Credit: Emily O'Brien & Greg Rikaart (Eddy)

“There will be a major turn of events. Major.” recently sat down to chat with The Young and the Restless star Emily O’Brien, who plays Genoa City’s ever-evolving British beauty, Jana Hawkes. Read on as Emily gets candid about Jana’s breakup with Kevin, the meaning of Ryder’s return, the truth about her real-life accent, and much more! It’s been almost five years since Jana Hawkes first showed up in Genoa City. Compare the Jana from 2006 with the Jana of 2011.

Emily: Ha! [laughs] She’s probably been 25 different people in the five years, I would say. She started off with this edgy, kind of goth-punk look to her, and she went through her karma stage. She went through the aneurysm and tumor stages where she didn’t know what the hell she was doing. Then she kind of toned everything down and became spiritual. It’s been incredibly exciting but now I can’t compare the character I began with to the character I play now. A lot of viewers have been disgusted with Jana and how crazy she now seems to be. As the actor who portrays Jana, take us through what’s currently going on inside Jana’s mind.

Emily: I think that all Jana understands is love, her genuine love for Kevin [Greg Rikaart]. Everything that she does comes from a place of love. It may cross the line and be obsessive at times, so that’s why people may think that she’s lost her marbles. To Jana, that’s just love, and what she’s doing to try to get Kevin back. What are your thoughts about the way Jana is handling the breakup with Kevin? Borderline stalker?

Emily: Look at where Jana’s come from. I can’t really judge her because she’s gone through so much. Everything that happened was not her fault. She had this aneurysm and ended up with Kevin’s brother, Ryder [Wilson Bethel]. I don’t think that was something she actually wanted. She just wanted to feel something. I don’t think she was herself at all, until she gets to the point where she realizes, “I’m starting to feel things again and I’ve made this terrible mistake.” Then she started turning back to normal, but on the other side now. Obsessive, and maybe you can call it “stalkerish,” but I think she just cares about Kevin and wants to know where he is all the time. She wants to make sure there’s still room for her in his life. Where does Jana stand on Ryder’s recent return to Genoa City?

Emily: Jana is very afraid and very bothered by Ryder’s return. She knows that if Kevin were to find out, it would ruin every little chance that she has to fix things with him again.