CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless has told a million love stories since its debut back in 1973, but the current romance between Camryn Grimes's Mariah Copeland and Cait Fairbanks' Tessa Porter is the first time the long-running series has delved deep into a romantic relationship between two women. And Grimes says she is beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to tell such an important, topical story.
"It's amazing. We haven't shied away from it," the actress says in a recent interview with TV Insider. "Cait and I are always talking about what we're showing people and making sure it looks and, more importantly, feels authentic. We know how much it matters. Representation matters. The popularity is a reflection of the progress."
She continues to say that LGBTQ stories haven't always been front and center on daytime television -- in fact, she says, "these stories are things that soaps have shied away from, at times." But the tides are changing, and Grimes believes soap operas create a perfect vehicle for the telling of same-sex romances and beyond.
"Soaps are a reflection of our times and society -- or at least they should be," she opines. "When you move with your audience every day, day in and day out, that's what you need to be. You need to be addressing topical things. You need to be showing what the world looks like. And it's beautiful. And it's freaking awesome. It's love. That's my opinion."
Grimes can't believe her luck in getting to tell Mariah and Tessa's romance. But then again, she can't believe her luck that she's getting the chance to tell any of Mariah's stories, having first played the character's twin sister, Cassie, and then making an unexpected return to the soap in the shoes of this new role.
"If you had told me seven years ago I'd be back on Y&R, I'd be like 'no!'" Grimes shares. "My return [that led to Mariah] was supposed to be four or five episodes [but] they liked what was happening. After I'd been back at Y&R for about four months, there was an audition at The Bold and the Beautiful. I went to Y&R and said, 'I'm having a blast, but I'm still a ghost so...' They were like, 'No, no. Don't leave. We're trying to bring you back.' But I was really scared of being a different character. I did not think it would work."
She explains, "I was still young when I came back to the show. You want to be liked. I knew the Y&R audience loved Cassie. I didn't know what I had done to make them like her so much. If I wasn't Cassie, would I disappoint them? I was so concerned. I was like they'll make me a new character -- the anti-Cassie, who could be a bitch. I thought it could go horribly wrong, but it didn't."
For more from Grimes on her Y&R history and her guest-starring role on NCIS, check out TV Insider's full interview here.
What do you think about the romance between Y&R's Mariah and Tessa? What are your thoughts on Grimes now playing the role of Mariah? Did you hate the new character when she first made her debut, as Grimes feared? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.