The Young and the Restless' Brytni Sarpy is fast becoming a pro at soap opera triangles. Her character, Elena, was, not so long ago, smack-dab in the middle of a very tense situation that saw her then-boyfriend, Devon (Bryton James), rocked by the arrival of his dead wife's look-alike (identical twin), Amanda (Mishael Morgan), which was followed by Elena hooking up with Nate (Sean Dominic).
As if that wasn't layered enough, Elena is once again in a romantic pickle, this time as the girlfriend of Nate, who's struggling in his new business relationship with Devon and finding himself being sucked toward Imani (Leigh-Ann Rose), who is hellbent on sinking her hooks into the former doctor by showering him with flattery and flirtatious advances in a time when he's feeling self-conscious about his career path.
Elena has been gone on a trip to Hawaii, but now that she's back in Genoa City, she's ready to put her foot down with her beau and demand that he wake up to the games that Imani is obviously playing. But will he listen? Or will he continue to be influenced by the sexy lawyer who's incessantly whispering in his ear? Soap Central spoke with Sarpy to find out, and she teases that there's massive fallout to come -- so get ready for some serious explosions!
Soap Central: How has your summer been going so far? Have you done anything fun?
Brytni Sarpy: Yeah, I've made a lot of small trips here and there throughout the summer. I went to New York to see some friends in a play, and I'll be going back soon to see Christian LeBlanc [Michael Baldwin] in his play, [Cat on a Hot Tin Roof], which is really exciting. I've also gone to Joshua Tree, Vegas -- a few places! Making use of my weekends.
Soap Central: Sounds like it! To start out today, I'd love to get your opinion about all of the social media love that you receive. There are so many "Brytni appreciation" posts that are made every single day.
Sarpy: Really? Thank you for telling me. That makes me feel really good inside. I really, really appreciate hearing that, because [the fans] are 80 percent of why I do this job.
Soap Central: The fans have definitely missed you since Elena has been off in Hawaii, and people are very thrilled to have her back -- and with a bang, no less! How does Elena feel about returning to Genoa City and seeing how close Nate has gotten to Imani?
Sarpy: I wouldn't say off the bat that she experiences that they've gotten any closer. It's not so much that, it's just that she's finding out that he's choosing to be oblivious to the games that she is obviously playing. I mean, everyone is aware of it. Amanda keeps warning him, even Lily [Christel Khalil] has caught wind of certain things, and my character has been saying it for God knows how long! It's so obvious to just about every other player in Genoa City that Imani is blatantly flirting with him and has motives, and the fact that Nate is oblivious to it -- or choosing to be oblivious to it -- is starting to wear on her.
Soap Central: Does she think that maybe he is choosing to ignore it because he likes the attention?
Sarpy: Yeah, I think Elena feels like Nate is in a vulnerable place, going into a new career, and there's a competitive aspect with his cousin, so I think there are certain things that he doesn't want to discuss with Elena, considering her past with Devon. And the way that Imani kind of champions for him, I mean, I think anyone would like to have a supporter like that. I just told you how exciting it was to hear that you said that there are a lot of fans supporting me! It's human nature, if someone is going to stroke your ego, to allow them to do it. It's easier to sit in oblivion and bliss than actually recognize that someone might have an ulterior motive.
Soap Central: So, what's Nate's explanation or excuse when Elena confronts him? Does he ease Elena's fears? Or does it make the problem worse?
Sarpy: I think Nate is knee deep with his ego needs right now. The most important thing for Nate in this moment is not his relationship with Elena and seeing clearly what is going on outside of that; his focus is trying to win at a game against Devon, and Imani is a player that he has in his pocket that I don't think he's going to allow himself to let go of it.
Soap Central: Do you feel like Elena is equally upset with Imani, or is she at this point just upset with Nate?
Sarpy: Elena doesn't know Imani, but she understands Imani's objective and who Imani is. She's never been threatened by Imani; it's not like the situation with Amanda, where she looks exactly like her partner's dead ex-wife. There's no threat. I don't think she's worried about Nate getting advances from Imani, it's just really the influence, and I think at this point, it's kind of harmless -- unless Nate decides not to address it or doesn't wake up to the fact that he has someone in his ear giving him bad advice. So, it's more about Nate than it is about Imani for Elena.
Soap Central: Knowing what you know of Elena, how do you foresee her handling this situation in the long run? Is she the type to lay down and cry, or more the type to fight with her all might for her relationship?
Sarpy: I think Elena is a fighter, and she would definitely fight for her relationship, especially considering the situation and understanding that he's in a vulnerable place. He's making a career jump, and he's making a career jump with a family member that he's had a lot of conflict with, and on top of that, Elena is in the middle of that. She's part of the reason why these two have the conflict. She's seriously going to try to help the situation, because part of her feels obligated to, not just because she's dating Nate, but because, again, she feels like she played a part in the reason why they have conflict in the first place. So, I think her trying to peacefully massage their relationship and help Nate through this is going to be her main objective. Unless she can't.
Soap Central: So, it's safe to say that she'd probably handle this very differently if she didn't have that history with Devon?
Sarpy: Yeah, I think so... I think she cares a lot, she wears her heart on her sleeve, and she devotes herself to her partner and their issues as her own issues. But, with that said, I'm sure everyone has a point of no return, or a point where they're like, "All right, you're in too deep." That could come, or it could not -- it depends on Nate and his ego!
Soap Central: What has it been like to work with Leigh-Ann Rose and Sean Dominic in this storyline?
Sarpy: It's been good! It's really nice to see Sean start to come into his own. I think this is some of the best work that he's done since we've been working together. And I actually like him playing on the other side of the coin and not being the nice guy that's in everyone's business and just trying to do good; Nate's now doing things for himself, and it adds a little more character to his portrayal of Nate. And Leigh-Ann is just the sweetest thing ever. Our relationship couldn't be more different than Elena and Imani's. She's a complete sweetheart.
