Will 6th Time Be the Charm for ‘Y&R’ Emmy Nom Melissa Claire Egan?

Daytime Emmys 2021 Melissa Claire Egan
Q&A
Francis Specker/CBS

The Young and the RestlessMelissa Claire Egan is walking into tonight’s Daytime Emmy Awards as the only nominee in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Drama Series who hasn’t yet won an Emmy. There are only four soap operas, but competition for this category remains fierce. Egan made the ballot by submitting scenes from a particularly tumultuous year for her character, Chelsea Lawson.

TV Insider chatted with the actress about her sixth overall nomination (she’s had five in the supporting category) and all the feels she’s experiencing as a first-time mom-to-be. Later this summer, she’s set to deliver her first child, a son, with husband Matt Katrosar, a Sales VP at Pluto TV. (Due to production safety protocols, Katrosar stepped in as a man who kidnapped Chelsea last year, making this year’s reel all the more special.)

Congratulations on, I think the word is, “everything!”

Melissa Claire Egan: Thank you. I was at home when I found out I was nominated. I got a call from our amazing publicist Matt Kane. He told me the news.

What’s on your reel?

I told the story of Chelsea’s year. In past years, I’d submitted one strong episode. But this year, I took several different scenes that told her story. People are being so kind about the story I’m having this year with the mental breakdown and being in a wheelchair. But this nomination is for last year’s work.

It’s about breaking up with Nick (Joshua Morrow), getting back together with Adam (Mark Grossman), seeing him profess his love for Sharon (Sharon Case), getting kidnapped and drugged, and yelling at Adam for his role in that. It’s actually one of my favorite reels. Chelsea went through a lot last year, and the last few years.

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Why did you go into the lead category this year?

Years ago, I was told by people that I trusted that I should submit in lead. I tend to take — no pun intended — people’s leads. [Laughs] I just did what I was kind of told! So, I actually started submitting in lead years ago. This is my first nomination in that category.

In past years, actors had to submit entire episodes and include every frame in which they appear — for better or worse. This year, actors got to submit select scenes from multiple episodes. Which do you prefer?

Very good question. I don’t mind either. It actually takes stress off if they say pick one episode. The writers are so good about writing for us. The rules change every year and you just go with it. This year, it was, choose 15 minutes of scenes. It’s not that I prefer one or the other. Luckily, I made a reel I’m very proud of.

Susan Flannery (ex-Stephanie, The Bold and the Beautiful) started a tradition of a luncheon with the nominees. Heather Tom (Katie, B&B) is throwing it this year as she won last year.

Heather’s amazing. She sent a fun group text about the lunch. It’s my first time in lead so I’ve never been to the luncheon before. I can’t wait. It’s a fun group of ladies.

 

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A famous primetime actress was asked after an acceptance speech at an awards show why she didn’t thank her husband — she simply said her marriage didn’t win an award. In your case, however, your husband Matt actually is on your reel.

[Laughs] That’s funny! Yes, he is on my reel. I didn’t use the scene where he actually kidnapped me, but you see his feet.

Chelsea’s story is continuing this year. On the one hand, she’s faking her condition, but at times, she seems truly lost.

She had a fake breakdown in Victor’s (Eric Braeden) living room. That was to avoid jail time. However, that being said, now you see her in the mental hospital having mood swings and tantrums. She’s been through so much this year. It can’t not have affected her. She’s on a wire. Is she faking it? There is something that’s been tweaked in her. She’s had a brain aneurism. She’s had a stroke. She’s been in a wheelchair. She’s not fully well even though she thinks she is.

Chelsea’s so convinced there’s this bond with Adam and Sharon, but Sharon’s marriage to Rey (Jordi Vilasuso) remains intact. Does Chelsea preemptively act sometimes when she shouldn’t?

I think she was in a vulnerable place when she saw the kiss between Sharon and Adam. She totally handled it wrong. You don’t try to poison people [Rey] and then frame someone else [Adam] for attempted murder!

Well…

[Laughs] Or do you?

We all have our lists. Seriously, what prompted Chelsea to take this action?

Chelsea was at her most vulnerable when she got the idea for all this. She wasn’t able to move or speak. Then, she sees this man she’s in love with kissing his ex [Sharon]. That pushed her over the edge. That tweaked something in her brain. That made her different. Things happen in life that change people. After everything she and Adam had been through? She felt betrayed and that made her do these horrible things. Poor Rey! She almost killed the guy.

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Can you talk about Chelsea’s relationship with Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson)? Might she get in trouble?

I love their friendship so much. They’ve been there for each other. But Chelsea did get her best friend involved in this whole thing. They forgive each other. However, Chloe’s a little worried that Chelsea might be a little off. She could accidentally get Chloe in trouble. Chelsea doesn’t think she ever would. She wants to protect Chloe. She knows she got her into this mess. One of her main goals is to keep Chloe protected.

How are you feeling these days?

It was a rough road to get here, but the pregnancy has been a breeze. I haven’t been sick at all. I love being pregnant. I think I had one day that I was sick, but I feel great.

Does Chelsea ever think about Johnny (Holden and Ryan Hare), the son she gave to Billy (Jason Thompson) and Victoria (Amelie Heinle) — who are now split — to raise?

I get this question all the time. Absolutely. We’ve crossed paths at Halloween parties. The writers address it as much as they can. Newer viewers may not know that Chelsea is Johnny’s birth mother. I said to Jason Thompson one time you know that’s our kid, right?

Chelsea has enough on her plate.

Exactly. But it is an idea — would Chelsea ever want to take Johnny back?

The Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS

The 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Friday, June 25 at 8/7c, CBS and streaming on Paramount+