Soap Shrink at Sea: On Deck with The Young and the Restless’ Elizabeth Hendrickson

By Damon L. Jacobs 

Combine the beauty of Jennifer Garner and the comic timing of Debra Messing and what do you get?  The hysterically entertaining and insightful Elizabeth Hendrickson!  Elizabeth HendricksonDuring SoapNet’s “Rock the Soap Cruise,” we talked about her experiences and life lessons learned from mistakes on All My Children and her current run on The Young and the Restless.

D:  What part of yourself are you bringing to Chloe in Y&R these days?
E:  Humor.  I’d say 98% of her humor comes from me.  When I was on All My Children I got really bored with myself.  I came into this job (as Chloe) as literally a blank canvas.  They had absolutely no idea.  They had seen me in something on stage and brought me in to read and they just created this character for me.  So I knew from being on AMC that  when I started Maggie, I didn’t really take control . I didn’t realize that whatever you bring, they use.  Like if you start to eye roll all the time you’ll see “Maggie eye rolls.”  That’s how I found they would write my character, and I didn’t take advantage of that.  So when I came on as Chloe I said, “The world is my oyster.  I’m going to make this however I want to make it.”  I knew I was just coming on as recurring, so I said, “I’m going to make them fall in love with me and then they’ll ask me to stay.”  So I created the whole thing, and thankfully

“Once you start to play the happy couple it means you have to be naked like five times a week, I’ve got to do sex scenes in a shower.  But I have  a really hard time getting naked on the show, and my boyfriend doesn’t like to see me kiss other people and really I don’t either.”

Maria Bell and some of the other writers have some experience with comedy and were adding to it.  And I made her bitchy, because I figured the nice girl wasn’t going to stay around.  I needed to bring conflict to the story.

D:  She was not originally written to be Esther’s daughter.  How did you feel about that turn of events?
E:  Oh my gosh!  I mean the fact that I had family ties was awesome because then I knew that maybe I was staying around for a little while.  And it helped make sense of why she was the way she was, and why she did have this sort of bitter outlook on life and love.

D:  Why do you think Chloe has such a bitter outlook?
E:  I think she was brought up not in the household and because of who she was, she was sent off.  So I think she’s out for revenge, and that’s why she is so jealous.  It’s sort of like the self-sabotage thing.  She doesn’t think she deserves any better.

D:  Was there ever a time when you felt that way about your own relationships?
E:  I’ve never had that much faith in relationships (laughs).  Sorry, Dave! (Her current boyfriend).   This is the first successful relationship I’ve ever had.  I totally have daddy issues like any other girl.  I think every woman and man have their own father issues.  My father left when I was really young.  I had a stepfather who came into my life and sort of took over, and I was like “No no no no no.”  There’s a lot of divorce in my family.  I just never had a lot of faith in relationships lasting.  Usually, anytime I get comfortable, I run.  It’s just so much easier.  And it’s the same with Chloe, she’s sort of the same way.  And then you start to see her with Billy, and Billy’s Chloe and Billylike the one who really had her.  I think he brings out her soft side, and her feisty fun side.  But he also brings about her vulnerable side, a side she doesn’t like people to see.

D:  Where is Chloe’s father in all this?
E:  I think he’s dead.  He was Tiny.  And, someone killed him, I don’t remember who.

D:  But Chloe also grew up without a father.  Has that affected her choices?
E:  Oh most definitely, and that’s why she is so adamant about the baby having a father.  That’s why she went after Cane, because the last thing she wanted was for her daughter to be raised the same way she was. and she didn’t want history to repeat itself.  That’s why she made all the choices that she made.  See?  It all comes around (laughs).

D:  When you started on AMC as Frankie, that was another spitfire character, but it totally went awry.  You were wonderful, and then you were gone. 
E:  But I knew that.  That was a three-month contract.  And then I left, and they loved me, and they were like, “Oh, she has a twin sister.”  And obviously that twin sister had to be a complete opposite.  So I went from mean to nice.  And then I was nice and perfect, the best friend, then I was confused.

D:  Maggie was just so undefined, as you said.
E:  Yes. 

D:  Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to Elizabeth eight years ago, starting on AMC?   
E:  Trust yourself. 

