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Earlier this year I had the distinct pleasure of scoring one of the first interviews with actress Jessica Leccia who over the better part of a year has so beautifully played one half of the Guiding Light super couple affectionately referred to as Otalia. Jessica (as Natalia Rivera) along side veteran soap Goddess Crystal Chappell (as Olivia Spencer) has given a voice to so many who have for far too long been without. The love story of Olivia and Natalia has transformed the canvas of television in an unassuming way by redefining what it means to be a family on television. They did it with grace and style and a true love for one another. This wasn’t a ratings stunt. It was, is and always will be a beautiful love story.
Revisit the interview and enjoy the fun, kind hearted, ever grateful spirit of Jessica Leccia.
http://eclipsemagazine.com/EM%20Exclusives/8457/ (Full Interview)
If you’re a fan of daytime television and have been following Guiding Light’s break through storyline over the past year between Olivia Spencer (Crystal Chappell) and Natalia Rivera (Jessica Leccia) affectionately know as Otalia, then you most definitely know about the fan forum Big Purple Dreams. BPD was created by a group of soap fans wanting a place of their own to gush over the burgeoning epic love story they were witnessing over at Guiding Light. Though Guiding Light is winding down and about to take its final bow, BPD is running strong and has no intentions of fading quietly once the show goes off the air. It’s become more than a fan forum, it’s a community of people who love and respect not only the story of Olivia and Natalia but also one another and have come together as a family.
Revisit the interview with the girls of Big Purple Dreams and see just how far this community of loving, passionate, die hard fans has come over the past year.
http://eclipsemagazine.com/hollywood-insider/8638/ (Full Interview)
Crystal Chappell is on fire these days. Yes, its true that her role of Olivia Spencer is coming to and end when the beloved soap Guiding Light concludes in September. But that’s not the end for one Ms. Crystal Chappell. Touted as the most talented actress in daytime, a title I happen to agree with, is also one of the busiest. In the last week she reprised her role on NBC’s Days of Our Lives as Dr. Carly Manning and from what Chappell has tweeted herself, filming is going really well. She says, “Really loving this Carly. She’s got some fire!” Along with husband Michael Sabatino and Louise Sorel who also return to Salem, this trio’s reunion should make for some highly entertaining soap drama. Personally, I’m foaming at the mouth with anticipation!
But wait, there’s more! Reprising the role that made her famous is just the beginning. Chappell has also taken on a new role, several new roles actually. This is a woman wearing many hats these days (luckily she looks good wearing a hat) with her new highly anticipated project Venice, a web series that she and writing partner Kim Turrisi and producer Hope Royaltey have created which is scheduled to debut later this year.
Not only is Crystal producing Venice but as of yesterday’s big announcement, she is now starring in it as well. Taking on the role of lesbian designer Gina, Chappell leads an impressive cast of characters. She’s recruited several of her soap star buddies including her current on screen partner in crime Jessica Leccia as Ani, a potential love interest for Gina; long time friend and One Life to Life alum Hillary B. Smith as Gina’s eccentric aunt Goya and throw in a couple Billy Lewis’ err I mean Jordan Clarke and Daniel Cosgrove (GL’s Billy and Bill Lewis) as Gina’s dad and brother and you’ve got an all-star line up of actors to launch a series. That’s not all! Also recently announced is the addition of former L Word bad girl Elizabeth Keener as Lara. Yes, I said Elizabeth Keener! Loved you as Dawn Denbo…just sayin’.
Venice isn’t set to launch until later in the year but currently you can follow along on Twitter @VeniceTheSeries or the web site www.venicetheseries.com and take a stab at the ridiculously difficult clues Hope is notorious for creating when debuting a new feature to the site. They recently had a logo contest asking fans to submit their design ideas for the sites logo and are currently taking music submissions for original music to be featured in the show. This is a highly interactive project. It’s also the beginning of how we are going to see more and more entertainment projects produced. It’s less expensive, it’s highly accessible to audiences and you come away with a more well-rounded experience. When it’s all said and done, Crystal Chappell just may go down not only as a key player in one of the most beloved couples in daytime, breaking new ground for same sex couples by bringing grace and love and respect to a community that is so lacking but also as a leader in new media, someone with the vision and quite frankly the balls to take that leap of faith with this ever evolving technology.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that our favorite fan forum Big Purple Dreams reached another milestone over the weekend. As of yesterday, Big Purple Dreams reached 4000 members! That’s 4000 members in five months for a television show that has been canceled. Hey Lifetime, you might wanna keep an eye on this one, 4000 members in five months…just think what they could do in a year! The members of this fan forum are going exponentially rivaling any other fan forum in daytime or primetime for that matter so congratulations to BPD, Guiding Light and Otalia!
