ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL PART ONE: Soap stars SORAS in reverse back to 1995
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2015 6:32:12 PM
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Hold onto your hats, because in celebration of soapcentral.com's 20th anniversary, we've asked daytime stars to SORAS in reverse all the way back to our birth year of 1995.

SPECIAL PODCAST: Listen to our star-studded celebration of soapcentral.com with stars of AMC, ATWT, B&B, DAYS, GH, OLTL, and Y&R

Remember when One Life to Live's Viki (Erika Slezak) had to travel back in time to stop Clint (Clint Ritchie) from accidentally marrying one of his ancestors? Well, that's exactly what we're about to do. Except instead of jumping through a time warp to halt an incestuous wedding filled with cowboy hats, we're heading back to the year 1995, when soapcentral.com first launched.

Not only was 1995 the year DVDs hit the market, eBay was founded, and O.J. Simpson (a.k.a. the unofficial killer of soaps) was found not guilty, it was actually the very first year the Internet was introduced to the public. You read that right: soapcentral.com began the very same year that America Online and Prodigy first offered access to the World Wide Web, and the very same year that Yahoo! debuted as the first ever search engine service. In other words, soapcentral.com is one of the Internet's original dinosaurs (and amazingly, still looking sexy, just like Susan Lucci).

In celebration of the 20 years that soapcentral.com has been bringing you soap opera news, show recaps, scoops, and more, we're traveling back in time to the year 1995. What were your favorite soap stars up to when soapcentral.com launched and a gallon of gas cost only $1.09? And how do their current lives differ from what they imagined 20 years ago? Read on to find out, and be sure to check out answers to the very same questions from soapcentral.com's beloved founder, Dan J. Kroll.

QUESTION: What were you doing in 1995, the year that soapcentral.com was founded?
Dan J Kroll (soapcentral.com Founder)
"I... wasn't born yet? Yeah, um, I am the victim of an extreme case of SORAS."

Shawn Christian (Daniel Jonas, Days of our Lives)
"I was in Chicago. I had just graduated college, I believe, and I went right from there to the Windy City. I was probably working as a bouncer at a nightclub and doing improv, studying, getting knocked around with different acting coaches and instructors. I'm from Michigan originally, so it was the closest big city, and I just needed to know if [acting] was something I wanted to pursue professionally, because where I come from, nobody says you can do it and make a living. So I thought, 'Well, let's give it a try,' and I met with agents and got a really good response, and I really cut my teeth and made a lot of my early mistakes in Chicago, which was great."

Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis, General Hospital)
"You know what I was doing? I was sitting on a mountaintop, visualizing getting on General Hospital, because I wanted to get back on a soap, and I wanted it to be General Hospital. Also, I was having my [daughter], Kate. I was sitting on my bench at Fryman Canyon where I would go and visualize, and I literally visualized getting on General Hospital and having Kate -- and both of those things happened."

Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera, DAYS)
"Well, in 1995, I was ten years old. I remember the dial-up Internet, the beginning of the Internet, but I was really into sports. I was kind of nerdy; I had big ol' glasses. I was probably playing sports or trying to look at [stuff] on dial-up Internet... I remember it would take 45 minutes to load a picture."

True O'Brien (Paige Donovan, DAYS)
"Well I was one, so I was in my mom's arms, and she was probably feeding me, and I was probably crying a lot."

Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby, The Young and the Restless)
In 1995, I finished working on a show in Australia called Home and Away, and I was doing door-to-door sales. In Australia, the acting market is not like you leave a job with enough auditions to get more work straight away. So I was doing door-to-door sales, and I was selling satellite TV, which hadn't come to Australia yet. So I was walking around town, and I was knocking on doors, and I realized it was probably the scariest job I ever had at the beginning, but I fell in love with it very quickly. You had ten seconds, when that door opened, to convince someone not to slam the door in your face. And I was doing it to save all the money I could to move to America and begin my hopes to act over here, and a year later, I got on the plane and left."

