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Meet DAYS's Raven Bowens

It’s been such a roller coaster,” reflects Raven Bowens of landing the job of DAYS’s Chanel. “I auditioned for it months back. It was a self-tape and I didn’t hear anything for weeks and so I had kind of given up on it. About a month or so later, I got a call for a chemistry read but I didn’t get the part. I was told it went down to the wire and it went another way and as actors, we hear that often [laughs]. I was like, ‘Whatever, they were just probably being nice’. So I was pretty sad about it and then all my team was hyping me and I thought, ‘You know what? I read Carol Burnett’s book awhile back, and in her book she talked about how she couldn’t get arrested, she couldn’t get a job, and she kind of settled with herself and was like, “You know what? It wasn’t my turn. It was that other person’s turn.” ’ So I sent my agents that email and they said, ‘We love this, so moving on.’ A couple of weeks later, I booked [another show], so I was in New York and I was doing that show and then DAYS called and they offered me the role. It was pretty crazy.” 

Because it was a quick recast — Precious Way (ex-Chanel) last aired on July 5 and Bowens picked up on July 6 — the newcomer hit the ground running. “They called on my birthday, which was crazy,” she recalls. “We closed the deal the day after. They sent me five scripts that day. I had to finish shooting [in New York] — I think I had two more days — and then I flew back to L.A. I had to change my hair, get everything together because it was a recast so they needed certain matchups and things like that. I literally hopped on a plane, was learning lines on the plane, had one day of being in L.A. before I started filming on DAYS. My first day, I think I did something like 29 scenes. It was wild. Wild. I had to go in doing everything that I’ll probably ever have to do. My first scenes, I come in bawling, so I was like, ‘Okay, well, that will get me really comfortable with everybody real quick.’ ” 

But meeting people on day one didn’t exactly pan out. “I didn’t really get to meet anybody,” Bowens shares. “I didn’t really want to on my first day because I had so many lines in my head and just learning about the building and doing your own hair and makeup because of Covid, there was a lot. I was like, ‘Okay, today I’m not going to even try to learn names. I’m going to do my work, put my head down.’ I have my little binder that I take with me, which I only halfway have time to use. I tear the pages out as I shoot them and that’s the best way for me to keep track of what’s going on, especially when it’s a lot. It was very, very intense and I’m glad that I have training because I felt prepared.”

Bowens notes that after the first day, she bonded with her co-stars quickly. “Working with Jackée [Harry, Paulina] is a dream,” she raves. “I grew up watching SISTER, SISTER over and over, so I was really excited to meet her and work with her. Everything went so, so fast but she was so supportive. The first day we had no time to talk and then the next day, I was like, ‘I’m sorry. We didn’t get any time to talk,’ and she’s like, ‘No, no, no. You’re focused and I love it.’ She’s very sweet.” As for Lucas Adams (Tripp) and Lindsay Arnold (Allie), she adds, “They were the first people that I got to work with and they pretty much took me under their wing and showed me the ropes and prepared me. We got to run lines over FaceTime,  and they were letting me in on what’s going on, what my storylines were with them. They were so gracious and helpful in helping me through the process and I feel like we just melded together really well.” 

In between Bowens’s audition and hire, the original description for Chanel had been tweaked, and the character was now sexually fluid. “When they originally sent the offer over, they let us know that that was something that had changed from when I originally tested,” Bowens explains. “They asked a bunch of times if I would be comfortable with it. I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I didn’t understand what the big deal was. To me, it’s acting and it’s real people’s stories and that’s what I’m in the business to do. I’ve never played a character that was sexually fluid but I love that they’re doing it on daytime. It can be a little bit taboo to certain people in that regard, but I love it. At the end of the day, Chanel has many things about her that are unique and that’s a part of what drives her but it’s not the whole her.” 

Now that she has a few months under her belt, “I’ve been digging in and doing all this work with my acting coach on Chanel,” she says. “In the beginning, it was, ‘Let’s go in there, let’s make sure we’re making bold choices, that I’m having that life-of-the-party kind of attitude that Chanel has, that I am willing to show the vulnerability that Chanel also has.’ I think the longer I’ve been on, the more colors I’ve been able to show. The writing is phenomenal and it gives me a lot to work with and does allow me to show all the different sides of her. The longer I’m doing it, the deeper I’m able to make her.”