DC #292: Victoria Rowell Interview, So Hot It Couldn't Wait For the 300th Episode



(Editor's Note: This episode of Daytime Confidential featuring Victoria Rowell [ex-Drucilla Winters, The Young and the Restless] was set to air as our special 300th episode however, after completing the interview, we realized we couldn't sit on it. Download it now to find out why!)

From her unforgettable debut in 1990 as Drucilla Barber, the street smart niece of Mamie the Abbott maid on The Young and the Restless, through today as a world-recognized advocate for foster children and a New York Times Best Selling author, few actresses in the history of daytime television have made the kind of impact of Victoria Rowell. Who better then than Rowell to help Daytime Confidential celebrate our 300th episode?

Rowell speaks to Luke and Jamey from Atlanta, GA, where she is busy doing press for her hugely successful memoir The Women Who Raised Me, as well as writing her juicy first novel–Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva.

Rowell talks about the experience of being out on the road for the past 17 months "pressing flesh" with the droves of fans who have adored watching her on the big (Distinguished Gentlemen, Eve's Bayou) and small screen (Y&R, Diagnosis Murder) for the past 25 years.

She talks passionately about her work with foster children via the foundation she started almost 20 years ago, the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan (RFCPP). She elaborates on how her other passion, ballet, helped her carve a niche for herself in the world as a 17-year-old girl, fresh from the foster care system and why the RFCPP strongly utilizes the arts to teach its students discipline.

Rowell then provides a revealing and sometimes shocking glimpse into her time on The Young and the Restless, where she rose to fame as the insurmountable Dru. She remembers how it felt to work with the legendary Bill Bell, whom she shares she was as "thick as thieves" with. She tells how the daytime pioneer allowed her to help shape many storylines for the Barber-Winters family over the years, including Dru's ballet storyline, the Congressionally-recognized foster care storyline which helped win Bryton McClure (Devon) the Emmy, and how that spirit of collaboration and trust died with Bell.

She reveals how it feels to have never won the Emmy herself (she was nominated twice and boasts 11 NAACP Image Awards) and why she feels a "gang mentality" exists among much of the cast of daytime's number one show in terms of Emmy voting. She tells how on set popularity is measured above actual talent when it comes to making the all-important list of pre-nominees.

Rowell goes on to respond to remarks made by former Y&R costar Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott) in an interview with TV Guide Canada's Nelson Branco. Rowell reveals just why she feels Bergman is absolutely right, she wasn't "playing with a full deck", but, not in terms of her sanity, in terms of onset equality.

She talks about what it was like working opposite Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Newman) and why an onset violation resulted in Sony Pictures Studios (which co-owns the CBS soap with Bell Dramatic Serial Company) having to get involved to facilitate an apology.

She answers a Daytime Confidential reader's question about why Lily (Christel Khalil) doesn't seem to have her mother's spirit and responds to questions about when and if she will ever return to Y&R. It's only fitting that this, our 300th episode, is Daytime Confidential's most revealing, poignant, jaw-dropping, interview ever.

To register for the Sail The High Seas with Victoria Rowell Cruise, visit Advantage International or call 877-238-6843 to speak with Gene or Ja-Vonne Harley. The Sail The High Seas with Victoria Rowell Cruise takes place May 3 - 10, 2009.

Visit these Victoria Rowell related links:
Victoria Rowell Official Website l Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan l Advantage International

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Comments

Member since:
22 August 2007
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7 weeks 1 day

Congrats Guys!  Amazing Job! Thank you Ms. Rowell for helping us celebrate!

Member since:
1 April 2008
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5 days 11 hours

!

Member since:
15 May 2008
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6 hours 58 min

BRAVA!!! BRAVA!!! God I loved that interview and I came back at the right time. I do wish I was able to submit questions to her but it was GREAT! What a classy lady. I would've LOVED to see a Victor/Dru storyline romantic or otherwise. It would've been GREAT! Victor couldn't pull the mess he did now on her!

daisyclover1938's picture
Member since:
14 November 2007
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Great Interview!! WOW - I've always appreciated Ms. Rowell as an actress, and it sounds like she's a pretty spectacular woman!! I love her honesty! She's confident, talented, intelligent, and gorgeous! She's a great role model for everyone Smile

**and it was a thrill hearing you guys ask my question Smile

***good luck trying to top this for your 400th episode Smile

soapjunkie88's picture
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3 July 2008
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23 min 39 sec

Wow, I was speechless about what she had to say about Michelle Stafford. That's really disgusting! And Ms. Rowell is right, when she tells that this has nothing to do with acting.

