Tag Archives Days of Our Lives

Olivia Rose Keegan Shines Bright in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

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The trope of playing a villain entails a criterion dating back to silent films. Villains ooze confidence and lack remorse. They carry themselves above the world in which they inhabit. As an actor, setting aside your personal morals and beliefs to justify the words and actions of your heinous character is mandatory. For Olivia Rose Keegan, transforming into a villain has become her trademark. The sweet and endearing tone of Olivia’s voice makes you wonder how the young actress is able to portray wickedness time and time again. 

At 11 years old, Olivia Keegan decided to transition from the stage to on-camera. Starring in critically acclaimed projects such as the short film Picture Perfect and the feature film Decoding Annie Parker, Olivia tended to her acting skills. This led to her landing the role of Claire Brady on the beloved and world-famous soap opera, Days of Our Lives. The “acting boot camp,” as Olivia describes it, prepared the actress for her latest role of Lily in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, streaming on Disney+. Lily joins her fellow Wildcats at East High, some of whom include Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo, with the determination to land the leading role in the school’s production of Beauty and the Beast. Season 2 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is currently streaming on Disney+. 

As Olivia’s career continues to flourish with every cutthroat line and glaring stare she delivers, we hopped on the phone with her to discuss High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Days of Our Lives, Twilight, and so much more!

Cliché: What inspired you to pursue a career in the entertainment industry at such a young age?

Olivia: That’s a good question! I don’t know what possessed me really, but I was so determined. I started in musical theater when I was about 7 years old, so that’s probably how I caught the ‘bug’. When I was 10, I woke up one day and knew that I needed to pursue on-camera acting and dedicate my life to it. I wrote essays to my parents every day, for almost a year, to convince them. After a while, I wore them down and they let me go and do it. I found myself an agent online in San Francisco and she started sending me to auditions. I think I’m very lucky to have [started] at such a young age. When we’re young, we go through life head first and follow our instincts. We’re less afraid of judgment and fear. I’m very grateful I got into it at the age I did because I don’t know if I would have the guts to do it now. 

Cliché: How did it feel to join such a successful show like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and work alongside Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Matt Cornett and so many other talented actors?

Olivia: It has been amazing and a literal dream come true. I used to dress up as Belle as a child and now I get to wear this beautiful Broadway-caliber Belle dress for a Disney+ series. Coming in for season 2 could have been an intimidating situation inherently because the cast was so close. But as soon as I walked through the door, all of those feelings melted away. Everyone could not have been more warm and welcoming. That cast is so incredibly talented in their own way, so I’m just enjoying it all and trying to soak it all in. It is such a dreamy and inspiring environment to be in.

Cliché: Tell us about your character Lily in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series?

Olivia: Lily is a transfer student who comes to East High with her heart set on landing the lead role of Belle in the school production of Beauty and the Beast. She is a very determined girl and willing to knock down anything in the way of what she wants. It has been a really fun journey, with lots of twists and turns and I’m excited people get to see it all play out over this season. 

Cliché: Up until last year, you portrayed Claire Brady on the beloved series Days of Our Lives. What was that experience like and what did you learn from your time on that show?

Olivia: I probably learned almost everything I know on that set! I also grew up on that set, so all of my awkward phases were nationally broadcasted! It was so, so great though. Soap Operas really are the best [acting] boot camp. We would shoot anywhere from 60-70 scenes a day with so much dialogue. Usually, on any other show, you would shoot 4 scenes on a ‘heavy’ day. It’s a very ‘sink or swim’ world. It pushed me to new limits and gave me a sense of confidence in what I can handle.

Olivia Keegan

Cliché: A few of the roles you have portrayed in your career have a “villain” undertone to them. What draws you to those roles?

Olivia: It has absolutely been a coincidence! I’ve been reflecting lately and thinking maybe it is time to look inward and see what kind of energy I’m putting out into the universe. It purely is a coincidence, but, with that being said, it is so fun to play the villainous character. It’s a great challenge because my characters, Lily and Claire, are doing some bad stuff and it can be difficult to justify their actions as an actor. It is a beautifully cathartic experience. 

Cliché: Is there a role or genre of film/television you hope to explore in your career? If so, what is it?

