Ashlee(Crystal the psychic) courtesy of SOAPnet

Originally posted October 22 2007. Update at bottom of interview!

I Wanna Be A Soap Star 4 was a season of firsts. It was the first time they allowed fans to vote for the winner, the first time the finale was held in front of a live audience and the first time a woman won.

Having a second row seat, I was upfront and center as the entire season was recapped and judges Michael Bruno, Mary Beth Evans and Hogan Sheffer shared their thoughts on the two final contestants, Jimena Hoyos and Ashlee Holland before the winner of I Wanna Be A Soap Star 4 was announced.

After dragging out the reveal, as he so famously did week after week on the show, Cameron Mathison announced that Ashlee Holland would receive the 13-week contract on Days of Our Lives.

As 120,000 fans called in to vote (which counted for 50% of the total vote), Cameron told the audience it was the closest competition in the show’s history. And for good reason, as the final two Wannabes were smart, talented, beautiful women who both the fans and judges could easily see assimilating in Salem. But, as there can be only one, Ashlee came out the victor and after she caught her breath, she graciously took the time to talk with me and the other members of the press about her experience.

So how will she fit into Days of Our Lives? While she didn’t know herself, she was told from another journalist that her character would be interacting with none other than Marlena Evans, played by Deidre Hall. Not a bad way to start her soap career!

Originally scheduled to start taping just four days after her win, Ashlee couldn’t have been more appreciative and excited to get started, but she did have one concern, “I hope to God I get a script before then!” (We were later told that her first day would be pushed back to November 30th so she could be incorporated into a new, exciting storyline.)

When Cameron announced her name, Ashlee admitted she was a little dumbstruck. As she explained, “I didn’t understand. It didn’t compute. I thought ‘Did he say you were killed off or did he say you won? What did he say?!'”

As the reality of her winning sunk in, the other members of Soap Star’s cast came up on stage to congratulate Ashlee, along with several actors from Days who were in attendance, including James Reynolds (Abe), Leann Hunley (Anna), Martha Madison (Belle), Brandon Beemer (Shawn), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), Blake Berris (Nick), Darin Brooks (Max), Rachel Melvin (Chelsea) and Shelley Hennig (Stephanie).