In one of life’s funny twists, fans of THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS can thank a bag of chips and cookies for Amelia Heinle playing Victoria Newman. “I was a little overwhelmed when I came in to test for the role,” remembered the soap vet, who this year celebrates 15 years at the sudser. “There were about seven other girls who were there auditioning, and I would have to test with a lot of actors. I was the last person to test, and I had all these people coming in and telling me, ‘I really want you to get it. This is how you should play it.’ So I was waiting around, getting nervous, and finally, I was like, ‘Aaah, get me out of here! I can’t do this! I’m sure they’ll find someone in the girls that are auditioning.’
“I got my stuff together to leave — I was in [the dressing room of] Don Diamont (ex-Brad; now Bill, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL) — and I opened the door, and [thencasting director] Marnie Saitta was standing there with this big basket filled with chips and cookies. She was like, ‘Snack?’” Heinle continued with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, she knew I was going to leave!’ She could tell that I was a flight risk!” Heinle succumbed to the temptation of the edible goodies. “I wasn’t really hungry, but I thought that was a sign that I should stay because I was out the door! It was too much pressure, and I wasn’t interested in sitting there anymore. But I felt I couldn’t take a snack and then leave, so I stayed… and the rest is history!”
Even after landing the role, though, Heinle said that it took a while before she relaxed. “I gave myself a year because I knew there were a lot of variables,” she confessed. “I thought Heather [Tom, ex-Victoria; now Katie, B&B] would probably want to come back and take her role. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m just going to hang here until she gets back.’ Or I thought fans would hate me so much that Y&R would have to fire me because it was such a difficult recast. I knew I was replacing somebody who was a very strong actress and everybody really liked.
“A lot of actors do that – it’s like a defense mechanism where you prepare for the worst,” she added. “You’re just trying to be realistic, but the next thing I knew, I was here a lot longer! It’s crazy to think it’s been 15 years, although it does feel like that sometimes because a lot came from it. If I wasn’t on Y&R, I would not have met Thad [Luckinbill, ex-J.T.], we would not have had kids [son Rowe and daughter Georgina], and I wouldn’t have all these friends that I have now. It turned out pretty great!” (The LOVING/THE CITY alum is also mom to son August with ex Michael Weatherly, her leading man on those shows.)
In fact, it’s turned out more than great, with Heinle earning two Daytime Emmys and completely falling for her character. “I love playing the daughter to Eric [Braeden, Victor] and Melody [Thomas Scott, Nikki]. I love working with them, and I love the Newman family! ” she declared. “There is a special connection that the Newmans have with each other. I can’t imagine being outside that. Some other characters are awesome and badass, like Phyllis. But I really love our family. I knew this was going to be an important role — it’s always been an honor to have it and hold it for this long. I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine