I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Stafford (soon-to-be ex-Phyllis Summers) last month. At the time, there was not even a hint that she was leaving the show. Shortly after this interview, Stafford tweeted that, after 16 years, she was saying goodbye to her love-her-or-hate-her role. As always, the great redhead was fun and informative.
How does Michelle Stafford maintain one of the most beautiful body on daytime?
"I am always starving," she jokes. "I don't want anyone to think I am unhealthy. I have my protein shakes, and I do salad at lunch. I am always starving because what I really want is a double bacon cheeseburger, which I cannot have."
On a more serious note, last year her sister was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. "Our whole family was stunned," Stafford says. "She is doing really well. I know after the chemo she had to change her eating habits. I wanted to be there to help her. I started doing the raw food diet. I was dropping weight so fast I had to switch to vegan."
The actress has a unique perspective on playing Phyllis. "Michael Damian (Danny) gave me a great tip," she says. "I had just joined the show. He told me that every show should be like a movie. Nothing that went before it or what comes after it should be a part of the process."
When complimented on her work with Peter Bergman (Jack) during his drug-withdrawal story and told that Bergman said having her in the scenes made it better, Stafford demurs. She says, "I was just there. He did all the heavy lifting." Informed that a scene with Greg Rikaart (Kevin) won the show a Writers Guild of America award and a standing ovation, she is jubilant. "I love working with him."
When not on the Y&R set, she loves being at home with her 3-year-old daughter, Natalia.
"I know every parent thinks their kid is the best. Mine is," she says. "The other day, we were looking at a cookbook. Suddenly, she says, 'I am going to make you a sandwich and potato chips.' So she goes into the kitchen. She keeps coming out with nothing, but pretending to serve me. I asked her, where was the food? She kept saying we do not have any chips. I know it sounds goofy, and it has no payoff. It was just so cute."
Natalia was born to a surrogate in 2009. "She is healthy, gorgeous, and amazing. Michelle is out-of-her-mind happy," her rep stated at the time of Natalia's birth.
The two-time Emmy Award-winning actress said she tried artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, and considered adoption in her quest to become a mom.
Stafford says with joy, "After a three-year journey through hell, I was elated, ecstatic, and feel ultimately lucky to be able to have my own child via surrogate. She is a gift."