D:  What would you like to see happen now with Chloe?
E:  I would love to see her take over one of the businesses.  I would love to see her take over Jabot and have like a “Devil Wears Prada” kind of thing, because I really love her bitchy side.  I still want to keep her with all that conflict.  I would love to see her run the show and piss off some people. 

D:  Would you like to see her work through some of her father issues and have a healthier relationship?
E:  Most definitely, but I like to have relationships not be perfect.  It’s so much more fun to play that than to be the happy couple.  Once you start to play the happy couple it means you have to be naked like five times a week, I’ve got to do sex scenes in a shower.  So would I like for her to figure it out and have a great relationship?  Yeah.  But I have  a really hard time getting naked on the show, and my boyfriend doesn’t like to see me kiss other people and really I don’t either.

D:  Many people may be surprised that with two such hot costars, you feel this way. 
E:  No, it’s just not reality, it’ s just not normal.  No one likes to see themselves getting naked on TV.  I have to work out for a good two weeks!  So do I want her to fall in love? Sure.  But I don’t want to be in the shower.  If we could have a good relationship without all the “Bow–chickabowow (sung to the tune of “Brick House”) Elizabeth singingI’m fine with that. 

D:  I think it’s clear that you’re feeling so much more comfortable as an actress on Y&R than you did on AMC, and it’s really helped the audience connect to Chloe.
E:  And I understand the soap world a little better now.  When I came on AMC I was this new fresh person, I was very green.  And I’ve always been a take the bull by the horns kind of girl.  But for some reason … I just didn’t want to stir the pot.  I was happy to be there, I was learning.  For some reason I held back because I just didn’t want to take control of it.  That was just my own fear, probably of failure.  Whereas whenever I’ve just gone for it, I’ve never failed.  So coming on Y&R, it was nice to take control of my destiny.  I feel I did that.  And yes, I think we all have a tendency to want to please other people.  It makes so much sense that you should really only be pleasing yourself at the end of the day.  Of course you want to make other people happy, but you can’t make anyone else happy until you make yourself happy.

D:  I complete agree with that.  What else would you like to say to the Thinking Fans reading this who are interested in learning more about psychological profiles of their characters?
E:  This is great!  Now you’re making me think even more about my character and like, “Oooh wait, I should be diving a little bit deeper.”  Have they ever done a therapist story line on this or any of the shows?

D:  It’s rare.   The Bold and the Beautiful did a great story about Stephanie going through therapy and forgiving her mother, but usually they’re not done realistically. 
E:  I remember when I was on AMC I was part of an abuse story line.  And had I stayed, what I thought would have been fabulous was to go through the rehabilitation part of it and actually have group therapy sessions.  That would have been really interesting.  So let’s finish with this:  Everyone should be in therapy!

D:  Even though we don’t believe in “shoulds” …
E:  Yeah (laughs). 

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bookDamon L. Jacobs is a family and relationship therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of  Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve.  He blogs regularly at www.shouldless.com.

Comments

  1. Matthew J. Cormier says:

    Fantastic interview, Damon. Elizabeth definitely thinks a lot about making her character as real as possible. It’s great. Another time they did a therapy story was on “OLTL” when Viki was having to work through her DID in the 1990s. They brought on Nora’s sister as her threapist and really dove deep into Viki’s life. It was great, but i’m not sure it was all that realistic.

  2. renee says:

    Damon,
    Maybe I’m the crazy one and that explains why I’m the girl who grew up watching almost every soap to the woman who barely watches any but will keep up with a recap every now and then, and reads Marlena religiously. Or maybe I’m representative of why so many soaps have dropped a much larger audience percentage than prime time shows – they just stopped appealing to me. Chloe is representative of the reason why.

    She’s another Jill Foster Abbott – the character who’s always searching for mommy or daddy’s love and never finds it and because she can’t her low self esteem comes out in destructive self hatred ways as she sabotages her personal and professional life, over and over and over. At no time does she wake up and go, dang, I have f’ed up. I need to stop this. I’m not happy. No one likes me. This is not good. So since insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, let me try something else.

