With All My Children’s (AMC) final episode airing Friday, Sept. 23, I couldn’t help but snag an interview with one of its co-stars, Christina Bennett Lind (CBL). Christina plays Pine Valley’s beloved Bianca Montgomery, daughter of the self-centered Erica Kane (played by Susan Lucci), and a veteran lesbian to the long-running daytime show.
When the talented actress joined the cast over a year ago taking on the popular role of one of America’s favorite TV lesbians, I wondered if she had done any research regarding playing gay. Christina told me that she didn’t do any research per se in order to play a lesbian character. In fact, she said that she felt strongly that your sexuality doesn’t determine who you are, but that it’s a part of the person you are.
Christina came into a tight knit group and replaced fan favorite and Emmy-award winning actress Eden Riegel. Despite initial jitters, it didn’t seem to dishearten the eager actress. Instead, Christina was proactive and watched clips on YouTube of Eden playing the role. She said that she wanted to get a good idea of where the fans were coming from as far as the character and she wanted to stay true to what they were expecting without blatantly copying Eden.
“It was helpful because I found myself looking for gestures that she did that they might respond to,” she said.
For example, while watching clips she noticed that Eden would put her hair behind her ear fairly often. She thought that maybe she could apply a little bit of that gestural behavior and the fans would be reminded of Eden and would appreciate her for it. But it didn’t entirely turn out as planned.
“It didn’t feel totally organic to me,” she admitted. “I tried it a couple times, shooting it, and it really didn’t work for me. I kind of let myself assume that being in Paris changed Bianca and she had grown up and it would be okay if I kind of just did myself. I trusted my fans. I think I’m pretty lucky.”
And lucky she is – the fans not only embraced her, but proved to have a special place in their hearts for “New Bianca.”
When Christina first auditioned for the role and heard that Bianca was the “moral compass for goodness” and “the core of Pine Valley” she was actually relieved because her and her new character had an unexpected similarity.
“In this business at times you need to be kind of stereotypical that in order to get anywhere in this industry, you have to be cutthroat and step on people as you climb up the ladder,” she said. “I always sort of rejected that and didn’t want to go about it that way. Bianca also hung onto the integrity and core good in people.”
I have to admit that I hadn’t watched AMC for quite some time after the departure of one of my favorite TV couples: ‘BAM’ (Bianca and Maggie). Yes, I know… that’s a long time ago, don’t throw rocks at me. But, thankfully, (and for some reason), I turned to AMC one day; and there was Christina Bennett Lind on my TV screen. From that moment I was like “Oh yeah, this chick is gonna bring me back to AMC.” She was just that good. Not to mention we’d soon get my new favorite TV couple: ‘Minx’ (Bianca and Marissa).
Speaking of ‘Minx’, with JR (played by Jacob Young) being a real d-bag lately, a sex tape of Bianca and Marissa (played by Sarah Glendening) on the loose and the end of AMC as we know it coming up; are the ‘Minx’ fans in for heartbreak or a happy ending?
The actress admitted, “I don’t know what I want to say. Whether it’s a happy ending or a heartbreak, I think that’s sort of part of the beautiful drama of the show, especially in this last chunk of time. You know, relationships are complicated and I think that the fans will be really pleased. That I can say. I’m pleased at how it’s handled at the end.”
As a heterosexual person (sorry ladies), Christina said that she never wants to claim that she knows what it’s like to be in a gay person’s shoes just because she played a role. She not only feels a great responsibility to represent the gay community but feels a great love, respect and compassion for their struggle.
And perspective is what she definitely has in spades. Christina shared her first on-screen lesbian kiss with co-star Sarah Glendening and said that it was great.
“There wasn’t any tension at all. I mean, at first I think we were a little nervous because love scenes of any kind on-camera are very uncomfortable because a lot of people are watching,” she said. “You’re on-camera [so] it’s not very romantic. It’s not very sexy.”
But despite that lack of ‘sexy’ in a room full of spectators, Christina said that Sarah was a great kisser. In fact, when I asked her if she were gay in real life who her top girl crush would be she responded without hesitation, “Sarah Glendening.”
“I certainly wouldn’t want to be with anyone, if I were a lesbian, other than Sarah,” said Christina. “I know she’s married so that could get complicated.”
Now the question that’s on every CBL fans mind: Will she be sticking around once AMC moves to its new online home?
“Things are still up in the air,” she said. “I would obviously be honored to play this character again. I love her; I kind of already miss her. It’s just a matter now of getting all the paperwork straightened out and there’s a lot of red tape to go through. Who wouldn’t want to play Bianca? I’d like to be Bianca. I have to be Christina so if I have to settle for that I’ll just have to do my best to try and stick with it.”
Don’t be too sad for AMC’s stint on ABC coming to a screeching halt, for you can catch up with Christina by following her on Twitter at @ChristinaBLind. But don’t go running there at once, kids… Christina said that sometimes she feels overwhelmed by the social networking site and the outpouring of love from the fans. The actress added that she likes that she can choose how often she goes on Twitter, and even though she’d love to respond and follow you all…it’s just simply not possible.
“I feel bummed that I can’t respond to everyone,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to take it personally so I get a little nervous about that…I’m kind of a people pleaser.”
Here’s one way to get Christina’s attention, and it’s not by tweeting her a million times… write her a letter! A real life letter, you know with a pen and paper? Christina told me that she likes receiving what I referred to as “old school” mail.
“I feel like someone has put a lot of effort into writing me something,” she said. “I know it takes a lot of planning and attention to take time out of your day and to physically write something and put it in the mail.”
But even though the way fans and celebrities communicate is changing, she says that all of it works for her. She just likes knowing that people are out there and care about what she’s doing. She also likes when people share personal things with her.
“I want people to know that they are being supported,” she said.
Christina thanks her fans for being so supportive and for sticking by her and being so kind. One thing is for sure – we definitely haven’t seen the last of Christina Bennett Lind.
AMC, whose last episode will air this Friday, will be replaced by a show called The Chew… No I’m not kidding. The Chew, how lame, I know. Let’s just hope AMC’s new online platform gives us 40 more years of soap opera goodness. Oh and more ‘Minx,’ #LesbianBatSignal!
Here are some Christina Bennett Lind quick-fire Q & A’s:
Favorite Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Favorite Show: Parenthood
East Coast or West Coast: East Coast.
Favorite Song: Silent Night.
Mac or PC: Mac
Favorite Minx scene: Snowball Fight (Watch Video)
A fun fact about CBL is that she has a twin sister. Can you guess which picture below is Christina and which is her twin Heather? (No cheating!)
Tweet me, @McKenzieLyn who you think is who and if you see any significant differences between the two.