#TBT Lamon Archey

This interview appeared in the September 23, 2013 issue of Soap Opera Digest

When asked to sum up his YOUNG AND RESTLESS experience thus far, daytime newcomer Lamon Archey doesn’t hesitate to answer, “I’m having a great time and I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s a blessing to work with a wonderful cast and such amazing people. As of right now, I’m liking what they are doing with my character.”

That’s because not too long ago, Mason barely registered on the storyline radar after debuting as Sarge’s ambitious nephew last December. Archey had originally auditioned for the role of Tyler, which went to Redaric Williams, but the runner-up made such an impression, a new role was created for him. “I was shaking in my boots on my first day,” Archey remembers. “My first scene was with Michelle [Stafford, Phyllis] and she said she was nervous because of all this dialogue she had. She told me, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to pull it all off.’ Hearing from her that she was nervous put me at ease and I realized, ‘I’m not the only one here who feels this way.’ ” Archey didn’t even have time to find his footing when he was suddenly thrust into the limelight along with some of his hunky co-stars (Williams, Marco Dapper, Carmine, and Ignacio Serricchio, Alex) to appear on THE TALK. “That was the first time that I stepped in a room full of women who were excited to see me,” he marvels. “Two weeks before that, nobody knew who I was and now they were screaming for me. It was definitely surreal.”

Back in Genoa City, Mason’s story started off promising after he landed a job as Adam’s executive assistant, then conspired with Victor. “I was a little intimidated when I found out that I would be working with Eric Braeden [Victor],” Archey admits. “But he turned out to be so down-to-earth and he knows what he wants. And most of the time, what he wants is usually right. I really learned from him; he knows what he is talking about. I aspire to get to a point like he is, to come out and own the camera.”

Mason was abruptly fired and sidelined into posing for Jabot’s new fashion line (“I had no idea where he was going”). Just when it looked like the character would fade into the background, an optimistic comment came about his future. “I was at a Daytime Emmy party and ran into Jill [Farren Phelps, then-executive producer],” Archey recalls. “She said to me, ‘I just read something for your character and, boy, is it good!’ A week or two later, I got the script and she was right. It was a shocker, for sure.”

That twist was Mason secretly working with Hilary to stalk the Winters family. Now, Archey is part of a front-burner story and loving it. “I don’t feel like I’m hanging around in the back anymore,” he enthuses. “It’s really getting exciting for me.”

Growing up in Northern California, Archey never dreamed he would be starring on America’s No. 1 soap. “I was raised by my grandparents and I was very much an introvert,” he explains. “Since they were older, they didn’t really go out much, so I was always in the house with them. Later on, I found a couple of friends that I really stuck to, but I did wish I had a brother or sister.” In high school, Archey realized his social ineptness was being misperceived by peers. “People thought I was stuck up or snotty,” he chuckles. “I didn’t talk a lot and stayed to myself.”

Which doesn’t mean Archey threw himself into his studies. “School was not my thing,” he groans. “In fact, I didn’t like school at all. Since I was an only child and kind of spoiled, I decided that if I didn’t want to do something, that was that, and no one was going to make me do it. That included homework, but my grades were not horrible, I just would kind of pick and choose when I felt like working. I did have times when my grandmother got upset with me. She was throwing pots and pans and I was running out of the house to get away from her, but we have always had the greatest relationship. I did spend time with my own mother, here and there. She moved around a lot, so I didn’t see her as much as I would have liked to or felt I needed. That is the reason I have such a strong bond with my grandparents.”

Archey says he didn’t have a solid goal in mind when he graduated from high school. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he shares. “I was a carpenter and installed hardwood floors for about two years. Other than that, I really wasn’t doing anything. I was working, but I had no real aspirations. So we decided it was best for me to move to L.A. and get a fresh start. I came here to live with my uncle.”

A couple of months after relocating, Archey stumbled into modeling. “It just came out of the blue and was the last thing on my mind, but it helped me to break out of my shell,” he notes. “Modeling put me in a position where I had to be more open and conversational. L.A. is definitely the place where you need to network and get to know people to build a name for yourself. There’s not much you can do by staying in the house.”

As he was building his portfolio, Archey fell in love with another model. “Her name is Mercedes and now we have a son, Caden, and a daughter, Gaia,” grins Archey, who is also dad to 11-year-old Machiah. “Mercedes and I are engaged, but we don’t know when we’re getting married. We have yet to nail down a day that works for both of us because she’s very busy, too.”

Through modeling, another career opportunity popped up. “My manager said, ‘Get into acting class and I guarantee that I can get you on a soap,’ ” Archey explains. “I had never considered anything like that before. I remember as a kid my grandmother’s soaps would come on and I’d be like, ‘Oh, God, let me out of here!’ ”

Archey heeded his rep’s advice, but results didn’t happen as quickly as predicted. “I was in acting classes for about two years and nothing was really going on,” he notes. “I was going out for casting calls, but nothing was really happening. I wasn’t booking anything. Finally, I thought, ‘Is this for me? Do I really want to keep doing this?’ I got discouraged and then I booked an under-five [lines] on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. That got me back to see some light at the end of this tunnel. So long story short, I got the job on Y&R.”

While Archey still models, he’s feeling at home with his first real acting job and is even getting recognized. “I was in the Milwaukee airport for a modeling assignment and this guy walked up to me and asked me if I was an actor,” Archey shares. “I said yes and then he left. One of the other models heard the guy say that. He totally knew who I was, but was too shy to say that. I definitely know how he feels [laughs].”

Did You Know?

* By his own and mission, Archey has an unusually small noggin. “I got called Peanut Head a lot. I usually can’t find hats in my size. The next size down from me is kids’ sizes. ”

* He has 10 tatoos.”Whenever I’m wearing just a towel or no shirt on the show, they go through a lot of makeup to co ver my tatoos.

* Archey’s first name is pronounced La-moan, not La-maan. “Everybody usually gets my name wrong,” he concedes. “I’ve accepted it and just think of it as my nickname. Even [iPhone’s] Siri mispronounces my name. When I was growing up, I was also teased with Lemon a lot, and now it’s Layman.” So what is the origin of Lamon? “That has never been revealed,” he shrugs. “I’ve even asked a couple of times and my mother said, ‘I just like the name.’ I’ve asked if I have French in my background, but who knows? But Lamon wasn’t the first name chosen for me; my mom actually had a different name. I don’t remember what it was because nobody in the family remembers, but my grandfather didn’t like [the first choice] at all because he thought it sounded too girly. After my mom had given birth to me, he called her at the hospital and told her, ‘You change that boy’s name now!’ and hung up the phone. He definitely vetoed it.”

Just The Facts:

Birthday: April 9 Born In: Daly City, CA, “but I grew up in San Mateo.”

Middle Name: Dezjon. “It’s pronounced like the mustard, only spelled differently.”

Kids’ Retreat: He has three children with Comet (son Caden, 4, and daughter, Gaia, 1) and an 11-year-old son, Machiah, from a previous relationship.

Dog Gone It: He owns a bull terrier named Jolie. Recent Tweet: “Don’t sleep on the plane with your mouth open. I inhaled every germ in the air & now I have a head cold.”