You've got to love The Young and the Restless newcomer Cait Fairbanks (Tessa Porter). Her arrival in Genoa City was splashier than a pool filled with partiers, and her performances in the soap's controversial lesbian storyline garnered her an Outstanding Younger Actress Emmy nomination. The excitement surrounding her achievement is bigger than her luscious lips -- but she's keeping it real. Soap Central caught up with the actress/musician, and her down-to-earth reaction to her Emmy nomination is one for the books.
Soap Central: Congratulations to you on your nomination! How does it feel to be one of the official nominees?
Cait Fairbanks: It doesn't even feel real! I feel like I'm kind of floating on a fake golden cloud. But then something awkward happens in life, and it knocks you right back off the pedestal. [Laughs] You're not protected from anything, but it's a cool thing to have.
Soap Central: How did you find out you'd been nominated?
Fairbanks: One of our producers, Jimmy Freeman, texted me. I was walking around the Grove [which is a shopping complex near the studio] and I saw he texted me, and my first thought was, "Oh, God, am I in trouble?!" But then it said I had been nominated. I was in public, but I started crying, and I thought, "Wait, maybe I should not be in public, crying!" So, I ran to my car and called my mom. But really, I didn't believe it was true. I didn't think he would lie to me, of course, but I was also like, "Oh, maybe they made a mistake."
Soap Central: I really love that your first thought was that you were in trouble!
Fairbanks: Oh, yeah, definitely. Because I talk so much at work, and I'm always in trouble for that! [Laughs]
Soap Central: Did you end up celebrating your nomination that night?
Fairbanks: You know, I actually had the flu and still felt pretty sick. But it was okay. I watched Rick and Morty all day, and I got ramen. I had a great time for being sick. And I was with my dog, so that was the best party I could have asked for!
Soap Central: The Academy released all of the actors' reels, so your fans have had a chance to check out what you submitted. Can you explain why you chose the scenes you did?
Fairbanks: I definitely knew I wanted to use the scene in the café, but the other one was kind of hard to choose. Every actor is conflicted about what good acting is, and I think a lot of people think that it's you being the center of attention and telling the story. But I disagree with that. I think good acting is listening and responding and reacting and being responsible to the moment. I was really proud of what both Camryn [Grimes, Mariah Copeland] and I did in those scenes, and I know it's supposed to be my nomination, but all of the scenes that we did together, that's us as a team. She helped me get to where I needed to get, and I, hopefully, helped her get where she needed to get, because we were supporting each other. So, I felt like those scenes were a really good example of me working as a team member and less trying to take the moment, if that makes any sense.
Soap Central: You've actually had a great deal of scenes with Camryn. What can you say about working with her?
Fairbanks: She's great to work with. Everyone on the show that I have worked with has been an amazing team member, and they just want to help you get where you need to get. And that's what's so great about working with Camryn, is she has been on the show for a long time, and I was so new that I was like, "Oh, dear, I'm so lost and confused!" But honestly, everyone there is an amazing team member, and that's why I really appreciate being on the show.
Soap Central: And you really lucked out with such a great story that gave you both such powerful material, you're both up for Emmy nominations, which is amazing!
Fairbanks: Yes, it's pretty crazy. She was the first cast member I texted with a congratulations. We were both in each other's reels, I think, which was fun.
Soap Central: You aren't in the same category, though, so what do you think about the girls that are in your category? Have you seen their work?
Fairbanks: I know Hayley from meeting her and hanging out with her, and she's really cool. And I'm assuming everybody else is cool. I watched the reels, and I thought they were awesome. The thing is, young talent is lit. Everyone is great and amazing, and I'm kind of walking in as the new kid. I'm just kind of like, "I'm just here to support everyone. I don't really care about winning, I just want everyone to be happy." That's just who I am. I want the best person to win, the one who deserves it the most, but I think they're all really great. It probably seems like the typical answer, though. It's not like I'm going to walk in and be like, "Everyone sucks except for me!" [Laughs]
Soap Central: Well, being as I am a journalist, I was kind of hoping you would!
Fairbanks: [Laughs] Well, I have to say no; everyone is amazing.
Soap Central: Yeah, I guess you have to be good to even get the nomination. You'd never be up against someone who doesn't do a good job.
