How many salacious stories have we read online, or in the tabloids about some young, hot-mess starlet having a debaucherous birthday party, solely for the purpose of exposing her unmentionables to ready camera lens and/or hooking up with the latest rapper, boy band member or troubled Hollyweird matinee idol? It's a good thing Days of Our Lives' Kate Mansi isn't your typical Hollywood starlet.
The popular actress chose to celebrate her big day by bringing awareness to a cause she believes in — getting clean water to countries lacking the critical resource. I caught up with Mansi to find out more about the organization she's involved with, charity: water. We also dished her alter ego Abigail Deveraux finally losing her V-card on DAYS.
Is Mansi sad to see leading men Casey Deidrick (Chad) and Nathan Owens (Cameron) leaving the serial? How does she feel about working with Casey Moss—who plays Abigail's bad seed brother JJ—and veteran actress Melissa Reeves, as their long-suffering mother Jennifer Horton? Keep reading to find out!
Daytime Confidential: Happy birthday! It's cool that you used your big day to bring awareness to a charity you're passionate about. How did you become involved with raising awareness about issues concerning water?
Kate Mansi: I found out about the water crisis on World Water Day this March. Upon more research I learned that charity:water was one of the leading nonprofits bringing clean water to underdeveloped countries for the first time. They also pioneered a nonprofit model that allows donors a unique experience of getting media, GPS coordinates and photos with information on where their donations are being used. I saw that people were "giving up their birthdays" to raise money for water projects and I felt called to join. Additionally, the most powerful element of charity:water that encouraged me to start a birthday campaign of my own was learning about how they tailor each water project to the chosen community, to allow for a system that can sustain itself long after it is implemented. Ultimately, I realized that there are simple solutions to get water, our most basic and essential resource, to the 800 million people in the world suffering without it. charity:water determines carefully which locations are most in need, which system—of nine possible systems such as hand dug wells and rainwater catchments etc.—will be the most efficient and effective solution that the community can sustain.
Because I received such outstanding support and feedback from friends and fans during my birthday campaign, charity:water has offered to continue my campaign until Dec. 31 so we can reach our goal of $20,000! Therefore, what started as a month-long campaign is now going to be a three-month champion fundraiser to raise $20,000 for Orissa, India in order to give the communities latrines to aid the water crisis there. People can find out how to get involved in the next events and how to win more fun prizes and packages from DAYS via my twitter @Katemansi.
DC: As an actor on a very popular soap opera you have quite the platform. What other charitable organizations and endeavors are you involved in?
KM: Charity:water is my main focus right now and I am so thrilled to have had such fantastic feedback from this event that they have allowed me to continue the fundraising campaign until Dec 31! So keep donations coming! I hope to reach my $20,000 goal and then eventually go visit the community of clean water we have helped some day!
DC: DAYS fans screamed with orgasmic glee when Abigail finally lost her virginity to Chad recently. After playing such a chaste character for so long, was it weird to film a soap opera love scene?
KM: Not at all! I had some experience with it from my fantasy scenes with Austin and Casey is such a gentleman. I never felt uncomfortable with those scenes.
DC: Abigail has been in a love triangle with Chad and Cameron for quite some time. Now both actors are leaving the show! What will become of the storyline now that Casey Deidrick and Nathan Owens are exiting?
KM: You will have to watch and find out! I enjoyed working with both actors very much. Casey leaving the show was one of the hardest things I have experienced in my career yet. I feel like we grew up together. He is one of my best friends, so it was quite an adjustment. I couldn’t even rehearse our final scenes, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep myself together for taping!
DC: Last year Abigail morphed into a bit of a schemer when she tried her best to steal Austin from Carrie. Do you prefer playing those types of storylines, or are you okay with Abby being the young adult heroine of Salem?
KM: I like when they give Abigail meaty storylines where she is struggling with finding who she is. I think when we are in our 20’s that’s true to life. We think we know exactly who we are and what we are about and then something happens that shakes us to our core and we explore new aspects of ourselves and then straighten ourselves out eventually, but we are never the same as when we started. I enjoy when Abby has some struggling and growing up in front of her.
DC: In 2013, it's been Abigail's baby brother JJ causing all of the drama. What's it like sharing scenes with Casey Moss?
KM: I am so happy to have an entire family now to work with on DAYS! Marnie [Saitta] did a terrific job casting Moss as JJ. Ironically, just as I felt with Missy, there was an instantaneous familiarity that Moss and I shared very much like brother and sister. We have a lot of fun working together.
DC: The Deveraux family turmoil is so relatable — a mother who lost her husband, two young adults grieving a father, as their mom dates a new man. Have you had conversations with Melissa Reeves (Jennifer) and Moss about what it means to bring such a grounded storyline to daytime amid some of the more over-the-top sagas on the air?
KM: One of the reasons I really enjoy playing Abigail is because, like me, Abigail has an incredibly strong set of family values. She is fiercely loyal to her family and friends. This is something that Missy and I speak of often in relation to our characters and we feel lucky to portray that image to our audiences, because we think it mirrors many of the values held by our audiences as well.
DC: In the 80's, Jennifer Horton battled Eve Donovan among the Salem younger set. Now Eve's equally bitchy little sister Theresa (Jen Lilley) is in town. Will we see Abigail and Theresa pick up a rivalry where their predecessors left off?
KM: It looks that way! Theresa is causing lots of trouble and Abigail is not one to let it go when someone messes with her family.
To learn more about charity:water's Birthday Project click here.
Photo credit: PHPR