Simone Torres may be so dead not even Dr. David Hayward can bring her back to life on All My Children, but her former portrayer's career is alive and well. During Daytime Emmy weekend, I caught up with the striking Terri Ivens, who revealed exclusively to me she's signed on with Sonia Blangiardo's red-hot, soap-within-a-soap, Tainted Dreams.
Ivens dished reuniting with fellow AMC alum Alicia Minshew on the upcoming web series and also talked about her planned YA book series. As if starring in a web soap and becoming a budding novelista aren't enough to keep the fit star busy, she's also launching her own radio show, producing and starring in movies. I felt exhausted just listening to her talk about all her projects! Thank the Soap Gods, for Monster Energy drink — which she's currently being sponsored by!
Daytime Confidential: I hear you’ve been cast in a new soap opera project? That’s going to make a lot of All My Children fans excited!
Terri Ivens: I know! This is very exciting. They’ve [the fans] been asking me for quite a while if I would jump on the bandwagon and do a web series, and of course they were all crossing their fingers that Simone would be resurrected from the dead. [Laughs] But it’s better than that. I was invited to partake in the fun of Tainted Dreams.
DC: That seems to be a hot project. Your former Fusion girlfriend Alicia Minshew is in that and who else? Grant Aleksander? Unlike a lot of web series, it’s coming from someone who actually works in daytime, Sonia Blangiardo.
TI: Who is a dear friend; we’ve known each other for eons, from back when I was living in New York. I’m so excited for her, because this was her baby, her dream. It’s a soap opera and it’s a show inside a show. I play two characters. I play the soap character, Brittany, and then I play the actress playing Brittany, who is Cassandra. It should make for some very comedic moments, some deep or tangled webs. I don’t want to give storyline away, but I will say that from what I’ve been reading, the guy that plays my brother is my lover in real life.
DC: Okay, that happens on soaps!
TI: [Laughs] And I say “real life”, meaning Cassandra’s real life, not mine.
DC: It’s kind of like The Brady Bunch, where Greg and Marcia dated in real life and the mom dated Greg?
TI: Oh that was so gross! That was just gross. [Laughs] But yeah, Alicia and I are just absolutely thrilled to be able to work together again.
DC: It’s going to shoot in New York?
TI: In New York, on location. I do know that we’re going to be at Blondie’s.
DC: That’s Carolyn Hinsey’s restaurant?
TI: Yes. I love Blondie’s. I spent a lot of time there doing lots of great charity events during my stint on All My Children. It’ll be really fun to go back to my old playgrounds of All My Children, playing a soap star inside of a show where I get to be a completely different character. The mediums are diverse, because there is the soap acting and then there’s the other.
DC: This is a drama? Would you say it’s more along the lines of how Smash was behind the scenes of Broadway, or is it more like Soap Dish, where it’s kind of zany and over-the-top?
TI: Sonia calls it a dramedy. She makes a correlation more with Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy is very serious, but at the same time they can laugh at themselves. There’s a lighthearted swing to it, which I believe I will bring to my character. I won’t be able to help but bring that, because Cassandra has such a wheelhouse to make fun of. She’s the stereotypical…in my mind, what you think some diva in daytime would be like. So I get to bring her to life.
DC: Are you borrowing from any divas you’ve had to deal with?
TI: I’ve definitely known a lot! [Laughs]
DC: It’s Daytime Emmy weekend; have you bumped into any of your old compatriots?
TI: Not this year; the previous years, very much so. In fact, last year I was on a web series called The Bay that got nominated for an Emmy, so I was here participating in the parties. The year before that I was in Vegas and did that whole hoopla. For me, it just isn’t the same not having All My Children in the heat of the battle, so I took this year off. When you don’t have 14 friends nominated, the party’s not the same.
DC: Speaking of All My Children, it has returned via Hulu and iTunes. Have you been tuning in? Did you get your Hulu Plus pass?
TI: I should say yes, and just lie, but I won’t. [Laughs] I don’t get to watch a lot of television right now. We’re in the midst of developing a radio show for me and it’s taking up quite a bit of my time.
