Days Martha Madison Belle Black

Image: NBC

Belle’s portrayer tells all in a free-wheeling interview! 

If Martha Madison had her way, Days of our Lives’ Belle would probably be a bit less like her saintly mom, Marlena, and a bit more like sinner sis Sami! “How Belle is [so normal], I don’t really get,” laughs the actress who brings her to life. And although Belle has never been replaced by a doppelgänger or had a chip implanted in her brain, Madison admits she’d love the opportunity to play something so outlandish!

One crazy thing she knew would not be happening when production resumed on the soap she’s called home for nearly 17 years? Unlike what’s been going on over at The Bold and the Beautiful, “we were promised that there will never be mannequins!” she says, explaining that there are very strict protocols in place which allow the cast to interact more than actors have been able to do on some other sets. (That’s probably something of a relief, given that several of the CBS sudser’s stars recently found themselves being mocked by none other than Jimmy Fallon for having made out with literal dummies!)

Later in the far-reaching interview (which can be viewed in its entirety below), Madison vows that daughter Charley will only enter the acting biz “over my dead body!” If that seems like a strong reaction, trust that she has her reasons for feeling that way. Acting is, she explains, an industry in which people — especially women — are constantly critiqued, “and it’s hard not to take that personally.”

Tough as it is to believe, Madison has had to deal with some harsh, personal criticism from bosses over the course of her career, admitting that “it sucks the joy out of the whole thing.” Fortunately, she believes that there’s been a change for the better over the past few years. “Looking at pretty, perfect people all day is not compelling anymore, because that’s not the world we live in!”

More: Why Jen Lilley Will Never Go Back to General Hospital

As for the world she lives in, it involves much more than acting! When not using Belle’s legal skills to help her fellow Salemites avoid the consequences of their actions, she and husband A.J. Gilbert serve up delicious food and tasty cocktails in their restaurants. Plus, apparently determined to prove they can’t get enough of one another, Charley’s mom and dad host a podcast called While We Were Waiting.

To hear more from the actress — and even play a game which will allow you to match wits with Belle’s portrayer to see which of you knows her character better — watch the interview below!

Ready for more sudsy goodness? Check out the gallery below to read about 10 characters we want back in Salem… including a few who are actually Days of our Lives-bound! (Talk about wish fulfillment!) And make sure to sign up for the free Soaps.com newsletter to get all the latest recaps and previews delivered straight to your inbox!