While the U.S. population make up a majority of those very fans, there is an impressive international following as well that most definitely needs to be acknowledge and praised. Guiding Light is being followed in at least 28 countries other than the United States from countries such as Australia, Bosnia, and Finland to Israel, Peru, and Wales. Keep in mind, these countries don’t receive a live feed the way U.S. audiences do. They aren’t even able to watch online from the CBS.com website the way U.S. viewers do either. To say the international following is dedicated is an understatement. Really, how many shows would you go out of your way to find that don’t show up in On Demand or cable reruns or download from iTunes? The international Guiding Light fans have none of that and yet they show up each and everyday to watch the show. They have also started their own international campaign to save Guiding Light with phone calls, emails, postcards and letter writing to join their U.S. family in the fight to save a show they love. I was lucky enough to sit down with several members of Team International over Skype (gotta love technology) to discus how they actually watch the show, differences in culture and how the international audience has a strong voice.
Continue reading INTERVIEW: Guiding Light/Otalia International Following Speak Out
Tuesday my heart was torn from my chest and tossed into the wood chipper by Crystal Chappell’s performance of Olivia Spencer’s tormented confession of her undying love for Natalia. Today I am unsuccessfully trying to recover from Wednesday’s episode, which picked up right where we left off Tuesday with Olivia and Natalia in the cemetery. Olivia once again professes her deep undying love for Natalia.
At this point Olivia is determined to finally speak the truth, finally say what has tormented and consumed her for so long. She realizes that once she verbalizes what she truly feels that she can never take it back, something that Natalia tries to remind her of and something Olivia is painfully aware of but needs to say it because this could be her last chance to, in her words, “set the record straight.” She’s not sure exactly when things changed but they most certainly did. They started out as rivals, became friends, hell, Natalia gave Olivia her dead husband’s heart! Somewhere between roommates and best friends they turned into a family. Natalia is Emma’s (Olivia’s daughter) other mommy. She and Olivia know each other so well they finish each other’s sentences. They love each other and in that moment you undoubtedly know it, you feel it, you believe it.
Continue reading TELEVISION: Heavens to Merg…Guiding Light is Trying to Kill Me!
If you’re a fan of daytime television and have been following Guiding Light’s break through storyline over the past year between Olivia Spencer (Crystal Chappell) and Natalia Rivera (Jessica Leccia) affectionately know as Otalia, then you most definitely know about the fan forum Big Purple Dreams. BPD was created by a group of soap fans wanting a place of their own to gush over the burgeoning epic love story they were witnessing over at Guiding Light. First came the Otaliafan channel on YouTube then the forum and after a few months, this little engine that could is nearly two thousand members strong and growing!
Recently I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with the three podcast mavens, Mel aka the cheerleader, Christi aka flowchart and Destini aka the sexy voice that lead this band of loyal, enthusiastic, and intensely passionate soap fans. The following is what took place or at least what I was allow to print…they’re a saucy bunch and I loved every minute of it!
Continue reading INTERVIEW: A Conversation with the Girls from Big Purple Dreams
Recently I had the pleasure to sit down with Guiding Light’s Jessica Leccia to discuss her character Natalia Rivera and the burgeoning same-sex love story energizing daytime TV. The stunning Leccia alongside sexy soap siren Crystal Chappell (Olivia Spencer) are throwing caution to the wind and raising some eyebrows on Guiding Light with their latest angst filled plot twist gradually revealing the unlikely love story between the two friends while trying to raise Olivia’s eight year old daughter Emma (Jacqueline Tsirkin) in a loving, stable home. You wont find any mention of labels or jumping on the bandwagon of what’s hot and controversial. There’s no fanfare or press conference bragging to the audience or mainstream America, “Hey look at us, we’re ground breaking!”
What you will find is the portrayal of a beautiful, loving family who, like most families, make school lunches in the morning and build class projects together at the kitchen table. More importantly there’s a true-to-life story that has been carefully crafted over the course of a year. Yes, I said a year! It’s not contrived or salacious, though the on-screen chemistry between Leccia and Chappell will melt your TV. It’s playful, intense, passionate, sexy and funny and has everybody glued to the edge of their seats, begging for more!
But at its heart, there is a love story in the truest possible sense. Brilliant writing from Ellen Wheeler (executive producer) and Jill Lorie Hurst (co-head writer) paired with two talented actresses, Jessica Leccia and Crystal Chappell, have not only struck a cord with daytime fans but are also paving the way for a positive change.
A very pregnant and incredibly busy Jessica Leccia graciously took some time out of her day to chat with me. Here’s what she had to say:
Continue reading INTERVIEW: Guiding Light’s Jessica Leccia
Color me pleasantly surprised when I found myself home sick one day from work and turned on the TV to find an old friend, Guiding Light, smack dab in the middle of what looks very much like a lesbian relationship. Now I haven’t watch soaps in well over a decade so I was clueless to the storylines but thought hey, I’m at home sick, why not visit my old pals in Springfield. Guiding Light was the show I’d watch growing up when I was at home sick from school. My grandma was cool like that!
Continue reading Television: Is Guiding Light Coming Out of the Closet?