With 16 years of playing Victor Newman's strong and determined daughter under her belt, Amelia Heinle has become a bona fide staple at the Young and the Restless. But before she found her perfect match in Victoria Newman, the actress spent three years playing All My Children cosmetics queen, Mia Saunders.
Introduced to the canvas in 2001, Mia shocked longtime Pine Valley resident, Liza Colby (Marcy Walker), when she announced that she was the product of an affair had by Liza's dad -- which meant she was Liza's half-sister! Liza was not thrilled with this unexpected development, and viewers watched the siblings squabble for most of Mia's time on the ABC soap opera.
Despite some serious sister setbacks, including a moment when a jealous Liza shoved Mia off a several-stories-high ledge during a Chandler party, the pair eventually managed to put their differences aside and even started a cosmetics business together, along with Greenlee Smythe (Rebecca Budig), Kendall Hart (Alicia Minshew), and Simone Torres (Terri Ivens). That was the beginning of Fusion, which quickly became a household name alongside Pine Valley power companies like Enchantment and Chandler Enterprises.
Though it feels like a lifetime away, Heinle shares with Soap Central that she still thinks about Mia Saunders and misses her time starring on the ABC soap opera.
"I do think of that time in New York with the Fusion girls and how fun that was, because it was such an interesting time," she says. "It was during 9/11 and it was during this big blackout. There were just a lot of historical, meaningful things that happened while I was on that show."
But, of course, the thing that stands out the most from her time as Mia was befriending her AMC co-stars, especially Budig, Minshew, and Ivens.
"We all got along really well. We even had a couple of sleepovers!" she shares. "I know how silly that might sound, but we were younger at the time. So, we had a few sleepovers at Rebecca's house, and it was just a great time on that show. I miss the city, I miss that show, and I miss Marcy Walker. Marcy Walker was a great mentor when I first got there, because it was my first time back in daytime after being off for a while [after playing Loving's Stephanie Brewster]. So, it was a really great experience all around."
The one thing that wasn't great, however, was the lack of character development for Mia. Heinle says that she wishes the writers had found more ways to connect the character to the canvas, because being adrift was a huge challenge.
"I do miss the character, of course, but Mia wasn't as connected a character as the one I play now," the actress says. "She was kind of connected because she was technically related to Liza, but it gives me empathy for people that come in with characters that aren't related to anyone -- it's harder to break in, and it's harder to feel connected. Now that I have this role where I'm the daughter of Victor Newman, it has opened so many doors for me to be connected to pretty much everyone on the show. So, it's a different experience, but it was still a great, meaningful, and wonderful experience in New York on All My Children."
Asked about whether or not she'd be open to exploring Mia again, perhaps on the primetime version of All My Children that is reportedly in the works, Heinle was enthusiastic -- but she admits that she didn't actually know there was a possible AMC reboot on the horizon!
"I think that's wonderful! Gosh, they should do that," she says before joking, "Maybe if anything happens to [Y&R], we could do it, too!"
Whether soap operas stay in daytime or if they eventually move to primetime (or even to "anytime" via streaming services), Heinle says it is a special medium that should be protected.
"It's such a unique genre that it would be sad to see it end," she shares. "I know it would be different if it were a nighttime thing, but in general, this genre is so special and unique, and I can say that now, being here for the years that I have -- basically it's been my career -- and there's nothing like it."
What do you think about Amelia Heinle's memories of playing AMC's Mia? What are your favorite moments from the actress' time in Pine Valley? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.