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In her five years on daytime TV, SB's Nina Arvesen (Angela) has played two of its most intriguing women. Although some actors look down on soaps, Nina credits them for her remarkable growth as an actress.

"I've never understood the snobbery that exists about acting in soaps," she says. "I think it must stem from ignorance. Anyone who thumbs their nose at daytime simply doesn't know what it is. I have learned to respect everyone from the crew to the actors because it takes so much courage to put yourself out there when there's so little rehearsal and preparation time. That's the challenge of it: You have to put your ego aside and just go for it."

And go for it is just what she did. A show biz veteran in her native Norway - music, dance, acting, producing and scriptwriting credits fill her resume - Nina moved to L.A. After several film and TV-movie roles, she was signed by Y&R executive producer Bill Bell to play her first daytime role as the enigmatic Cassandra. "I appreciated the fact that Bill waited before involving me in a hot storyline because it gave me time to build my confidence," she says. "I was terribly self-conscious at first, but he gave me time to get my bearings."

As her confidence increased, Nina took more and more initiative in defining her character's identity. In fact, she even decided that Cassandra could not have been capable of murdering her husband as was originally intended, and she reflected those emotions in her portrayal. "I think that's an actor's responsibility," she says. "So many people are involved in creating a character that it can become difficult to maintain consistency. I just couldn't believe that a 14-year-old who was taken in and protected by the man who eventually became her husband could wind up killing him."

Despite Nina's success in convincing audiences that Cassandra didn't murder her husband, the character was killed off just as she seemed to have found a new life. "I was very happy with my time on Y&R," reflects Nina, who took the news like the true professional she is. "For storyline reasons, it appeared they might not renew my contract, There was no bitterness, and it wasn't personal; it's just business, and sometimes people don't understand that. It was the end of a very happy working relationship."

The loss of one job quickly resulted in an even better one when Nina met with SB's executive producer Paul Rauch, who wanted her for a new role. "At Y&R, the pace was slower because our storylines took longer, and there was more hands-on direction. But at SB, I'm getting more creative opportunities," she says. "We're allowed to give a lot of personal input, and we spend less time on retakes, so what you see when the camera rolls is reality - our characters living in that moment. That makes it a real challenge. It's also a lot of fun because we have such a talented, diverse, experienced group of people."

Despite her satisfaction with her present character, Nina remains committed to seeing Angela played in a more three-dimensional way. "Angela is a successful businesswoman, but we really haven't seen much of that side of her yet," Nina says. "Perhaps now that they've given her the Los Angeles rebuilding project, I'd like to see her get hands-on involved rather than just being a sex kitten who's been waiting around for Warren (Jack Wagner)."

Although Nina is still interested in exploring other areas of performing, her involvement in soaps has made her more relaxed and self-confident. It's also given her what she describes as "a keener sense of what is needed and what to do." Her new confidence was recently apparant when Nina rehearsed a scene with castmate Jack Wagner. "Jack and I played a scene with some comedy elements to it. It was wonderful and gratifying for me to take material and make people laugh," she says, adding, "Experiences like that make you realize that there's always something new to be learned."

Soap Opera Magazine 10/6/1992