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.
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
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
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."