Eric Martsolf (Brady Black, DAYS; ex-Ethan Winthrop, Passions)
"I was on a Hawaiian cruise ship, singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. Swear to God. I graduated from college in 1993, I put my pre-law degree on hold, and I moved to New York and immediately got a job on a Hawaiian cruise ship. I did two shows a week. That was my first job out of college, and it pretty much solidified the fact that I would never go to law school, when I realized, 'God, I'm making money singing a Disney medley on a boat. Why would I go peruse an occupation where I have to listen to people's problems in a small cubicle? I'm looking at Maui right now. Forget about it!' So yeah, that was the beginning of [my acting career]."

Jen Lilley (Theresa Donovan, DAYS)
"Happy Anniversary! In 1995, I was in fifth grade at Cave Spring Elementary School, learning about American history, dissecting owl pellets in science (gross), and avidly reading books like Little Women."

Cady McClain (Kelly Andrews, Y&R; ex-Dixie Cooney, All My Children)
"1995 was a big year for me. At the beginning of the year, my mother died, and in the middle of the year, I went to India. I think by the end of the year, I was getting ready to leave All My Children. I think in the spring of '96, I left. And that was the first time [I left] after my big, long stretch there."

Meredith Scott Lynn (Anne Milbauer, DAYS)
"In 1995, I was in Ghana, Africa, helping to build a... sister school to a school here in Crenshaw. 1995. Wow. I was also doing a ton of television, and because I was doing a ton of television, I could afford to do these service-oriented trips."

Daniel Cosgrove (Aiden Jennings, DAYS; ex-Scott Chandler, AMC; ex-Bill Lewis, Guiding Light)
"I was 24 years old, holy cow. I was living in New York City, tearing it up. It was before I got All My Children, which was October '96. So I was probably going from waiting tables or working in a coffee shop or shucking oysters. I was just living the life, taking acting classes and figuring what the heck I was going to do with my life. Trying to find The Light, which I found for a few years [on GL]."

Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker, DAYS)
"In 1995, I was probably in Japan, modeling. I was coming back and forth to America and New York, traveling a ton, and I missed a lot of the late 90s music, which I'm kind of glad."

Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis, Y&R)
"In 1995, I was actually moving, I was only like ten, so I was moving to a new school. I was always moving to a new school, but I distinctly remember this, because I stayed in this school and neighborhood all the way until I graduated high school, so that's where I met most of my longtime friends who I know now... 1995, that's also when I did my first school play, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. That actually made me first think of becoming an actor. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is so much fun!' And then it went into the back of my mind for decades."

Christopher Sean (Paul Narita, DAYS)
"Oh man, 1995? I was ten years old, so I think I was either jamming out to WWF with Hulk Hogan and all of his antics and/or I was playing outside in my imagination, where we would, oh my God, this is so embarrassing, but we would go outside and we'd have PVC pipes and we'd blow in them to make a sound and say, "I'm calling a hundred grasshoppers to help me fight the evils of the Power Ranger world!" Or we'd pretend to be Power Rangers or whatever super heroes we were. I think I was living in El Centro where it was a hundred degrees outside."

Kassie DePaiva (Eve Donovan, DAYS; ex-Blair Cramer, One Life to Live)
"In 1995, I was working at One Life to Live. I was falling in love with my [real-life] husband-to-be at the time, Jim DePaiva [ex-Max Holden, OLTL], and I was in a big storyline with Todd [Roger Howarth] and Blair. They were really coming together as a couple in 1995. I was young and fun, and it was great."

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson, Y&R; ex-Annie Lavery, AMC)
"In 1995, I was 14, so I was a freshman in high school. Aw, those were the days. … I was enjoying my Contempo Casuals baby t's, listening to Blues Traveler and TLC, and my obsession with Beverly Hills 90210 was slowly transitioning over to Melrose Place. I was also getting used to high school, and I was doing the play Peter Pan. I was one of Tiger Lily's dancers, a dancing Native American. And you know who else was? You're going to die: Karla Mosley [Maya Avant, The Bold and the Beautiful]. She was also a dancing Native American. I've tweeted many photos of us together because we did like 20 plays together."

Tracy Melchior (ex-Kristen Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful)
"I was 25, and I think I was going through a divorce. Yeah, I think that was the year I went through a divorce. I was doing commercials mostly and guest-starring roles on things like Silk Stockings and things like that. 1995? Holy cow. I was much thinner and more toned!"

Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton, DAYS)
"My mom and dad were still in Virginia, and I was not doing much of anything in my personal life. But as far as the show goes, it was just Mickey [John Clarke] and Maggie, and Alice [Francis Reid] was still the matriarch of the show, and it was still very family oriented, the show. It's a good kind of thing. [Life] was just solid. Health was good, parents were good, my sister was good. All was good."

Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher, Y&R)
"In 1995, I was graduating high school in my hometown of Staten Island [New York], just getting ready to leave for college. I went to college for political science and got into acting a little later."

Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin, Y&R)
"1995? I was pregnant and on The Bold and the Beautiful [as Lauren Fenmore]."

Scott Elrod (Joe Clark, Y&R)
"In 1995, I was going to college in Illinois. When I watched Top Gun in '87, I knew I wanted to be an actor, but I was doing other stuff -- finance, mortgages, high tech sales, stuff like that."

Lachlan Buchanan (Kyle Abbott, Y&R)
"In 1995, I was eight, so I was in third grade in Australia. I did know what The Young and the Restless was then, but I think I was probably playing with marbles and Pog and basketball cards."

Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman, Y&R)
"Oh, gosh, in 1995, I'm pretty sure I had really big hair. Remember the big bangs that were in style?! I was twelve, so I was probably Rollerblading, and I just tried Rollerblading again not that long ago, and I couldn't do it anymore. I need to be my twelve-year-old self again! So anyway, I was Rollerblading, I was going to school, I was a middle school cheerleader, and I was doing little plays in the community. But big hair was definitely involved."

QUESTION: How does your current life differ from what you imagined it would be back in 1995?
Dan J Kroll (soapcentral.com Founder)
"I had always intended to become a doctor... from the time I was eight or nine. There was no question in my mind. That's what I wanted to do with my life. So I think I would have expected that I'd have a practice somewhere and be helping patients. Of course, the funny thing is that the 2015 version of me is a germophobe, so I have no idea how that would have worked out. I like to think I am helping people in an entirely different way. And soaps sound... clean, right?"

Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera, Days of our Lives)
"It's way better! I guess I couldn't have imagined this. I'm very happy in my personal life, and I'm very happy with the beginning of my career. I'm hoping it's just the beginning. That age is when I wanted to be an actor, and then I got very into sports and it was kind of out of my mind, so I don't know, that's a tough question. I probably would have been very happy. I probably wouldn't have believed it, but if you were to show me a glimpse and a picture of the woman I'm dating now, I would have said, 'What?! Oh yeah, I'll take it!'"

Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker, DAYS)
"Oh my gosh, I didn't know what I was going to do with myself. I mean, modeling was fun, and I made decent money, but I was thinking, 'What in the heck will I do? This traveling is fun, but it's lonely.' But this? I had no idea. How could you know? So nuts."

Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby, The Young and the Restless)
"I kind of have a faith .. things will always be the way they're meant to be, and that comforts me as I move through life. And as I move through life, I feel like everything will be the way it's meant to be, and it's up to me to continue to move forward and to better myself and to better, I think, everything I can be a part of. I look at my boys -- I have a six-year-old and an eight-year-old -- and I believe that my job is to make sure that by the time my life and my time on this planet is over, I hope to have made them the best men that they can be. So I feel wherever journey of life is going to take me, as long as I can continue to learn from it and become a better man and hopefully make the people around me that I love proud of me and the journey easier or better, then my time on this planet has served a purpose."

Jen Lilley (Theresa Donovan, DAYS)
"I think in fifth grade, I thought I'd become a missionary. I never in a million years would have believed I'd become an actress, let alone a soap star on NBC's longest-running soap, Days of our Lives. I am beyond thrilled at where my life is now and looking forward to what lies ahead. Life is so beautiful!"

Daniel Cosgrove (Aiden Jennings, DAYS; ex-Scott Chandler, AMC; ex-Bill Lewis, Guiding Light)
"I'll throw my high school quote at you, and here's what mine was: 'I don't know where I'm going, I don't know what I need, but I'll get to where I'm going, and that's all right with me.' I think it's from a Who song, but I don't know. And that's pretty much what I was living in my early 20s. I was trying to figure it all out, really trying to figure it out and looking for answers. And now, I feel blessed in so many ways -- family, everything -- and feel completely grateful. I reflect on it nightly. It's one thing I do every night. The things that I hoped and prayed for, I achieved, and ever since, I give thanks for them every night and multiple times throughout the day."

