Monday, October 7, 2013

The Story Behind the Selfie by Nelson Aspen

Photo courtesy of Nelson Aspen
I've interviewed Julianne Moore before and made a point before the cameras rolled to mention my own early career in the world of soaps so that we could quickly compare notes about our mutual degrees of separation...and there are many! As I write at length in my new book, "My Prime Time" (coming in June 2014), Julianne is an exciting example of why 50+ is nothing to be frightened of: Fabulous on every level, at the top of her game and more beautiful and in command than at any time previously (Not uncommon for those of us who happily hit the Half-Century Mark, as you'll read in my book).

When we were to meet again for the release of her new film Carrie, a lot had transpired. AS THE WORLD TURNS was celebrating its final anniversary before Cancellation and she made her memorable cameo return as "Frannie Hughes," convinced by her pal Noelle Beck (Lily) that it would be a fun and nostalgic moment. Was it ever! As Executive Producer Christopher Goutman told me, Julianne made it easy and seamless...and her on-screen sister/cousin, Colleen Zenk (Barbara) confirmed that it was all as warm and familiar as if an actual prodigal child were coming home for a party.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The interview took place just over two years since CBS aired the final episode of ATWT.

I asked Colleen if she had any message for me to deliver to Julianne, so she emailed me a chatty note to pass on which I was happy to do...especially in light of the notoriety Julianne was receiving for her newly dedicated star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There was so much to talk about in our all too short allocated four minute interview, but as soon as I mentioned ATWT and pulled up Colleen's note on my iPhone, she became so enthusiastic that a Time Limit went out the window. We had a quick catch up about mutual soap pals and the wedding of Colleen's stepson...the Camera Crew working the room finally reminded us that the clock was ticking and to get down to the business of our interview (about Carrie).

Since it would be presumptuous to think I could come up with a suitable gift to present her in celebration of her new "Star," I brought along a pack of 99-cent gold-star-stickers like you get in elementary school. She laughing accepted them with genuine enthusiasm. "You can never have enough stars," she said. Even with the "official" interview underway, I couldn't help but mention ATWT. It's where she started professionally and there were certainly parallels with her Carrie costar, Chloe Grace Moretz, who is so young and gifted. Unlike many of her A-list peers who shun their Daytime TV roots, Julianne always enjoys talking about them. Her interest in the Work of Acting, as opposed to merely the esoteric rewards and glory, is what makes her so appealing and watchable...whether it's in a big budget blockbuster, an offbeat Indie, or back on our small screens for a visit to Soap Land. She and James Franco may be the only two stars who do that! She talked lovingly about her ATWT mother, Kathryn Hayes (Kim), who generously taught her about camera angles and lighting, to help her shine so brightly. I was reminded of my own mentor, Mary Stuart (SFT), who taught me not only lessons about Acting, but important techniques for the camera I still employ on a daily basis.

The interview wrapped too soon and there was a long line of journalists waiting in the corridor outside the suite. But Julianne asked if we could take a picture together!! To me, asking for a shot with a celebrity is the Ultimate No-No...amateur hour! I'm on-camera chatting with them...what do I need with a souvenir snapshot? But, at her suggestion, I was admittedly delighted. We got a shot which I was tickled to immediately text to Colleen with Julianne's regards. We squeezed in a last bit of gossip before I was hurried from the room by a clock-watching publicity person.

I've come to learn that nice things tend to happen to nice people. So I always try to be upbeat and "pay it forward" that Good Stuff comes back to me, multiplied. This fun little photo is proof positive that it works. And it seems to be doing the trick for Julianne Moore, too.

- Colleen Zenk Visits @NELSON'S
- In Honor of Mary Stuart's Birthday! Marcia McCabe, Louan Gideon, Lee Fryd & Nelson Aspen Reflect and Recreate Classic Photo

International entertainment journalist NELSON ASPEN got his start in Daytime TV and still keeps tabs on all things soaps! The author of several books, including DINNER AT NELSON'S and HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: EXPOSED!, he broadcasts the latest showbiz news and celebrity interviews around the world daily. You may visit him at


  1. Thanks, Nelson! Everything I ever read about Julianne makes me love her more.

  2. Often times you hear stories where your childhood favorites turn out to personally not live up to that affection you had for the character they played and subsequently for the actor.
    I'm glad Julianne Moore is not one of those people. The more I read, see and hear about this actress, the more genuine warmth I feel about her.
    Frannie and Sierra were two of my favorite characters growing up. Sometimes Sierra frustrated me but I loved the fact that Frannie was earnest and kind, yet still an intriguing character that you always felt could retain a lot of fan interest no matter the era. For me, I think Julianne Moore was the major reason why this was the case.

  3. Thank you for sharing the story and picture, Nelson - Julianne is truly one in a million!