Telma Hopkins Opens up About Being on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS

A familiar face arrives in Genoa City when Telma Hopkins appears as Denise Tolliver on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS for a couple of episodes beginning on Tuesday, June 1! And the people of Genoa City were just as familiar for the veteran actress! “Y&R became one of my favorites just because the stories were so intriguing and I knew people that worked there — Marguerite Ray (ex-Mamie), Victoria Rowell (ex-Dru), and Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil),” she told Soap Opera Digest. “I just got hooked! I mean, I remember when Peter Bergman (Jack) came on. I’ve just watched it for a long time and really enjoyed it and, of course, it became more personal because of people on it that I knew. And when Bryton [James, Devon] came on as a kid, that just really sucked me in even more.”

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Hopkins worked with James for years playing his TV mom on the long-running sitcom FAMILY MATTERS, but admitted she didn’t immediately jump at the chance to appear on Y&R given what she knows about the fast past at which the soaps shoot. “I did call Bryton before I said yes to talk to him about it and ask if he thought I could handle it without having a nervous breakdown!” she laughed. “But after that, I was really excited. It’s a different genre for me, for sure, but I’ve watched the show enough where I felt like I was walking into a family, with people that I know.”

Y&R Denise Amanda
Hopkins was a little anxious to become a part of the soap she’d watched for decades!Monty Brinton/CBS

The veteran actress turned into a gushing fan as she excitedly met Y&R stars like Eric Braeden (Victor), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), Christian LeBlanc (Michael), and Sharon Case (Sharon), who she has watched for years. And although James wasn’t in her first scene that she shot on the soap, she was grateful that he welcomed her to the studio. “Certainly him being there when I first walked in — because he wasn’t in that first scene that I was in — was very comforting to know that he was there to support and to encourage,” Hopkins confided. “He’s such a calm person and it was good for me. It kind of settled me in.”

Her first scenes were working opposite Mishael Morgan (Amanda) and Leigh-Ann Rose (Imani), and they both reassured Hopkins that she would be great – and she was! “I felt great because I got through it and I felt good about it — and the director felt good about it, which is even better,” she said of her initial scenes. “But I was still shocked at how it was just like, one and done. I was surprised at how quickly it went and relieved that it went so well, so I wasn’t quite as nervous the second show.” 

Still, like all actors from other media who dip their toe into the soapy waters of daytime drama, Hopkins left with a new appreciation for the work that they do day in and day out. “I don’t know how they do all that dialogue!” she marveled. “I have great, great admiration for those actors because they do some serious work!”

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