INTERVIEW: Bryton James on his The Young and the Restless Emmy win, the importance of his acceptance speech, and the special women with whom he's sharing the honor

Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2020 8:11:41 AM

The Young and the Restless' Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) opens up about his unforgettable Emmy win, why he's sharing the honor with his mom and girlfriend, and how much it meant to him to be able to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement in his acceptance speech.

Fans of The Young and the Restless' Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) are over the moon about the actor's recent Daytime Emmy win in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category. He's been a part of the Genoa City world for over 16 years, so it was special to see him and his talents recognized again after such a long stretch of time following his 2007 win in the Younger Actor category. James is also excited about being honored and tells Soap Central that the whole experience is something he will never forget.

Soap Central: Aw, Bryton! Congratulations on your Emmy win!

Bryton James: Thank you very, very much. I appreciate it.

Soap Central: What was the whole Emmy experience like for you, being that you were at home and found out about your win via television, which is so different than what we've experienced before.

James: It was very, very different! It was pretty cool, though. I actually enjoyed it a lot because I was able to be in the comfort of my home, and I was surrounded by some close friends and family, people that you wouldn't usually get to have at a venue or at the event if we were at one. So that was a very cool experience. And the fact that it was televised and I watched it like the rest of the world did on CBS primetime with some good ratings, it was very cool. It's definitely one that we'll never forget. No one will forget this! And to win during a special one like that, it was nice.

Soap Central: It really was a history-making evening, and like you said, great ratings -- 3.1 million! Which is pretty dang awesome.

James: Yes, it's fantastic! Absolutely fantastic. I'm looking forward to us keeping it up and bringing it back next year, too.

Soap Central: Did you appreciate having the opportunity to record an acceptance speech beforehand, or did it feel a bit strange? I would almost feel like I was jinxing myself or something!

James: [Laughs] Well, I always enjoy being prepared, so the fact that I got to do it and refine it and make sure it was exactly what I wanted to say without being too nervous was a great thing. The time limit was a little restricting, but I'm just happy that I got to say what I wanted and share a message, as well, and the fact that it got to be out there to so many people is a good thing. I still would have been pretty prepared, though, even if I had to do it in person! I never like to wing things.

Soap Central: So many of the fans loved that you gave a shout-out to Brytni [Sarpy, Elena Dawson] and thought that was super sweet. What does all of that fan support and love for you two as a couple mean to you?

James: It means the world! To have that much positive energy coming at you and being behind a relationship, it's great, great, support. And also, for us on the show -- it means that they are going to love what we do on-screen, as well. Most of my scenes, about 90 percent of my scenes that I submitted for the show, were scenes with just her and I, so she's the best scene partner I could ever ask for and the best partner generally that I could ask for.

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A post shared by Brytni (@brytni) on

Soap Central: You mentioned to me during the interview for your nomination that she helps you run lines a lot, and of course, as you just said, she's in a lot of the scenes with you, so do you view this as a shared award, or are you like, "No, that baby is mine!"

James: Nah, it's absolutely always shared! [Laughs] It's shared with anyone that you share the stage with, which is most of the cast. We share it all. But yeah, definitely with her. Most of our storylines are just us, like I said, together, and she has the same work ethic as I do. We love to be prepared, and it's been really, really amazing to find a partner who likes to perfect [the scenes], and we can perfect our craft together. It's great.

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It's Emmy Time!!! Congratulations to all of our @youngandrestlesscbs / @cbsdaytime Winners so far in the creative categories!!🎉🎉 @daytimeemmys ... & speaking of.. I think we all won when this one joined the #YR team @brytni #Elevon 📸: Steven Bergman Photography

A post shared by Bryton James (@brytonejames) on

Soap Central: So, where are you going to keep this Emmy? Will it be keeping your first Emmy company somewhere fantastic?

James: My mom actually had my first one for a while, and then she moved, so I had to keep it for about the last year and a half. So, when I get the new one, I'm going to probably give myself a week to see two of them on my nightstand, and then I'm going to give the first one back to my mom so she can keep it.

