Soap Opera Digest: Cait, you previously commented that when you first got the role, you were told about the same-sex romance. Camryn, when did you find out?
Camryn Grimes: I knew right before Cait came on. There was a rumor going around that someone was going to explore their sexuality and I was like, “I really hope it’s me!” Then I just happened to get into a conversation with Mal [Young, executive producer/head writer] and I asked, “Is it me?” and he said, “Yeah, it’s you.”
Digest: When you first met, did you discuss the subject?
Cait Fairbanks: No, because they didn’t tell me who specifically.
Grimes: I told you!
Fairbanks: Right, but I think it was the second or third scene we had together that you said, “So guess what?” and I was like, “Do you know about this?” That’s when I knew, “It’s got to be Camryn.”
Grimes: I was like, “Yeah. It’s me!”
Fairbanks: We cried together and we hugged. It was beautiful. Then, when we got the thumbs up that it was moving forward, we had a conversation about, “What’s your idea about this and are you okay with that?” We wanted to be true to the story.
Grimes: We weren’t worried about the relationship; we were worried about making sure that the relationship came across as real to both of us.
Fairbanks: Yeah, definitely. We just wanted to make sure that we did it right.
Digest: Did you think Mariah exploring her sexual identity made sense?
Grimes: Yes, because there’s 20-odd years of Mariah’s life that is unseen. You only know the Mariah that’s discovering herself in Genoa City. She has been such a closed-off person, but it just made sense to me that something like this could catch her off-guard and be unexpected but beautiful at the same time.
Digest: What was your first impression of each other?
Grimes: I was really glad because —
Fairbanks: I’m so pretty!
Grimes: She is so pretty and I was like, “I can work with that!” What struck me was that she was really nice. Then, an hour or two into working together I thought, “Oh, this is going to be great!” We have the same sense of humor and when I found out she did musicals, that was just it. It was really easy to slip into a rhythm with her.
Fairbanks: I always get so nervous about what kind of first impression I make that I forget to have first impressions of other people. I remember thinking how bold Camryn was, in general. I was really nervous about making a good first impression and she was so warm and friendly to me. I mean, everyone was friendly but I think we bonded especially because we have a lot in common.
Digest: As Mariah and Tessa were getting closer did you, as well?
Grimes: Oh, yeah, but I didn’t really want to make her uncomfortable right away with, “Hey, let’s have lunch!” Even though you’re on a big show with an ensemble cast, it can be kind of isolating. I know that personally, and even coming back to the show five years ago was incredibly lonely. I felt like I was coming home, but when two-thirds of the cast has no idea who you are, it’s a much different experience. It took a while for me to make friends and bond with people. It’s easy now and I’m comfortable enough to say, “Hey, let’s go to lunch!”
Fairbanks: I’m so needy. I love going to lunch with friends. I remember sitting in my dressing room and thinking, “Should I text people?” I still get nervous about that. I have pretty bad social anxiety but I think that a lot of actors do. In theater, you hang out with everyone 24/7 and you want to kill them but here, you’re alone during the day, so when you see people you’re like, “Hi, let’s hang out!”
Digest: Cait, are you into Disney movies, like Camryn?
Fairbanks: Am I a Satanist? I love Disney [laughs]! We went to Disneyland!
Grimes: We went together actually pretty early on in our relationship and I’m obsessed with Disneyland. This is where Linsey Godfrey [Caroline, B&B] and I struggle in our relationship. She hates Disneyland with a passion. We’re such good friends, even though I have an intrinsic suspicion of people who don’t like Disney, but I get it. Disney is this huge mega corporation and they’re going to take over the world, but Moana was freaking incredible and shut your mouth!
Fairbanks: It’s so good.
Grimes: The people who don’t like Disney also like The Rolling Stones more than The Beatles.
Fairbanks: I don’t like The Rolling Stones more than The Beatles, but they’re completely two different animals.
Grimes: Fine! Fine! But The Beatles are the greatest band of all time, just get on board!
Digest: What qualities about the other person do you think your character is attracted to?
Fairbanks: I think Tessa is attracted to Mariah because of how open she is and her self-confidence in who she is. She comes across like, “I’m myself. Deal with it,” and Tessa’s very closed off and has a mysterious past.
Grimes: I think that Mariah is attracted to Tessa because of her talent. For Mariah not knowing what she really wants to do but kind of stumbling into a job, seeing Tessa’s intensity, passion and drive for her music, and the soul and the heart that comes with that, is a big draw.
Digest: How did you find out about the kiss?
Grimes: Mal mentioned it to me but I didn’t know when it was going to take place. We then knew it was going to happen on their San Francisco trip.
Fairbanks: I was at home and my boyfriend was over my shoulder asking, “What’s this?” and I said, “Oh, we’re going to kiss,” and he’s like, “Yes!”
Grimes: I was glad that it was finally happening and I was just really excited. I was like, “Let’s kill this!”
Digest: Were you guys nervous?
Grimes: I was just excited.
Fairbanks: Camryn was going to do most of the work, so I wasn’t that nervous!
Grimes: Mariah initiated the kiss and I wasn’t nervous. I’ve been doing this kind of quirky, comic relief thing for a while and I was really dying to sink my teeth into something emotional, so I was ready. I felt like I was in an epic sports movie and yelling, “Put me in, coach!” I feel people wanted to make it a bigger deal than Cait and I thought it was. I remember one of the stage managers saying, “We’re going to clear the set and we’re going to turn off the monitors,” and I was like, “Don’t do that!”
Fairbanks: They were trying to do it for us. I get why.
Grimes: They were trying to be nice in case we were nervous but it was just not a big deal to us and I said, “You literally just had two people pretending to have sex over there. Did you clear the set for them? It’s just a kiss! We’re good!”
Fairbanks: I don’t think I ever thought this much about kissing someone! I guess I never really thought of the gravity of it at all. I was just like, “Okay, we’re doing this and it’s going to be great!” When we were on set and the lights went off, for the first time I thought, “Should I be nervous?” I didn’t think about it in that way because it’s just another relationship! And then it was time and we were done and I felt like, “Oh, I’m sad it’s over.”
Digest: At the fan club event, you both were seated at the same table for autographs. What did you hear from the fans?
Grimes: That’s been the most rewarding experience for me. The messages and the tweets on all forms of social media from people and telling me their stories has been amazing. But it’s very different when you have people literally in front of you conveying their feelings and you’re moved by how moved they are.
Fairbanks: My favorite thing, beyond performing, is meeting and talking with people. When I talked to the fans, I caught myself crying a few times. There were a few couples that were coming up to us and saying, “Thank you so much for telling our story.” I was just so honored and humbled and it was really just an emotional experience. I remember leaving and I cried because I was so happy.
Digest: Now for the big question: Do you want Mariah and Tessa to become really involved?
Grimes: Of course! I’m always down for whatever story they want to tell.
Fairbanks: I say, “Bring it!”