Temple of Vanessa
Frequent Flyers: Recently Brenda and Jason were fighting for their lives after a plane crash. Luckily, their portrayers have no fear of flying -- even after those scenes were shot. "There's nothing you can do about it, especially if you're in a plane!" Vanessa says. "I actually had to figure out how to play being freaked, because I fly more than anyone I know. I start flying when I was 18 years old, when I worked for [The Artist Formerly Known As] Prince. When I started on the show, which is taped in California, I had a boyfriend in New York. I love to travel, so I'm always on the go. When it's my time, God will be there. I'll just finish reading my book and say, 'See you soon.'" Steve agrees with his co-star. "I flew over 100,000 miles last year," he boasts. "Every weekend, I was crossing the country, so I'm used to it. You cant be scared. When your number's up, it's up."
Fans of Vanessa Marcil gathered at the Holiday Inn Select in Beverly Hills for The Vanessa Connection, a benefit for Sojourn Services for Battered Women and Their Children.
Seated in front of the fans, Vanessa explained her devotion to this cause. "I, and a lot of people I know, were victims of domestic violence while growing up, so it's very close to home for me. I believe it's very important, even if parents dont have the courage to leave a bad situation like that, that they do it for their children. I know that it affected me in a lot of ways and still affects me every day of my life. That's why I believe so much in this specific charity."
Crash And Burn (And Itch)
Who: Jason Morgan and Brenda Barrett
When: May, 1998
Where: Griffith Park in L.A., subbing for a mountainous region in the Adirondacks
Excuse For Heading Outdoors: Following a modeling gig in New York City, Brenda hopped on the ELQ jet (at Ned's invitation) only to find avowed enemy Jason hitching a ride back to Port Charles, too. Nasty air turbulence (aside from the turbulence going on inside the plane between the two passengers) caused a whole lotta shakin' to go on, and the plane went out of control.
What Viewers Enjoyed: Brenda and Jason were tossed around the cabin as the plane plummeted to earth, landing in a bitterly cold mountain lake. As water slowly gushed into the plane, Brenda struggled to free a trapped Jason. They escaped the sinking jet and floated on some jetsam until washing up on shore. In front of the shivering duo stood miles and miles and miles of isolated wilderness.
What The Cast And Crew Endured: Once the shoot in the park started, people started getting a little, well, itchy. "The thing everyone was worried about was poison oak," recalls Steve Burton. "There was poison oak everywhere. In my mind, I thought I had it for sure because I was itching all day long. A few people got it, but thank God, I didnt end up getting infected. I actually couldnt believe they shot a location there. Park officials put up a sign saying, 'This is what poison oak looks like -- watch out.' Oh, great, thanks [laughs]. Like I can totally see what a plant looks like. Plus, we were rolling around on the ground. I guess if Vanessa or I had gotten it, they could've written it into the script -- put a big patch on my face. I could have worn a mask or something."
Beautiful Women Of Soaps SOD Aug 98
Do you like being fussed over by GH's hair and makeup people? "I hate it. They laugh at me that I could give a sh-- what my hair and makeup looks like. If I start caring about that, I'm going to be destroyed on those days when everything's going wrong. This is my plan: If I stay focused on what's going on in the inside, I wont freak out when I get older. Most of my beauty regimen is more inside stuff."
What famous person is beautiful to you? "Oprah Winfrey is so beautiful. She has this angel light shining out of her. When you speak to her, she looks right into your eyeballs and really listens to what you're saying. Every time I've been in her presence, I've left thinking, 'She is the most beautiful woman I've ever spoken to.'"
When do you feel your most beautiful? "When my hair's back in a bun, I have no makeup on and I'm laughing."
Compare your look to five years ago... what is the biggest difference? "The way I eat and take care of myself isnt much different than five years ago, but I used to have this very round face, and my whole body was so much more round. I guess when you grow up, you thin out."
How do you feel about getting dressed up? "I hate getting dressed up. I love when my character's in pajamas... sitting [laughs]. I have found in my late 20s that I like sitting scenes in pajamas. Awards shows? The worst. If you've ever noticed, as soon as an awards show is over, I'm changed. I cannot wait to get out. Heels, I cant deal with. They're the hardest thing to walk in. And dresses -- tight dresses -- they're the worst. I thought about going to the Emmy's in Levi's, but I thought people would find it insulting."
Vanessa Marcil Quits GH!
SOD July 28, 1998
After almost six years of playing the fiery, fickle and always fascinating Brenda Barrett, Vanessa Marcil has decided to quit GH when her contract expires next month. Her last tape day is set for August 14.
"I cant believe how hard this decision was," she confides softly. "Even though I've had other stuff going on for awhile, it's just... This is the only home I've ever known. I was a kid when I started here. I feel like GH is my family. And I'm happy here. I love everything that they've been doing with my character, especially since Bob Guza's been back. But the reality is, there are continually other things that I want to do, and it's physically impossible for me to do GH and other projects. I just got back from finishing two movies, and I'm so wiped out. I need a rest."
Rumor has it that Vanessa will join Beverly Hills, 90210 in the fall, but all she will say is that they are "in discussion." But, she adds, "Even if I do go to another show, other shows go on hiatus. With movies, you get to have a month off here and there. Daytime is the only arena where you just never get a break. It's really exhausting. It's getting to be ridiculous. People are like, 'You're 28 years old, and you're sick once a week.' I'm always sick, and I take such good care of myself. I'm a nutrition freak. But it doesnt matter how well you take care of yourself if you get two or three hours of sleep a night. There's just no way I can do the projects that I have coming up in the next year and do GH. And be a human being."
Despite having made the decision, Vanessa says she is now having trouble dealing with it. She thinks Executive Producer Wendy Riche probably is too. "Wendy and I are kind of avoiding each other because I think that we'll both burst into tears if we see each other," Vanessa says. "I know she understands, though. I know everyone there understands. They're like, 'It's your time to go out there and do whatever's out there for you to do.' The best thing is that all the producers told me, 'You're welcome back here anytime.' Thank God for them saying that, because I dont know if I'd have the strength to leave GH without knowing I could come back. I dont know if that means I will, but just knowing that I can is a comforting feeling."
What made the decision especially hard, adds Vanessa, is that Brenda's long-lost -- and very complicated -- mother, Veronica (Jennifer Hetrick), is finally joining the show in August. "They're making it so hard for me to leave," she groans, "because I just love all the stuff going on. I read the scripts and I'm such a total, dorky sap. I cry! I'm in the car, Tyler is driving me home and I'm like, 'Honey, this is such a good script!' I'm reading this stuff about my mom and thinking, 'I just dont know if it's going to get any better than this.' I dont know if I'll ever get to play a character as great as Brenda ever again."
As for Brenda's exit, rumor has it that GH will kill the character, but no body will be found. "I'm not sure how they're actually writing Brenda out," hedges Vanessa. "I just hope they dont kill Brenda. I cant even imagine Brenda leaving Port Charles. I think at the last minute, I'm just gonna go, 'Okay. Never mind.'"
Wouldnt that be nice?
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