Friday, August 29, 2014

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jade Harlow on 'Youthful Daze,' Jen Lilley and 'Lush'

Jade Harlow.
Actress Jade Harlow first came to our attention in 2000 when she played Jessica Bennett on the delightfully campy NBC daytime soap opera Passions. The past few years she has starred in the Emmy-nominated web series The Bay as the troubled young Lianna Ramos. In January 2014, she debuted as Sheryl Connors on Days of our Lives, and quickly became a fan favorite. Viewers were dealt a blow when her good-natured character was written off the show after four months, ending Sheryl's popular romance with Bryan Dattilo's Lucas Horton (affectionately dubbed "Lush" by fans). Harlow recently joined the cast of another soapy drama, Youthful Daze, for its third season, which premieres August 31. She will play Monica Reynolds, and share scenes with former Days castmate Jen Lilley.

Serial Scoop caught up with the vivacious actress to discuss "Lush" and her departure from Days, the awkward first encounter with Jen Lilley which led to a great friendship, and her brand new role on Youthful Daze. What can we expect from Monica Reynolds? Read on to find out!

SERIAL SCOOP: When you were cast as Sheryl on Days, were you aware it was intended to be a short-term role?
JADE HARLOW: I was told it was going to be a recurring role, and it was going to be seven or eight episodes. At first I was under the impression that it was a short-term gig and then, as I really started getting into the scripts, I started to think differently about it. So when the exit happened I was shocked.

SERIAL SCOOP: Fans loved "Lush" (Lucas + Sheryl). You connected with Bryan Dattilo on-screen from the beginning. What was your experience working with Bryan?
JADE HARLOW: I love Bryan Dattilo. He is an incredible teammate, and makes work feel like play.  That frees you up to be a little more playful, and you can have heavy moments and add a little levity to them. I just loved working with him. He made the days go by so fast and he right away made me feel welcomed and at home.

SERIAL SCOOP: Was there a slight disappointment that it didn’t last longer?
JADE HARLOW: Oh the disappointment was not slight at all. [Laughs] I was heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken. I don’t think it was as hard on Bryan. "Lush" didn't happen until I stopped taping in November. When I was airing I knew what was going to happen. But when the smush name came out I was like, "Oh, well maybe this will make them want me to come back."

SERIAL SCOOP: You never know in the world of Daytime TV.  Fans are still talking about “Lush.” Is there a story you would have liked to play?
JADE HARLOW: On my first day of meeting Bryan Dattilo, I high-fived him across the table and said, "Yo, indispensable super couple over here!" [Laughs] And he just looked at me and he’s like, "Yeah, I wish. Lets hope." I said "No, lets make this happen!” So I really hoped things were going to develop with us even if the Kate secret came out. I was hoping for a little bit more honest, awkward interaction post come-out. I didn’t expect to just vanish and not really have there be a proper confrontation or working out the situation. I feel like there is a lot of unfinished business that I would really love a chance to revisit and clear up. I think Sheryl came into Salem as an innocent, and Salem took her innocence.

SERIAL SCOOP: Salem often does that.
JADE HARLOW: I would love to see that version of Sheryl come back and not be naive to the ways of the power players in Salem. I think it would be interesting.

SERIAL SCOOP: Definitely. Lets put that out there. "Lush" fans would like that. I would like that too. [Laughs]
JADE HARLOW: Nobody would be happier than Jade Harlow about that. [Laughs]

SERIAL SCOOP: The exciting news is you have joined Youthful Daze. How did you get involved?
JADE HARLOW: Well, it’s kind of funny. It was offered to me from Bryan James, the creator. He called my agent, and he had an offer for me and basically there were two characters he had in mind.  I was referred to him by Jen [Lilley, who plays Theresa on Days], which is funny because when Jen and I were both on Days I was a little too shy to talk to her. I tried to talk to her and it kind of blew up in my face. [Laughs]

SERIAL SCOOP: Oh no. Tell me more. [Laughs]
JADE HARLOW: It was in the makeup room and I’m shy. I can join a conversation but I have trouble initiating one. But I initiated a conversation with Jen, and I was like “Yeah so you play Theresa," and she’s like “Yeah” And I was just like "I tested for Theresa," and there’s just silence. I’m like really man, great job, the best man always gets the job and she just had this look on her face.  Is this girl being a dick right now or is she really being sincere? I couldn't be more sincere. I was like a little puppy, “Like me, like me, like me, like me, like me.” [Laughs] And then later on Twitter, she tweeted something funny.  She is always so damn funny. She said something about a cookie date and I was like, “Hell, girl, I’ll go on a cookie date with you, lets go and eat some cookies." So we had our first date after I had already been off Days.  It was at a Marie Callender's and she stole my heart because she ordered seven things off the menu and she was the funniest girl in the whole world. I love Jen Lilley. I adore Jen Lilley. I love every minute I get to spend with her and then the thought of us getting a chance to work together, oh my god, yes please.

SERIAL SCOOP: What a great experience to be offered a role and from a Jen Lilley referral.
JADE HARLOW: Through the referral Bryan was like you do a lot of drama stuff and so there is this one character, and then there is Monica.  I said if you don’t want to rescind your offer, I would love to try my hand at something funny.  If you’re brave enough to hang out here with me and let me be funny, that’s the role I would really like to do. It was amazing. The first time we shot it was a really long day, a 12-14 hour day, and it just flew by.

SERIAL SCOOP: What can you tell me about Monica?
JADE HARLOW: Monica is Jen’s friend (Jen plays Natalie Cardin). Natalie is in hiding and she’s in this Podunk town avoiding her life and she befriends this girl that she is working with.  They’re both waitresses in this slummy little dive restaurant and Monica is the friend who is always kind of pushing your buttons, like come on everybody have shots, one more shot. Or she will pick out a cute boy and say, “Hey, so check out that hottie over there.” [Laughs] She’s the friend you love but you’re thinking, “God, shut up, you’re so embarrassing all of the time.” Monica is the unexpected comic relief. This is the first time anyone has ever cast me and let me be funny.

SERIAL SCOOP: There is a great group of actors you have on the show. What can your fan base from Days, Passions, and The Bay find to enjoy on Youthful Daze?
JADE HARLOW: With my character Monica, this is the first time anyone is really going to get a chance to see me be dry and humorous and playful, and maybe get a little sense of my actual real personality. Before, in the other stuff I’ve played, I’ve always been straight-laced and serious. Monica is silly. Monica is a little silly so people who watch Youthful Daze get to see me be silly.

SERIAL SCOOP: Dry, humorous, playful, and silly? I'm in. Looking forward to August 31!

EDITORS NOTE: Catch up on Youthful Daze at youthfuldaze.com.

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Michael Goldberg is a freelance writer, producer and actor based out of New York. He regularly contributes television and web series features to Serial Scoop.

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