Thank you guys so much for the interview for her. It was really great! And I'm so glad you guys couldn't wait ... because I think we couldn't either. =)

And even it's originally the 292. Episode ... we take it as the big 300 (!!!) So congratulations!

In the end I only will say that I hope Sony, Maria Arena Bell, Hogan Sheffer or somebody wakes up and begs this brilliant actress to come back.

Chrystie-Delancey's picture
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29 May 2008
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I'm just as stunned as the rest of you! Wow! Great interview. Thanks for sharing!

Her words about Peter Bergman bring it full circle for me. I remember when Victoria and Peter and others from Y&R were on Soapnet, I could just sense the tension between Victoria and them. While she did great work on Y&R, I bet she enjoys her life more now. Nothing worse than being in a hostile work environment.

I had no idea that the African-American actors were treated differently as far as hair/makeup/wardrobe went - that is just unacceptable.

Great words about Eric Braeden. I really like him. I like how he is German but yet he tries to reach out to Jews (I read it on a health magazine and I am sorry I am not wording this very well at all).

Dax's picture
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4 August 2008
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Excellent interview... But, I can't help but worry that this interview is going to prevent the powers that be at YR from inviting her back. Very brave, though!

I would love to see her back as Dru!

Member since:
8 May 2008
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I love Victoria Rowell candor. I glad she is honest about the industry in a whole about African-Americans in soaps and entertainment. I didn't know about Peter Bergman thoughts about VR. I think I may don't like Jack anymore. I would be very piss if someone spit on me. I glad she did work on the scenes though. I hope that she come back to Y&R or another soap like OLTL or GH.

siomonstuart2003

Jorpa's picture
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I posted this on the TFO forums:

LOVED the interview! Great show guys! Jaw dropping to say the least...

I can't believe VR dissed Christel Khalil like she did. She never mentioned her name while raving about Davetta Sherwood. Come to think of it, she never did answer the question about how Drucilla would've handled the Lily/Chloe situation. As much as I love Michelle Stafford and Peter Bergman, my views of them are changed. I'll never look at them the same. Especially Michelle. That was just downright rude of her the way she handled the spitting. Right now I want her to come back just for the bitch slapping of PB. LOL

I will be looking for her books.

Melodie's picture
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12 May 2008
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LOVED THIS PODCAST!!! As much as I loved and respected Victoria before, I love her even more now! I, like the rest of y'all, couldn't believe what happened with Michelle Stafford! That was a real shock! What happened was truly dis-re-Damn-spectful! There really nothing else to say. I had heard things about Peter Bergman before so that wasn't quite the shock as Michelle was.

What I loved the most about this interview was hearing Victoria talk about the backstage element of the storylines. I LOVE how she understands the fans! She really understands what many of us say all the time. It kinda felt like she was inside my mind when she was talking about that! Great Podcast Y'all!

Member since:
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4 years 46 weeks

I could really take her or leave her.

Member since:
18 August 2008
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5 years 3 weeks

I found the interview highly unprofessional of Rowell. I mean calling Bergman a schizophrenic and poking fun at Christel Khalil? Give me a break. What does she have to gain by saying all of this?

Also, Y&R did not hit #1 when she joined, nor did it hit #1 when Bergman joined. The show was #1 before both of them joined. She seems really driven by her ego.

Member since:
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I don't believe it is ego, but she is being honest about how she was treated on the show. I do like Christel Khalil, but the show writes her like a "white girl" and a black sista wont talk like that or let people run over her. I do believe that if Kim Zimmer is outspoken, it is ok, but if a African-American actress, who is great by the way, speaks out about the treatment and dismally of her character and her is wrong. I do agree that the industry is racist or old school and needs to evaluated about diversity in the industry and the treatment of AAS. I believe that AA is responsible for Y&R being number one in the ratings for over 18 years in the roll and we, as fans, not be treated fairly included in the industry is atrocious. I love Victoria Rowell and love her honesty and wish her the best and they need to bring her back or another soap, pick her up.

siomonstuart2003

Member since:
6 August 2008
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I'm sure my opinion wont be popular but I listened to the podcast and I had mixed reviews. I definitely enjoy Victoria rowell (VR) as an actress and enjoyed her interpretation of Dru. However, there is always more then one side to a story and I was reminded of that loud and clear in this interview.