Olivia: I’ve had an obsession with vampires since I was a kid. So, I’m trying to manifest being able to play a vampire. I’m not sure what hooked me into that, maybe it was seeing Twilight when I was younger, but I’ve wanted to play a vampire for about a decade now. I also recently finished the show Outlander and loved it! It made me want to do a period piece as well. 

Cliché: What can fans expect next from you?

Olivia: Well, they can expect some fun stuff from the rest of season 2 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. We’ve got some twists and turns that I don’t think people will expect! Other than that,  just trying to manifest a vampire role! 

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Images Provided by Katie McGehee

Why You Should be Watching The Bay on Amazon Prime

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There was a time when daytime television in the United States was appointment television for so many people, especially for stay-at-home moms and housewives. It flourished with countless talk shows and soap operas such as All My Children and One Life to Live. Fast-forward to 2019, where there are now just four daytime soap operas to watch. But even so, we are also living in a time when traditional television viewing is declining, and more people are turning to streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime as alternatives to catch their favorite shows.

In 2010, director, producer, and writer Gregori J. Martin began production for a new digital drama series called The Bay. The show stars a number of well-known actors in the daytime soap opera world, such as Days of Our Lives star Mary Beth Evans, as well as a number of prime time stars and even several newcomers, like Karrueche Tran (pictured below). It takes place in the very posh seaside town of Bay City, where “the privileged residents find themselves entangled in a series of dilemmas involving rape, blackmail, sordid lovers, and vindictive arch rivals. Their lives riddled with forbidden love, malicious lies, and never-ending scandals, the town’s privileged tangle with those who confuse obsession for love, vengeance for justice, and power for success.” Starting in the Summer of 2016, the show moved to Amazon Prime, after initially being shown on the now-defunct Blip.tv. It is now in its fourth season.

A scene from The Bay, featuring Karrueche Tran as Vivian Johnson along with costar, Kristos Andrews as Peter Garrett

The show has been critically acclaimed for its acting, visuals, production values, writing, directing, and storytelling, In 2015, Entertainment Weekly named the show “one of the 4 best soap operas on the web.” Because of this, the show has won over 20 awards, including several Daytime Emmy Awards. The show is also known for its large, interconnected, racially diverse cast. It feels like an actual community, leaning on each other during times of need. If you loved Dynasty, Melrose Place, and Desperate Housewives, you will most likely enjoy binge watching The Bay. It has everything you ever need and want in a good, juicy, compelling drama. A murder mystery, a dramatic court case, and all the twist and turns you could possibly imagine. Need I say more?

Click here to watch The Bay on Amazon Prime

 

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Why You Should Be Watching The Bay on Amazon Prime: Featured Image Credit: thebaytheseries.com

‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Jen Lilley Discusses Her Debut Single “King of Hearts” and More

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Jen Lilley is more than just an actress and musician. As a foster mom, she is a huge advocate of children’s rights and supports charities that focus on protecting children against physical and sexual abuse as well as human trafficking. Her debut single, “King of Hearts”, was released in October, but is only the beginning, as she is set to release an album in February. We chatted with the actress and singer Jen Lilley about the creative process working on “King of Hearts,” the message of the song and her support for child abuse and treatment organizations.

Cliché: What were some of the signs in your life that proved you were destined to become an actress and singer?

Jen Lilley: When I was younger my dad had retired as a judge and he was always extremely animated. I just remember being at dinner for the conversations at the dinner table and one day he acted out all of the parts that happened in the courtroom. My family is very animated and they always loved storytelling. I also love storytelling. One of the signs in my life was when I was 7 or 8 years old I would get all my stuffed animals and I would put on these horrible plays that I wrote and I would force my parents to come down to the basement and watch this play. I think storytelling is obviously a huge part of singing and songwriting. Another sign in my life was when I was 4 years old my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I was older. They told me that you can be anything you want to be when you grow up. I said, “Anything?” They replied, “Oh yes, you can be anything.” I remember pausing and then saying, “I am going to be a bird.” They said, “No, you can’t be a bird.”

The main signs in my life that proved I was destined to become an actress and singer were my family’s history of storytelling and the horrible plays that I put on and the fact that I wanted to be a bird so that I can sing all day when I was 4.

What was the creative process like when working on “King of Hearts”? Can you describe the emotions and feelings that you got after completing your debut single?

