General Hospital’s Maura West puts the "S" in sizzle. The veteran soap actress, adored for her roles on As The World Turns and The Young and The Restless, has excited fans with her latest role as the sexy temptress Ava Jerome. What’s her secret in creating such iconic characters?
“I have to be honest, I work very hard,” said the Daytime Emmy winner. “I wanted to create a character that was different. I loved Carly, but I can’t play her again. Then when this part came up, I thought, how am I going to play this role? She’s different. She has similarities as women do.‘How does she carry herself?’ Ava never touches her hair. Ava never moves. Ava’s a snake. She only moves when she is going to strike. And these are things I think about. This is how I wanted to create this person.”
No matter what happens with Ava, West is having a blast on the soap. “I’ve worked with Tony Geary, Jane Elliot, Roger Howarth, Laura Wright, William deVry — I love it! If it ended tomorrow, I would say thank you….it’s such a great gift to me as an actor. The more experience I get, the better I am.They are all great actors.”
As much fun as she's having in fictional Port Charles, New York, West hasn't forgotten about the former citizens of Oakdale, Illinois. She's in touch with her former ATWT cast every day.
“Michael Park is one of my best friends. Fifteen years, my soap husband. On Sept.11, he led me out of the city to bring me home. He is my brother, my best friend. Martha Byrne and the rest of the cast, we text all the time. Shawn Christian, I see from time to time in Los Angeles. You meet people that have an impact on your life; you have to make that last.”
On GH, West has a great storyline, complete with a hot romance with a younger man, Morgan Corinthos, played by Bryan Craig. Is Ava brokenhearted after her faux breakup with the mob heir?
“She was worried about the thought that there are other elements that interfere with love," says West. "Family interfering with love is as old as love itself. I do think she loves him and her heart is broken.”
As steamy as Morgan and Ava's tryst has been, there's more to the pairing than animal lust, says West. “We have always felt that attraction was physical. But they are not people who just need sex; they both need something more — compassion, love, a real connection…that surpasses sex. That’s been more important than anything physical.”
Ava has her finger in several delicious storyline pies in Port Charles. Half the town thinks she hurt Carly (Wright). She may well have been involved in Connie's (Kelly Sullivan) death and Nina, the wife of Dr. Silas Clay (Michael Easton) ended up in a coma for 20 years, possibly at Ava's hand. How does West manage to keep her lethal character sympathetic and vulnerable?
“You never judge your own self. You do what you do — we all do this every day. Ava doesn’t judge herself, she does what she does because she thinks she is right," explains West. "She is not retrospectively looking at her actions. She is just living in it. As an actor, you can’t judge your character ever. Let others judge it.”
And Ava has a big heart, which plays a role, as we have seen duringSilas’ rejection of her. “With a bottomless heart, there is envy and maybe some hatred. There are a lot of emotions that can fit in that.”
For all her success on GH, West still misses her family back East. “We are alone out here," she acknowledges. "But I do love the weather in Los Angeles!”
Looks like the love of acting runs deep in West’s family; her son with fellow ATWT alum Scott DeFreitas, Joe West, has had great success in the NBC musical The Sound of Music and A Christmas Story on Broadway.
“I couldn’t be prouder of him!” she enthused.