ICYMI - Tamara Braun Interview

"Days of our Lives" Set with Tamara Braun

Credit: JPI

Tamara Braun, who became a GH megastar as Carly No. 2 from 2001-05, slipped seamlessly back into Port Charles last November when her new character, Kim, showed up at the Corinthos home to spend Thanksgiving with the family of son Oscar’s galpal. Her first bit of dialogue, directed to the current Carly Laura Wright, was, “You must be Carly” — and the actress was a big fan of the scripted wink to her P.C. past. “I thought that was the best, that that was my first line,” she raves. “That was great!”

For a multitude of reasons, her return to the show couldn’t be more different from her debut. Back in 2001, soaps were a completely foreign entity to Braun; now she’s a seasoned vet with four daytime credits, not to mention a Daytime Emmy. This time around, she’s originating a character, whereas before, she was entering the canvas as a high-profile recast, succeeding the enormously popular Sarah Brown as Carly. And while news of her (re)hiring was cheered by long-time GH fans when it broke last fall, when she was tapped to play Carly a dozen years ago, the actress recalls, “I learned pretty quickly once it was announced that nobody wanted me there. I got hate mail before I started, waiting for me!”

That far-from-warm welcome of yore capped off a casting process that was shrouded in secrecy — so much so that even after Braun was hired, “They said, ‘You booked the role, but we can’t tell you what it is.’ How weird, right? They told me like a week before [my first day], when they sent over my scripts, but they said, ‘You can’t tell anybody.’ ” Braun complied (“I’m a good girl!”), waiting for permission before telling even her mom, but once the word got out, she had everyone from family friends to acclaimed Casting Director Bonnie Zane (SUITS, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS) eager to fill her in on all things Carly. “She was asking me, ‘What do you want to know? I’ve been watching the show forever!’ It was just nuts [to realize] the broad reach of daytime.” Braun opted not to watch what Brown had done, “because I didn’t want to imitate her. I figured I booked the role not knowing anything, so I should just continue to do my thing.”

The strategy paid off: Braun was a hit, and her time on the show proved life-changing, in ways both small (“I started getting recognized when I was going to the grocery store, when I would go out looking like hell”) and, well, enormous, as it allowed her, for the first time, to make her living exclusively as an actress. When GH hired her, Braun had been working in the banquet department at The Four Seasons Hotel, “and I was about to quit the business the day I got the phone call that GH wanted to test me, because it had been so hard. I actually turned them down. I told my manager no; I said, ‘I’m not going to do the test.’ She had to talk me into doing it.”

In the years since she opted to leave GH, the show had occasionally felt her out about a comeback. “I had been asked before, and it just didn’t seem right,” she explains. This time around, “When they called, of course I had reservations. Of course! I did make somewhat of a mark playing Carly. Carly is an iconic character and sometimes you think, ‘Well, that was my chapter there, let that be.’ ”

GH tempted her with a combination of character and story. “What they told me first was that Kim was smart, professional, loving, an independent single mom. And I thought, ‘Okay, that comes with a lot that I can sink my teeth into.’ And knowing that she was going to be a part of quite a shake-up of things on GH with the Tale of Two Jasons, that was very intriguing to me. I thought, ‘The character seems interesting, the storyline seems interesting, the timing seems good — maybe I should just trust and see what happens.’ ” What sealed the deal was a conversation with a friend who has watched GH “since she was in the womb,” who assured her that her fans would embrace seeing her on the show again, even if it wasn’t as Carly. “So,” she grins, “I decided to take a chance and jump.”

A few months in, she’s having a blast with castmates old and new. “I’ve been able to work with so many different people I never had the chance to work with before,” she notes. “Leslie Charleson [Monica] cracks me up. She always has some dry comment that catches me off-guard and makes me laugh. Becky [Herbst, Elizabeth] and I have worked together a few days and I loved it — and how flipping cute are Becky and Roger [Howarth, Franco] together? Love Elizabeth and Franco! Billy [Miller, Drew, Kim’s surprise baby daddy] has been lovely to work with. He’s very in the moment and cares deeply about his character and his work. Working again with Kelly [Monaco, Sam] has been really nice. When we worked together previously there was a lot of animosity between the characters. This time around — so far — it has been two adult women trying to navigate an awkward situation with maturity and grace. Kelly has been doing such honest, raw work of late. I am so impressed.”

All in all, she’s glad she decided to take the leap back to GH and says, “I am curious to see what Kim’s mark will be in Port Charles.” And, for the record, she is delighted that GH was able to recast the role of Carly successfully when she opted to leave. “Sarah was wonderful,” Braun says. “To the people that think I was wonderful, thank you, and Laura is wonderful. She has been so lovely to me since I’ve come back and it has been so much fun working with her. She is definitely a powerhouse.” But as Braun readjusts to the grind of memorizing lines, she sighs, “I am jealous of her: She has a photographic memory [laughs]!”

Just The Facts

Birthday: April 18

Hometown: Evanston, IL

Daytime History: After playing Carly on GH from 2001-05, Braun moved to DAYS, winning a Daytime Emmy for Supporting Actress for her 2008 turn as Ava. From 2008-09, she played ALL MY CHILDREN’s Reese, then returned to DAYS in a new role, Taylor, in 2011. She reprised Ava for a brief stretch from 2015-16.

Gold Rush: Braun’s Emmy spent several years in a friend’s closet. “I had my house rented out and was living in different parts of the country and traveled to Tanzania and I wanted to keep it in a safe place,” she explains. “I just got it back recently. Since Emmy has come back to me, she resides in the living room.”

Pals Of Mine: Braun is close with GH alumni Natalia Livingston (ex-Emily), who she replaced as DAYS’s Taylor, Cynthia Preston (ex-Faith), Alicia Leigh Willis (ex-Courtney) and Rick Hearst (ex-Ric), and says of former on-screen mom Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie), “I just feel really blessed to have her as a friend. I love her spirit, her energy, her outlook on life.”


Howdy, Neighbors: Her dressing room neighbors are William deVry (Julian) and Dominic Zamprogna (Dante).

Spare Me: Braun spends her free time “playing with my dog, hiking, going to the movies and theater and spending time with people I love, laugh with and who inspire me.”


Tamara Braun has nothing but fond memories of her other daytime homes, DAYS and ALL MY CHILDREN. “I always love working with Mary Beth [Evans, Kayla] and Stephen Nichols [Steve],” she says of her main screen partners as DAYS’s Ava. “They are wonderful human beings — professional, kind, warm and a ton of fun. I have nothing but the best things to say about them as individuals and as a force as their characters in daytime. Go ‘Stayla’! Love them.”

Of her time on AMC, she enthuses, “I loved it. I loved living in New York City, playing Reese, a character on daytime that was so important and part of history. Being part of the first same-sex couple on TV who got married was an honor and meant a great deal to me. I believe that all people should have the right to love and be married if it is what they desire. Love is love. I made great friends and memories while working on AMC. I will always hold that time in my life as very special.”


Braun was a psychology major in college, “because I thought it would be a responsible thing to do. But any time I went to a play, I was just heartbroken, because I wanted to be onstage. I had such a visceral reaction, like seeing the love of your life with someone else.”

When she originally auditioned for Carly, the show used a code name in the script: Sarah