Sands Through The Hourglass...
YourMVP All About Life As A Soap Opera Ingenue...
lifestyle and settling into a relaxed drawl that summons up my own
repressed childhood of growing up in a small southern town. To be
fair, though, Morris grew up in Windermere, Florida (arguably
southern, though definitely small) - just outside of Orlando and only
miles away from Disney World.
Morris answers the phone and I am instantly struck by her sunny
disposition and the hint of a southern accent. As an occasional
viewer of her work on NBC's "Days of Our Lives," Morris's almost-southern-belle
demeanor seems to clash with the succinct and proper tone that has
made her a perfect fit in the role of Greta Von Amburg.
is definitely one gal who leaves her work at the office, casting
went there a lot, and I used to love it," Morris admits of her
adventures to the land of Mickey Mouse. "But I just don't care
for what it's doing to the area . . . it's losing its hometown feel."
see, unlike the character she plays on DAYS, Morris was fortunate
enough to grow up in a traditional family environment in a town where
everyone was a trusted neighbor. Her parents, loving Christians who
helped pave their daughter's way to a wholesome life, supported
Morris in whatever she chose to do.
Morris chose to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts in
Winston-Salem instead of pursuing intellectual studies at Florida
State, they obliged her wishes, and prayed that she was making the
right choice. She studied her craft in small-town North Carolina but
in the middle of her freshman year, Morris got the itch to take the
plunge . . . so she headed for New York City.
ton of jobs," she explains of her first few months in LA.
"So I got an agent and immediately started looking for work."
Mom spent a lot of time on her knees praying," Morris admits of
her stint in the Big Apple. "There are definitely adjustments
that a young girl has to make when she moves to a city like New York,
but I loved it there."
spent the next few years studying at the American Academy of
Dramatic Arts in New York. She spent some time doing commercials and
other small acting gigs before deciding to uproot herself once again
by making a move to Los Angeles. Still, her parents supported her
decision, and Morris intended to make the move pay off.
went there without much money, and I didn't want to get stuck in a
rut where I was working
reality, the work found her. Morris landed her big break a
year-and-a-half later when she took the role of Amy Watson on the hit
soap opera "Young and the Restless." She instantly got the
attention of casting directors and critics . . . not to mention the
fans. Eventually, this career-starter at Y&R led to more
opportunities and before long, Morris found herself in the featured
role of "Swamp Girl" (now known as Greta Von Amburg) on DAYS.
entered the audition process kinda late for that . . . I don't think
I even read for the casting director," Morris admits of her
success in snagging the part. "I just did my screen test and
then got the call."
being cast in the pivotal role, she's gone from playing
scantily-clad "Swamp Girl," covered (literally) with mud in
New Orleans, to playing Greta, the ingénue covered in blood,
in her latest wacky tale about virtual reality. DAYS has given the
young actress plenty to do, and Morris has stepped up to the plate
without fail, even when the work seemed a little embarrassing or unrealistic.
virtual reality stuff was fun, but it was a little humiliating,"
she explains hesitantly. "Sometimes, though, you just have to
grin and bear it and do your job."
be told, acting on television has been Morris's job
for most of her adult life, although she spent a lot of her youth
contemplating work as a missionary. As a youngster, she traveled all
over the world doing missionary work with her family, making stops in
Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Guatemala (to name a few).
always been taught 'to those whom much is given, much is
expected'," Morris details of her volunteer work. "And it
is a passion of mine to return to Central America and help those who
are less fortunate."
doesn't mean she ignores the less fortunate in her own back yard.