Soap Central: That is so incredibly sweet that you let your mom keep it! That's one of the coolest things I've heard about an Emmy, actually. Very nice choice, Bryton!

James: Well yeah, I wouldn't have either of the Emmys -- or anything, really -- without what my parents did for me, and especially her. She was a stay-at-home mom, and from the time I was two-and-a-half, three years old, when I started doing anything in this industry, she was the one to drive for many hours to and from auditions, and drive me to work and sit with me and run lines with me and get me to learn how to memorize. She spent the majority of her life doing things for me, so she deserves to have it more than I do.

Soap Central: Speaking of special people in your life, many of the scenes that you submitted for your reel were in honor of Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil Winters). Just like you, he was a spectacular actor, so did you two ever trade acting notes, or was there anything that you were able to learn from him over the years?

James: Oh, my gosh, the only trading was one way, because I've been learning from him since the first day I stepped on stage! I was 17, I had no idea about the soap world when I started, and he just took me under his wing from day one and treated me as an equal and always shared with me how proud he was of me getting better. But just being with him, just acting with him, running lines and getting to be in the scenes with someone, that's the best way that you can ever learn from someone, and I did that constantly. I still do, even watching shows back and watching his old work. I'll never stop learning from him.

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The reason we Love him... the reason we Won... and the reason I had a path to follow. Thank you @kristoffstjohn for how you affected each of us. And thank the @daytimeemmys , @cbstv , @youngandrestlesscbs & all of the voters for an incredible celebration! Congratulations to @myjasonthompson @evalarue, @patcampy and all of Hair and Makeup, the entire Art/Set decoration team, & the Sound mixing team! I couldn't be more grateful to be apart of the #YR family! 🏆 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

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Soap Central: I know you said earlier that there was a time limit on your acceptance speech, but I've got to say, you managed to pack in quite a bit in that short amount of time! You had a very powerful message about Black Lives Matter. How important was it for you to use this platform to speak out about that?

James: It couldn't be more important. Anytime anyone has a platform to speak out and bring awareness to something that is so important, it's a responsibility that we all have. And knowing that it was going to be televised on CBS for the first time in a while, I knew that there was going to be a large number of people who were watching and people that need to hear about it and be motivated and educated about what's going on. So, I was happy that I was able to get it as perfectly as could be, but yeah, we only had about 30 seconds, which was pretty difficult!

Soap Central: How would you encourage the readers who are reading this -- or even daytime in general -- to help make a difference?

James: I think the best thing that people can do is to continue to learn. I think educating yourself about what people are speaking out about is the first thing that you can do, and once you make a decision about how you feel about it, find out what steps you can do to make change, whether that be in your own profession and also via voting. One thing that we can all do is vote and learn about the changes that need to be made and how we can affect them. But more than anything, like many of us are doing, is educating ourselves, because there is a lot of stuff that we are not taught, that we just don't know, or that we are not brought up as a society to understand. With the Internet, with social media, it's a great platform for people to put information out there for people to learn from -- it's free, and we need to use it. Obviously, we need to learn the right information, so do your research and verify what you're talking about. But don't stop -- don't just go back to not doing anything about it. Always continue to keep yourself aware. And even if it's just educating someone else, if that's the best that you can do, you're doing something.

Soap Central: Very well said! Before I let you go, I wanna say congratulations again and also ask if there's anything else that you'd like to add?

James: Thank you to the fans of the show and thank you to anybody that I left out in the short time that they let us make that speech! Anyone and everyone who voted, I couldn't be more grateful. I'm truly grateful to be a part of the show and to receive that honor.

For more from James on his Emmy win, including a video of his acceptance speech, check out Soap Central's complete Emmy recap.

What do you think about Bryton James winning this year's Outstanding Supporting Actor award? How do you feel about him sharing the honor with his mother and girlfriend? What were your thoughts on the Black Lives Matter message that he included in his acceptance speech? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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