In her decades starring as Traci on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS, Beth Maitland has been through all kinds of drama, earning the soap its very first Daytime Emmy Award when she took home the trophy for Outstanding Supporting Actress back in 1985.
Of course, the ever-gracious actress was happy to keep things real when the hosts mentioned that feat in a recent episode of THE TALK celebrating Y&R’s 50th anniversary. “I walked right out of my shoe,” Maitland revealed, chuckling at the memory of going up on stage to collect her award. She then pointed out: “I only was the first to win because of how the award landed on the show. Tracey Bregman (Lauren)… also won that year.” (She took home Outstanding Younger Actress, which was simply presented later in the evening.)
Originally intended to be a short-term role, Maitland so impressed producers after her debut in 1982 that she stuck around for many years and has become an enduring fan-favorite character on the soap. Viewers especially responded to Traci’s early storylines surrounding her body image, the kind of social issue tales that Y&R has always done so well.
“It is a great honor to be the person that gets to take that torch,” Maitland confided. “When I started, it was with that in mind. Every summer, I would have a different weight-related storyline. During the summer, in those days, you couldn’t really record it yet and there wasn’t internet streaming. So they were capitalizing on the kids being out of school.
“And so I had a bulimia storyline,” she continued, “I had a diet pill addiction storyline, and bullying… you know, mean girl things. And I wasn’t prepared for the feedback. I feel like I’m someone who represents normal people surrounded by glamour.”
The enduring popularity of Traci Abbott is a testament to just how much fans appreciate being able to see themselves on screen. And we look forward to seeing her on Y&R for many, many more years to come!