Devon Martinez, Daughter of a Soaps Great, Joins ‘The Young and the Restless’

Devon Martinez
Howard Wise/
Devon Martinez

A member of suds royalty is coming to The Young and the Restless. The CBS serial has hired Devon Martinez, daughter of Emmy winner A Martinez (Santa Barbara, Days of Our Lives), to play Shawn Taylor, a young pregnant woman who is looking for the ideal parents to adopt her child. Will Sage (Kelly Sullivan) and Nick (Joshua Morrow) pass the test? Martinez, a recent grad of the Yale School of Drama, will hit the air Tuesday, March 1. She gave us the lowdown on her TV debut.

So what’s Shawn’s story? And how high are her standards? Because Sage and Nick are kind of a mess.
Shawn is in her third trimester and feels strongly that she’s not ready to raise a baby on her own, so she’s come to town to put out feelers. She’s considering Nick and Sage but she’s talking to other couples, as well, and still trying to make up her mind. She’s, like, “Who are these people? What is this town like? How is everyone connected?” It’s been fun studying the back stories. Everyone, including Nick and Sage, has been through so much! But, despite their circumstances, what are their core values? It’s been fascinating to play a woman in Shawn’s position and getting to the heart of what really matters where you’re looking to give up your child.

Does Shawn have a baby daddy who’s going to show up at the eleventh hour and make this adoption difficult? After all, this is a soap opera.
I don’t know! They aren’t revealing much about her background or her family. I’ve shot about a dozen episodes so far and very little has come up. We just know that Shawn hasn’t had the easiest run of it, that she’s vulnerable and trying to do the right thing without a support system.

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What impression did you have of soaps as you were growing up?
I don’t even have a first memory because soaps have always been a part of my life. I really love the idea of investing in characters longterm. It’s such a unique thing in this business. Soaps have been a huge part of my dad’s life and I’m grateful to have that window into his world. He’s had the best relationships with the soap people he’s worked with—actors, producers, crew—and he’s even had long friendships with some of the fans. I respect that so much, especially when I see how enriching it has been for him. And now I’m getting a taste of that directly. Working with Josh and Kelly has been incredible. They’re such great actors. I did my final callback audition with Josh and it made all the difference. I’m really honored to be in their company. And I’m really happy to be working with [executive producer] Jill Phelps. My dad has a great history with her.

Did your parents encourage you to go into showbiz?
I wouldn’t say they actively encouraged me to go down this road, but there was never any discouraging, either. I’ve gone into it with my eyes open, knowing it’s a roller coaster with big ups and down and a lot of uncertainty. The difficulties of the business are not lost on me. My parents saw me fall in love with performing from a very early age—my first role was in preschool as Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas—but they didn’t want me working as a kid. They made sure I stayed in school. Now that I’m an adult they’re all for it. And they are so excited about Y&R. They’re over the moon!