Interview

Victoria Grace On Joining DAYS

Victoria Grace is headed to Salem as Li Shin’s little sister, Wendy, a role she first played on BEYOND SALEM: CHAPTER 2. “What struck me, and I’m quoting from the character description, is that ‘she is wickedly smart, confident and not afraid to speak up,’ ” begins Grace. “That really stuck with me. So I sent in a tape [in February], and I didn’t hear anything until a month later. Then the offer came. I was completely surprised because I didn’t meet up with anybody. I didn’t talk to anybody.”

After landing the role in the spin-off, Grace then discovered she would be on the “mothership”, too. “It was definitely exciting,” admits Grace. “Marnie [Saitta, DAYS’s casting director] called and said they were thrilled with my tape and super-excited about my character. She gave me the rundown of how things would work so I wouldn’t be too spooked because the process is very different [from other projects].”

Starting out on BEYOND SALEM helped ease Grace into the medium. “I found out from my cast members afterward that some of them were a little jealous of me,” confides Grace. “Because with the Peacock special, we go slightly slower. It’s not a definite one-take-per-scene type of thing. Everyone was like, ‘It’s so cool that you got to break into it via Peacock and really get your feet wet before jumping into the main show.’ ”

That, coupled with having Tanner Stine (Joey) by her side, helped calm her nerves. “Tanner and I started on the same exact day,” shares  Grace. “Marnie called us both and said, ‘You know what, maybe, since you’re the newcomers, you two can stick together. You can seek help from everybody else, but find comfort in each other.’ And we did. I remember Tanner told me on a FaceTime call that it was a relief that there was someone else who could relate to him because it can be daunting walking into a project that’s been running for over 50 years.”

But she found the cast surprisingly welcoming. “For a lot of TV shows and other projects, people get quite cliquish,” says Grace. “People have their friends, and they stick to them. They don’t really welcome newcomers. DAYS is completely different. Everyone welcomed me with open arms. I was immediately part of the family. I had a lot of scenes with Lucas Adams [Tripp], who is amazing, Camila Banus [Gabi], Remington Hoffman [Li] …  They all taught me everything I needed to know.”

Grace readily admits she “wasn’t too familiar with the DAYS OF OUR LIVES universe” prior to joining the show, nor was she ever a soap fan. However, her family definitely was. “My grandfather [James Mayor] was the Vice President of Hearst Marketing back when Soap Opera Digest was first created and was being distributed by Hearst national circulation,” says Grace. “It was his favorite magazine when he was there. Soap operas were his thing. He was big on all of them. I just know that if he was still alive today, he would be all over this. He would be beaming with joy. And my mom [Melissa] grew up watching ALL MY CHILDREN. That was the one that she was obsessed with. So we definitely have soap fans within the family. My mom couldn’t be happier for me. I come home every day from work and I tell her, ‘I love my job.’ It is really a joy being at the studio with everybody.”

As for her new alter ego, Grace says, “Wendy is someone who knows what she deserves, and she’s not going to take any less. When she comes to Salem, she’s ready to stand up for herself. She’s ready to open her brother’s eyes because he is her only hope of being able to reason with their father [who didn’t give her a promotion]. She’s very ambitious and trying to work her way up; really prove that she’s on the same level as everybody else.”

Prior to DAYS, Grace’s career was filled with an array of guest spots and shorts. “But I would say I’m most known for my voice-over work,” notes the actress. “The most notable project would definitely be Last of Us: Part II, because that had worldwide reach and it’s Sony PlayStation’s biggest game. I also voiced the main villain, Lady Bone Demon, in the movie LEGO MONKIE KID: REVENGE OF THE SPIDER QUEEN. So I got my own LEGO, which is really cool.”

Yet for now, Grace truly couldn’t be any happier than she is at DAYS. “Oh, my goodness. I applaud all of these actors and directors and producers who I previously wasn’t aware of,” raves Grace. “They all work extremely hard, and you can tell that every one of them really cares about what they do. It’s amazing to be a part of that atmosphere and to be among these people. I definitely have a new respect for the daytime community, and I love that I’m now able to say that I’m a part of it.”

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