‘General Hospital’ Star Kelly Thiebaud on Her Emmy-Nominated Turn From ‘Britch’ to Heroine
Soaps are all about characters evolving, and the journey that Kelly Thiebaud has taken Dr. Britt Westbourne on has been nothing but pleasurable to watch. She started on ABC’s General Hospital a decade ago as the “Britch,” a not-so endearing nickname given to Britt by other medical personnel. Over the years, we’ve seen Britt mature from the woman who inadvertently sent little Emma Scorpio’s (Brooklyn Rae Silzer) doll to a fiery fate to a heroine whom we are rooting for to have love in her life.
For her efforts, Thiebaud has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Drama Series: Actress. She sat down with TV Insider to chat about her nomination, Britt’s evolution, and Britt dipping her toes back into the dating pool.
Congratulations on your nomination! How did you hear the great news?
Kelly Thiebaud: Thank you! I heard through Frank [Valentini, GH’s executive producer] first. He called me 15 minutes before they announced it on The Talk. I was pleasantly surprised. I was like, “Wait. How did you find out?” He said, “Oh, I have my ways.”
You had an amazing year on the show. Can you share what’s on your reel?
I had quite a few scenes to pull from last year. I have my breakup scene with Jason [Steve Burton]. Where Britt tells Carly [Laura Wright] that Jason is gone. There was a Britt/Jason scene where they were on the run right after Sam [Kelly Monaco] tried to bring passports for them to run [away]. Jason tells Britt he’s going to drop her at one of Sonny’s [Maurice Benard] islands. The reason I chose it was because I thought the writing was great. The conversation between us was real and authentic and a nice balance with the emotional stuff I have on the reel. There’s the aftermath of the cave where Jason dies. Britt stands up and says, “No, we’re going down there to find him!” I have where Britt finds out she has [the genetic markers] for Huntington’s disease.
Sounds like a great reel.
I’m really thankful that the people that voted loved my work. It’s such a wonderful acknowledgment.
Do you pick the brains of other people when assembling your reel?
Yes. I asked one of the producers on our show and then, I asked my manager, agent, and acting coach. I didn’t want too many cooks in the kitchen because I can get swayed very easily. A few gave me sound advice.
What we found so relatable about Britt is when she became vulnerable to Jason. She bought that extra toothbrush head for him only to find out he was never going to use it. Who hasn’t done something like that?
It was so fun. I got to bring a little bit of myself to that. Steve was the best partner. I honestly have to thank him for this nomination. I was given great writing working with him. We have this incredible connection. We did some great stuff. When Britt’s vulnerability came out, it was pretty easy. We built this friendship. Jason became someone Britt felt she could rely upon.
Britt said something self-effacing not too long ago, calling herself the “Britch.” Epiphany (Sonya Eddy) said nobody thinks of you that way anymore. That’s true. What did that moment mean to you? To Britt?
It’s been quite a journey, honestly from where she started to where she is now. It’s been night and day. However, I don’t want to lose who she was. She’s finding a kinder, gentler version of herself. She’s learning how to manage emotions and people. But she’s still a loose cannon. She’ll still be different from everyone else. Her reactions are not traditional. I want to keep that flavor. I have to thank the fans. As much as they hated her, there was something enjoyable about watching her fall on her face! I think the redemption is paying off. She’s come through that to this lighter version. It’s been fun for me to play. She has so many different elements. I love the dark and light sides of her.
I can’t recall if [Nicholas] and I ever talked about the backstory. Nicholas did his homework on who Spencer is. It’s interesting how you can connect with children [as Britt did with Spencer when he was little]. They’re so innocent and straightforward. There’s no game-playing. So it was very easy for that bond to get established with those two characters. Nicholas has done such a fabulous job. When he first came to the show, I was like he’s grown up! Nicholas is so talented. I’m so happy he was nominated. I love working with him.
I asked him once if he thought they’d ever go there with your characters…but after Spencer imitated that voice he did as a child…no. It cannot happen. No.
[Laughs] No. No way.
What’s it like working with TV mom Kathleen Gati (Dr. Obrecht)? People forget that accent isn’t her real voice.
Any time I have to speak German, I go to her. I’m not sure how she does that. Her accent is so good. Kathleen’s a professional and also so kindhearted. She’s my “Mama Bear.” She’s someone you can call and know she’ll make you feel better. I’m so blessed to work with her.
Britt’s out there trying to date again — or was. Now, Josh Kelly has joined the show as Cody Bell. What do you think about Britt trying to get out there again in the dating world?
I like what they’ve been doing. Her trying a dating app was very relatable. I think what’s really enjoyable about seeing Britt in love is that it’s such a different side to her personality. Her getting back out there is great. Some exciting things are coming…we shall see.
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