Thanks to the fantastic Kimberley Simms that some years ago was so kind to answer to some questions about her days on Guiding Light as Mindy Lewis.
Sentieri OnLine – You are one of the BEST recast in the GL history. Krista Tesreau was very loved by fans but you have been able to become the new Mindy Lewis and to be loved by fans! Was difficoult for you, or was you afraid to play a character so loved by the viewers?
Kimberley Simms – Wow. Thank you very much. That is quite a compliment! I think it worked in my favor that I was not familiar with the character or Guiding Light before assuming the role. I had only heard of Krista’s popularity but I had nothing to base it on, other than to dive in and do the best I could with the role. I think she was adorable and did such a great job with the character from what I have seen since then. She was a much better comedienne than I was and she did a lot of fun stuff with the character. I am more of a dramatic actress and I tried to take the character more in that direction during the time that I played her. I think we ultimately played two distinctive characters and I was lucky that the audience received me so well!
SOL – Do you remember your screen test for Guiding Light? Did you make screen tests for other characters for GL or just for Mindy? Did you know the show and Mindy’s story?
KS – Yes, It was with Terrell Anthony (Rusty), one of the kindest, gentlest, most supportive actors I worked with. I really think I started off pretty rough and he was very supportive and held me hand through that beginning time.
SOL – You played a fantastic love story/triangle with two fantastic actors like Michael Zaslow as Roger and Beverly McKinsey as Alex. What do you remember about them?
KS – As I reflect on that question, I realize that both of them have passed on and are no longer with us and that makes me sad. All these years later, I realize I was an incredibly lucky girl to work with those two superstars of daytime. The Roger/Mindy storyline was a turning point for my character and for me as an actress. I really feel it allowed me to give Mindy more substance, maturity and sex appeal. I also believe that working with great actors makes you better and I was very lucky in that sense. They both had strong egos (rightfully so with all their years in the business) and being an ingenue, I knew my place and I stayed there. I always deferred to them when they wanted to change the words in a scene or whatever it may be. It was great fun for me that time on the show.
SOL – Did you like working with Mark Derwin?
KS – Yes, Mark became a great friend of mine. We hung out together off the set all the time.
SOL – Mindy had a very brief story with AC Mallet, and they were good together. Do you know if it was supposed to be so short, or if the story has been changed?
KS – It was a fun storyline and I don’t know why it ended. I think maybe the show was secretly negotiating at that time with Vincent Irizarry (Nick/Lujack) and they were going to pair Nick and Harley (Beth Ehlers). But then they decided Mindy and Nick would be a better match and Harley and Mallett so they moved the storyline in that direction. Interestingly enough, we all fell in love off camera so the writers must have had good instincts about the chemistry.
SOL – Did you have some close friends on the set? Are you still in touch with the cast members?
KS – I started at the same time as Sherry Stringfield (Blake) and we shared a dressing room. We sort of went through a lot in the beginning together and we did hang out a lot off set. I was also good friends with Mark Derwin and Beth Ehlers (I stayed at their home in LA when I lost my home in the Northridge (CA) earthquake.
I was engaged to Vincent Irizarry briefly and have had some friendly communication with him until recently. I am still in touch with Tina Sloan and Beth Ehlers and others through facebook. I was thrilled to be able to attend a booksigning for Tina Sloan’s new book and spend some time with her.
SOL – When you left the show, Mindy’s main story was not over yet (Mindy was about to marry Nick). Why did you leave Guiding Light? If you could go back, would you leave again?
KS – I don’t believe in regrets. It was a very strange turn of events. I had just signed with a fairly large agency and they were encouraging me not to re-sign my contract for more than a year. At the time, I had some big prime-time tv shows expressing interest in me. I was trying to negotiate for less time on the show, but they wanted to set a precedent where actors needed to stay 2 years. Live and learn. I suppose it happened as it was meant to at the time.
SOL – Have you ever watched Guiding Light after leaving the show?
KS – I watched it off and on over the years after leaving and tried to watch the final episodes but the show was so different I hardly recognized it and really didn’t know many of the characters.
SOL – Were you sorry for the cancellation and have you watched the last episode?
KS – Yes, I believe everyone in that medium was sad to see the show cancelled. It was such an iconic legendary show. It was a real shock. I think it was appropriate that they had Krista play out the end of the show. She was the actress who played the character during the Four Musketeers storyline and so with that history and those actors on the show, it made sense. I think putting Billy and Vanessa together was wonderful. I probably would have wanted to see Nick and Mindy reunite if I was playing the role at that time, only because that was my characters’s big love of your life storyline when I played Mindy.
SOL – Among your storylines, which was your favourite? The forbidden love with Roger, the tender story with Nick, or something else? And what about the hardest scene to play?
KS – Probably the beginning of the story with Roger when they were keeping it a secret. That storyline had a sort of lolita-esque quality in the beginning. It was fun and daring. And as I said earlier, it allowed me to take the character to a whole other level. It also allowed it to tie into the Alex/Nick drama down the line. The emotional scenes were never hard for me for because I am a very emotional person. The most challenging scenes for me were the love scenes. I was very shy and nervous about being that revealing. I always requested a closed set and I never got used to it and probably the hardest of all was the first time the characters of Nick and Mindy were together because there was a lot of pressure to make it incredibly hot and steamy.
SOL – If you had been one of the writer of GL, what Mindy’s story (or part of it) would you modify or remove?
KS – I think the writers did a great job with Mindy. I really cannot complain. Nancy Curlee Demorest really helped develop the character when I played her and gave her so many colors and substance. She was very emotional and very multi-dimensional but she didn’t really start out that way.
SOL – What have you done after GL and do you plan to come back in Tv? What about a webseries?
KS – I did some TV and independent films. My greatest role yet (as cliché as it sounds) is being a mother to my 5 ½ year old daughter Tuesday who is the joy of my life (Note: Today her daughter is almost 15 years old). I suppose if someone handed me a role in a webseries or on TV, I would happily accept, but it is not something I am actively pursuing.
SOL – You have been several times in Italy. Do you like our country?
KS – Italy is one of my favorite countries in the world. I would return in a heartbeat if the possibilities arose. The best food ever and the warmest people who greeted me with so much enthusiasm. Everytime, I went for work or pleasure, I had an amazing experience in your beautiful country. I loved working with Patrizia Rosetti [on the left]. We also did “Buona Giornata” (Note: an old Italian talk show) together several times. She was a true professional. I would love to come back and visit her or do a talk show or another show like Robert Newman and I did where we hosted that variety show. I also had the great fortune of meeting the actress who did the voiceover for Mindy (Daniela Fava). She invited me to dinner at her house. She was so talented and did such an amazing job with the character. I think she made me look even better than I was!
SOL – Do you plan to come back?
KS – Yes, yes, yes. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you hear of any opportunities. I would love to come work again. I would also love to share your beautiful country with my daughter. All of that to say, that I think my trips to Italy to promote Sentieri were one of my favorite things about working on Guiding Light. I have so many wonderful memories of Italy, the country and the people.