Elissa Kapneck (ex-Sasha, Y&R): How did you find out about your nomination? "I actually woke up from a nap and my phone have blown up with a million texts about it. I kept blinking to make sure I was awake."
How do you feel about your nomination? "I'm still freaking out. I've been watching soaps with my parents my whole life. I've been acting since I was 5 and my life dream has always been to be on a soap and win an award for that. Everyone who's known me since I was a kid is so excited for me. My mom loves Soap Opera Digest, so she'll freak when she sees this."
Did anyone doubt something like this could happen for you? "When I was 7, I told my teacher I wanted to be a soap actress and win an award. She said, 'That's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.' Luckily, my parents didn't agree with that."
You must be really psyched, then. "Last year was honestly the hardest year for me. I'm not a quitter but I had gone through 9 1/2 months of auditioning and I kept striking out. I gave myself two months and if nothing happened, then I would quit. A week later, I got the call for Y&R and I put all of my faith into that audition. Whatever happened, I was going to take that as a sign of my fate. The audition went well and my manager later called and said, 'Congratulations, you booked!' " That and now the nomination are great signs, so I'm beyond appreciative."
Will you prepare a speech? "I'm really a wing-it kind of girl, but I'll have something prepared, so if I pass out and I'm half-resuscitated, I'll have something to say."
What would winning mean to you? "That dreams really do come true."
Michael E. Knight (Martin, GH): How did you find out about your nom? "I was having the screwiest day. I had to take my dog to the vet for a test and my car battery died twice and I kept having to get it jump-started. I'm freaking out, waiting for the tow truck, and I get a text from Cady [McClain] that says, 'Congratulations on your M&M.' I went, "What?!' And she said, 'Congratulations on your Emmy nom.' My hand to God, it was the furthest thing from my mind. All credit goes to casting director Mark Teschner because maybe like, six months ago, he goes, 'Hey, man, come upstairs.' I come upstairs thinking he's going to say, 'Your arc on GH is ending' or something like that, but he actually said, 'Do you want to throw your name in the hat for the Emmys?' I was like, 'For what? I'e only done 12 shows!' I said, 'Well, I can't watch myself, so whatever you think is worthy, you put on tape.' To this day, I don't even know what's on the tap! But I hadn't thought about it for months until I got a text from Cady."
What was your reaction? "You know, if there's anything I've learned from the last few years of my life it's that you're only 15 minutes away from being nobody. So I'll say it over and over again: The hero of the piece is Frank [Valentini]. This is the most unlooked-for blessing in my life and it's all credit to Frank for giving me this job when I needed it. I am so grateful."
Your fellow nominee Eva LaRue said she feels this Emmy is yours, but she'd like to borrow it. Are you open to such a deal? "Anytime! Another real thrill for me is that in this category, two of these people are my friends! I knew Chrishell Stause [ex-Jordan, DAYS] when she was a baby. To be in this category with her and Eva is just really, really cool. And then Rebecca Budig and James Patrick Stuart, my dear friends? To be nominated with them, it feels like a win for the home team [AMC, where they all met]. It really makes me smile."
Other than Cady, who were the first people to congratulate you? "That the really cool thing about this: I heard from people that I've known for 30 years, like Jennifer Bassey [ex-Marian, AMC], [former AMC Head Writer] Lorraine Broderick, going, 'Hey, man, good on ya!' I've felt an incredible amount of love and support and friendship."
What do you think about the ceremony being virtual this year? "I'm flattered that they're doing it! [Stuart] and I were joking, 'During the ceremony, are you going to be Donald Duck-ing?' — i.e., wearing only the top of your outfit! That's the big question: To Donald Duck or not to Donald Duck? I'll put on a jacket, but I may be in sweatpants. I'm not wearing shoes, let's just put it that way."
Eva LaRue (ex-Celeste, Y&R): How did you react to news of your nomination? "The nominations were going to be announced at 1 on THE TALK, but my publicist called me at like 12:30 and said it had been leaked somewhere online. I was so excited. I literally jumped up and down. I busted in on my daughter's Zoom class because she's still in school and I was like, 'I got an Emmy nomination!"
Will you have an acceptance speech ready? "Well, I think it's probably going to be Michael E. Knight. I'm just happy to be nominated with him and Chrishell [Stause] and everybody else in there. I'm going to beg Michael to let me babysit [his award] just for the weekend. I'll take Insta photos with her and then send her back to her owner."
If you hear your name called out, who will you thank?
"I'd have to thank [ex-husband] John [Callahan, ex-Edmund, AMC]. I came on ALL MY CHILDREN [as Maria] a total newbie, green actress. I really got to hone my skills with him."
Will you still get dolled up? "The top of me is going to look really cute!"
Who will you be with on the big night? "Since John passed, my daughter and I Have been quarantining with my brother, my sisters and my mom because they immediately came running to the rescue, so it will probably be that crew. I'll make them dress up, too."
What would winning mean to you? "My dad passed away a year ago around the same time when John died, so it's been a really crappy year. Winning would just be a really bright spot. I'm certainly not expecting that. Just being recognized in the category is really, really sweet. Bu the win would be some gorgeous icing on the cake!"
Photo credit: MediaPunch/Shutterstock
Jeffrey Vincent Parise (ex-Simon, Y&R): Where were you when you found out your big news? "I was actually taking a hike by myself out in nature and go the call. There was this woman who must have been 50 yards behind me and she was talking on her phone. I threw a few glances back to her like, 'You're talking so loud.' And then my phone rings and I start screaming!"
Who has congratulated you so far? "Everybody. It's been really amazing. I heard from Jason Thompson right off the bat. Then Wil deVry [Julian, GH]; I think he still feels bad for killing me [as GH's Carlos]. And then online they started coming in on Twitter. Melissa Egan [Chelsea, Y&R] tweeted out something. It feels great. It made me realize it's a really cool community."
How do you feel about sheltering in place during the virtual awards ceremony? "It's a little bittersweet. It's fun going to all the parties and seeing everyone form the different shows. But the show airing on network TV is still some much-welcomed good news."
How did you choose what to submit? "I didn't want to do the maximum [number of scenes allowed] because it was a limited run, so I just tried to pick the strongest. Wanted to show as many levels that I could with his whole sort of suave manipulation and his eventual unraveling. He got mean and cray-cray!"
What would winning mean to you? "I think it would mean a personal milestone because ultimately, me and my family and friends are going to be the only ones who remember it. For me, it would be a symbol of years of hard work and persistence."