Sultry Jabot executive assistant Hilary Curtis came to Genoa City with the worst of intentions. She wanted revenge on the Winters. Who would have thought she'd end up falling for two members of the close-knit clan on CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless?
I recently caught up with Mishael Morgan to dish about her red-hot storyline on the CBS Daytime sudser. The Canadian beauty insists Hilary is in love with both her blind husband, Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John) and his adopted son, Devon Hamilton (Bryton James). However, Morgan pleads the fifth when it comes to which pairing she's rooting for. Whether you're a Team Hevon fan, or a Team Nilary lover, this is an interview you won't want to skip!
Daytime Confidential: You are setting Genoa City on fire as Hilary Curtis Winters! Has the positive reaction you've seen from fans and the soap press been great, or overwhelming?
Mishael Morgan: The positive feedback has been amazing! <em?Y&R fans are the most loyal and dedicated fans in the world and I just feel so lucky and blessed to be embraced by them.
DC: Hilary started out obsessed with avenging her alcoholic mother's death. She blamed Neil for being the last person with her mom before she perished, and used a blog to torment his entire family. When you learned Hilary would end up romantically involved with not one, but two of her victims, what was your reaction?
MM: My initial reaction was "Yes! I am really on a soap"! [Laughs]I was so excited. This is exactly what soaps are all about, unexpected twists and turns, and I couldn't wait to dive in! Didn't know I would be diving into both of their beds, but what can I say? It's hard work but someone has to do it!
DC: You now find yourself in the tried and true soap opera predicament of being slap dab in the center of a love triangle, complete with two warring fan bases. Are you Team Hevon (Hilary and Devon) or Team Nilary (Neil and Hilary)?
MM:Oh, I don't dare answer that question! I think there are pros to both relationships and I'm excited to see how the writers weave it all together. No doubt, whatever happens, it will elicit a very strong response!
DC: Neil has always been empathetic to Hilary, even early on. He felt responsible in some way for her losing her mother. However, his affection started off rather parental. How did you and Kristoff St. John approach Neil and Hilary taking their relationship in a romantic direction?
MM: I had no idea the writers were going in that direction. Kudos to Kristoff, who was the first one to guess that! This was a very difficult transition for me as an artist, because the relationship happened so suddenly and I had to work hard to find Hilary's motivation. Thankfully, Kristoff was a great sounding board to bounce ideas off. After a few discussions with him, I decided to play the truth of the situation; people fall in love everyday with people they never expected. Learning to navigate through the unexpected... That's life and art!
DC: Do you think Hilary has daddy issues?
MM: Yes, she's textbook! She never really knew her dad, and I think she is prone to confusing the attention she gets from older men as something more. That's a huge part of the reason she kissed Jack (Peter Bergman). Remember that? I think she never out grew her childhood need to be protected and loved by a father figure. This desire to be accepted by men remains a strong part of Hilary, and I think it will always affect her relationships on the show.
DC: Hilary is in love with Neil's adopted son, Devon Hamilton, but is desperately trying to remain devoted to her newly-blind husband. Is she in equally in love with both men?
MM:There is no doubt in my mind that Hilary is deeply in love with both Neil and Devon. She is truly torn. Neil represents the kind of life and love she always dreamed of; but Devon is different and unexpected. I think she loves them both, just very differently.
DC: This is the first fully-formed on screen romance for Bryton James during his tenure on the soap. Is there pressure to keep the momentum and buzz going?
MM: Yes, I definitely feel a little pressure to keep the buzz going. I always joke with Bryton about Hevon becoming a boring old couple. Gotta keep him on his toes! [Laughs] Hevon fans are so amazing, and the writers are doing such a great job, that I know we have nothing to worry about.
DC: Neil's baby brother Malcolm recently paid a visit to Genoa City. Would you be opposed to seeing Shemar Moore return to continue the tradition of the Winters brothers falling for the same women?
MM: What woman would be opposed to that?!
DC: You have two leading men, and one leading lady in Christel Khalil who plays Hilary's stepdaughter and nemesis, Lily Winters Ashby. This show has a penchant for turning bitter, female rivals into supercouples in their own right. Could Lily and Hilary's feud reach the epic proportions of Katherine Chancellor vs. Jill Foster, or Nikki Newman vs. Ashley Abbott?
MM: That would be awesome! I love working with Christel. We have so much fun being mean to each other! Considering everything Hilary has already done to Lily, I think epic proportions will be the only way to go when Devon and Hilary's secret comes out. I can't wait!