When The Bold and the Beautiful began filming the incredibly emotional storyline last year in which Steffy Forrester battled an addiction to opioids, the character's longtime portrayer, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, knew that she and the show were creating something special. She had a gut feeling that it might lead to Emmy recognition, and she was right: during Friday's Daytime Emmy Awards, fans watched the actress win her second Outstanding Lead Actress trophy for her work in the powerful story.
In a new interview with Soap Central, Wood opens up about her Emmy-winning scenes and reveals that while she did the usual research that one does before delving into a delicate social issue storyline, she relied a lot on instinct to bring Steffy's dark moments to life.
"Before getting into those scenes, I was just thinking about the truth of everything, that this happens to so many people. I feel like we all know somebody, unfortunately, that suffers from addiction of some sort," she shares. "Steffy is a misunderstood character and she was so broken; to know that she felt so alone, and knowing that the man she loved for so many years was moving on with the woman who she does not like, obviously, and on top of it, she always felt like she could at least have Kelly, and it was going to be the two of them, but then also finding out that Kelly wanted to hang out with Liam [Scott Clifton] and Hope [Annika Noelle], like, her world was crumbling! So, I was really putting myself in her situation. So many people out there have suffered from addiction, and how does that not get you emotional? I watch those scenes back, and I still get emotional, not because of me but because of the story and knowing that so many people have gone through this. It breaks my heart."
It broke a lot of viewers' hearts, as well, and that is precisely the reason why B&B's writers decided to keep Steffy's addiction storyline relatively short. The thinking, according to Wood, was that fans were already going through enough with the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
"It was important for us to tell the story but not be in the story for as long as we usually are," the actress explains. "We originally were going to do this story before lockdown, and it would have been a long story, probably a nine-month thing like our stories usually are, but Brad [Bell, B&B's executive producer and head writer] was really smart to know and to say, 'We need to tell this story -- it is very important for us to tell this story -- but also, we can't dive too deep in it for that long' because it was depressing. I mean, everywhere you turned: the news, everything, there was all this fear and sadness, and we wanted to be the light, so, it was good to shine light on this and to talk about it, but again, to move on to lighter things after it."
Not dwelling on the darkness for too long was also beneficial for Wood, who was pregnant with her second child during many of Steffy's addiction scenes. The actress reveals that she had to take special care to keep her baby safe and healthy when she was taking her mind and body to such emotional places each day at work.
"It would have been a different story if I had been filming the story, let's say, for nine months. I would have had to have said something: 'I'm pregnant, and I can't be going into this dark, emotional material day in and day out for nine months!'" she says. "But for the short amount of time, I mean, it's wild -- women are superheroes, what we are able to do with our bodies. I was present in those scenes, but it was almost like I was very aware of my baby, and it was almost like my energy wasn't going there. And I know it sounds a little crazy, but it's so true. Every time I snapped out of the scenes, I was so mindful of my baby and my hands were [on my belly]. I somehow felt these scenes all over except in my stomach."
And, as she points out, the pandemic made it a stressful year for her and expectant mothers everywhere, emotional storyline or not. "I had this stressful storyline, but we also had the stress every day of 'What is going to happen?' Every day, there was something else going on, so it was very important for me in general to be mindful of my stress levels," she shares. "Meditation was so key in between the scenes, and breathing, just being mindful of my breath, and on top of that, making sure I was eating nutrient dense foods and having enough water so I was at least balanced. Everything was a little chaotic, but I didn't feel at one point, 'Oh, this is not good for my baby.' I felt it was crazy and wild in these scenes, but it was almost like I had this armor and this shield around him."
It also helped Wood to know that she was surrounded by her B&B family, and she enthuses that she couldn't have delivered such poignant work without them.
"When we were filming those ten-page scenes, everyone brought it. I was so proud of audio, and the lighting, and the directing, and my cast members. For such a heavy storyline, it felt so magical, because everyone was so present, and I knew that we were creating something so special," she says. "It was rooted in such truth, and I can't say it enough: I was so proud of everyone. This is my second nomination for Leading Actress, but it was the first time that I thought, 'Oh, I might win this time.' Because the first time that I won, that was completely unexpected! But I definitely felt a lot of good energy surrounding this story, and I'm just so blessed that Brad allowed us to tell it."
In the end, not only did the addiction storyline lead to Wood's second Emmy win, but it also led to a fun-filled night of celebration -- total B&B style.
"I watched [the ceremony] at home with my friends and my family, and funny enough, after that, we went out, and I ended up at Ronn Moss's house!" Wood enthuses, referencing the actor who originally played Steffy's dad, Ridge Forrester. "I danced the night away there, and he was performing. It was a great night. I'm just super grateful for the story, grateful for everything. It doesn't go unnoticed. I'm very, very happy."
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