‘Young and the Restless’: Ptosha Storey on Why Naya Is Reaching Out to Amanda
There are a lot of lawyers in Genoa City. But when The Young and the Restless‘ Naya Benedict, played by Ptosha Storey, needs a legal eagle to help get her father out of a big jam, she reaches out to her long-lost daughter Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan), who still isn’t invited over for the holidays.
Is asking Amanda to represent the man who insisted Naya give her and Amanda’s twin Hilary (also played by Morgan) up for adoption the definition of gall? Or is Naya hoping to mend some fences?
In addition to starring on Y&R, Storey pulls double duty as a series regular on the Tyler Perry‘s BET series The Oval. She plays Nancy Hallsen on the sizzling nighttime serial that’s a cross between Upstairs/Downstairs and Scandal.
TV Insider recently chatted with Storey about Naya and Amanda, The Oval’s Nancy, her fan-tastic encounter with Y&R leading man Peter Bergman (Jack), and her run as Chyna on the defunct Fox drama Empire!
Amanda was devastated to find out her birth mother didn’t want her in her life even after they were reunited. Ouch!
Ptosha Storey: It’s a very tough storyline, but it’s a real storyline in so many ways. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that this story resonates with them. With Naya, I think the saying, “You’re better than your worst mistake” applies. She was young [when she gave birth to her twins] and she made the best decision she could at the time. There’s a saying that you may not make the right decision, but you can make the decision right.
Naya’s daughter Imani [Leigh-Ann Rose] doesn’t seem that much younger than Amanda. Does that heighten Amanda’s abandonment issues?
I think so. A child wants to know why’d you choose her and not me? They want to know if they mattered. Naya gave Amanda up but then, she had another child [not that long after] and raised her in a pristine manner. That doubles the pain.
Initially, Naya told Amanda they’d still have to keep their distance from each other.
It’s still about what other people would think. How many of us make our decisions based on what we think other people will say? She gave up her daughters [Amanda and Hilary] when she was in college. She’s still trying to please her family.
Genoa City has a lot of lawyers. Is Naya reaching out to Amanda because she’s a great lawyer or because she wants a relationship with her daughter?
It’s a little of both. Amanda’s a Harvard graduate. Naya has seen that Amanda’s reputation precedes her. This is an opportunity for Amanda to help her family. Naya sees that Amanda’s a great attorney who happens to be her daughter. Mishael is amazing. She’s talented and beautiful. Y&R has some stellar talent.
Can Naya trust that Amanda will do the right thing?
What a full circle moment! Having to fight for someone who didn’t want you? What kind of human being can overcome that and commit to it? It’s a big ask. It’s a beautiful thing for Amanda to have to explore. She’s been looking for her family and she has an opportunity to impact it in a big way. Her attitude to her grandfather could be, “You forced my mother to give me up? Why should I fight for you?” He might not even want her help. We all have to live with our choices.
Naya’s family is in politics, which seems to be a theme in your life nowadays as you’re also on The Oval.
My character, Nancy, is married to the White House Butler, Richard Hallsen, played by Javon Johnson. Our storyline is about our personal lives. The show is less about politics and more about the people in politics. Mr. Perry has written a story about people in The White House and it’s about their lives.
Many shows are done by committee. What’s it like working for someone who has a singular vision?
The Oval has been an amazing ride. I try to honor my character. Nancy is flawed. She’s made some really horrible choices in life, but I find a way not to judge her. People make mistakes. How do you come back from that? That’s a fight for me in both of my roles!
I think Mr. Perry was one of the first to go back into production during COVID. He mapped out a plan that was seamless. I feel good and safe there as I do at Y&R. I’m grateful to be able to work on both shows. I try to step up to the plate and do the best I can.
Y&R and The Oval aren’t your only serials — you had a run as Cookie’s [Taraji P. Henson] prison pal Chyna on Empire.
Yes. Taraji is a friend of mine. I said to her that I wanted to be on Empire. After my agent submitted me for an audition, Taraji made a call. I went through a couple of rounds and booked it. I’m also a fan of hers. She’s amazing.
You posted on Instagram a photo of you and Y&R’s Peter Bergman.
Yes. I watched both All My Children [on which he played Cliff] and Y&R. My mother is an avid watcher of soaps. Peter’s an icon. Initially, I was forced to watch soaps but then I wanted to watch them.
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Have you had scenes with him yet? Jack was a Wisconsin State Senator, briefly.
Not yet. It would be so crazy if [we were to]. Soap operas were the thing in my house when I was growing up. My mom would say, “Don’t talk to me. My stories are on.” It wasn’t like today where you can DVR shows. I remember calling my mom after I was cast on the show. I said, “Sit down. You’re not going to believe this. I’m going to be on The Young and the Restless.” This is not only a wonderful opportunity to work with such great people, but to also have a personal connection to the show? It’s all a big win.
Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS
The Oval, Tuesdays, 9/8c, BET