Interview

ICYMI: Melissa Claire Egan Interview

Melissa Claire Egan Eased Right Back Into The Role Of Y&R’s Chelsea

 

It was really like no time had passed,” sums up Melissa Claire Egan of returning to Y&R and the role of Chelsea after a self-imposed sabbatical of over a year. “I love these people so much; the cast, the crew. It felt like a whole new chapter, that’s for sure, which I wanted it to be, and everyone welcomed me with open arms. It’s like a home. It’s like a family here. I just slipped back into the routine and then within no time I felt super-comfortable again.”

Having played the grifter-turned-heroine since 2011, the break was just what Egan needed. “I got to travel the world, which I just love to do,” she enthuses. “Between Japan, the South of France and a lot of travel domestically, I got to see people I hadn’t seen in a long time, so personally it was very fulfilling. Professionally it was so fun, too, because now I’m a part of the Hallmark family. My movie’s debuting November 8 [see sidebar] and that was just a wonderful experience. And I joined a band! So, I feel like personally and professionally it was just a great recharge for me. I’m grateful for it, but I’m extremely grateful to be back, as well.”

Egan decided to circle back to Genoa City after Head Writer Josh Griffith reached out and shared the plot he wanted to script for Chelsea. “I felt really excited for the story Josh wanted to tell for my character,” she smiles. “It was really humbling. Life is all about timing, and it couldn’t have been better timing to come back at the end of May. I feel like the stars had all aligned.”

Although it’s a new chapter, “I’ve been doing soaps now for over 13 years, so I always have the same goals,” she shares. “Giving 100 percent, always caring, never letting myself slack off, always trying to make sure you’re on your lines, study all night, study all morning. I have the same discipline I’ve had since 2006. It’s just settling back into waking up at 5 or 5:30 in the morning and getting used to all of the material.”

Not that it’s easy, the actress notes. “It’s a lot, this job, but you do it. Even though the pace is so bananas, I really love it. I love that you get one take. If you want to make it good, you better make it good. I’m used to that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved doing the movie, too, but the days are so long and there’s so many takes. It’s just such a different challenge because you’re like, ‘How do I make it good every take?’ I mean, I love them both, but the soap pace definitely suits me.”

Egan was thrilled to hear that Chelsea and Nick would reunite because that meant working with his portrayer. “Oh, my God, I love my Josh Morrow,” she declares. “He’s definitely one of my best, best, best friends here. He’s just wonderful. He has great energy and he’s such a great actor, but he’s also just a really fun and smart person. We have a very similar vibe together, I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth. I take him out of his dungeon, his dressing room. He’s back to going out to lunch and seeing the sun and getting some vitamin D.”

Morrow had actually tried to get Egan to return to the show before. “We texted a lot throughout my leave of absence, my sabbatical, if you will,” she reveals. “He  took me to lunch to try to convince me to come back one time. Everyone knows he just doesn’t do that. He’s either at work or at home with his kids or playing a sport somewhere. He came to Santa Monica and took me out to lunch to try to get me to come back, which really warmed my heart.”

Her on-screen love, however, doesn’t hold a candle to her real-life one, hubby Matt Katrosar, an executive at Pluto TV/Viacom. “I’m a lucky chick,” she declares. “He’s the smartest, most loyal, most wonderful guy. He’s the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met in my life. He’s confident, so he doesn’t get insecure by me getting all of the attention or me making out with a bunch of random dudes. He just wants me to be happy and he’s my No. 1 fan, which feels really great. He’s the best!”

In September 2018, with Katrosar’s support, Egan went public with a very private heartbreak, sharing on social media that she had suffered a miscarriage in the eighth week of her pregnancy earlier that year. “It was never a secret to my best friends,” she explains. “If it came up, I was very open about it, but I hadn’t talked about it publicly because it just didn’t seem organic and authentic enough to do so. Several months later, one of our friends who lives in another part of the country was in town and he told us about his wife having a miscarriage. I said, ‘Oh, I had one, too.’ And he just seemed shocked and said, ‘Oh, I wish we had known about that. We felt nobody talks about it. We felt like failures.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. I would’ve told you, I just haven’t seen you.’ And that made me so sad that he felt that way. The next morning I woke up and watched this interview with Carrie Underwood talking about her three miscarriages. It just made me cry, but her being so open and honest about it felt right.”

