From the moment it was announced that Guiding Light was going to be cancelled, all eyes were on Gina Tognoni. Everyone in the industry was wondering where the talented beauty, who had quickly made the oft recast role of carny-turned-vixen Dinah Marler her very own, would end up. Would she mercifully go to The Young and the Restless as a recast for Victoria Newman, or possibly a new character? What about that buzzed about, psycho surrogate role on Y&R's sister soap The Bold and the Beautiful (that role will be played by General Hospital spitfire Sarah Brown)? In the end, the newlywed Tognoni (she married Joseph Chiarello this past May) decided to keep doing soaps in the city, and opted to return to her breakout role as Dorian Lord's spunky niece Kelly on One Life to Live.
Daytime Confidential's Melodie Aikels and Mike Jubinville caught up with Tognoni at the recent So Long Springfield event in Pittsburgh. In between fielding the feverish adoration of droves of mourning Guiding Light fans, Tognoni was gracious enough to provide DC with an interview, sharing her thoughts about how Dinah's storyline light went out and how "excited" she is to be staying put in Gotham by way of Llanview.
Daytime Confidential: Now that Guiding Light is over, how do you feel about Dinah and Mallet ending up together in Europe?
Gina Tognoni: I thought the that was so sweet. You know, I did. I liked working with Shayne, Jeff Branson, so much but it was bittersweet at times, because I also loved working with Rob Bogue [Mallet]. So it was just kind of like, "Okay, you know, both are just fabulous!" It's just so hard to really say which pairing was my favorite and should have ended up together.
DC: Mallet and Dinah were very popular.
GT: Yes, they were. Yes. You know I loved hearing from the fans about Dinah and Mallet. They really supported them, but they also supported Dinah and Shayne.
DC: I have to say, having Mallet and Dinah together at the end was definitely one of the feel good moments of the finale for me as a viewer.
GT: Good. Good. I felt the same way. I felt very happy about it in so many ways but at the same time I liked seeing Shayne and Dinah together. I really believed their connection, so at the end I was a bit torn. I was thinking "Would they really have been separated?" So, I think it caused a lot of people to ask a lot of questions.
DC: What happened with you leaving Guiding Light earlier than the final tape date?
GT: Well, I left in June sometime. We did all the taping and post taping before I left. My contract was up. By the last tape date, I had been gone about a month. It was all contract stuff.
DC: What about One Life to Live? What can you tell us about your return?
GT: One Life to Live, January, I start taping late January, or something like that, I believe.
DC: It's going to be great to see Kelly back with the Cramer women. I can't wait to see you mix it up with Kassie DePaiva and Robin Strasser again.
GT: I know it will be fun working with them again. There's a whole great group of people over there and I know so many of them. It's just really nice.
DC: Is Kelly going to be causing trouble in Llanview?
GT: Yes, she is. I really don't know exactly what she's going to be doing. They haven't told me yet, but I totally trust them. She comes back to Llanview and we don't know whether or not if she's with Kevin or where Joey is in the picture. Will they bring back another Joey? It's very exciting. I'm excited to see what they come up with. I think Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati run a great show over there. I'm really excited to start working again in January. I don't know what I'm going to do with all this time off.
DC: You have a big gap in time until you start taping at One Life to Live. What else are you doing?
GT: I'm relaxing and enjoying life with my new husband [Joseph Chiarello]. We just got married in May, so I have plenty of family to go visit. I'm also getting involved with some charity work in town. And of course I'm auditioning.
DC: Are you auditioning for any primetime, movie, or theater parts?
GT: You know, I audition for almost anything, anything! [laughs]
DC: If it pays, you audition for it, huh?
GT: Yes. Never turn down a job. Never. I'm up for anything!