There's no denying that The Young and the Restless actor Zach Tinker (Fenmore Baldwin) has talent. The daytime newbie managed to snag an Emmy nomination with just a few weeks' worth of material to include on his submission reel -- and most of the scenes were taped with little to no preparation time, considering he was a last-minute recast for Fen's former portrayer, Max Ehrich.
Soap Central caught up with Tinker shortly after the Emmy nominees were announced, and he shared what it feels like to be recognized so early in his daytime career, why the nomination is especially important for his parents, and how he plans to rock the red carpet when the Emmy ceremony happens on Sunday, May 5.
Soap Central: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination! How does it feel?
Zach Tinker: Thank you so much! It feels pretty unreal. Coming into the role and only being on the show for three or four months, I remember [our publicist] Matt said, "You can submit if you want to," and I was like, "Eh, what's the point, though? These other people have been here for so long, there's no way." But I kind of just did it, and when I got nominated, I was like like, "Wow, okay!" [Laughs] At first, it was more shock. I was like, "Is this right?" And then I was like, "Wow, this is awesome."
Soap Central: Yeah, you're a bit of a ninja getting in there because you only had a couple of weeks of material before the official cutoff date for material.
Tinker: I literally just made the cutoff. We have to make reels to submit, and there were a few scenes that I wanted to use that aired after the cutoff. The episode that I wanted aired on January 2, and there was no way to submit it, and I was like, "Dang it!" But it still worked out in the end.
Soap Central: What scenes did you end up submitting for your reel?
Tinker: I ended up submitting the very first scenes that I did on the show, where Fenmore is with his mom and dad -- Christian LeBlanc [Michael Baldwin] and Tracey Bregman [Lauren Fenmore] -- where he says, "I'm coming back home, and I want to do music now; I'm dropping out of law school." The moment I read those scenes, I really, truly fell in love with them. I have never prepped for a scene [in such a way]: they sent me the script the day before we filmed, because I had booked the role literally right before, so I just completely immersed myself in those scenes as much as I could in that short amount of time. And then I submitted the stuff where I go in and record with Ana [Loren Lott], when I'm getting ready to record my demo, and she says she wants to record a different song instead of the ones that I had written, and I'm kind of freaking out and having a panic attack over it. And then the last one was when I go to her place, and I apologize for not standing up for her when Devon [Bryton James] asks her to fill out forms rather than being part of the recording process.
Soap Central: The first scenes you mentioned were when Fenmore tells his parents some really tough news. Have you ever had to do something like that? For example, how did your parents take it when you said, "Hey guys, I want to be an actor?"
Tinker: [Laughs] My whole family, especially on my dad's side, was in the industry, but never in front of the camera. I thought actually that I was going to be a writer. I went to school initially for English, and then I was going to go into screenwriting. My brother is a writer, my dad is a writer, my uncle is a director. But I did a play, a Stephen Belber play that Richard Linklater later made into a film with Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, called Tape. I did it up in Spokane, Washington, for this little community theater, and I remember after the first performance, I was like, "This is what I want to do for the rest of my life." So, I called my mom, and I called my dad, and my mom was very gung-ho, and my dad was, too, but I remember him saying, "This is really hard. You're going to be waiting tables, and you're going to have to grind, so only if you have to do this, do this, but don't if you can do anything else." But I said, "I have to do this. It's the only thing I really want to do." But in terms of breaking news, I would say the hardest thing was I got kicked out of high school for cheating when I was in eleventh grade, and I had to call my parents and let them know that I had been expelled from school. So, that was probably the hardest thing that I ever had to tell them.
Soap Central: Oh, my goodness, I can only imagine. That is some extremely tough news to have to tell your parents. What did you learn from all of that?
Tinker: Honesty is always the best policy. It's way better to try and fail than to try and finagle your way through anything in life. And even if you get away with it, it always catches up to you. I've really learned that even if it's painful at the time, honesty is always the best policy.
Soap Central: So how did your parents react when you shared the news that you've been nominated for an Emmy award? It must mean so much to them to see you succeeding like this!
Tinker: Exactly! My mom works at Disney, and she was in a meeting, so she picked up her phone and whispered, "I'm in a meeting, I can't talk," and I said, "I just want to let you know that I've been nominated for an Emmy," and she couldn't scream, so she just went, "Aaaaggghhhhh!" in a really loud whisper. [Laughs] And my dad was super excited, too. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, now, and he was on a tractor, cutting grass, when I called him, so he was very thrown off guard. But he was super proud, too. It was a nice call to make. And like you said, of course they were very supportive of me and of my career choice, but it was really nice to be like, "Hey, you guys haven't been supporting me for nothing. I'm trying to make you proud, and I'm working hard, and here's a little evidence that's it's paying off."
Soap Central: Your parents had great reactions to the news. How did you find out and react to the news that you'd been nominated?
Tinker: So, I knew that [the announcements were coming] that day, so I got up really early and went to the gym, and while I was there, I was refreshing Twitter and all of that, and I was just getting more and more anxious, so I said, "You know what, I'm just going to turn off my phone, and I'm not going to look." So, I turned it off, and then I got home and turned it back on, and I had pings and saw just so many tweets that said I had been nominated, so I just kind of danced all around my room for a few minutes.
Soap Central: Did you celebrate at all that evening, or do you have plans to celebrate?
Tinker: Yeah, I haven't celebrated officially yet because I've been crazy busy. But I plan to get dinner with my mom -- my stepdad is out of town working -- so it'll be with my mom, and then I'm just going to hang out with some friends and really try to relax. Celebrating for me isn't going out and partying; celebration for me is sitting back, maybe having a beer, watching some TV shows, and just kind of hanging out.
Soap Central: I don't know if you're the type or not to worry about what you will wear, but have you put any thought into how you're going to rock the red carpet?
Tinker: I am definitely going to spend some time figuring out what I'm going to wear. I've always felt like I look really goofy in suits. Like in my prom photos, I've got to find one that fits me, because that one did not fit me at all. [Laughs] So I really want to spend some time finding the right fit and the right tailor, because I want to feel like I belong there.
Soap Central: You're not the only one who looks back on prom photos and thinks that -- I feel like every high school guy has the most ill-fitting tuxedo or suit ever. It's like they're always drowning in material!
Tinker: Yeah, and you're drowning in pre-pubescent acne and weird hairdos. It is a mess!
Soap Central: But now is your time to shine like George Clooney or something. I can already tell.
Tinker: Exactly! This is the time.
Soap Central: Is there anything else that you want to add about your nomination?
Tinker: I'm so honored that people voted for me, and I'm so beyond, beyond, beyond grateful not only for Y&R and everyone there casting me, but also because I wouldn't have been able to do this if they hadn't made me feel so comfortable stepping into a role that had already been established and really supporting me and fully being there for me. I really can't thank all of them enough.
What do you think about Zach Tinker earning an Emmy nomination? Do you think he will take home the Outstanding Younger Actor trophy? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.