I started working with Adrian Gurvitz in February 2016 and the whole process came about when we would sit around his grand piano while drinking tea in the living room and he would play a little bit from the piano. One day around the piano Adrian and I were playing music stuff and he said, “You know who you remind me of?” I was like, “No!” He replied, “You remind me of Dusty Springfield.” I was like, “Oh wow, that’s amazing.” Then we started taking a 60’s approach and then with “King of Hearts,” it just came in line with being in a song that is uplifting and fun but is also about empowerment and relationship.

We finished the entire album. We didn’t do the single first. After we finished the entire album, we have been strategically planning single releases for the debut album. It launches in February.

I felt so overwhelmed. Even though I am a singer and a songwriter on all of the songs, it took me through a journey and it was such a unique experience when listening to the song for the first time.

What’s the message of the song and what do you hope listeners take away when listening to the lyrics of the song? How does the song reflect your own personal experience?

I am pro boy and I am pro girl. The song is about a girl who has been played by a guy who says that he is going to be with her forever and that you’re the one. Then she finds out that he has been basically playing her and collecting other girls numbers. She comes to a point in her life where she realizes that she has worth and value and that she is better off alone than a relationship that is half middle. The message that I want my fans to take away is that each and every one of them is born on purpose and with a purpose and everyone deserves to be in a relationship where they feel valued. If they are not then they better off being alone because they’re amazing.

Everyone has been played by someone. Luckily, mine wasn’t too late in life. But I was definitely played by a guy in college so it reflects that story and I also think success is one of the best forms of revenge.

Can you describe your relationship with producer Adrian Gurvitz?

I love Adrian. He is amazing and he is a legendary rock star and he makes sure that everyone is aware that he is a legend. I am so delighted that I got to work with him. He is really funny and has a dry sense of humor. He was touring by the time he was 14 years old and he worked with Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston. It has been amazing working with him. When I started working with him, he would tell me that I am so embryonic because I had this amazing voice. The whole two-year journey was him teaching me not only the art of singing but also storytelling.

In 2001, you received the National Educators Award for your work in Guatemala performing in concerts for underprivileged Guatemalan youth. How much did winning that award mean to you? What was your initial reaction once you received that award?

Winning that award was so surprising to me. We weren’t expecting that at all. It meant a lot to me. Once I received that award, it was mind-blowing to me and it felt so underserved.

My initial reaction once I received the award was shock, humbled and honored. We didn’t even know that award existed.

You are very active in charities and you are a celebrity ambassador for the child abuse and treatment organization like Childhelp, ECPAT, and The Dave Thomas Foundation. Can you describe your overall relationship with these organizations? Why was it important for you to take a stand on helping out children who have been abused?

With Childhelp, I am one of the main ambassadors but I am also a mentor for the program like Big Brothers Big Sisters. The program is called Special Friends. I am also in the process of adopting my 2 ½ year old who I have had since he was four months old. I am also fostering his little brother who is eight months old. 100 percent of my share profits from my albums and singles will go to helping children and children’s foster care.

It was important for me to take a stand on helping out children who have been abused because as cliché as this sounds, children are our future. I was blessed with an overall amazing childhood and I think that all children deserve their innocence and so many children in this country and around the world have been robbed of their innocence at such a young age. I find that to be such a travesty.

What was the best advice about the music industry that you’ve received and who was it from?

It was from Adrian Gurvitz. He told me that the best singers are not the ones who can hit notes, they are the ones who can tell a story and make the audience experience the story as they are listening to it. He would often use Bob Dylan as an example. Bob Dylan was definitely not the best singer who ever lived but he could definitely tell a story.

At this point in your life, who was the person who helped guide you to get you to where you are now?

A lot of people. But I would also say my faith in general and my ambitions to leave the world a better place than I found it has really helped guide all of my decisions.

What’s next for you?

My album is coming out in February. With that, I suspect quite a bit will come with that. Hopefully, there will be a lot of awards shows next year and then I am also continuing my work with the Hallmark channel. I am hoping to continue with the acting, singing and I am also hoping to executive produce more in 2019.

