INTERVIEW

Jackée Harry Dishes About Joining DAYS

“They just said I would be fierce and fabulous and I went, ‘Oh, I’m typecast again!’ ” muses Jackée Harry of getting the call to join DAYS as newcomer Paulina Price. “They said she’s fabulous and fun and full of life and a strong, determined woman of power. As soon as they said she would have money, I said yes.”

Harry, who got her daytime start as Lily Mason on ANOTHER WORLD from 1983-86, knew what she was getting into before she stepped into Salem, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. “It’s daunting just doing it every day,” she points out. “I’ve got reams of paper because I’m old-fashioned. I have the scripts to see what the other storylines are; I don’t just do my part. One week they had me in all day long, every day, and I didn’t want to see anybody after I finished. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t utter a word. I couldn’t drink. I couldn’t eat. I just had to sit and breathe. People have a tendency to think, ‘Oh, that’s nothing.’ But they couldn’t do it. Especially doing it on a dime. Sometimes they give you [new] pages and you just have to do it, which I was used to from ANOTHER WORLD. Thank God, I was trained. I don’t think I could have done it had I not had previous experience. Memorization is one thing, but you have to act it, too, and show up eager.”

Returning to her familiar stomping grounds didn’t give the Emmy-winning actress pause. “I’m another paranoid actor,” she admits. “I’m no different. You ask, ‘Is this the right thing?’ But I’m a common-sense person. It’s been Covid and I’ve worked a lot under Covid protocols. It’s been challenging. I can’t sit around and do nothing. I like to act and that’s what I’m doing.” With those Covid protocols in place, however, Harry notes, “It’s intense. Everything is bigger than it should be, but everybody is very nice and they treat me really nicely and it’s gotten better and better. It was never bad, but they’re getting to know me in terms of my character. It’s not easy in show business to meet people. To make real friends, it’s difficult because you’re guarded. But I knew all the cameramen and crew from my [’80s sitcom] 227 days. I mean, all of them. It just makes it easier, but they got to know me and my character, which makes it more fun.”

Harry was instantly dazzled by her new co-stars. “Jim Reynolds [Abe] is a giant,” she raves. “As soon as I saw him, I said, ‘Let’s just get into bed. I know that’s where it’s going!’ He’s so good. He’s a professional. He’s a leader. He’s the reason we’re there because he’s been there 40 years. So I respect him completely and totally and trust him. When I saw Lamon [Archey, Eli], I said, ‘Man, can’t you dial back the years?’ He’s gorgeous. And Sal [Stowers, Lani]? I adore her. They’re so stunningly good-looking and such good actors.”

As for what to expect from Paulina, Harry teases, “She’s scandalous and she has a past but she’s definitely got her eye on Abe Carver, for sure.”

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