Actress Victoria Rowell was “honored” to participate in THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ tribute to the late Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil), who’d been her friend and love interest both during her long run as Drucilla and in a series of Christmas movies. “It was a beautiful experience to share hugs with the cast and the amazing crew that I hadn’t seen in 11 years,” she shared. “It was very emotional and very needed.” Might her involvement in the special precipitate the long-awaited resurrection of her presumed-dead character? “That ball is entirely in their court,” Rowell maintained, “but yes, I would return.”
Currently, the actress is making an impact via the recent DVD/VOD release of the film version of JACQUELINE AND JILLY, the UMC/Prime Video series that she wrote, directed, produced and stars in about how the opioid addiction of a Washington, DC, lobbyist’s 20-year-old daughter affects their whole family. “I concluded that if I couldn’t create a piece of entertainment that had a social-awareness mechanism embedded in it, then I’m in the wrong business,” Rowell explained. “I’m working on the script for the sequel.”
Rowell cited Y&R’s late creator, William J. Bell, as having inspired her to take on the challenge of writing that and her other UMC/Prime Video series, THE RICH AND THE RUTHLESS. “His joie de vivre was infectious. He never tired of creating,” she recalled. “I’ll never forget that he’d said to me, ‘I think you can do more.’ And he was right!”
R&R, which again won Best Ensemble Comedy at last month’s Indie Series Awards, will drop its third season on Thursday, May 23. In it, the scribe also plays Kitty, the outrageous actress wife of a soap producer who’s struggling to keep their show afloat. “The Barringers will offer a fan-appreciation cruise, and there are a number of problems that happen,” she teased. “We’ll also see that their son, Max, is getting his side business off the ground; his adopted sister, Veronica, has a new beau; Ivy is subtly blackmailing Calysta; and the relationship between Kitty and Augustus seems to be on the mend.”
Rowell also recently appeared in Lifetime’s Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta. In it, the wife of a Southern Baptist minister is eager to see their five daughters wed and sets her sights on an eligible politician whose wealthy aunt (Rowell) is equally determined to see him advance. “It’s a contemporary version of the [classic] story, and it’s led by an African-American cast,” Rowell explained. “I loved the idea of playing the authoritative, matriarchal figure… It’s a juicy role!”
In addition to working for the sixth time with director Rhonda Baraka on the project, Rowell also enjoyed seeing another face from her past on the set. “I was reunited with Keshia Knight Pulliam, from THE COSBY SHOW,” said Rowell, who played Martin’s ex-wife, Paula, on the sitcom. “So, it was full circle for me in many ways.” However, in the film, most of Rowell’s interaction is with EMPIRE’s Phillip (Juan Antonio), who plays Will Darcy. “He’s a phenomenal actor!” she enthused. “He’s got that X factor, and it was an absolute pleasure to play opposite him in every sense of the word.”
In the tale, their relationship will be one of strategy and positioning. “Much like the Kennedy family, the Darcys are determined to grow in politics, and failure is not an option,” the actress observed. “This aunt is Will’s benefactor and will do anything to get him elected and get him ahead. She’s the Joe Kennedy of Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta!”
For more on your favorite Y&R stars — past and present — keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.