DC: What network will that be with?
TI: UBN, which is Universal Broadcasting Network. We’ve got beautiful studio space that I’m very excited about. It will be a late night talk show, airing at 9 pm in L.A. and midnight in New York. It’s going to be called Going to Bed With Terri Ivens! [Laughs]
DC: Nice. I love that! It’s going to be comedic, I’m guessing?
TI: It’s about me! How could it not be? [Laughs] It’s gotta be funny.
DC: For those of us who don’t live in L.A. or New York, will it be streamed online?
TI: Yes, worldwide.
DC: Awesome. I know you’re doing film also.
TI: Yes. Chicks Dig Gay Guys is supposed to be released at the end of summer.
DC: When do you sleep? You’re a single mother. You’re doing a radio show, a web series, movies. Do you just crash like at one o’clock in the morning?
TI: I drink Monster Energy drink! [Laughs] I go to bed early, actually. My schedule now is that I’m winding down about nine o’clock and by 10 I like to be cuddled up in bed. Watch a little news, kind of decompress and then I’m up by five, 5:30. My mornings are what I find to be the most energized and compelling. I’m so sharp and focused and get so much more done. When school is in session, Kiana is dropped off at eight and I’ve already had hours. By noon, I’ve already accomplished so much. I get a lot of my writing done. I’ve got a novel in the works and two other books that I just finished for a tween series. I have a passion for the coming of age child, especially in this environment. Everything is, “Now! Now! Now! Faster! Faster! Faster!” You just don’t want them to rush through their childhood. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. With my own daughter, it’s almost a need, a necessity for me to put aside a few hours during every day to just sit and write and tell my stories, to help motivate kids to be their best selves, through stories of what not to do.
DC: Does it help you relate to her more, having to get into that tween mindset?
TI: It actually scares the flip out of me! I’m writing for a 10-year-old and she’s [Iven’s daughter] eight. I’m really pushing the envelope on topics and subject matter, whether it is drugs and alcohol, or your first sexual experience. I’m just not ready for my baby to have those, but I know if they’re not made aware of it and educated through it at 10, 11, 12, they’re going to be emotional and going through puberty at 13, 14 and they’re not going to know what’s hitting them.
TI: You know, I didn’t. I never understood why I didn’t read; all my friends did. They’d always dog-tag the juicy page and I would read the juicy page. For me, as a writer, I wasn’t tainted by someone else’s written expression, so I’m very grateful. I want to read The Clique, but I’m so glad that I haven’t, because I can honestly look anyone in the eye and say this isn’t copying anyone, because I haven’t read them. As soon as this is done, I can’t wait to read them all with my daughter.
DC: Judy Blume is a good place to start. The modern ones tend to be about vapid, little girls murdering someone.
TI: Right? Materialistic. My novels for tweens are set in the 1980’s. It’s that time period when everyone believed that America was going to succeed and your dreams would come true. Reagan was in office and the Great Wall came down. I have a lot of historical events of the time come into play, as a reminder that we can be all that we choose to be. We don’t have to be labeled by society. We don’t have to settle for what our peers are doing, or whatever our parents can afford, because there are so many amazing scholarship opportunities out there. So many times, kids don’t know they’re even there.
DC: Do you see yourself producing your tween book line for TV?
TI: Oh, absolutely. That’s been my idea, for it to be a TV series. All of the stories are there. The books are finished. They’re just in their last edit. It will definitely be a TV series and I will be too old to play me! [Laughs]
DC: Well, you can play the mom. The moms are getting younger and hotter on those shows! On ABC Family, the moms are like Sydney from Melrose Place and one of the Charmed sisters from the old WB show.
TI: I am producing one project.
DC: Oh really, what’s that?
TI: It’s a made-for-TV movie called Borrowed Moments. It stars Brian Krause from Charmed and Vanessa Marcil from General Hospital. She plays the femme fatale.
DC: Oh fun!
TI: I didn’t act in that one, I just produced. So yeah, I’ve got a lot going on.
Photos by Chris Rosa