We Love Soaps: How did you know that Kim and Shane had clicked and were on their way to becoming a supercouple?
Patsy Pease: I never got it, I never did get it. I still to this day don’t get it. And you know why I don’t get it? Because I wasn’t looking for it. I just had another actor with whom I was trying to make sense out of the scenes. That’s still all I care about today. People started calling them names like “supercouple” and I was insulted.
We Love Soaps: How come?
Patsy Pease: Because it was two actors, respecting each other and their work. And then it became, to me, something commercialized and cheap, something you could fit on an Ivory package...you’d make it squeaky clean. It wasn’t about the work anymore, it was about some kind of thing that could boost the ratings, and could sell magazines. And I didn’t get it. I just thought, “This is not what I got in here for, I didn’t sign up to be super-duper-uber fantastic Ken and Barbie.”
We Love Soaps: How did you feel when the fans connected so strongly with Kimberly?
Patsy Pease: That was more about the work. That part I could understand, because that was part of what my motivation was. The only reason I approached acting ever in the first place was my joy to know that art was there to lift, inspire, and encourage people from reality. To raise it to a higher existence. It wasn’t about becoming “It’s all about me,”— that’s narcissism. Or “Look what I’m doing.” That’s shallow and superficial and I could just yawn. I’ve seen enough of those.
We Love Soaps: I think you can tell that there are some people up there who are acting. You didn’t just act, you inhabited the skin of Kimberly Brady. It was in every nerve and every look. You were completely and fully in the moment.
Patsy Pease: That’s what I owe people. They deserve that. See, it’s not about me. I’m aware there are people taking their valuable time out. They’re taking their valuable emotions that are maybe secret to others, that they only touch base with, with me. That makes me responsible for taking whatever form of art I’m involved in and lifting it to encourage, to inspire, to connect. If I’m not in the business of inspiring, encouraging, and connecting, then I’m just a walking Barbie doll saying my lines, hoping that I look cute.
We Love Soaps: On a personal note, I can tell you that I had a pretty rough time in high school. On one occasion I recall sitting in the gym and getting spit on. And this was right around the time that Victor and Kimberly were in the custody battle for Andrew, and he had revealed to everyone that Kimberly had been a prostitute. Kimberly stood up to her friends and family and essentially said, “I’m not apologizing for who I am.” I can’t tell you how much those scenes helped to encourage and inspire me to persevere through the hate and oppression I had to deal with.
Patsy Pease: And thank you for telling me that. I do know what that’s like. I have an 18-year-old son who is now just coming out. And I could not be more proud of what he stands for and how he stands up for what he believes, and he has been spat upon as well. Maybe I’ll play him that clip.
We Love Soaps: That’s an honor to hear. Because even though it wasn’t the same issues, there was something about the determination, the resilience, and the pure stubborn streak that you brought to Kimberly that helped me get through those hard years.
Patsy Pease: That means a lot to me. I do know what it’s like to feel different. I do know what it’s like to come from a background that is not approved of, and is scorned, looked down upon, criticized and shamed. I can’t identify with Kimberly’s background of prostitution, and I can’t identify with my son’s experience of being gay, but I can identify with the feeling of just not having people on your side. And that’s a really really scary feeling. And if I could make that one statement about not giving people that much power to shame you...if I didn’t make any other statement, that would be the one I could make.
We Love Soaps: You absolutely did that for me.
Patsy Pease: Well that means for me, my job as far an actor, has complete that full circle, because that’s all I ever intended. I’m not pooh-poohing the idea of becoming a supercouple. I’m not pooh-poohing the idea of becoming really popular. But my main goal was trying to connect with people, and feel a circle, a unity, that we had done something together. That’s all I ever wanted.
We Love Soaps: This is the main reason why I love our name, “We Love Soaps.” Your portrayal of Kim demonstrates how soaps have the power to elevate and help in a way other artistic mediums do not. Unfortunately, I don’t see any of them trying to do that now. I wonder if a young person watching DAYS OF OUR LIVES now would derive any hope or inspiration.
Patsy Pease: Probably not. One of the reasons it was easy for me to leave was because I was told by one of the producers, “Stop doing your interviews with your personal causes. We are not in the business of helping people.” That was the day the earth stood still for me. I was called into the office, and I was told the by people who employed me to stop what I was doing in my relationship with the fans. That was 20 years ago, and it has still clung in my mind to something that hurts.
We Love Soaps: That’s so sad to hear, especially since there was a time when soaps were very much about helping people, like in the 70s.
Patsy Pease: Yes, there was a time when there was a social consciousness they were involved in, to somehow promote tolerance and ideals that kids could look up to. They would try to have a better understanding of other people, to open up the minds of other people. I don’t see that as much as I would like. There was a time when you could move an idea through the medium of daytime and reach more people. Producers get scared now and go for the easier stuff, the sensational stuff, the sci-fi stuff, people’s heads appearing out of walls. It’s spectacular, it’s entertaining...but it’s not uplifting and inspiring. I haven’t seen it. Maybe it’s there and I’m not aware of it. If they are then I apologize to whichever show is doing it. But I keep in touch with a lot of people, and I haven’t heard anyone say, “They’re doing this multiracial story line and we’ve all been transported into thinking a different way.”
We Love Soaps: There is one show that I think that is doing that now, and that is the Otalia story line on GUIDING LIGHT. That story has been told in a very traditional way having been built up slowly for over a year. It’s just a beautiful story about love and acceptance between these two women.
Patsy Pease: Well, bravo then to GUIDING LIGHT. And I’m sure it’s no accident that that show is being done in New York. We have politically corrected ourselves to death in California. Jim Reynolds (Abe) had introduced the idea of Kimberly and Abe together, and we’ve never had the door shut so quickly on both of us.
Stay tuned for Part Three of our fascinating interview with Patsy Pease.