Lauralee Bell Ruby collage
Credit: Grant Harder/Courtesy of Lifetime; elaine lee photography

Her creepy new part “will be jarring for some people,” admits the actress.

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Lauralee Bell wants you to know right upfront that you should brace yourself for when first you see her in the Lifetime movie Ruby. “I look like hell,” she tells, laughing. “I’m sure people are going to say, ‘Oh my God, they made you look so old!’ And that’s OK, I want that.”

After a moment, she clarifies, “I don’t know that I’m asking for it, but I’ll be OK with it.”

Bell admits that she’s never read the books that inspired the Lifetime movie — which premieres Saturday, March 20, at 8 EST, with sequel Pearl in the Mist airing in the same time slot the following night. So she doesn’t quite realize just how perfectly she embodies the part of Daphne Dumas. But fans of ridiculously popular gothic novelist V.C. Andrews will immediately recognize the wicked stepmother, some version of whom is present in nearly all Andrews novels.

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“Daphne’s instincts could not be more opposite of what your natural instincts as a mother tell you to do,” says Bell, herself the mom of two. “She is so self-centered, self-involved and only cares about what other people think of her. If my kids say, ‘Mom, can you come here for a minute?’ I’m at their side in two seconds.

“It’s embarrassing how quickly I’ll run to them,” she adds. “But Daphne would roll her eyes and be like, ‘Oh, I forgot all about you.'”

To Daphne, stepdaughter Ruby and her twin Giselle are, Bell says, “basically an annoyance and an inconvenience.” (Check out the exclusive clip below to see Bell in action.)

Filming the part was both a whirlwind and a blast, although the actress best known to soap fans as The Young and the Restless’ Christine admits she had one moment of absolute, sheer terror. When the cast sat down to do the table read, Gil Bellows — who plays Daphne’s husband, Pierre — delivered his first line with a heavy Southern accent, in keeping with the movie’s New Orleans setting.

“My heart started beating, and I was a little freaked out, because I didn’t practice an accent,” recalls Bell. “But they immediately stopped him and said, ‘We had a long meeting and decided not to go with the accents.’ That was the biggest relief. That and landing safely in Canada after flying in a [small] plane on a rainy, stormy day!”

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Meanwhile, Bell’s Genoa City-based alter ego will be back for a few episodes in the coming days. “That’s always fun,” she says, “but I wish I was doing a bigger storyline with Tricia Cast (Nina). I think soaps lack really strong female friendships. There’s so much cattiness between the women, but I like when we get to play something that’s more positive.”

If Bell had her druthers, we’d also be spending more time with some of the rarely-seen vets as well as seeing their lighter side. “I know people think of Christine as being sort of stringent and serious,” she muses. “Just because you’re a successful woman does not mean you lose your personality and become sort of one-note.”

Essentially, the actress would love to bring more of herself to the role. “People don’t get that I am not Christine. Being serious is really not my go-to thing,” she laughs. “It’s not that I think any of us should be playing ourselves, but it might be nice to see that lighter side of Christine every once in a while.”

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While you pop some corn and prepare to enjoy Bell’s turn in Ruby and Pearl in the Mist, why not flip through the photo gallery below in which we relive some of our favorite Christine moments from her time (so far) on Young & Restless.