Keepin' an eye on tantalizing Tawny

 BDawn Mazzurco, Soap Opera Update, 1990

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With all the frankness befitting an up-and-coming 19-year-old, Julie St. Claire describes the character she plays on Santa Barbara as "exactly like me. She knows how to get what she wants. I'm not saying that I do that all the time, but if there's something I want, I know how to get it."And Julie certainly supported that statement when she landed the role of Tawny Richards on Santa Barbara.

"It was my sister's audition," Julie mischievously offers. "It's so weird, because she is my height and my weight and we look identical, except that she's five years older than me and has two kids." And because of this, the two regularly share audition information so that one sister has a chance at a role that the other may not be right for. "I would rather have my sister get a part then have it go to someone else," Julie shares. "So Deanna (sister Deanna Claire) called and said "Why aren't you going for Santa Barbara ?"and I called my agent and said "Why aren't I auditioning for Santa Barbara ?"" And a few days later, Julie was cast in the role her sister originally auditioned for.

This role is actually Julie's big break. Previously, she had a role in a Disney movie and guest starred on a number of nighttime shows, but it is this role on Santa Barbara - the role that Julie so closely identifies with - that is going to make the world stand up and take notice of this talented actress. "My mom, my sister and my brothers always used to say that when I was growing up I was manipulative, and so is Tawny" Julie says with a laugh. "I'm a Gemini and I've got these two different personalities, and both of them are Tawny. Sometimes she's really nice, but sometimes she can be really bitchy. I love her - we're one in the same person."

Acting is something that has attracted Julie from as early on as she can recall. "Everyone used to tell me I was a ham when I was little" - everyone including Julie's mother, who used to do summer stock. It was her mother who influenced Julie's acting aspirations. "You know when you talk to certain people and they don’t just talk, they tell a story ?", she asks. "Well that's my mom, and I grew up just like that. People would always say "You should really do something with that.""And that's precisely what she did !

Her role on Santa Barbara seemed destined to happen. Julie actually knew her co-star Peter Love (Ric), because the two screentested together for several other projects around town. "It's so weird (there's that word again), because Peter and I are friends. We joke around. He calls me from his dressing room to my dressing room and pretends he's someone else. But the minute we get on stage, it's like Tawny and Ric are totally different people. There's a sexual attraction between them. But when you see Julie and Peter, it's totally different." But as much as Julie loves working with Peter, she doesn't necessarily want the relationship between the two characters to be a permanent situation. "l don't know if I want Tawny to stay with Ric," she admits. "You know who I'd like her to be like Erica. You know how all the guys like her because she's so... she's so... you know ! But then the minute she sees a girl, the claws are out. Just like Erica. Every soap needs their prime bitchy person. I think that's Tawny. Except I think she's pretty young to be there yet."

The funny thing is that most people would say the same about Julie St. Claire. While most girls are just beginning to realize their career aspirations, Julie St. Claire is achieving hers well beyond her age. Pretty weird, wouldn't you say ? Weird and wonderful.