Soap Opera Digest: This year marked 25 years since your DAYS debut. What does it mean to you and could you ever have imagined back then that you’d reach this milestone?
Lauren Koslow: No! Absolutely not. Although I do remember [Executive Producer] Ken Corday at the Soap Opera Digest Awards, welcoming me to the show, because I think it was after I just started. He said that he was happy to have me on the show and something along the lines of, “It’s going to last a long time,” or, “You’re going to be here a long time,” and I remember thinking, “Oh, my gosh, maybe three years.” So it’s really amazing. We do have a lot of people on the show who have had a long tenure and it is a wonderful thing for an actor. For me, to have a role like this and a character like this, has just been a godsend. I have really loved every minute of it. You always hear it, but 25 years just flew by. And it’s been 25 years without a stop, too. A lot of people have come and gone but I have been there. And it’s unbelievable to me that it’s 25 years.
Digest: Do you remember your first day?
Koslow: I totally remember my first day. What stood out to me was, “Oh, my God, I love this show!” They did these adventure stories and that’s how Kate arrived, on a fishing barge. Coming from B&B [where she played Margo], with all the designer clothes, which was fantastic, it was a whole different kind of environment in terms of story. So now I’m coming back to daytime, and this time, I’m in jeans and a denim shirt and my hair is tied back in a kerchief and I’m cutting up real fish and oh, my God. And then from that, she goes overboard and I’m on a raft and they had this huge pool filled with water. It was really crazy. I washed up on a deserted beach, they created a deserted island, they created the oceanside with the sand, the whole thing. All of that! There were a lot of special effects. And I remember the camaraderie of the cast; the cast was very close and everybody really loved what they were doing. The stories were so rich, so I just felt like I had fallen into this bonanza for an actress. And it continued.
Digest: When you look back, what are your favorite stories?
Koslow: I’ve had so many good ones. I loved the whole way she was reintroduced. And of course the rivalry with Louise Sorel [ex-Vivian]. That was fantastic. I loved working at Titan, where we all had offices and we actually all had assistants. I love those sets. I loved all of those early stories. And then when they decided to pair up Kate and Stefano, I had always wanted to work with Joe Mascolo and I was just over the moon about that. I really loved that. There were even viewers of the show who started the whole Kate DiMera thing before there even was a Kate DiMera, because it did seem like such a wonderful pairing of these two. I guess overall, that’s one of my favorite, favorite stories. I think they were really dynamic together. I loved how it started out as a story about blackmail — he really kind of blackmailed her into marrying him — and it turned into a love story. I know when I was first reading those scripts, because I loved working with Joe so much, I thought, “She is going to fall in love with him. It doesn’t matter how it starts off.” And it didn’t matter that in some ways he seemed to be her tormenter. They had a dark past, but there was always something there and they did become equals. And he wanted her to be an equal. He loved everything about her — the light, the dark, the good and the bad — and she never really had that from anyone else. Stefano encouraged her to be everything she could be and she felt the same way about him. That was a great story. I really enjoyed that one.
Digest: You’ve had quite an array of leading men over the years.
Koslow [laughs]: That’s a nice way of putting it!
Digest: But DAYS is known for its supercouples and yet you’ve managed to really have successful pairings with so many different people.
Koslow: Kate would be a supersingle. I used to think, “Oh, gosh, I’m finally a couple.” But there is a longevity in that because you can have your own path. And she is a very strong individual, so there is a beauty in both of those ways of having story. But when the Abe thing was happening, I was thinking, “Oh, this is someone new!” But maybe that’s why it’s perfect that it’s coming all the way back around to Roman and Kate because when I first came on, it was with Victor and he was the love of her life and that was a great story and I loved playing that, too. There was so much history there, so when they first broke that up, that was a shocker. But then along those lines, it seemed that that was going to be happening with Kate.
Digest: Kate came to town with one son, Lucas, and since then we met Austin, Billie, Philip, Rex and Cassie. What was your reaction every time you got a new child?
Koslow: I personally loved it because it made the family bigger and bigger. And I think Kate, obviously, from the very beginning, has been all about family. A basic drive for her has been family. She’s like this Mother Courage figure, but it’s also about empire. I’m rewatching SUCCESSION on HBO and I’m like, “I get these stories. These are all King Lear stories.” I think in the back of her mind, too, is she wanted success for all of her family, to have a family where they have all the power and they create a dynasty, so that’s the way I looked at it overall. I think what was always fascinating as you expanded and had more family members, was her relationships with her children. They’re all very different. She’s a completely different mom with each child. It is one of those things where she loves them all differently.