Fairbanks: I hope! [Laughs]
Soap Central: Have you started to work on an acceptance speech, you know, just in case?
Fairbanks: Oh, my gosh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! Let's just say, in a crazy world, I get nominated, and for the rest of my life, if I do, I'm never going to prepare anything. For me, that's almost cursing it. The last thing I said before these nominations was, "Well, I'm not expecting anything. I'm just going to go to the Grove and walk around." So, expecting bad things to happen usually works out for me.
Soap Central: Maybe you also need to expect a wardrobe malfunction so you kill it on the red carpet. You think?
Fairbanks: Oh, I am! I'm already expecting that. I rented one dressm and I'm going to rent a few other ones just in case none of them fit and I end up having to wear a trash bag.
Soap Central: But you know what? I think you would actually look really good in a trash bag. There's something about you where I just think you could look good in anything.
Fairbanks: Well, thank you! Black plastic is definitely my vibe. [Laughs]
Soap Central: So, you do have at least one dress, so what was the process like of choosing that? Did you search for a long time for the perfect thing?
Fairbanks: Honestly? It took me one night! I found this rental site that just started out and they have a bunch of vintage, couture dresses. I'm a huge fashion nerd. I follow every fashion designer on Instagram and follow them on Tumblr, and I memorize their names and their birthdays, and I watch documentaries. I'm obsessed with fashion, so when this happened, the first thing I thought of was, "Oh, that's cool that I'm nominated, but yay, I get to wear a pretty dress!" So, I have a few dresses where it's like, if anything cool happens, this is what I want to wear. And this couture site actually had it, so I'm going to hopefully wear that one, so we'll see. If I don't get too excited and eat too much sushi leading up to the event, that is. But I think I'm going to be cool.
Soap Central: Is it a vintage dress?
Fairbanks: I think it's a couple of seasons old, so I'm calling it vintage to make it seem less out of style. [Laughs] Honestly, I need to look and see when it was actually made. But the problem with vintage right now is a lot of it is very 80s, so you have a lot of big shoulders and a lot of bright colors, which is a hard no for me.
Soap Central: Are you more the type to lean toward classic and glamorous, or are you more willing to take some risks, since you're into fashion the way you are?
Fairbanks: I'm kind of all over the place, if you can't tell! I think my red carpet dream style is everything Winona Ryder wore in the 90s. And she's kind of a little bit of both. I think it's important for women to be both: risk takers and classy.
Soap Central: Do you know who you're taking as your date to the awards?
Fairbanks: Last year, I brought my mom to the after-party, so this year, my dad is actually going to come with me to the awards, and then my best friend is going to come with me to the after-party.
Soap Central: Do your parents live in L.A.?
Fairbanks: They live in Orange County, so not that far. But my dad was like, "Can I go?" And I was like, "Well, of course!"
Soap Central: Will you take him down the red carpet?
Fairbanks: Oh, no, no, no! He doesn't like that kind of stuff. He just wants to watch from far away. He doesn't want to be in the pictures. He just wants to support me from the side.
Soap Central: I love that he was kind of jealous that you took your mom last year and wanted the opportunity this year. So cute!
Fairbanks: Oh, he was so jealous! But he's so shy, so it's not like he'll talk to a bunch of people. And if he does talk to them, he'll talk to them about me! [Laughs]
Soap Central: What does he think about you being an actress? He's so shy, and then here you are in the spotlight. So what does he say about that?
Fairbanks: Well, my dad actually wanted to be an actor when he was a kid, and he got vocal nodes. He has a beautiful, beautiful voice; he's an amazing singer. But he was in a play, and he got vocal nodes, so he was like, "Well, I guess I can't sing all the time." So, he [went on to get] a double PhD and is a brilliant man. So, when I was born and I started being a little performer, he was like, "You know, I think she's going to really like this." I saw a performance of Annie, and he was in it, so I decided I wanted to be an actor. So, he's been with me on the whole ride and is very excited that I want to do it. He's not pushing into doing it; he's always been like, "If you want to do it, do it. And if you don't, don't." So, he's been with me the whole time. Both of my parents have. But I think he's been really excited and really proud. When I called him, he was crying. So, I was like, "Oh, you want to go with me?!" It was really sweet.
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