Taking home the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress this past June was a huge moment for THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS star Mishael Morgan (Amanda) — but not just because she made history that night as the first Black actor to win in a lead category. The fan favorite was hiding a bit of a secret, as she knew she would be moving from contract to recurring status with Y&R that very same month. And the Daytime Emmy win, Morgan confessed on the latest episode of Soap Opera Digest’s Dishing With Digest podcast, solidified that she was making the right decision.
“It made me feel like this was the right thing to do, and it’s a nice souvenir to walk away with,” Morgan said. “Y&R gave me this gift and now I can run with it. Everything was aligning to set me up for whatever comes next.”
As Morgan previously shared on Instagram, she’d made the decision back in December of 2021 that she was going to be taking a step back from her involvement in the soap. “They wanted me to sign back on for three years,” Morgan explained, adding that she’s been a part of the Genoa City canvas for the past nine years aside from the eight months in between her exit as Hilary and comeback as her former character’s twin sister. “I’ve always felt so honored to be a part of this show and have this experience. I’d watched the show my entire life. I have so much respect for the genre, and it’s inspired me. It’s probably the reason I’m an actress.”
But Morgan was yearning to do more as a performer. “It was so hard for me to have these meetings. But I told them that this time around, it’s not anything other than the fact that I think that this is the right time for me to move on,” she explained. “I wanted to tell more cutting-edge stories,” she explained. “There’s so much on all different platforms that I just wanted to have this opportunity to go out there and see if there’s another story that I can tell or that I can be an impactful part of.”
There was also an extremely personal reason that factored into Morgan’s decision as well: moving back to Canada with her husband and their two children. “I wanted to give my kids some time to get back to Toronto and really get to know their family and make up for some years that we lost” due to the pandemic, she explained, which made traveling back and forth “a nightmare” the past few years. Then, when Morgan’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and their three children were killed in a horrific house fire, she knew that she’d made the right choice. “When we had that family tragedy, it just kind of reminded me that this is the right decision for me right now in my life.”
Knowing that the door will be kept open at Y&R for her to slide back in as a contracted performer gave Morgan the safety net she needed to take this scary step. “I said to a friend of mine,” she recalled, getting choked up, “I really appreciate Y&R for giving me the freedom and the sense of security to take this leap. They gave me the energy, the power, the inspiration to see if there is more to be achieved out there. And I can always come back home. They made that very clear.”