Credit: Bjoern Kommerell

“She’s like a volcano underneath it all.” 

One look at The Young and the Restless‘ Phyllis, and you can tell things aren’t quite right. She’s at loose ends, what with her relationship having ended and Summer now living in Italy. But what to do with her free time? “Picking up a hobby isn’t a really great idea for me,” she admitted to Amanda, “because it would be something like computer hacking or some other type of thing that I shouldn’t tell a lawyer.”

Having been down this road before, Phyllis — like viewers — knows what comes next. “Something has to change for me,” she intoned ominously, “or else I’m gonna spin out and I’ll start creating a lot of chaos.”

Anybody else get a thrill when Phyllis said those words? Because an out-of-control Phyllis is one who makes interesting things happen. And nobody plays barely-contained mania better than Michelle Stafford. But how does she feel about the times when her alter ego ventures toward the darker side? “Bring it on!” she enthuses.

Phyllils, Jack Thanksgiving Y&R

Above: Were Jack around, he might spot the warning signs that Phyllis is in trouble!

Credit: CBS screenshot

More: Watch Stafford and pals dance it out!

In fact, the actress admits that she prefers to see Phyllis in scheme queen mode. In fact, she works hard to make sure that a bit of that peeks through no matter the scenario. “If I’m playing a romantic storyline, I try and put something else in there as well, beneath the surface,” she shares. “Because for me — and this is just me — that can be a little boring.”

Conversely, she continues, “If I’m playing the crazier side of Phyllis, I try to put some vulnerability into the scenes, so people have a way of relating to and understanding her behavior.”

Managing to keep the two sides of Phyllis in balance can be challenging. “Because she’s so tightly wound and so jacked up and so damaged, she’s like a volcano underneath it all,” Stafford muses. “There’s a certain energy, and sometimes it’s almost like she’s vibrating trying to keep it all from bursting out!”

The one thing that might prevent Phyllis from going down the wrong path? That phone call she received from Summer with what seemed like a potentially intriguing offer. After all, Stafford points out that there is “nothing she wouldn’t do for Summer” But might that include leaving Genoa City behind to join her in Italy?

As we wait to find out exactly what’s next for Phyllis, let’s hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see. A new romance? A crazy scheme? Perhaps we can predict her future by gazing into the past via the below photo gallery in which we look at the highs (and lows) of her time in Genoa City!