Friday, August 27, 2010

Catching Up With ONE LIFE'S Jessica Leccia, Part One

Jessica Leccia needs no introduction for viewers of WE LOVE SOAPS TV. The enchanted actress soared in popularity last year thanks due to groundbreaking and heart wrenching "Otalia" story on GUIDING LIGHT. One year later she is back as an abuse survivor on ONE LIFE TO LIVE and has some new stories to tell.  Please join us for this special interview in which we discuss her return to daytime television, her role on VENICE THE SERIES, as well as her perspective on playing an abused woman.

We Love Soaps: It’s so wonderful to talk with you again.  We have missed you this past year.  Can you believe it’s been a year since the last day of shooting GUIDING LIGHT? I can’t believe your baby is already one-year-old.
Jessica Leccia: She’s toddling around, she’s staying stuff.  That all happened at the same time.  So what could have been the saddest time ever wasn’t.  It really helped that I had the baby go home to since I was saying goodbye to GUIDING LIGHT and all the people there. 

We Love Soaps: In between you have been working on VENICE. Your character had one of my favorite lines of the season.  Toward the end Gina says to Ani, “you’re back,” to which Ani replies, “I didn’t go anywhere.”
Jessica Leccia: Was that your favorite line?  I didn’t know where you were going there. 

We Love Soaps:  I liked it because it was so naturally awkward.  How is the new season of VENICE going?
Jessica Leccia: It’s going really well.  It’s this love project that a bunch of us clamored on to.  Crystal is really smart and she got a lot of people that were really smart too.  I’m not talking about myself.  I’m just an opportunist.  But I think it turned out really well, we are all really excited about it.  There are lots of familiar faces, including Hillary [B. Smith] and Gina [Tognoni].  We go off, have a vacation, then we come back to work.  It’s a lot of fun.

We Love Soaps: What can you tell us about your character in season two of VENICE?
 Jessica Leccia: There’s some drama, there’s love, romance, and heartache that people seem to like.  I can’t go into details.  But you know what I mean.

We Love Soaps: I know it’s going to be good.  So now you are here at ONE LIFE TO LIVE.  Tell us about Inez.
Jessica Leccia: Inez is a new character.  She is a mom, so I can totally relate now.  She has some sons, some strapping young men as sons, and they are all over the place with what they are involved in.  She gets to be part of that too.

We Love Soaps: We are just getting to know her.  But so far we know she has survived a lot.  She was married to a very abusive man named Eddie. 
Jessica Leccia: He wasn’t a nice guy.  Although he was at one time.  There’s always some kind of tiny redeeming morsel about someone.  But then it all went downhill after that, and things went really bad for the entire family.  It was a volatile and abusive relationship between them, and between his sons.  All very ugly stuff. 

We Love Soaps: She had to sacrifice quite a bit to protect her youngest son [Nate]. 
Jessica Leccia: Yes.  She was pregnant with her youngest son when she parted ways with her husband and her two other children.

We Love Soaps: And why was that?
Jessica Leccia: He kicked her out.  He was a criminal and I guess he has the criminal paranoia.  He was physically abusing her, mentally abusing her.  She was kicked out of the home and forced to try to fend for herself and protect herself and the baby she is carrying while simultaneously worrying about the two she left behind. 

We Love Soaps: There is a lot for you to get into.  How as an actress do you approach the role of a  woman who has been abused?
Jessica Leccia: You just have to get into the mindset of it.  There is a reason for everything.  It’s a heartbreaking story but it’s an age-old tale.  You have to get into how someone could stay that long, how they protect themselves, how someone leaves, how someone stays.  You have to find reasons “why” for all that stuff that happens, and not judge.

We Love Soaps: As a therapist, I have worked with abused women, and abused men.  There is a cycle of violence: The honeymoon period where things are wonderful,  the tension builds, and release of that tension through violence. 
Jessica Leccia: And then when there are children involved it is always a different ball game.

We Love Soaps: Yet, some people may watch Inez and think, “How could she have left her two sons with this violent man?”
Jessica Leccia: Of course, that is the biggest question.  The only answer is that there is a lot of story.  It has been addressed, and it will be hashed out some more.  There are always reasons.  It was a no-win situation for her no matter what she did.  It is very sad.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please come back for Part Two as we discuss Leccia's understanding of her appeal to soap viewers, and Inez's future in Llanview.  Plus, which soaps did she watch growing up, and which ONE LIFE character was her favorite? 

To watch the video of this interview, please go to We Love Soaps TV #67

As mentioned in this interview, Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in New York and is now taking new clients at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve."

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