Lunch With The Cramer Women - Melissa Fumero

We Love Soaps had the opportunity to sit down with the fabulous talents who portray the Cramer Women of Llanview.  Starting February 12, 2010, this complicated and tortured family will be reuniting on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and we could not be happier! What follows is a series of articles and features about these courageous women and their legacy on daytime.

We Love Soaps: Is this return as Adriana a short term stint or a long term role?
Melissa Fumero: It’s short term right now.  I know it’s about six episodes.  I don’t think it’s more than that, but you never know.

We Love Soaps:  Would you like it to become more at some point?
Melissa Fumero: I wouldn’t mind right now.  We’re just kind of going with the flow and seeing what happens.

We Love Soaps:  When Adriana started she was very nice, very sweet, she had the sweet romance with River...
Melissa Fumero: And the Catholic school girl outfit.

We Love Soaps: Then what happened?
Melissa Fumero: Then she got beat up for a few years there.  I think there was a little bit of a delayed reaction to her toughening up considering everything she went through with Dorian and stalkers and break-ups and affairs.  I feel like she woke up one day and said, “I’m not going to take this anymore. I’m going to start standing up for myself.”

We Love Soaps: Can you relate to that in your own life? Are there times you’ve have to do that?
Melissa Fumero: Yes, I think so.  I’m sort of aggressively non-confrontational.

We Love Soaps: What does that mean?
Melissa Fumero: I just really hate confrontation.  I will stand up for myself.  I will stand up for my loved ones, probably before I would stand up for myself.   But I like to be diplomatic, I like to be peaceful.  I definitely don’t have that fire that Adriana has, which is why it’s so much fun playing that.  I always say that I never get to actually be a bitch in my real life, so it’s much fun doing it for work. 

We Love Soaps: Do you ever wish you could be more like that in your real life?
Melissa Fumero: Yes! Yes! I do!

We Love Soaps: What stops you?
Melissa Fumero: I feel bad, I don’t know.  It sounds weird, I guess I’m too nice.  I definitely have had moments where I wish I could be like Adriana and punch this person or say something nasty to them and not even hesitate.  I just don’t, I’m working on it.  Maybe I’ll get there one day. 

We Love Soaps: Can one have a balance between nice, sweet, everybody-dumps-on-you, and mean, bitchy, nobody-steps-on-you.
Melissa Fumero: Absolutely.  And I think Adriana does have a balance.  She doesn’t speak like that to everyone.  You’ve never seen her speak that way to Layla or to her mother during a normal conversation.  It was definitely with reason.  I think it was an interesting balance where she was still a good girl, she knew where she came from, she had a good heart, but she just wasn’t going to be stepped over anymore, and she made sure everybody knew about it. 

We Love Soaps: What would you like to see happen for Adriana in the long term? With Rex, career?
Melissa Fumero: I would like to see her find true lasting deep love.  I think she and Rex had that but it was very short lived, and then it was over.  I would love to see her happy, I would love to see her get married.  I would love to see her successful, I think she’s the type of woman that would be very successful.  Probably in the fashion business or design business.  And just the typical Cramer woman who is strong.  Maybe she will be the first Cramer woman to be strong and have a strong man by her side.  Maybe she’ll break the mold that way.  She’ll have a successful relationship while maintaining her Cramerness. 

We Love Soaps: Adriana didn’t grow up knowing she was a Cramer woman.  As she gets in touch with that inner “bitch,” does she ever fear the legacy of mental illness in this family?
Melissa Fumero: I don’t think so.  They never went there with Adriana.  She was raised in a convent.  She does have that part of herself is giving, has a big heart, and is very very loving.  That doesn’t go away.  That’s why she had such a great relationship with Addie.  She is and always was very accepting of everyone.  She didn’t look at Addie and think, “This could happen to me.”  I don’t think her mind would even go there.  She would just want to know that person, get to know them.  She wouldn’t think of the negativity of, “Maybe I could end up like that.” 

We Love Soaps: What can we look forward to for Melissa in 2010?
Melissa Fumero: I will be on an episode of GOSSIP GIRL in March.  And hopefully doing a second season on a web show that I did last year on Teen.com. It’s called HAUTE & BOTHERED.  I did it last year, it was a great success.  It’s about first year students at a fashion school...fashion again.  It’s quirky and fun and silly.  I had a great time doing it and I’m hoping I will get to do the second season. 

We Love Soaps: Can you tell us the biggest difference for you between doing a web show and television?
Melissa Fumero: It’s a single camera as opposed to multi-camera.  It moves just as fast as a soap opera.  We were allowed to improve a lot, and you don’t usually get the freedom in soaps, you have to stick to the page.  Whereas in the [web show] the were like, “Do what you want.”

We Love Soaps: We look forward to seeing on you on the web and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and maybe even theater some day?
Melissa Fumero: It’s where I come from.  I just haven’t been able to get there yet.  We will see. 

RELATED: 
- Lunch with Cramer Women (transcriptions from the panel interview)
- WE LOVE SOAPS TV #9 - Cramer Women Special
- Interview with Laura Bonarrigo (Cassie)
- Interview with Gina Tognoni (Kelly)

Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at www.shouldless.com.

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