That inspired Egan to do the same. “I literally just went on the Notes section of my phone and just typed and typed,” she recalls. “Matt was landing from a trip and I called him and I read it to him. I asked, ‘Is this okay if I share this?’ and he said, ‘Absolutely.’ And I copied and pasted it and just posted it. Like I said, I would never want to do something if it doesn’t feel organic or I’m doing it to get attention. It wasn’t that at all. I just didn’t want anyone to feel alone or like a failure. I will say, when I went to hit Send, my finger was shaking. And then I did and I could not have been happier. I was so moved and touched by the reception. I felt so overwhelmed with the love I got back. It was just wonderful. I don’t think anyone should share it if they don’t want to. No judgment on anyone who doesn’t want to but it was healing for me, more than I anticipated.”

While Mr. and Mrs. Katrosar are still looking forward to welcoming a little one, Egan has a lot to keep her busy in Genoa City. “I just read what’s coming up for Chelsea and it’s so juicy,” she teases. “It’ll be a ton of work, but a ton of fun!”

 

Just The Facts 

Birthday: September 28

Hails From: Bedford, NY

Bard None: Egan received a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also studied Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.

My Guy: Egan married Matt Katrosar on July 26, 2014.

OTHERWISE KNOWN AS: Before coming to Genoa City, Egan played ALL MY CHILDREN’s Annie from 2006-11.

Food For Thought:
“I don’t cook. My husband’s mom is an amazing cook who makes her own salad dressing in a blender. I’m lucky if the salad dressing doesn’t say expired in 2016. I’m really good at making scrambled eggs and French toast. Unless you want French toast for dinner, you’re probably on your own.”

Pet Project: She’s a passionate supporter of Dharma Rescue, which rescues dogs with disabilities. “They get wheelchairs and they’re rehabilitated to become therapy dogs,” she  says. “It’s very expensive, so I just try to raise as much money as possible for vet bills, the surgeries and the food.” (www.dharmarescue.org)

Shape Of You: Of staying fit, Egan says, “It’s a blend between Barry’s Bootcamp and yoga.”

 

Buddy Up 

While playing Annie on ALL MY CHILDREN, Egan became close pals with her co-star and first soap husband, Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan). “I always say Cameron got me through my 20s,” she chuckles. “He was my therapist. I started that job when I was 24 years old, so there was always a lot of boy drama, and I’d go knocking on his door at 7 a.m. We’d order breakfast together and I would tell him about my drama. He was probably sick of hearing it but he was so patient; listening and giving me advice. He was just the best big brother.” Egan is keeping Mathison, who is battling kidney cancer, in her thoughts. “He’s a warrior and a champion, so I know he’s going to be just fine,” she says. “He’s one of the healthiest people I’ve ever met. He’s got the most wonderful family and friends, and I know he feels all of the prayers and thoughts and well-wishes being sent his way.”

 

‘Tis The Season

“It was one of the best professional experiences of my life,” notes Egan (with co-star Marc Blucas) about her upcoming Hallmark movie, HOLIDAY FOR HEROES, in which she plays Audrey, the owner of a coffeehouse. “It’s just this really sweet, beautiful story of when this girl sends coffee to her brother, who is overseas in the military, and he gives some to his friend, Matt,” she previews. “He writes Audrey a thank-you note and they become pen pals for a year. This friendship blossoms and a year later, he comes to meet Audrey at her coffee shop and then romance blooms. But there’s also a big conflict because the town is not holding the Holiday For Heroes annual party this year. Audrey takes it upon herself to make sure that party takes place for the soldiers who deserve it. It’s also especially a really important movie because it’s not just a romance aspect, but the big part of it is the military and how much they sacrifice for us. I’m really proud of it. I can’t wait to share it.”

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