The Cinderella of Santa Barbara

 BJoan Mac Trevor, CinÚ TÚlÚ Revue, 1990

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With her sweet smile and her eyes like nuts, which ignite as soon as you speak to her about Santa Barbara, she inflames every hearts. Even wonderful Todd McKee could not resist to her. In France, Hayley and Ted, their respective characters, live a tormented love story in the show but, in the United States, the little romantic girl already knew many adventures, some being even frankly dramatic. Stacy Edwards is the actress of Santa Barbara whose rise was the more fulgurating. A true Cinderella heroin of a fairy tale. Four years ago, she was still completely unknown. When she shot her first episode of Santa Barbara, she had even never played in front of a camera ! "My engagement was the result of an incredible combination of circumstances", she tells. "The kind of story which gets finished in the early morning when you wake up and that a little sad, you think that it was only a dream."

For Stacy, everything began from her love for dance. The sudden passion illuminates her thirteen years. And, after having obtained her college diploma in Helena, Montana, she goes away, at seventeen and a half years old, to make summer training lessons in Chicago. There, she decides not to come back to her parents home. "It was probably the phone call the more distressing of all my life", she says. "Between my parents and me, the relations were always perfect and, abruptly, I announced that I was giving them up ! I will never thank them enough for having accepted my choice even if, inside of themselves, they were dead of concern." It was the first time besides that Stacy Edwards left on a journey without them. This experiment will enable her to cut the umbilical cord definitively. "I always was in my mother's petticoats", she recognizes. "I am a so vulnerable girl that I am still astonished to have taken this decision. I found myself brutally with a life as you see some on cinema : a little girl lost in a big city. My parents had sent a little money to me by making me promise to come back if the adventure turned badly. They completely trusted me and it was an immense proof of love !"

During three years, Stacy will subsist while working as a waitress in a Hungarian restaurant. She follows at the same time comedy lessons and subscribed in a small amateurs troop named Center Theater with whom she plays some parts. A fairy then decides to intervene with her magic wand. In January 1986, one of the talents researchers of the television network NBC comes in Chicago and walks in the streets in the search of a fresh and new face to play Hayley Benson, a little romantic girl, in Santa Barbara. By chance, he stops in front of the room where Center Theatre is playing and decides to enter. Ten minutes later, he goes out of it with, out of pocket, the contract signed by his new ingenuous girl. "Everything get so fast", tells Stacy. "This Mister had given me a plane ticket for Los Angeles. When I arrived on the stage, I was terrorized, dead of fear. Fortunately, Robin Mattson (Gina) and Joseph Bottoms (Kirk) took to me under their protective wing. I was completely naive. When I had to kiss my partner for the first time, I did not even know how to do !"

The young actress recognizes that, in this sphere, she was always inexperienced and even often blind ! Previously, within her troop of amateurs actors, she was the last one to discover that one of her partners had madly fallen in love with her. And when the producers of Santa Barbara asked her to slide herself under the covers with Todd McKee, she almost disappeared ! "I would have given everything not to be there", she acknowledges, "more especially as Todd is very beautiful and that I knew that I was not his first conquest ! But he showed a lot of tenderness and said to me while smiling : "You know, it is always like that on the first time !" Then, Todd turned to the technicians while saying them : "Let's go, you well know that down there (under the covers), we keep on our shorts and our shoes !""

Thanks to Santa Barbara, Stacy Edwards was besides going to learn her job very quickly, especially for the scenes of love and violence. A few months after her engagement, the writers wrote for her... a rape storyline. "Fortunately, I was not informed the day before shooting", she explains. "No woman could play that without being prepared to such a violence. To be prepared, I spent time in a center for rape victims. They gave me many books to read, I could meet women who had undergone such a traumatism. I was especially very afraid that this scene cause a shock in me. During several days, I was upset by it. I locked myself up, I refused that anyone touches me. I was already invested of my character." Stacy 's efforts were crowned of success. The next day after the airing of the episode, she was called by several producers who proposed to her to play in their soap : the little beginner had become a real actress. Her living conditions also changed. Four years after her beginnings, Stacy is not the little inexperienced student any more. "I lived in apartments where I had just a table and a bed", she says. "I had to use the car I rented to be able to listen to the radio. In Los Angeles, I lost myself tens of time, I was unable to find my street ! But I always went by Sunset Boulevard, a name that reminded me stars and success. For me, the dream continued..."

Stacy Edwards' preferred country is Belgium ! "I spent there the most beautiful years of my life", she tells. "My father is a professional soldier and, during all my childhood, with my brother John, we lived from garrison to garrison. When he was affected to the head office of NATO in Brussels, we vainly sought on a world map where this city was. The country is so small ! But the people are so friendly there. Over there, we were immediately adopted by our neighbors who facilitated us the life a lot. At the beginning, for one year, I followed lessons in an English speaking school then, as I started to speak French with my little neighbors, I went to a Canadian school, half-English, half-French. For three years, I thus could learn your language. Unfortunately, when I was sixteen, my father had to come back to the country and, against my will, we followed. But I will never forget these years."