Meredith Scott Lynn (Anne Milbauer, DAYS)
"Oh wow, really? The truth is, I'm so in the moment, in the present, and I'm not a future tripper, so I can't even tell you at 25 that I had a vision of the future at all. I would never ever project into the future much at all, so I'm a bad person to answer that! But what I didn't know was that at 45, I'd be on one of the longest-running soap operas and running a children's educational book publishing company. That I couldn't have told ya. And that's what I'm doing."

Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis, Y&R)
"It's like night and day. Even just five years ago, I didn't think I'd be where I am today. I really put acting on the backburner for so many years, and it wasn't until a major accident that kind of shifted my thinking, and I started thinking, 'You could die tomorrow, so you need to live every day to the fullest,' so that's when I started taking acting and my passion seriously. But before that, I expected to be a lawyer, sitting behind a desk, and the only kind of performing I'd be doing was litigation, so yeah, this is completely different. I would say at least once a week, I kind of stop and go, 'Oh my gosh, I am an actor living in Hollywood on The Young and the Restless. This is absolutely insane.' It was once a week, but it's starting to stretch out to once every two weeks now. Soon it will be once every month. I can't believe I get paid to do this."

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson, Y&R; ex-Annie Lavery, AMC)
"I started acting when I was really young. I grew up in the suburbs of New York, an hour outside of the city in Bedford, so I started auditioning a lot, but for fun, just as a hobby, because I wanted to focus on school and go to college and all of that stuff. So I feel really lucky that I'm living my dream. I always wanted to do this and act every day and use those muscles and bring on the drama, so the fact that I get to do that every day on the number one show in daytime, I pinch myself. I feel so lucky that it all worked out. I feel very lucky. My 14-year-old self would be very happy that I get to do what I've always wanted to do since I was four. And I found my dream man [Matt Katrosar], having gotten married six months ago. I'm so lucky to have found such an amazing man, and I feel really grateful, really, really grateful."

Christopher Sean (Paul Narita, DAYS)
"I've always dreamed of being an actor. I've never not thought of being an actor, which is crazy, because the statistics of becoming an actor are insurmountable. But to actually be living the dream is something that I never imagined, but I always dreamed of it and wished it could happen, so I wished upon a star, and it happened."

Kassie DePaiva (Eve Donovan, DAYS; ex-Blair Cramer, One Life to Live)
"I never really think about the future in those regards. It's just crazy; I can't believe I've had a career doing what I've been doing [since 1995]. I was 34, and I was thinking, 'Gosh, if I could just do this until I'm 50,' and here I am, mid-50s, and I'm still doing it, and I feel really, really grateful. But I don't think of myself of being that old. When you put a number on it, it feels crazy. I mean, I'm still doing it. I'm in a whole different demographic, but it's kind of crazy. I watch the show, and you can't help but go, 'Wow!' Because I feel much younger than I look. It's how you feel inside. I feel really, really young, and I'm not ready to stop doing what I love. And I'm just grateful I have the opportunity to do it here -- until Jenn [Jennifer Reeves] kills Eve!"

Cady McClain (Kelly Andrews, Y&R; ex-Dixie Cooney, All My Children)
"It's way different. I thought I was going to be doing alternative downtown theater or meditating on mountaintops. I was headed in a different direction, making art, doing giant murals. I wanted to do giant street murals for a while, kind of like graffiti art but painted. I was doing different things and had different things on my mind."

