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Quick Take With Melissa Claire Egan

What was your reaction when you found out that Chelsea would be hit with such a huge health crisis? “I was really excited! [Co-Executive Producer/Head Writer] Josh Griffith reached out to me at the end of last year, which was so kind of him. I read or heard that Chelsea would have a stroke and then suddenly your head writer wants to talk to you, it makes you go, ‘Uh-oh!’ He was so amazing. He was like, ‘Hey, you’ll be reading all of this stuff and I wanted to make sure you know that it’s all good and part of a new, exciting storyline. Don’t panic.’ I was like, ‘Cool, thanks for letting me know.’ So, he’s a very thoughtful head writer. He told me what the storyline would be, that Chelsea would have a stroke and wouldn’t be able to speak and will be in a wheelchair, but she’ll slowly get better and not tell anybody. I was like, ‘Oh, this is so good.’ He also told me some other stuff that’ll be coming up and I’m so thrilled. I’ve been doing soaps now for almost 15 years and this is nothing that I’ve ever done before, not being able to use my voice or my body. So it’s been an interesting, fun, cool challenge.”

How hard is it to keep your body that still? “You just have to and then you get used to being focused and getting into the mindset of somebody who’s very aware of what’s going on but can’t express herself. In the beginning, they didn’t even want me frowning, so you just have to learn how to be expressive through your eyes. I just concentrate on the person in the scene and connect with them because they have such a hard job to do. They’ll have pages of monologue because I’m not speaking back, but luckily they’re so talented and make it look easy because what they have to do is so difficult.”

What’s been the most challenging? “As an actor you use your body, your hands, your voice and your facial expressions, so all of that’s been difficult and new, not to use those things, but it’s still an exciting challenge, especially in the beginning, when it comes to expressing your feelings through your eyes and make it as believable as possible. It’s an interesting balance of how much can you express [versus] how much she’s not able to express. I love doing it and making it work.”

Do you ever have a tough time not laughing? “I get a lot of tweets from people, ‘Oh, my God, it must be hard to keep a straight face,’ but it actually isn’t. That’s not happened once. It’s very serious because Chelsea is in a bad place, so there’s never been a time where I think it’s funny and I can’t stop giggling.”

Are you anxious to get back to wearing your pretty wardrobe? “I know everyone’s expecting me to say I can’t wait to be done with Chelsea’s sweatsuits, but I’m actually gonna be bummed when it’s over! I don’t want to retire the sweatsuits. They’re so cozy, come in all colors, I don’t have blisters from high heels, and I’m covered if I gain a few pounds. They’re a dream!”