I thought it was interesting that VR was talking about her ups and downs with some of the actors and racial overtones she experienced on the show. Yet IMO she was just as guilty of perpetuating the same racial overtones and bias when she was asked the question about Christel Khalil's portrayal of Lily in response to the Chloe sl. It was obvious that she preferred Davetta Sherwood (which is her opinion) but to actually take a jab at Christel Khalil (CK) with the "valley girl comment" and not even answer the question presented to her made me think to myself "how is that better then the treatment you complained about on Y&R"? Especially since she said that she saw herself as an advocate for the black actors on the show. It was a stereotypical comment in that being "a black female" you should act more like the character Dru. However, we all know that all different types of experiences shape the person you become, there isn't just one way to portray a "black female". I lost a lot of respect for VR in this interview only because more then half of her interview she was talking about how she was a voice for the black actors on the show and then she completely dissed Christel Khalil a younger actress in this business. I have never been one who looks kindly on people putting their own down. VR could have definitely handled this more professionally and the sad part was she didn't even answer the question which was about Lily the character not CK.

CK acts out what the writers have written. CK has even said in interviews that she would like for Lily to have more of an edge especially in this sl. However, I think its stereotypical that Lily should be a mini Dru. I like that Lily is not a cookie cutter of Dru but I also would love to see the writers give Lily more edge when needed. However, that's in the hands of the writers not CK. We know CK doesn't dictate the script. I think that VR is an accomplished woman and I wouldn't belittle any of her success but I didn't think her comments were any better then the mistreatment she experienced while on Y&R.

Member since:
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VR spoke the truth! Go VR!

Member since:
8 May 2008
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hEY, FRAMADANATIC. I TOTALLY AGREE THAT SHE SPOKEN THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT HAPPEN TO HER. I GLAD SHE WAS HONEST ABOUT DAYTIME AND LOOK AT THE RATINGS. i LOVE VR AND HOPE TO SEE HER ON THE SCREEN SOON.

siomonstuart2003

daisyclover1938's picture
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I didn't think VR's comments about the character of Lily were a big deal. She made it clear that she preferred Davetta Sherwood's interpretation of the role & she felt that what DS brought to the role (through her own personal experiences) gave more depth to her performances compared to what CK brings to the role (at least that's how I interpreted her comments.) Not only is VR entitled to her opinion, but what she said mirrors what a lot of fans have felt when comparing the two Lily's.

As for VR pointing out PB's schizophrenic behavior... Considering the fact that he made derogatory comments about her to the press, I think her response was appropriate. What he said was unprofessional and no doubt hurtful, and she deserved a chance to respond.

JMO

Member since:
8 May 2008
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I AGREE DAISYCLOVER1938. I THINK THAT CK VERSION IS A LITTLE BLAND AND DS WAS A FIREBALL OF LILY. i LIKE CK, BUT I WISH THE WRITERS WOULD GIVE LILY AN EDGE THAT IS NOT THERE NOW. I THINK SHE WAS SAYING WHAT MANY FANS WAS SAYING AND WAS NOT DISSING CK, BUT SAYING THAT LILY SHE HAVE DRU'S FIRE AND BALLS. I GLAD SHE SPOKEN HER MIND ABOUT THE BEHIND THE SCENES ON "Y&R" AND JUST SPEAKING THE TRUTH. I DON'T THINK THAT SHE WOULD LIE LIKE THAT.

siomonstuart2003

Member since:
22 February 2008
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Completely agree. People can insist that actors can only act what's on a page but the reality is great actors create layers and depth to the material they are given - whatever it may be. While I like both CK and DS for different reasons, CK is on now and i've seen moments where a truly skilled actor would have given the material weight and she didn't.

dsrbroadway's picture
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20 January 2008
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Sorry, I'm with YandRviewer on this one.

