‘DAYS’ Star Stacy Haiduk on Why Kristen Was More Emmy-Worthy Than Susan

Days of Our Lives star Stacy Haiduk

Dual roles have been known to bring gold to Daytime Emmy nominees. Just ask Julianne Moore (ex-Fannie/Sabrina, As the World Turns) or Anne Heche (ex-Vicky/Marley, Another World) along with numerous others. And while you can’t get more diverse than scheming Kristen DiMera and loveable Susan Banks on Days of our Lives, their portrayer, Stacy Haiduk, opted to only submit herself as Kristen for this year’s awards. The strategy paid off, earning Haiduk her second Daytime Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

TV Insider sat down with the actress to chat about why she opted to only go with Kristen, what’s on her reel, and why Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) is Kristen’s one and only.

You’ve been tearing it up on DAYS for a while. I’ve been waiting to have this conversation for some time! How did you find out you were nominated?

Stacy Haiduk: Thank you! I was at work, sitting in my dressing room. I thought it had gone by and I hadn’t heard anything but then, I got a message from Lia [Maiuri, Director, Communications] to call her right away. I thought, ‘What did I do wrong?’ She said, ‘Congratulations! You’re nominated!’ It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Do you tell a story on your reel? Or is it a series of scenes?

It tells a story. I remember the first time I was on Young and the Restless [as Patty Williams and submitted]. The feedback I got was, ‘Oh, Stacy’s reel is great but it doesn’t tell a story.’ I wasn’t sure what that fully meant. For the first few years I was on DAYS, I put both Susan and Kristen on my reel to show range. This year, I only put scenes with Kristen on. They’re the scenes with Eric that took place in the interrogation room at the Salem Police Department. The scenes told our whole story from beginning up to where Kristen talked about the bad things she had done, how she didn’t mean to, how it was an accident, and how she wanted to get through it.

Brady said he couldn’t love her anymore. I remember really liking those scenes. I like to see a character going after something. Those scenes showed Kristen’s love and passion for Brady and their daughter. For him not to want to work it out? They were all over the place. I loved those scenes. Love. Anger. Pleading. I think Eric used the same scenes in his reel.

We’re not supposed to like the bad things that Kristen does but viewers still want her to be happy.

It’s everything for Kristen to have a child with the man she loves. Having a child of my own [in real-life], I know how far I’d go. I’d throw myself in front of a bullet for my child. I love when she sees the flaws of the characters as well as the passion and the love they have. That’s our job as actors. The writing is there and you bring to it part of your own personal journey.

We see Kristen and Brady get close…and then torn apart. They push each other away. We’ve seen each sacrifice for the other. Why is he the one for her and is she the one for him?

(Laughs) I think he’s the one who pushes her away! She’s got one man only on her mind. It was the same for Eileen [Davidson when she played the part]. It was John [Drake Hogestyn] and then, Brady. For me, it’s only been Brady. You can’t say that she has eyes for anyone else. She’s a one-man woman. She wants what she wants and is going to go after it with everything she has. It’s not about wanting to punish him. She wouldn’t do that. Now that they have a child together. There’s something quite beautiful in that. That’s all she wants.

So…no Susan on your reel.

No. I’ve put her on it in the past. Everyone says that I should have her on it but I don’t know.

Do you think to the uneducated DAYS viewer who’s screening your reel that they may not realize you’re playing Susan as well? You do totally immerse yourself in this different character?

I’m kind of thinking that is a possibility.

In a way, it’s a huge compliment. They’re watching your reel and…

(Laughs) Why is this person here?  Susan is totally different from me and is totally different from Kristen. I know how much people love Susan. She’s this ball of energy and is this passionate woman who doesn’t care about what other people think. She speaks her mind and tries to help others. Kristen’s the opposite. She has demons and also this passion for Eric and their daughter. I love playing them both. They balance each other. Who knows? Maybe next year I’ll use a little Susan on my reel.

Given the diversity of the characters, you must never be bored!

Never. Never bored. When I play one character for a long period, I’ll start craving the other. I need the balance. The show knows just when to move one character to the backburner a bit and the other to the forefront. Ron [Carlivati, head writer] and his lovely team just know when it’s time. They know Susan brings a lot of humor to the show. I have fun with her and with Kristen in a very different ways. There’s more of a darkness to her. I love the challenges when they write it. How can I make this fun but how far can I go to make it sympathetic. I love the darkness. I love it very much.

So, now the fun stuff….gowns, borrowing jewelry.

I’ve already found my dress. I love going vintage shopping. I went to one of my favorite vintage places, Golyester. I found a dress and it fits me perfectly.

This year, the Daytime Emmys are a full-scale awards show – primetime and live.

Primetime. Live. We get to dress up. I’m really excited. I couldn’t pick a more perfect time to get nominated!  I kept thinking I hope it’s live.  I can’t wait.

We don’t know who’ll win but we know John Aniston (Victor, DAYS)  is getting the Lifetime Achievement Award.

I’m so excited about that. That will be amazing. He’s an amazing man and actor. I’m so thrilled. Every time I get to work with him, it’s always a ball.

Days of our Lives, weekdays, NBC

The 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Friday, June 24 9/8c, CBS