Digest: Kate has also had some memorable rivals over the years. What did you think about those dynamics?
Koslow: Well, I guess the first, really, was Vivian, with the fantastic Louise Sorel. And that was a wonderful introduction to the show and to the character. Both very, very powerful women and evenly matched. There were just some great stories. We had some catfights and physical battles. That was big on the show back then. That segued into the story between Kate and Sami. I actually remember those first scenes, where Kate makes her way back to Salem and it was the first welcoming home and Lucas is there, and Sami and Carrie and Austin. Well, that story had been going on big-time before then and they’re all sitting around and greeting her and you can tell it’s a little bit of b.s., what’s going on. It wasn’t really written that way but I knew Kate had to feel all of it and I thought it was really important that I get that there’s something not right here, especially with Sami. And I think Ali [Sweeney, Sami] and I did the same thing: They were both a little odd to each other. And from there, it turned into a huge, huge story of their rivalry. Kate, of course, trying to save her sons from Sami and that went on for a long time, culminating with Sami and Kate teaming up — which was also one of my favorite stories — against Stefano, with the famous portrait and all of that. That was like a decade-and-a-half coming. So that was a great story, when we created “Kami”. There were others. There was Chloe over Dr. Dan and protecting Lucas. A lot had to do with their kids. The way Kate saw it was wanting the best for her sons, and I think she saw the women in their lives as predatory and she felt she had to do something about it and these disputes ensued.
Digest: Kate has done some bad things through the years. What do you think is her most heinous crime?
Koslow: Well, to play the character, you always have to see her in a positive way, so I think when she really went very deep and dark was during that time with the Daniel character and she really kind of lost the reality of the situation and her position, and she was poisoning Chloe and tried to murder Daniel. It was so much fun to do it but she really lost touch with herself and reality at that point. So I think that was her darkest time. In terms of Philip, right before she married Stefano, he was begging her not to do it and telling her that she reached such a low point that she needed mental help and she refused. She was like, “I can’t do that, I can’t go there. It will kill me. Better that I do this,” which was [be] with a man who tried to kill her son. So she really lost Philip for a long time. And so that probably was the darkest time for her.
Digest: What do you like about Kate?
Koslow: I actually really do like Kate. She’s great fun to play. I think that she just tells it like it is. She’s very up-front, she’s a very strong woman, she’s extremely resilient. One of the great storylines, too, is when she lost absolutely everything. I remember Tom Langan, who was our co-executive producer, talking about it, ’cause I was a little unhappy! I loved her lifestyle and everything, and when I found out she was going to lose everything and was going to be a waitress in a diner, he was like, “Oh no, it’s going to be great. Everybody is going to think it’s going to break her but it’s not going to break her at all.” And I thought, “Oh, my God, that’s so wonderful and I love that you’re doing it because it does define her.” And it did. She went in, she put on the uniform and thought, “I can do this.” So I think it is that resilience. Nothing is going to get her down for long. And she has great fortitude. She’s kind of inspiring.
Digest: After 25 years, is there someone you haven’t worked with but want to?
Koslow: I was really excited to be working with Jim Reynolds [Abe] because we hadn’t worked together a lot. I would love to work more with Jackée [Harry, Paulina]. She’s new to our show, but I think we’ve only had two scenes and they were so much fun. That would be an interesting dynamic with these two women. They have a lot of similarities, actually, and that would be great fun.
Digest: As you reflect on 25 years, what stands out to you when you look back at your DAYS experience?
Koslow: I feel extraordinarily grateful to have had the chance to work for this fantastic organization. It really has been wonderful. It’s been an extraordinary gift. I feel very grateful to have had a character like Kate. It really is amazing that I can still laugh and get excited about her story and her. That’s wonderful. The people that I’ve been able to work with there. I’ve worked with some amazing actors and actresses, and that has been joyful. It’s wonderful being on a show where everyone is so hardworking and so professional, everyone really cares. That doesn’t always happen. And the fact that it’s actually flown by; that’s an amazing thing. I’m grateful to have had an opportunity like this, to totally fulfill my creative side. I feel lucky.