 

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‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Jen Lilley Discusses Her Debut Single “King of Hearts” and More. Image Credits: Brandon Kaipo

Victoria Konefal Dishes on “Days” and Dream Collabs

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Actress Victoria Konefal made waves when she was cast as Ciara Brady on the hit soap, Days of Our Lives. In a few short months, she’s not only garnered a loyal fanbase, but picked up an Emmy pre-nom! We talked to Victoria about fan reaction, her deep passion for music, and hopeful future roles with Angelina Jolie.

You were crowned Miss Poland USA 2015! What inspired you to take the leap from beauty pageants to acting?

There was no leap. It’s always been acting for me. I’ve been acting since I was seven years old. I have never been passionate about pageantry; it was never one of my goals. My mom just suggested I enter out of the blue and I thought it would be a fun thing to try. I also thought it would be nice to get in touch with my Polish roots and participate in something that would make my mom proud. Quite honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even expect to win! If you saw my face when they announced my name you would have seen a look of complete and total shock. Seriously, during the interview portion I walked forward towards the microphone when it wasn’t even my turn. They called the name of the girl two people ahead of me. I have no idea why I thought it was my turn, I just did. I laughed it off and apologized, and the judges laughed along with me. Looking back at it, maybe that’s the reason I won. I mean, who doesn’t love to laugh?

Most recently, you were cast as Ciara on Days of Our Lives. Was it intimidating to join such a long-running show that has a dedicated fanbase?

It wasn’t intimidating so much as it was a learning experience. I like to call it acting boot camp. Being a part of a show with so much airtime trains you to get a lot of material done in a short amount of time, and that work ethic was definitely something I had to get used to.

How would you describe your relationship with the other cast members on set?

There is not a single person on set that doesn’t have an amazing heart. We all have so much love and respect for one another. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.

What has fan reaction to Ciara been like?

I wasn’t sure what kind of fan reaction I would get because I took over the role for another actress. I wasn’t a recognizable face with the audience, so they didn’t associate me with whom Ciara was to them. The fans welcomed me with open arms despite that. They were incredibly supportive of me and continue to be. I feel blessed to be on a show with such a dedicated audience.

You’ve previously worked on films, including The Wrong Crush and Deadly Exchange. Are there any differences between filming a movie and a soap opera? Do you prefer one format over the other?

Like I said earlier, soap operas shoot a lot of material in a limited amount of time. Soap operas shoot at a more accelerated pace than movies, and we typically get one take to shoot each scene whereas in film you get 3-4. Both are unique experiences so I can’t decide what I prefer, but I’m appreciative to be in a position where I can do both.  

According to your Instagram, you’re a self-described “music lady.” Do you make music yourself?

I’ve always been drawn to music. I’m the person that can’t sit still when I hear a song that gets my blood going. When I hear the right beat, I can lose myself in the song. Music is powerful. One of the most exhilarating moments of my life was seeing Hans Zimmer live. In terms of actually making music, I’ve been dabbling with it for about a year or so. I didn’t realize how difficult it was to compose a song until I actually sat down and tried. Songwriting involves practice, so I’ve just been focused on trying to find the right words and developing my sound. I’ve been playing around in the recording booth, and I’m hoping to have a solid EP out soon.

Who are some of your favorite music artists?

My taste in music is very vast. It’s all about whatever I’m feeling at the moment. I’ll find one song or one artist and listen to them for a month straight if I fall in love with the sound. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Eminem. Quite honestly, I always make time to listen to him. I’m also into Kendrick Lamar, Jessie Reyez, and Jon Bellion at the moment.

What actor or actress would you love to work with?

I would love to work with Angelina Jolie. I need to portray her daughter in something, I don’t know what but I would love to see it happen. I would also love to work with Mark Wahlberg, Jim Carrey, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Do you have any projects or personal milestones coming up that you’re excited about?

I’ve just been pre-nominated for an Emmy! The final nominations haven’t come out yet but regardless, I am so honored. I had only been airing for a month at the time of Emmy submission so that made it all the more exciting.

What do you hope 2018 has in store for you?

All I can hope for is to continue to grow as a person and an actress. I just want to live up to my greatest potential.

