The Young and the Restless' Greg Rikaart created quite a stir in the soap opera community when he recently went on record to say he hopes his longtime alter ego, Kevin Fisher, ends up being gay. Many people have supported the actor's wishes and agree that it's time for the CBS soap to delve into a serious gay storyline. However, others are happy that Y&R hasn't followed in the footsteps of other non-traditional daytime stories like The Bold and the Beautiful's Maya/Myron shocker, General Hospital's Lucas and Felix storyline, and the romance between Days of our Lives' Sonny and Will. But how does Elizabeth Hendrickson, who recently departed the canvas as Kevin's ex-wife, Chloe Mitchell, feel about Rikaart's statements? And just what would Chloe do if her ex really turned out to be gay?
Soap Central spoke with the actress, who's preparing to shoot the pilot for her new web series 30 Days Max to find out.
soapcentral.com: Congratulations on reaching your Kickstarter goal for 30 Days Max. You must be so excited to get started on the web series and delve headfirst into comedy, which you've been wanting to do since leaving Y&R.
Elizabeth Hendrickson: Thank you! I was hoping it would happen, and I knew in my heart that it would, and I'm so thankful for it happening even quicker than it was expected to. It's so awesome.
soapcentral.com: The story follows Max as she traverses the world of online dating. So, whose dating experiences are you basing the stories off of? Is it from your real-life dating experiences, or are they completely fabricated?
Hendrickson: Oh, everyone and anyone! My cousin has a lot of amazing online dating stories, because that's actually how she met her husband. She was on Match[.com] before you could even upload a photo. You had to describe what you looked like, and she described herself as a mix of Gillian Anderson from X-Files and a Muppet [laughs]. And then me, I've had so many dating stories. That's pretty much a topic of conversation with all of my girlfriends right now, especially my married girlfriends. My married girlfriends are like, "Okay, so who are you dating? What's going on?" I'm someone who's not into the online dating scene, but I've been pushed into it so many times by friends. I put my toe in and then freak out and back up, but now it's changing. People are on Tinder. I remember when Tinder first came out, and it was such a big secret. And now, people all of a sudden are like, "Oh yeah, I saw you on Tinder." You're not judged now. And then there are the stories of all my other girlfriends. We all sit around on a Friday night, have a glass of wine, and talk about what happened, what didn't happen. I have such a huge pool of stories that this could just go on forever -- which it won't! But we're just exited to tell a lot of great stories and horrible stories in the best way that we know how. And people will probably see a different side of me, because we have a little bit raunchier of a humor than people may know -- and I don't mean raunchy like dirty or nasty, I just mean a little bit more how we all speak to each other about what we're going through. We have the luxury of telling the stories that we need to tell. That's the great thing about being online. There's a little bit more freedom.
soapcentral.com: I like that you've found a way for fans to be involved, because we all know how passionate soap opera fans are and wish their voices were heard regarding character choices and storylines.
Hendrickson: Exactly. It's kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure, if you will, and... the best thing about it for me is as long as I've been in daytime, which has been ten years now, my fans have always spoken up about how they feel. My fans are responsible for where I am in the soap world, because they're the ones that signed a petition for me to remain on All My Children, where I continued on to be Maggie. And then to be there and have that amazing experience of being in one of the first lesbian relationships in daytime, which then helped me continue on to Y&R. The fans have so much to say, they're just not always heard, and I thought this was a great place for me to do something on my own and get their input and really have them be involved. So I hope that it works. I want the fans to work together, and that's why we're trying to put it out there, to let them know that this can be a possibility if they choose to hop on board... It's just a matter of getting those fans to come over and getting familiar with the whole process, because it's not really something that's been done yet. So we're hoping that it will work, and I hope that whatever questions I ask them, they'll want to be a part of it. I'm sure that they will. It's just a matter of getting them over there and knowing that I will be answering their prayers, if possible. You know, like little things like as the show continues, and hopefully it will take off swimmingly, I'll be able to put up two different profiles of who Max can go out on a date with, or what should Max wear on a date, or maybe different hairstyle changes, fashion, wherever we can include them in the process. If they want to see it, we want to answer.... It's just another added thing to make it special. I don't want people to think it's a gimmick, because it really isn't. It was really something that just sounded different and cool. And like I said, the way I've been dealing with my fans and how I get to hear through Twitter or before Twitter existed, I would get boxes and boxes of letters of how people were seeing and experiencing things. So it would just be a really cool way to respond to my fans.
soapcentral.com: Have you considered casting any former costars in 30 Days Max? Any daytime actors?
