Lesli Kay: The Survivor

In the few short months since Weekly last spoke with THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL’s Lesli Kay, her character, Felicia, has gone from fading cancer patient to cancer survivor. Not bad, considering that head honcho Brad Bell had repeatedly — and publicly — vowed not to save her. Luckily, he realized he couldn’t give up a good thing.

Last fall, Kay knew full well she was signing up for a death sentence, but by winter, she was hooked on life at B&B and ready to go to any (hair) length to see Felicia endure. And she wasn’t the only one. “The whole cast was fighting for me, and that’s why this is different than other shows,” Kay marvels. “On most shows, there’s vying for position and, ‘Why does she get the huge storyline?’ I haven’t seen that here. Certainly I’m a supporting player, not a lead player, so it’s given everyone something to play. Felicia’s fight united the family.”

Now, thanks to Stephanie’s life-saving machinations, Kay is an integral part of the show’s future, with her character set to challenge little sister Bridget. “Think of it this way: Bridget is Brooke’s daughter; I am Stephanie’s daughter,” Kay teases, a twinkle in her eye signaling that Bridget better watch out. “This second part of Felicia is going to be juicy, because the cancer’s always looming. I’ve talked to people — there are a lot of cancer survivors in my life, and I’ve gotten huge response from survivors everywhere I go — it can always come back, so you live life differently. You say it like it is.”

That doesn’t sound like much of a change for strong-willed Felicia, but Kay promises fans can expect her character to be even tougher — including with her mother. “The Stephanie/Felicia relationship isn’t all hunky-dory just because she saved my life,” Kay guffaws. “There’s so much more to that relationship and it’s so relatable to our fans. So is the Brooke/Bridget relationship. In daytime, you have that generational viewing audience. Most people watch because their grandmother watched, then their mother started and then they started, so it’s a big element of the show.”
And Kay sees B&B’s strong focus on female energy as one of its biggest strengths. “Female relationships are very important,” she insists. “I think AS THE WORLD TURNS missed the boat with Carly and Molly. That was one of my favorite all-time relationships in daytime, but it should have been fleshed out more. Maura (West, Carly) and I used to laugh all the time, because we wouldn’t work together for a month and then we’d have three 10-page scenes to catch up. When we finally got to ‘break up,’ it was great. It was the first feud they’d had.”

Of course, daytime is not just about the ladies and, with the cancer in remission, Felicia is ready to resume her love life. She has acknowledged the heat she shares with the good Dr. Ramirez, but has put the contender on the back burner to make a go of it with her baby’s father, Dante, which cannot sit well with Bridget. It was difficult enough when Felicia survived to take back baby Dino, but big sis attempted to snatch Dante right out from under her!

Kay maintains Bridget said too little, too late. “Bridget doesn’t like it, but she wasn’t at the point where she was willing to say to Dante, ‘I’ll be yours,'” Kay defends. “Felicia was like, ‘Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you guys were going to happen, wouldn’t it have happened by now?’ She pushed them to make a decision, because otherwise she and Dante should make this work for the sake of their child.” And, hey, that sibling rivalry has to start somewhere!

Still, Kay hopes Felicia also will be getting into more than family drama. “I don’t think it should be either you’re in a family or you’re in a love triangle. It can all be together, and Brad does a great job of that,” she contends. “Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) is amazing, and I haven’t worked with her yet. I would like to work more with my brothers (Ridge and Thorne), just to be there for each other. And I’m still thrilled to have parents! I have worked with Hunter (Tylo, Taylor), whom I love,” Kay continues. “She’s a doll, so sweet. I don’t think people get how funny she is. This cast is just unbelievably talented. I don’t know that a lot of them have gotten their due. They’ve been playing [their characters] for 19 year and they keep them alive and fresh.”

It is next to impossible to wheedle a complaint out of Kay these days. She doesn’t even grumble about getting that buzz cut on air. “I thought I would miss my hair and that I’d be coveting other people’s long, gorgeous hair,” she laughs. “I look at that like I look at pregnant women right now! ‘I’m sorry you had to have an hour in hair and I didn’t.’ It’s a big time-saver.”

At work perhaps, but before hitting the town for a night out or even for errands, Kay gives a bit more thought to what she wears than she used to. “If I put on a suit right now, I’d feel comfortable, but I’d look very masculine,” she confesses. “The fact of the matter is, with my normal tank top, sweat pants and no makeup, I look like I prefer women. Not that I don’t — I’m not giving away my personal preferences. But I will say that I’m more conscious of it. It used to be I could throw on anything, but you’ve got to think about what image you’re portraying and where.”

Still, Kay wouldn’t call herself a style maven, and admits she wears those tank tops more than anything else. “I’m the kind of person who has one pair of black dress shoes, and I put myself together with what I’ve got,” she reveals. “I love clothes, but I don’t have time to shop. Plus we’ve moved five times in two years, and you can’t have a ton of stuff when you’re moving around. Luckily, my husband (Keith Coulouris, ex-Keith, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-David/Reid, ATWT) is very fashion savvy. Whenever he’s told me what to wear, I’ve gotten ‘Best Dressed.’ Whenever he doesn’t, I’m in the ‘worst-dressed.'”

Their two sons seem to be following in Dad’s fashionable footsteps. “Jackson (6) has a mohawk and likes to get his big toes painted. He calls them his ‘captains’ and paints them zebra or whatever,” she shares with a laugh. “My mom was in town and asked him, ‘You paint your toes?’ He said, ‘Yes, that’s my style.’ He’s always been a character. And his little brother (Alec, 1) is a carbon copy.”

It’s clear that, for better or worse, Kay has settled into life in Los Angeles, on-screen and off. Just don’t tell her that. “Whenever I say I’m settled, I have to sell something,” she quips. “The only thing I always have is my Emmy and this one plant I can’t kill. One day, like in The Jerk, it will just be me, my Emmy, my plant and my family sitting on a corner somewhere.”

But for the time being, her family, her plant and her Emmy have their place. “Right now, the Emmy’s in the family room, on top of a bookshelf. My husband says the room would be much more feng shui-ed if we had another one, so I said, ‘Go win one!'” she laughs. “New York is my home and I always feel like a visitor in L.A., but I’m here for the long haul, so I’ll get over that. I’m happier on B&B than on any show I’ve ever been on.”