Morris spends a great deal of time working with children's and youth
charities. She even spent some time working with an orphanage in
South Central LA, offering the deprived youngsters a chance to be
loved and appreciated, and seeing to it that they had the necessities
of life. Sadly, Morris explains, because of her busy work schedule
and personal appearances, she hasn't been able to do more for the
causes she loves, but the desire lingers on.
credits a lot of that desire to her family, including her adoring
parents (she takes extra care to label her father as
"brilliant" and her mother as "very smart") and
most especially her brother, Scott. According to Morris, he inspires
her to be a better person.
was never much of a student when I was at home. I hated reading,
hated books," Morris explains. "But when I get here to LA
and found so many people who didn't care about that stuff, I started
to miss it . . . so I talked to my brother (who happens to be an
enthusiastic scholar) and he sort of put me on a reading program. He
supplies me with a list of books to read."
the reading and intelligence of her family wasn't all that she
missed about home. Morris found herself longing for the "down
home" familiarity of country music and "big ole pick-up
trucks," both things she detested when she was growing up.
and in fact, her father insists on watching DAYS "live,"
even though her mother often reminds him that the episodes are taped
weeks in advance. "It's kinda cute, I think," Morris adds
of her father's enthusiasm.
had dirt roads, so everybody had those big ole pick-up trucks,"
Morris recalls with a laugh. "I hated them . . . but then I got
here to LA and I started missing that stuff. Now I tool around in a
big ole pick-up truck of my own, and I've fallen in love with country music."
adds that her family is very supportive of her
what about those steamy love scenes that every soap opera has? What
do the dutiful Christian parents think of those?
not sure if you would consider it luck or not," Morris replies
laughing. "But I haven't had to do a love scene yet."
three years on DAYS, her character has remained untainted (the
epitome of undamaged goods)--at least on screen--though Morris admits
to a few passionate kisses with co-stars Jensen Ackles (ex-Eric) and
Austin Peck (Austin). She swears the kisses come easy, and assures
that there's no way anyone could get caught up in the moment
"what with all the production assistants and all the cameramen
standing around watching."
just too weird," she adds.
five or 10 seconds, but it felt like five hours."
that there aren't moments of embarrassment, and after some gentle
prodding, Morris reluctantly shares a horrifying experience during
her recent "virtual reality" storyline. A scene in which
she was supposed to have her clothes magically ripped off went
completely awry. She admits she had pasties on her breasts, but the
plan was for her to immediately cover them with her hands when the
trigger line that pulled her clothes off was yanked . . .
unfortunately, though, her arms got tangled in the line and she
couldn't get her hands up to cover her exposed breasts.
Austin standing right in front of me and I'm just hanging out for
everyone on the set to see," Morris recalls horrified. "It
was so embarrassing, and they were so apologetic about the screw-up,
but I was near tears. It was probably only
admits that her co-star was very gentlemanly about it, and tried to
reassure her that it was no big deal. It's that kind of atmosphere
and support that Morris credits with loving the job so much. She
expresses regret that Ackles (her former onscreen love interest) is
no longer with the soap, admitting she loved working with him. She
also details the enormous amount of respect she has for Kristian
Alfonso (who played her onscreen mother, Princess Gina, and continues
on in her other role as the popular heroine, Hope Brady) and many
others in the cast.
go fishing for the dirt on her cast mates, though. Morris insists
(rather sarcastically) that there couldn't possibly be any
"divas" on the DAYS set, and jokes that if there were, she
"would never tell." All kidding aside, though, Morris has
nothing but good things to say about the cast and her whole
experience on the soap.
is keeping her extremely busy, and even if she's not onscreen very
often, the producers keep her on the road making personal
appearances. Unfortunately, this leaves little time for Morris to
pursue other avenues of acting, and she reluctantly admits that she
has no plans for any new television or film projects in the works.
However, she does share one tiny tidbit of information: Greta is
about to embark on a big new storyline with longtime audience
favorites Jack and Jennifer.
Tom Langan has something funny up his sleeve," Morris explains.
"It's going to be great."
a delightful conversation infused by her cheerful and upbeat
attitude, it's hard not to believe Morris. After "days" in
the mud and covered in blood, she's ready for something a little
and written by Jim