Tracy Melchior (ex-Kristen Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful)
"You know what? I hate to be this way, because people are like, 'Oh jeez,' and it's so saccharine sweet that people might get a cavity reading it, but it's really everything I wanted. It's really everything I envisioned, as far as having a perfect balance. I'm on my way to pick up my son from school right now, and I'm able to help out in his class today, and I'm with my kids so much of the time, but every once in awhile, I get to sneak off and audition for something or shoot a commercial or shoot a film. I have the best part-time job that is fulfilling, and I still have enough time to be present in my kids' lives. And that's what I envisioned. When I was in college, they had this thing in philosophy class, and we had a piece of paper, and they told us to draw the vision of where we wanted our life to go, and I put two things in there: I drew a stage and I drew a picture of a family, and I've been able to have both. Sometimes people try to force it too much, instead of doing your part and then trusting God to do his part. And that's kind of what I've done. There are times when I start freaking out and I want to force things, but if you start forcing it, it's kind of like a stray cat. The more you chase it, the more it gets away from you."

Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton, DAYS)
"I had already been divorced, so I was single, and I guess I thought that I would be married again. I really thought I'd get married again. But everything in my life is prefaced on that my family was okay, so they were my first priority, and I kind of always felt that we would be together. It was just the way it was, and I don't know, I think I've broadened my [perspective since then]. When you come from a small town, you have a very narrow sense of the world, and I moved to New York and I broadened more, and I moved to California, and it's like, what a thrilling way [to broaden your perspective]. I don't think I could have imagined things being this open. That's how I'm going to say it, this open. People say, 'Oh, you are so lucky to be on the show!' And I say, 'No, I've been fortunate. It's not luck, and I am just so appreciative.' And so 20 years later, and I'm still here? Yes! And that I'm still on this show and doing this character, yeah, I'm very appreciative. And nobody can ever take that away from you. That's forever. So yeah, there's nothing I could have asked for any different."

Eric Martsolf (Brady Black, DAYS; ex-Ethan Winthrop, Passions)
"Well I was strictly into music. I was a musical theater guy, and I toured with the company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for four years, on a Broadway tour with The Osmonds, so that's what I thought my wheelhouse was, musical theater. So when the soap [Passions] came along, as intimidated as I was to move to Los Angeles and act, I did -- at the advice of my then-girlfriend, who is now my wife [Lisa Kouchak]. She looked at me one night, it was pillow talk, and she said, 'You could probably be on TV shows,' and I said, 'Oh stop! I'm a stage man. I belong on the stage.' Apparently, that girl had a little more influence over me than I knew at the time, because I took her up on it, we moved to LA together, I bartended for a few years, and one of my first auditions was for Days of our Lives. I think it was for a character named Grayson. I remember the sides coming through my wife's -- who was my girlfriend at the time -- fax machine."

Shawn Christian (Daniel Jonas, Days of our Lives)
"I would have imagined doing bigger budget films and just traveling the world. I mean literally seeing the world. That's how I imagined it and envisioned it, and I still imagine that. I didn't know that I'd be doing a soap opera. I didn't even know if I had what it took to do a soap opera. But I can tell you that I am grateful for the opportunity that I had at As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and Days of our Lives."

Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher, Y&R)
"I'm the luckiest person in the world. I think I was always confident that I would have a good life, but when I look back on the past 20 years, I think I've been really, really fortunate. So it's even better than I expected."

Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin, Y&R)
"I thought I'd be running the network by now [laughs]. I'm a little behind on that, but yeah, I thought Leslie [Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS] and I would be partners."

Scott Elrod (Joe Clark, Y&R)
"I'm super happy and content. I feel very blessed. I imagined greatness, but specifically, not being on a soap. But it's parallel to what I was hoping for, so yeah, I feel blessed."

Lachlan Buchanan (Kyle Abbott, Y&R)
"Very early on, I knew I wanted to do something in the spotlight, because I was always kind of loud and trying to make people laugh. But I think I couldn't even comprehend that this is what I'd be doing, because where I grew up is a very small town, and it's very limiting. So even at that age, I had [big] dreams, but it was like, 'Well, that's Hollywood. That's very beyond the scope.' I still pinch myself sometimes and say, 'Is this really where I am?!'"

Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman, Y&R)
"My dreams have definitely come true, because I always wanted to be an actress, and my mom watched The Young and the Restless when I was growing up, so to be here 20 years later, it's crazy. It's so cool, and I can't believe I'm here. It's definitely a dream come true."

CONTINUE READING In part two of our special anniversary feature, soap stars reveal their Internet secrets...

What were you doing in 1995? And how does your current reality compare to what you would have imagined for yourself 20 years ago? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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