and is looking forward to an exciting future for her character.
When I contacted Shelley to congratulate her on the honor, she explained her pre-nom by humbly stating, "People from Days, producers and whoever is in the crowd over there thought I was good enough to be in the running." She learned that she was being put up for Outstanding Younger Actress via the Internet and immediately knew which scenes she would submit for consideration.
"Mine was kind of, it was pretty obvious which episode was gonna be the one for me and I knew it right after I shot it," she said, referring to the scene where Stephanie admits to Cordy that she was raped by Ford. (Read the recap of the episode here.)
After a summer of her character "running around making out with cute boys," Shelley relished the opportunity to play some more intense scenes. "I was so ready for them. I couldn't have been more ready," she exclaimed, adding, "I mean, I haven't been raped, but you know I went to those places where these people I'm sure go and I wanted everyone to know that they aren't alone."
With her character starting to put the rape behind her, Stephanie is on the verge of a new relationship with Max and a new career in the advertising business. As Shelley explained, "She's now doing an internship with Anna DiMera, which I like personally because it's very realistic so far. A realistic storyline. Not that the rape wasn't, but the whole Vegas thing this summer wasn't realistic at all and the plane thing. I like to see the sophisticated side of Stephanie."
As for Stephanie's future with Max, Shelley has definite thoughts on that as well. "I think Stephanie is in love with Max and can see herself marrying Max. And I think right now, it's great for her to have him because he's been such a good friend through the whole rape thing. Right now he's the only guy she feels comfortable with, but I'm sure as time goes on she's gonna get her sexuality back and move past that whole experience, tragedy I mean, and be able to, I don't know, flirt around. Who knows," she mused.
But that didn't stop Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) from helping her future onscreen daughter during her audition. As Shelley tells it, "She's the one who got me through my screen test. I was so nervous because everything happened so fast and she squeezed my hand and said, 'You're beautiful inside and out. Now let's do this!'" Apparently that's all it took, as even though she wasn't physically what the producers were originally looking for, they were impressed with Mary Beth and Shelley's chemistry and offered her the role of Stephanie almost immediately.
As for what the future holds for Stephanie, Shelley speculated that her relationship with Max won't be all "peaches and cream," but feels like the powers that be are behind their pairing. However, that's not to say someone else couldn't turn her head as a road block on the way to the duo's happiness. Having just taped scenes with Jay Johnson (Phillip) and Kristen Renton (Morgan), Shelley joked, "They all say Phillip is the only one I'm not related to, so maybe if Morgan's not dating him..."
Whatever happens with her character, this former Miss Teen USA from New Orleans is just happy to be along for the ride, telling me, "On my God, I'm so happy [here]...I'm surrounded by good people, real people and I still have a great family in Louisiana who keep me grounded and I love the weather here. Bottom line it's all about the weather and I love my job!"
Soaps.com would like to thank Shelley for talking with us and wish her luck on nabbing a Daytime Emmy nomination.