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Victoria Rowell: TV Guide.ca Interview

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Diaries of a (former) daytime diva

By Nelson Branco


Victoria Rowell sounds off on why she quit daytime’s top-rated soap, the Emmys, and her life as a best-selling author

Her fierceness, Victoria Rowell

Spin has become a pandemic — especially in Hollywood. But one person not afflicted with this affecting disease is Victoria Rowell, who recently bolted from The Young and the Restless after failing to earn an Emmy Award pre-nomination from her cast.

Instead of spewing some ridiculous line like, “I’m leaving to pursue other interests,” Rowell did something shocking — she spoke the truth in a fascinating cover story in Soaps in Depth, in which she called the Daytime Emmy Award system “contaminated” and daytime “racist.”

Rowell denounced the process as “adolescent, so high school” because it calls for cast members of each series to decide among themselves who is worthy of the award.

According to an interview Rowell had with The L.A. Times’ theenvelope.com, nominee selection is now a “popularity contest” that fosters a “gang mentality”, which feeds on inner-cast “jealousy.” The 11-time NAACP winner also notes that she carried most of the lead story this past year, prompting her to ask, “Why was I left off the pre-nom list?”

Although Rowell has been nominated three times in the past as outstanding supporting actress as Drucilla, she has never won. Many assumed she would finally take home the gold this year — had she made the cut.

Now known as Victoria “Wow”ell in our eyes, TV Guide sat down with the beautiful and talented star during her international book tour in Toronto, where she is promoting her critically-acclaimed memoir The Women Who Raised Me (Harper Collins).

TV Guide: First of all, congratulations on your memoir. I also have to give you your props for your revolutionary Soaps in Depth cover story. What’s been the reaction so far?

Victoria Rowell: Fans have been writing in and speaking out in droves — that’s what, I think, is revolutionary. I’ve never had a website [www.victoriarowell.com] before, so I decided now was the time, especially with my book coming out. We’ve received over 1.7 million hits in less than a month! It’s a cross-section of comments, but mainly there was a multitude of emails from disgruntled fans regarding me not making the cut for the pre-nominations for the Emmys.

TVG: You’ve been on The View a couple of times as a guest-host, and you were great. Would you consider joining the talk show full-time?

VR: Thank you. It’s always fun visiting those women. As for filling one of the chairs on The View, let’s just say the producer walked me to my car. We’ll see what happens.

TVG: I was hoping Bradley Bell would steal you away from Y&R, much like he did with Eileen Davidson [Ashley].

VR: I’ve already asked him to publicly in Soap Opera Digest! [Laughs.] I have long asked to do a crossover on B&B. Italy [where B&B is one of the top-rated shows] is my country of choice to visit annually.

TVG: It certainly would introduce you — and your book — to a worldwide audience.

VR: Exactly. In addition, it would make sense creatively: Drucilla Winters is a fashionista/former model. She’s lived in France and has established a respectable career in fashion and cosmetics. Plus, in my own life, I have a propensity for fashion coming from the theatrical world of ballet.

TVG: B&B also needs a strong black lead. After all, Dru just went over a cliff — no body was found.

VR: [Laughs.] Drucilla swam down the river, never losing her chapeau, and showed up over in L.A. Of course, in the meantime, Dru wrote a book about her experiences in foster care, and natch, she met up with Malcolm in Africa before being deposited in L.A. [where B&B takes place].

TVG: Bradley’s the best writer in soaps. I always hate saying this, but I think he’s even more talented than his amazing father, William Bell – who created your character.

VR: I love Bill Bell and whenever anyone questioned my choice in character development, I always said, ‘I am just tried and true to Bill Bell and his philosophy, and I would follow him anywhere.’ He was staunch, he was sure-footed, and we had a lot of success together. It was just a great run with Bill, and I gave him a tribute in my book.

TVG: Would you consider presenting at the Daytime Emmy Awards?

VR: I actually asked to present. They have to bring it up before Barbara Bloom [CBS’s president of daytime], so it may happen.

TVG: They’ll probably make you promise to return to Y&R!

VR: They’re hopeful that I do come back because they don’t want to find another actress to play Dru and they need the character. If I did return to daytime, I really want to join B&B. I know Eileen is ecstatic over there.

TVG: What else can we expect from you, Ms. Wow-well?

VR: Writing, which I’ve been doing since I was a child. It just so happens that it took 40 years for me to become an overnight sensation and on the New York Times’ best-seller list. I’ve written for Viacom. I’m a member of the Writers’ Guild of America. Also, I have two scripts out there right now, one of which I took a meeting with Our Stories, which is Harvey Weinstein’s new company. I wouldn’t mind a Pulitzer Prize one day!

TVG: Tell us you’re not done with acting!

VR: I just completed a movie a month ago with Angela Bassett and Robert Townsend in Chicago called Of Men and Boys, which is out next year. MGM has finally decided to release another film I did, Home of the Brave, on May 11. I’ve also just completed my documentary, The Mentor, which I’ve been working on since 1999. It complements my memoir and the women in the book, but it’s definitely an independent entity. I hope to submit it to The Toronto Film Festival and The Reel World Film Festival. Acting will never be backburner.

TVG: Any new books on the horizon?

VR: Here’s a scoop: I’m really excited about a book I’m working on right now, which is called Secret Diaries of a Daytime Diva. Can you just wait? [Laughs.] Of course, it’s fiction [laughs mischievously]!

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2007

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Love Victoria Rowell but is the interviewer on drugs? Brad Bell better than William? HAH!

No he isn't. He's just an even bigger B&B-fan than me. It's nice to have someone pro-B&B for once...

...although he does overstep here a bit.

But you gotta love la Rowell. The backstage climate at Y&R must be HORENDOUS since she really desperately calls for a switch to B&B - since she seems to miss playing Dru herself a bit.

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Love Victoria Rowell but is the interviewer on drugs? Brad Bell better than William? HAH!

I've watched B&B since it started, but....hell no.

I'd love Dru to show up on B&B too, but how could it happen? Ashley is there and she'd recognize Dru, so they couldn't do the whole amnesia thing. Seems like VR would have to be a whole new character. Works for me, but it sounded like she wants to take Dru over there.

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I've watched B&B since it started, but....hell no.

I'd love Dru to show up on B&B too, but how could it happen? Ashley is there and she'd recognize Dru, so they couldn't do the whole amnesia thing. Seems like VR would have to be a whole new character. Works for me, but it sounded like she wants to take Dru over there.

Yes, and what logic would there be since Neil, Lily, and Devon are back in GC? We know Dru wouldn't just up and leave her family like that, she's not her "best-friend" Sharon.

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I just LOBSTERLOVE this woman!!! No...wait. I'm IN LOVE with this woman! LOL!

Sheilaforever has been trying to convince me to start watching B&B again, I just might do that. But if Brad Bell were to bring Miss Wow-ell on over to join the show, I'd be up on that in a heartbeat!

I also hope she gets onto the Emmy's. I'd have to see that one.

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