    Chloe tried to trap Cane with Delia, it didn’t work. She’s trapping Billy with Delia, it’s not working. Billy can be a great dad to Delia which he’d like to do without being married to Chloe. So since Cane has given up on seeking custody, free Billy, share custody, and get your life together. Hello writers. If we saw some healthy characters to go with those great social issues you occasionally introduce, we just might find a reason to stay around.

    But then, that would be less work for Damon. Who I do love. The interviews are great.

    Damon says: Thank you Renee for your comments! I would love to see Chloe evolve and learn she doesn’t need a man or a baby to feel validated, but the days of seeing strong independent women on daytime appears to have sadly past. I too feel alienated from most stories on most shows, but hearing how the actors bring relevance to their characters helps me to feel invested.

  3. Matthew J. Cormier says:

    I’m wondering: she says her character is jealous, angry and bitter because she see’s the kind of life she was denied. Clearly the decisions she is making are not healthy and are not the kind of choices a happy person makes. What pyschologicaly speaking are the long-term consequences of her actions. What kind of road is she headed down? what can she do (treatment wise) to make herself less anrgy and start to make better decisions? should she just try and forget about what she didn’t have and move on?

    Damon says: Yes, Matthew, I remember when Viki worked with Susana (Nora’s sister), and I thought those scenes were relatively realistic for daytime. So were Karen’s sessions with Gail on GH. I just couldn’t think of those at the moment, Elizabeth caught me by surprise with that question!

  4. Matthew J. Cormier says:

    OMG i forgot about Karen’s sessions with Gail on “GH”… those were some great daytime storytelling. One thing i really liked about Viki’s sessions on OLTL is that it really allowed us to learn about Viki’s past and it provided us with some really fascinating insight as to how a threapist works with a patient that has so many issues.

  5. Anita says:

    Damon,

    Thank you for the fantastic interview with Liz! I love hearing how she approached this character and really made Chloe her own by infusing her with a fabulous sense of humor and snarkiness. She has so much talent, and I’m so happy for her that Y&R has embraced her the way they have. I was so thrilled when they made Esther Chloe’s mother, giving Chloe the backstory that Maggie fans always longed for from AMC.

    I hope Liz knows – and I’m sure she does – that even though Maggie was an underdeveloped character, she was still very special, and had plenty of traits that people connected with. I loved Maggie as being one-half of the popular couple, BAM (Bianca and Maggie), but I also loved Maggie on her own….and was actually more interested in her than I was Bianca, the lead character.

    Again, thank you for doing this interview with Liz. She may not like doing those kissing and shower scenes, but I’m glad she makes the sacrifice for us. Lol!!

    Damon says: Thank you for your wonderful comment, Anita! I’m so glad you enjoyed this interview, so did I!

  6. Moni says:

    Loved the interview, EH is quite the spitfire, and she definitely has one of the hardest jobs humanizing Chloe…but i’ve got to ask, what was she thinking when she signed on to do a soap, if she hates love scenes? She got the best guys in the biz, as her costars so its not likely to get better than that. I say she should take the L and just do it. Halle Berry said Monster’s Ball was very liberating…

    My preferred couple is Chloe and Devon.

  7. Preacher'swife says:

    Chloe and chance are my favorite couple. Keep up the good work! They should not make -love again until they get married.

  8. Milkyway says:

    Thank you Damon for the read!

    I know i’m reading it two years late, but i love getting any opportunity to read any interview of EH. Not only is she a phenomenal actress but she really seems so down to earth. I love that Liz puts so much thought and effort into her character and i honestly think it shows. Chloe may not be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s why she’s so great imo. She’s multi-layered, complex, loyal, fiesty but still vulnerable and kind. Grey characters such as Chloe are what keep soaps fresh and entertaining–not everyone can be like Lily. :)

    Over the years, they’ve really tamed down Chloe’s character. And though she seems to be getting more fans as a result of it, I still prefer the fashionista vixen. She was funny, sarcastic, and interesting–and those one-liners were awesome. I’m glad she’s show so much growth, and I still love Chloe, but i really wish they’d take her back to her roots where she was focused on her career and was in that fashionista vixen mode.

    And it’s Chloe and Billy for me!!! Billy has been tamed to the point he’s unrecognizable with his pairing with Icky Newman. She sucks the life out of him. And Chloe and Kevin have no romantic chemistry. CHILLY FTW!

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