Member since:
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Well said siomonstuart2003!

Member since:
13 February 2008
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4 years 23 weeks

ITA daisyclover- Peter bergman should be held to the same standard in his interviews.

I remember her radio interview after she left the show being much more passionate and outspoken...

Great interview!!

Member since:
6 August 2008
Last activity:
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I stated that VR is entitled to her opinion about prefering DS version of Lily. However, #1 the question she was asked (i believe) was about the character Lily and how Dru's guidance would allow Lily to handle Chloe more forcefully not about how CK portrays the character. Secondly, those of us that would like to see Lily slap Chloe across the face or have come back lines that really shutdown Chloe down isn't the fault of CK...if it was written we would see it. I think that VR could have handled this and other portions of her interview more professionally but this really stood out to me considering the racial overtones she experienced on Y&R. Not all black women are like the character "Dru" nor should they be represented that way on Y&R.

daisyclover1938's picture
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14 November 2007
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YandRviewer, you're right, she didn't answer the question directly but there could be another explanation for that. Maybe she isn't familiar with the Lily/Chloe storyline, or maybe she is familiar with it, but felt that there was an overall "Lily problem" that was a bigger issue than the Lily/Chloe stuff.

In my opinion, it's partially the way they write Lily and partially what CK brings to the role. The Two Lilys is similar, imo, to The Two Victorias. The roles are being written differently, but the way that the actresses interpret the roles is what makes the biggest impact (and effects the writing). I also don't necessarily think VR was saying one portrayal is more "black" than the other, but there's really no way of telling for sure.

BTW, I thought VR only indirectly answered my question as well, but it's not a big deal. That may just be her style when being interviewed. She's going to respond to a question by discussing what she feels strongly about, even if it isn't a point-by-point response to what was asked. She does stay on topic however...

YandRviewer, though I disagree with you on some points, I do understand what you're saying...

BigDede's picture
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6 January 2008
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People need to realize that Lily didn't grow up on the streets like Dru. She was born when both her parents were rich and most likely went to school with mostly white kids. Lily didn't have to endure any hardships growing up, everything was handed to her on a silver patter. She traveled around the world with her mother for years living the life of luxery while watching her mother on photo shoots. So yes, it should be expected that Lily would have a valley girl type accent and that she's not as hard as Dru since she has never had to fight for anything in life.

Even after Dru became successful, she still fought for everything because that is what she was use to doing all her life. Fighting to be ahead. You can't compare Dru to Lily.

Dax's picture
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4 August 2008
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1 year 2 weeks

OK. Lily shouldn't have a valley girl accent or even talk like Dru. In reality, she was taken to Paris as a child, and didn't come back to the states until she was in her late teens. Therefore, if she were to have an accent of any kind, it would be a French accent. Also, when Lily underwent SORAS, she was introduced as a snotty bitch with behavioral problems. She was NOT a nice girl, at all. So, since day one, I never liked either actress in the role because the backstory didn't match the casting.

Member since:
21 May 2008
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4 years 28 weeks

I aboslutely agree with you #25 BigDede.

Darren Lomas's picture
Member since:
27 June 2008
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43 weeks 17 hours

Wow, what an interview. She doesn't hold back, does she? Shocked at The Stafford, it puts a whole new spin on the Dru-Phyllis rivalry. Can't say I'm shocked at her opinions on CK, but I am shocked she came right out and said it!

http://maronemacaroni.blogspot.com

Member since:
11 September 2008
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I think what she said about Crystal Kahlil was on point. Lily is now the only black female character on Y&R and she talks like a valley girl and in 6 yrs on the show has only dated white men. Sure Lily doesn't have to be exactly like Dru, however Dru would not raise her daughter to be so removed from her own race. Look at Olivia, she didn't have Dru's attitude, but she didnt' talk like a valley girl and wasn't only interested in white guys. People can say that CK is just acting out what the wrtiers wrote and I don't buy that for one second. When Davetta Sherwood was on Lily was like Dru and then when CK returned Lily went back to being the white washed valley girl. Lily is a pathetic reprsentation of black women, the girl acts more white than the white women on the show.

Member since:
22 February 2008
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4 years 36 weeks

ITA Daisyclover.