This year's Daytime Emmy Awards were incredibly special, being that it was the first time that the ceremony took place virtually. But the night was made all the more spectacular by the fact that viewers watched history in the making when The Bold and the Beautiful's Heather Tom (Katie Logan) won in the Outstanding Lead Actress category. The Emmy was the actress' sixth win, which ties her with Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord, One Life to Live) who, until now, held the record for the most Daytime Emmy Awards by a female actress. [Editor's Note: All six of Slezak's wins came in the Lead Actress category. Tom has three Lead, one Supporting, and two Younger Actress wins; Tony Geary is the most-awarded actor with eight Daytime Emmys -- all of which were won as a Lead Actor nominee.]
As thrilled as any of her most loyal fans, Soap Central caught up with Tom to find out how she feels about her very special Emmy win, how she manages to deliver such beautiful and heartbreaking work day in and day out, and what kind of nerves and excitement she is experiencing as she prepares to return to B&B this week.
Soap Central: Congratulations to you on your Emmy win! How are you?
Heather Tom: Thank you! I'm doing well. I can't complain!
Soap Central: Oh, I'll bet! I feel like we're all usually so exhausted after the awards, but it's a little bit different this year, right?
Tom: I don't know -- we kind of still found time to party, even in quarantine.
Soap Central: Did you? That's fantastic!
Tom: Yeah, we know how to have a good party! [Laughs]
Soap Central: How was the whole Emmy experience on your end, being that everything was at home and you found out that you'd won via television?
Tom: It was kind of crazy. I'm really, really happy that they aired it and put it on CBS. I was really stoked about that. And we did like a Zoom with a bunch of people from B&B and watched it together on the East Coast feed, so it was fun! It was fun in a very strange, pandemic way [laughs].
Soap Central: This win is obviously very, very special because it's record-breaking in that now you are tied with Erika Slezak for the most Emmy wins ever. How does it feel to know that your name is now right beside hers in the history books?
Tom: I'm kind of floored by that, to be honest. I had the great honor and pleasure of working with her on One Life to Live, and when I got that job [as Kelly Cramer], I was like, "Oh, my God, I can't wait to work with Erika Slezak!" So, it's a little unfathomable. I can't quite believe that I'm in this position, especially because I've always been in so much awe and grateful to have worked with her.
Soap Central: Did you two ever trade acting notes, or did you learn anything specific from her?
Tom: Oh, my God, I learned so much from her! [Laughs] I've always said, and I believe, that daytime is really a female-driven genre. Our leaders of the shows are women, and I always looked at these really strong female actresses and icons -- like Susan Flannery [ex-Stephanie Forrester, B&B] and Jeanne Cooper [ex-Katherine Chancellor, The Young and the Restless] and Melody Thomas Scott [Nikki Newman, Y&R] and Erika Slezak -- I looked to them to see how they control their work and their roles and cultivate it. I was just kind of like, "Okay, throw me in a scene with her, because I know she's going to show up and just hand it to me every day," and yeah, I learned a tremendous amount from her.
Soap Central: You've always been fabulous at acting, but this win cements you as sort of the Erika Slezak for this next generation. How do you feel about that?
Tom: Oh, my God, wow. I guess that means that I've been doing this a really long time! [Laughs] But you know, I guess I don't really think of it that way. I feel like I am so grateful when I get to go to work every day -- or whenever I get to go to work. And I get to work with a lot of really fabulous people, a lot of really wonderful people, and none of us can do any of these jobs by ourselves. There are so many people in front of and behind the cameras that make our shows happen, and it's just honestly kind of amazing that we are actually able to get it done because there are so many moving parts. So, I just feel like I'm part of the team, and I'm grateful to be a part of the team.
Soap Central: You've done so much work over the years that has made us all just bawl our eyes out, truly, and it's so amazing to watch you. Do you have a process that you go through to get into the "Katie headspace"?
Tom: Well, now, for better or for worse, I can't not cry! [Laughs] You could say, "Puppies!" And I'm like, "Whhhaaaaaa [crying noise]." So, it's kind of a reflex at this point. But, that being said, I don't feel like tears should be props. I feel like they're either there or they're not, and I actually tell this to some of the younger actor on the show when I'm directing them. I say, "The tears don't make the emotion happen in the scene. The emotion happens in the scene because you're in the moment." So, I try as best I can to be in the moment and be in the circumstance. And the wonderful thing about daytime is that our characters have such a rich history to draw from. We don't have to make it up, whereas a lot of times when you get a job as an actor, you have to make everything up. But we don't have to -- we have decades and decades of history. So, it's easier sometimes, I think, to put yourself in that character's shoes, because the character kind of has a life of her own. So, that's just what I try to do. I just try to be in that moment and in that reality, and even if that reality is crazy, I just try to imagine it, and that's all I can do every day.