Soap Central: Shifting gears slightly, your co-star Mishael Morgan made history by becoming the first Black woman to win the Lead Actress award at this year's Daytime Emmy Awards. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that and if you were inspired by her journey to get there?
Sarpy: Absolutely! She and I talked so much that night about this exact thing, because it means so much. She broke the ceiling, which is such a huge thing for all of us minorities who don't always get storylines throughout the years, and we don't always get as much coverage as everyone else. So, to be able to do what she's been able to do, to level the playing field, it's exceptional. She did exceptional work, and she's an exceptional human. I certainly look up to her and hope to follow in her footsteps.
Soap Central: I loved her story about how she basically made the decision to advocate for herself and just put herself in Lead with a "no guts, no glory" attitude, like, "We're doing this!"
Sarpy: Yeah! I even thought, "Whoa, I'm surprised she went into Lead." Really, I was surprised. But it goes to tell you, that attitude will get you where you need to go. And I would expect no less from her.
Soap Central: I'd also love to ask you about your film Four for Fun, as it's getting really decent attention at film festivals, and it's full of soap talent like yourself, Jacob Young [ex-Rick Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful; ex-J.R. Chandler, All My Children], and Jason Cook [ex-Shawn-Douglas Brady, Days of our Lives].
Sarpy: Yeah, it is doing really well. We did Sedona Festival earlier this year, we got into Portland Festival back in October, and we just got into Catalina. Jason Cook is the writer and the director of the project, and he decided he wants to do a full festival run with it and then see where it goes from there. But yeah, that's probably one of the funnest roles that I've had the opportunity to play. She's so different from anyone I have ever played. Her name is Des, and the story is a very small cast; there's just always four of us. The crazy thing about the story is it's one dinner party that happens eleven times, with different endings every time. It's such a smart and poignant story, and it's written so well. And the actors who are in it just all came together as an ensemble and just knocked it out of the park. I can't wait for everyone to see it. It's certainly very different from what anyone has ever seen me do.
Soap Central: Are the eleven different endings supposed to be like a Choose Your Own Adventure type of situation?
Sarpy: Not quite. It's more like a butterfly effect. If something shifts here, then it completely changes the trajectory of the story and how things might end. The stories get progressively longer as you watch. The first one might end very quickly -- like, some of them are only three-minute stories, but suddenly, by the end of it, you actually see the full dinner party. It's so fun.
Soap Central: It sounds fun, and so does your character. We can see from the teaser trailer [below] that Des is very sensual and sexually liberated. How was it to wear her shoes?
Sarpy: It was wonderful! It was great to tap into that chakra. I never get the opportunity to work in my primal chakra. Usually all of my characters are like Elena, who, like I said, wears her heart on her sleeve. When I played Valerie [on GH], it was the same thing -- she was very heart-centered, as are most of my characters, I think because it's closer to who I am. But playing Des, she's not at all like me, and it was really nice to get into the ravenous side of myself and to be fiercely confident about who she is and how she is with her sexuality to captivate and also teach. It really is a great script. There are some nuggets in there, and you have to kind of rewatch it to catch everything. Jason is an exceptional writer.
Soap Central: What was it like to work with him and also Jacob Young, both of whom soap fans are very familiar with?
Sarpy: I love Jacob! He plays my husband in this, and he is so this character. He plays it to a T. It's really funny. His character and my character, they aren't opposites, but they give each other a lot to play with. They're good scene partners. And working with Jason, he really is a very special person. I think that his writing and directing will go far. And he did this on a very, very, very low budget, but the quality is incredible. So, I am sure I will work with him again.
Soap Central: That would be fantastic! Soap fans hope so!
Sarpy: I also did another indie with a couple of other soap people. We just completed it, and it's called The Final Rose. It's kind of a horror spoof on The Bachelor, and it has Robert Palmer Watkins in it, who played Dillon Quartermaine on General Hospital, and it also has Robert Adamson [ex-Noah Newman, Y&R; ex-Michael Corinthos, GH] in it, as well.
Soap Central: Fantastic start already! Is there anything you can say about the storyline at this point?
Sarpy: Yeah, this is another character that is a little on the outside of who I'm used to playing. She's a character with a secret, and she definitely has motives. Oh, and Roger Howarth [Austin Gatlin Holt, GH; ex-Franco, GH; ex-Todd Manning, One Life to Live; ex-Paul Ryan, As the World Turns] is in the film, as well. It was such a blast to work with him. I always wanted to work with him when I was on GH, and getting that opportunity on this project was really cool.
Soap Central: Did you learn anything from Roger? He's such an unusual actor, especially in the daytime world. He's unique and has a totally different style.
Sarpy: Yes! And he has a totally different take every time, which is so fun to watch. And that's what I learned, is not gluing yourself to how you rehearsed and being able to fluently throw it away and just have a different experience every time [you shoot a scene]. It was a lot of fun.
Soap Central: Since you mentioned Elena wearing her heart on her sleeve, to bring it back around to Y&R, do you think that the storyline you're currently in with Nate and Imani, or even Nate and Devon working together, will change or develop Elena in any way?
Sarpy: Oh, definitely. I think at the rate that things are going with Nate and his character and the choices that he's making, there's just no way that there won't be any fallout from that. And with fallout comes a lot of changes and a lot of character progression, and I think that Elena is due for a shakeup!
What do you think about our interview with Brytni Sarpy? How do you feel about the triangle that's beginning to brew between Elena, Nate, and Imani? Where would you like to see the chips fall? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.