Hendrickson: Oh, my gosh, I have so many people I want to ask. I'm just being really strategic about it because I don't want to ask for anything and then not be able to deliver. We're just trying to get through the pilot right now, and if that takes off, then of course. Oh, gosh, I have so many ideas for so many people I've worked with that I think would be a perfect fit or a great guest star. I would die to have Greg Rikaart in an episode. Billy [Miller, ex-Billy, Y&R; Jason Morgan, GH] and I have talked about it in the past, about us going on a date together for the show. We've had little funny jokes about, well, I don't want to give away too much! But there have been a lot of ideas stirred up that I would love to take advantage of. I have so many talented friends, and especially since she'll be dating, I know a lot of guys in the soap world. She'll be going on a lot of dates, and then she's also going to have girlfriends she needs to bounce things off of. But at the same time, those people also have great-paying jobs and they're very busy, and that's another reason why I want to make a really great pilot. And that's why it's at the price it's at. It's at $10,000 because I want to make it as good as possible so it can continue and people can be a part of it.
soapcentral.com: What is the next step now that you've reached the first funding goal?
Hendrickson: Next step is shooting it. We're going to shoot it as soon as possible. We're in the process of casting it right now, really trying to make the choice on who should play Max's best friend, who is actually going to be her gay male best friend. Originally it was written to be two women, and the director [said], "You know what, we should make it a gay male." And I said, "That is so much more representative of my life!" I go to my gay friends about everything. Not that I don't trust my girlfriends' opinions, but my gay boyfriends are the most protective over me, so I just thought, what a great way to tell the story with another perspective. I'm not judging either way, girlfriends versus gay best friends, but it will just make for a more interesting type of way to explore the relationships.
soapcentral.com: Speaking of gay characters and Greg Rikaart, he recently went on record saying he wishes Kevin turns out to be gay.
Hendrickson: I know! I just saw that yesterday.
soapcentral.com: What did you think about his comments?
Hendrickson: You know, I thought, "Greg, why didn't you say that earlier?!" It really made me think... Y&R hasn't really had a gay character [for long-term storytelling], so I thought how beautiful and how courageous. I totally support it. And listen, I'm not going back to Y&R anytime soon, but make Kevin gay and in a relationship and have Chloe back, and I will be there in a heartbeat. That would be a great story, and what an amazing conflict to play. The stories that could come out of that would be beyond. So I say bring it on, Y&R! And if they do it, I will be calling Y&R to ask if I can come back!
soapcentral.com: How do you think Chloe would react if Kevin turned out to be gay?
Hendrickson: Chloe could go one of two ways. She could either say, "Great, let's go shopping," and they'd be in competition for a pair of shoes [laughs]. Or she could go the selfish route and be hurt and confused, and the audience sees more of her selfish side. It depends on what side of her we're going for, if we're going for selfish old Chloe, or are we going to go for compelling new mother Chloe. And I would actually rather go for selfish Chloe because that just tells a better story.
soapcentral.com: I think a lot of fans would agree. Selfish Chloe is way more fun.
Hendrickson: Yeah, that's what it's all about. Acting 101 is raising the stakes, so raise them as high as we possibly can and go from there. And if anything, those are stories that are being told right now, and for a reason. That's what's happening in people's lives. I mean, a lot of people are living a certain life for a very long time, thinking that's the life that they should live and then all of a sudden realizing they've been living a lie. And I'd rather tell those stories. I'd rather help people. You know, I think the biggest thing I ever got out of entering daytime was playing [All My Children's lesbian character] Frankie and playing that at a time where it was not as accepted as it is today. And to think I was able to pave the way for certain people at that time is the biggest compliment of my career so far.
soapcentral.com: Well, we'll see if Y&R is daring enough to go there. And not to say it's even really daring, because all of the other shows are doing it. But somehow it still seems daring for Y&R.
Hendrickson: Oh definitely. It's kind of sad for Y&R, and I don't mean sad in a negative way, but it's kind of sad for Y&R that they are a little behind [the] times on that. I'm glad [Rikaart made that comment], because they should be exploring things like that. I think coloring your show with everything that's going on in the world, that's important. They have such a huge pool of people to reach, and with a character like Kevin, he can really speak to a lot of people. I think it's a great idea. And thank you to him for saying it, because we know that if you say it, then fans may push for it, and it will happen. If the fans ask for it, it will happen. It may take a little time, but sometimes they listen, and if fans wish for it enough, [the powers that be] will hop on board.
For more information on 30 Days Max and to find out how you can participate in the creative process along with Hendrickson, check out the project's Kickstarter page here.
Are you excited about 30 Days Max? Would you like to see Hendrickson's Chloe make a return to the Y&R canvas only find out Kevin is gay, or is that a storyline you'd rather the show not explore? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.