Soap Central: You've all been on a bit of a forced break these past few months, so do you fear that when you get back to work that you'll be -- well, not rusty, because you're a pro, but maybe a bit out of practice?
Tom: [Laughs] Ooohh, oh yeah, you can get rusty! My first day back is this week, and I'm looking at my lines, and I'm like, "I better be prepared!" Because yeah, this has been such a crazy time on so many levels for everyone, that when we go back, it's going to be such a different experience. So, yeah, I'm definitely going, "I better be on my game." Because you can definitely get rusty! [Laughs]
Soap Central: How much have you missed going to work these past few months?
Tom: Oh, my God, I've missed it so much. Going to work is my favorite thing to do. I am a worker bee. I like to work. So, this has been a very interesting experience in that it's been kind of forced downtime for me. I don't ever take downtime, so in that respect, it was like, "Well, okay, I'm forced to do this." And it's been kind of awesome to spend this kind of time with my son [Zane], so there have been some positives to it, but at the same time, I think everybody wants to go back to work. I'm really looking forward to it, and like I said, it's going to be a different experience, but we in daytime can do anything. So, I'm ready for the challenge, and I'm ready to start shooting again.
Soap Central: I think you're absolutely right in saying that daytime can do anything. If there was going to be one industry that was going to be the first to get back up and running again, we all knew it was going to be daytime!
Tom: Yes! We are uniquely suited to this type of challenge, just in that we are all used to working really, really hard! [Laughs] Everyone is used to putting their heads out and just getting to work, so I feel like if any genre can come back and make this new situation feasible, it's daytime.
Soap Central: I know you can't reveal anything storyline-wise, but can you say whether or not the storyline for Katie is going to be jumping off right where it was left hanging in April? [Editors Note: For more on where Katie's storyline left off, check out Soap Central's complete B&B recaps.]
Tom: I believe that, yes, when we start airing our show again, it will pick up from where we were. It won't be like there was a time lapse. They'll pick up the story from where we left off.
Soap Central: You have now won many Emmy awards as an actress, so would you say that your next goal is to win an Emmy as a director?
Tom Oh! That would be lovely! [Laughs] But you know what? I really love directing, and Brad [Bell, our executive producer and head writer] has been so awesome to let me direct on the show, and I've been doing it for a couple of years now, so it's been really, really fun, and I've gotten the opportunity to direct outside of the show, which has been great. But like I said, I'm happy to work, and I don't feel like I work toward awards. I work toward hopefully making myself better at what I do and how I see the world, and that's really all I care about. And hopefully I have the opportunity to keep doing that!
Soap Central: Were you actually able to do any work while you were on the break? Like, writers could write, but it's a bit different for actors and directors.
Tom: Actually, I have a writing partner, and we've been working on a few projects. We actually finished a pilot script and a bunch of stuff for that. So, yeah, I've been [working]. For the first couple of weeks, it was just such a crazy whirlwind because I also have a seven-year-old son, and he's in school, so I was Professor Mommy all of a sudden. [Laughs] Figuring out the homeschool situation took a minute, but then I was really [keen to work], so my husband set up a station for me in our bedroom, because I was like, "I need to work. I need to do something, or I'm going to get depressed." [Laughs] So he was like, "Here, here is a station for you to work. You deal with Zane in the morning and do the school and that's great, and then in the afternoon, you can go and work in there." And it was actually nice. It was nice to be like, "Well, I don't have anything else to do today, so I better write!"
Soap Central: Congratulations again to you on your win! Is there anything else that you'd like to add before I let you go?
Tom: I guess the only thing I would add is that we really appreciate all of our viewers around the world that have stuck with us and supported us during this time when we unfortunately had to be down. We've got a lot of really great story and fun stuff coming up, so I want to send thanks and love out to everybody who watches and supports our show.
For more from Tom on her sixth Daytime Emmy Award and to watch her acceptance speech, click here.
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