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Sometimes, good things come in beautiful packages. Kassie DePaiva, who has played the devilish Blair Cramer Manning on the daytime soap “One Life To Live” for the past 12 years, is one of those good things. In addition to her acting, for which she just received her first Daytime Emmy nomination in the category of “Best Lead Actress in a Daytime Television Series”, she’s also a talented country singer with a new album entitled “No Regrets “, and she’s a mother with a cause- to bring attention to the importance of infant hearing testing, something she knows a great deal about, since her son JQ (James Quentin) was born deaf.

Recently, DePaiva visited Nashville, both to promote her new cd, and to interview some of the country stars attending the annual “Country Radio Seminar”, for a local TV station. While she was here, Dish had a chance to visit with her, and find out a little more about Blair, and a whole lot more about Kassie.

“The greatest thing about Blair is she’s a woman who pulls herself up by her bootstraps; she’s got fire, what you see is pretty much what you get with her. She’s dysfunctional to a point, she’s been damaged, but because of that damage she doesn’t take no for an answer. She just gets the job done-if somebody tries to wrong her, she tries to wrong them more-not that that’s a good thing, but in this melodrama on the little screen, it’s just fine,” she says. “Plus, she gets to wear the best clothes, and to kiss the best men, and you know, all the things women like to think about.”

“She continues, “I don’t feel like I’m Blair unless I’m in high heels. I was working with a shorter guy a few years ago and I had to wear flats, and I said, ‘I can’t be a bitch in flats!’”

“When asked what Daytime Television is really about, DePaiva replies, “Daytime is all about the glamour. So when I feel like I’m Blair, I can be Blair. Also, people tune in to see what daytime people wear, especially my character, because Blair's so cutting edge.”

Does that mean that Kassie gets to keep all of Blair’s expensive wardrobe? “Heck no,” she replies vehemently. “The deal is, once you leave the show you’re allowed to puchase it [the wardrobe] at half price, but I’ve been there 12 years now, so most of the things I love are somewhere down in the dungeon in the ABC archives.”

So what does DePaiva herself wear, Gucci? Prada? Gap? As it turns out, none of the above. “I buy whatever looks good on me and is on sale and I’m not joking. I grew up… one of my mom’s hobbies was to bargain shop and it just kind of rubbed off on me. So when I go shopping for Blair with the show’s costume designer, and she says, ‘Oh, don’t look at the price. Let’s go, we’re getting it,’ it’s hard for me. Do you know how many $10 pair of shoes I have?”

And what about those steamy love scenes? I asked her somewhat enviously? “It’s not as glamorous as it looks,” she admits. “We make it look glamorous and easy and those love scenes look romantic and juicy but it’s like ‘5 4 3 2 1’. You do it. Cut. Ok ok ok. And when you put the whole thing together it looks like a really romantic montage, but it’s really ‘put your hand here, turn here, move here, kiss.’ It’s really all choreographed and it’s not nearly as romantic as it looks.”

Since she was nominated for her first Daytime Emmy after 12 years on OLTL, on the same day we talked with her, it was obvious DePaiva was pretty excited. What took so long, I wondered? “I don’t feel like I’ve done anything differently, I just think people’s tastes have changed. I think it’s just my time and I’m going to take it for what it’s worth and just enjoy it, but in the grand scheme of things it just means a big zero. I don’t think it’s going to change anything in my life, but I have gotten a lot of calls and letters from my friends and co-workers who seem happier about my nomination than their own, and that makes me feel very special.”

Does DePaiva aspire to move her career to another level, acting in film, on the stage, or whatever? She laughed, and said, “My contract’s up in November! No, I’m very happy to be an actress on soap operas, I love the melodrama and I always have. It’s a uniquely American form of entertainment and it works for me and it works for my lifestyle, and I’ve mad a lot of friends there and I even met my husband there.”

As it turned out, meeting her future husband Jim DePaiva on the set of “One Life To Live”, (he played Max for 17 years) turned into something of a soap opera within a soap opera. “We were both married to other people at the time, so our real life drama was a bigger soap opera than what we were playing.”

“Meeting him was like meeting somebody I had known all my life,” she explains, “and so it was just a kind of natural progression of events. It all just started with a look, it was just meant to be. It’s hard to say what brought it on. I just understood him and he understood me, and he’s my partner, my life’s partner and my best friend. This May, we’ll have been married now for 9 years.”

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 44 - September 7189
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