s grown up a bit and she’s getting validation from her work and being a present mom. I think it’s been really good for Summer and it’s fun to play for me.

Digest: Summer went through a devastating scare recently when Harrison was kidnapped. How did you feel about the spectrum of emotions you were tasked with bringing to your performance while Harrison was missing?

Lanier: That stuff is obviously tough to play, but when you get the opportunity to have these deeper emotions and drama for your character, you want to relish every moment of that because, as an actor, that’s what we love to do. I was really grateful for the material and I dove into with what would that be like for me, Alison, and sort of imbued Summer’s reaction with a little bit of that as well. And I mean, losing or potentially losing a child is probably one of the most traumatic things that can happen to any person, so I don’t think that Summer’s depth of emotion was over the top in any way, because that’s how she feels about Harrison, that he is her child and she couldn’t bear the thought of losing him.

Digest: In your view, why was Summer so suspicious of and unfriendly toward Claire, her new cousin, from the get-go?

Lanier: She had lured her family to a remote cabin and tried to kill them! And it’s so baffling to Summer how everybody forgave and accepted her, even though Claire was in a mental hospital. Summer doesn’t know Claire. Summer doesn’t have a frame of reference for Claire’s history. And honestly, even if Summer did know Claire’s full history, which she knows more about now, it would be even more reason not to trust her. I think Summer took notice that Claire was forming a bond with Harrison and that made her very uncomfortable. Summer was like, “Why is she doing this?” It felt like Claire was overstepping. Because of that weird energy that Summer was picking up from Claire, that’s why, when Harrison went missing, Summer jumped immediately to, “This is Claire’s fault!”

hayley erin, allison lanier

Howard Wise/

More, Please! Lanier hopes for more interaction between Claire (Hayley Erin) and Summer.

Digest: How do you like working with Hayley Erin (Claire)?

Lanier: Hayley is great. She’s such a sweet person and I really enjoy getting to know her. I hope to work with her more.

Digest: Summer shares a very complex relationship with her mom, Phyllis. You and Michelle Stafford [Phyllis] have this great vibe on screen. How do you like working with her?

Lanier: I love working with Michelle. I feel like we have really good mother/daughter chemistry and I also have really learned from her every time we work together. She always surprises me in scenes and I think that’s so fun as an actor to be surprised that way from how somebody else plays the moment. Michelle has been really welcoming to me since the beginning, and our relationship has certainly grown over the years. There’s like a lot of respect and camaraderie there and I appreciate her so much.

Digest: It’s funny how the roles reverse with your characters and Summer ends up playing the parent to her pot-stirring, impulsive mom.

Lanier: I do think that Summer and Phyllis have such a funny dynamic going on. Summer is often rolling her eyes at her mom and, and trying to make her do better. Even so, Summer is kind of entertained by her mom and admires her a lot.

Digest: And how do you like working with your soap brother, Michael Graziedai, who plays Daniel?

Lanier: I love Graz! He’s so much fun and he’s such a terrific actor. I love working with him and he’s made really clear choices for his character and that makes everything feel so much more real and grounded and can draw emotions that you didn’t know necessarily were going to be there. I absolutely love working with Graz. In real life we have kind of a funny sibling dynamic that I think translates perfectly on screen.