 

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Victoria Konefal Dishes on “Days” and Dream Collabs. Photo Credit: Ray Gutierrez

Jen Lilley Interview

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We don’t say this lightly: Jen Lilley may be one of the most amazing people you will ever come to know. Not only does she work hard to promote a number of different charities, but she also stars in one of the most popular soap operas on TV, Days of Our Lives. This month, we had to pull her away for her busy life to talk about all her other exciting projects and celebrate Days of Our Lives turning 50.
Jen Lilley by Ben MillerCliché: What does it feel like being on a series that’s been airing for 50 years?
Jen Lilley: It’s definitely overwhelming in the best kind of way. It’s such an iconic show and it’s known around the world. Days of Our Lives is referred to in so many films and TV series, and I can’t help but feel amazing to be a part of it. It makes me feel like I’m a part of history, that I’m a part of something so much larger than myself.
What was it like filming Youthful Daze while working on Days of Our Lives?
Youthful Daze was a series that I did for only one season. I am friends with the creator Bryan James. He had asked me for three years to join the project before I finally agreed. I only worked on it for about four months, which happened to be some of the craziest months of my life. I was working seven days a week for those four months straight. On average, I had to memorize about 60 pages a day.
Was it very stressful flipping between two different projects like that?
It was stressful not because I was going back and forth between both shows, it was just all the pages I had to learn in such a short amount of time. Since they were both soap operas, I had to learn a crazy amount of lines. Just to understand how much goes into filming one episode of a soap compared to a normal series, I once appeared in an episode of Castle. One day, I came to set and everyone seemed a bit stressed, so I asked why. They were like, “It’s going to be such a long day. We have eight pages. This is going to take forever.” So, there I was, a soap opera vet, thinking this is nothing. I’m used to shooting anywhere from a hundred to two hundred pages a day, which means that, on soaps, we probably won’t get a chance to do a second take.
You can imagine how working on two soap operas at once got to be too much for me. I always want to do things with excellence, so it got to a point where I had to give up one of them. It couldn’t be Days of Our Lives because I was under contract and it was a bigger role for me. I unfortunately had to drop Youthful Daze. I think I aged like 10 years and slept like two hours a night during those months.
Jen Lilley by Ben Miller
But although you stopped working on two soap operas, you went to working on films and Days of Our Lives. Was that move a lot easier on you?
Yes, it was. I shot a film during January/February called Hollygrove, which should air on Lifetime around Christmas. I happen to play the lead, Kate Jordin, who is very sweet, charming, lipstick-feminist lawyer. But it was funny when our director, David Jackson, went out for coffee with me to talk about my role as Kate and how we both saw her. He was like, “God, I’ve worked with soap actors before. I’m going to have to teach you how to slow down.” Because in film, you retake a scene so many times, over and over again, the same way. It just takes so much longer to do one scene compared to that of a soap opera.
Can you tell us a little about your character and her love interest? I heard that he’s unavailable. Can you explain what that means?
So, the story centers around Kate, the sassy lawyer who goes to this old mansion/bed and breakfast that is said to be haunted by the founder’s ghost, a man named Daniel (Thomas Beaudoin). So, he’s a bit unavailable because he is dead. [laughs] It’s a love story that transcends time as they work together to break a curse that he is under. Oh, Daniel is also in love with a ghost named Lily. Which is funny because her real name is Kate and my character’s name is Kate while my last name is Lilley. You can just picture what it was like when people tried calling our names. It was a bit confusing at times.
Hollygrove is really one of those things that is hard to define. It’s really its own thing. It is very much a fairy tale kind of story rather than anything scary or weird. It’s romantic and funny, yet mysterious and gritty.  It’s such a great story!
What was it like becoming a character that falls in love with someone who’s dead?
Not that hard. There are times in your life where you go through that kind of love where you meet the right person, but the timing couldn’t be more wrong and a bit of tragedy that goes along with that. I think that every girl has gone through that kind of love at least once in her life, where they find the perfect guy and it isn’t the right time. My character, Kate, finds the humor in it. Like, “Of course my perfect guy is dead! That is so my luck!”
 
And it was just our luck to have been able to spend some time with such an amazing person. Lilley tells us that she also recently appeared in the film Crossing Streets, which focuses on the Straight Street program and donates all earns to charity. This was one of the many reasons Lilley attached herself to the project. While Lilley loves to support as many charities as she can, her main advice to those looking to help is to do your research and find out how much of your money truly goes to the cause.
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Jen Lilley Interview: Photographer: Ben Miller, Stylist: Franzy Staedter, Hair: Ksenia Kim, Makeup: Adina Sullivan