Davis Rules(By Adam Kelley, Soap Opera Digest)
Hers is a true Hollywood story: Born in L.A.ís Cedars-Lebanon Hospital to a family of actors sometime between the original theatrical releases of The Godfather and Star Wars (for fear of professional blacklisting by ageist casting directors, sheís mum on the exact year), Josie Davis was barely a toddler when enchanted by big brother Joshís appearance on an episode of QUINCY, she developed her own thespian aspiration. Almost immediately, she got a job- and a lesson on how show biz doesnít always deliver on its promises. "My first commercial was for this cereal called Super Sugar Crisps," she sighs. "It never aired because Super Sugar Crisps had too much sugar in it, and they had to take it off the shelves."
Undaunted, Davis tore up the advertising circuit, appearing in "tons and tons" of TV spots before she was cast as one of Charlesí charges (at age 13) on the Scot Baio sitcom CHARLES IN CHARGE. Talk about reality TV: For half an hour every week, all of America got to see her progression through puberty. "It was very difficult. Nicole Eggert was playing my sister, and people were constantly comparing us," the actress says. "And some people would stand up for me, but so many times, people were like, ĎThereís the ugly girl from CHARLES IN CHARGE.í It was so sad. I never wanted to wear a ponytail in public because any time I did, people would recognize me, and I knew they would think I was the ugly girl. So I started dressing like a sexpot and wearing my hair down, and it fooled a lot of people, but then the started calling me a tramp, when I had never even kissed a guy."
These days, of course, sheís a fixture in fashion and beauty mags- so is she still haunted by the catcalls of yesteryear? "Iím so much further away from that now... Iím beyond it... thereís always going to be that little part of me... yeah, of course I am," she sighs. "I mean, itís gotten a lot better. But I always... I never feel as attractive as I supposedly am. Last night, I went to dinner with some friends, and theyíre like, ĎOh, my God, those guys almost fell into the bushes looking at you.í And Iím like, ĎI know. Isnít that weird?í And my friends said, ĎNo, itís not weird- youíre gorgeous!í And Iím like ĎOh please." I donít think Iíll ever feel like that. I donít get it. I donít feel like that."
After CHARLES IN CHARGE was canceled, Davis found herself at a crossroads: Did she want to act for a living, or direct, or write? Thinking that college would help her decide she planned on going to film school, then changed directions upon realizing that acting was, indeed, her true calling. "So I went full force with it," she says. "I did a lot of guest-starring things, and then [in 1996] got on YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS." After so much prime-time work, the quick pace of daytime came as a shock. "I was like, ĎOh my God, Iím in a tornado,í" Davis laughs.
She was also in a quandary. "The thing is, they didnít really tell me how they wanted my character, Grace, to be. I didnít know what to do, so I played her as being very kind, and then they started saying, íWe want it really evil,í and then they had me stealing peopleís mail." After a year, the show hired Jennifer Gareis to replace Davis. "There was an actual, concrete reason why things didnít work out," the actress allows. "I wonder if itís been enough years that I can say it? Nah, Iím not going to say it. Letís just say it was the right decision for everybody." Was is a personality conflict? "No, it was more a disagreement on what kinds of things they wanted me to do. So they hired someone who could fulfill that need."
And Davis went on to fulfill needs of her own. In 1998, she auditioned in front of Oscar-winners Martin Landau and Shelley Winters to become one of only two people accepted into the prestigious Actorís Studio in New York City that year. "That was a very big goal of mine" she recalls. "I definitely wanted to prove that I was a good actress." Afterward, she returned to California- and to BEVERLY HILLS 90210, where she played Camille, a temporary obstacle in Donna and Davidís slow-moving pilgrimage to holy matrimony. As the plot progressed, Davis was called upon to do some far-fetched things in the name of love, which was fine with her- she understood Camilleís pain. ĎDid you see Camille and Davidís breakup scene?" she asks. "I donít know it you could tell, but that was quite real. I was crying during all the rehearsals."
That said she had a mostly fabulous time on-set ("Tori Spelling [ex-Donna, 90210] is the coolest chick") and so impressed the bosses, they brought her back for TITANS. "Itís funny because I had some commercials running at the time and Aaronís wife, Candy, saw one, and sheís like, ĎYou need a girl like that. Why donít you get that girl?í And Aaron goes, ĎI already have her.í" For her par, Davis was only too pleased to stay aboard the Spelling gravy train. "This show is so good, and Iím not even being biased. I swear to God, I'm not just saying that because Iím on it. Because I have done shows that, you know, werenít that great. Iím really excited about this one."
The days are long at TITANS- 10 hours at least but sheís not complaining. "We amuse ourselves," she says, referring to Jack Wagnerís (Jack; ex-Peter MELROSE PLACE; ex-Frisco, GENERAL HOSPITAL; ex-Warren, SANTA BARBARA) pranks, Yasmine Bleethís (Heather; ex-Lee Ann, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Ryan, RYANíS HOPE) "funny little voices," infomercial queen Victoria Principalís (Gwen; ex-Pam, DALLAS) movable apothecary ("Her under-eye gel is so pure"), and the ministrations of "the nicest man in the world," Perry King (Richard; ex-Hayley, MP). "Everyone is just so talented and kind and giving, and believe me, that is not the case on all sets," Davis marvels. "Iím just amazed that I can say so many good things about all these people." And donít get her started on her love interest, Ingo Rademacher (David; ex-Jax, GH). "Please!" she gushes. "Have you seen his eyes?!"
Itís A Really Small World(sidebar)
While she was at Y&R, Davis entered into a two-year romance with SUNSET BEACH alum Dax Griffin (ex-Tim). When that ended, Griffin moved on to a new relationship... with Jennifer Gareis, Davisí Y&R replacement. "People kept saying to me, ĎJosie, donít you think thatís a little weird?í" she laughs, " and at the time, I didnít think so at all. But now, years later, IĎm like, ĎMaybe that is kind of weird!í" Even weirder, the three actors are all the closest of buds. "Jenniferís a great girl, and Iím friends with all of my exes. Itís so funny. And Jacob [Young, GHís Lucky] is another of my exes, so sometimes at parties, itís like Iím hanging out with Jacob and Dax and Jennifer and whoever else like one big, happy family."
These days the family has a new member: a salesman of radio airtime named Sean. "I donít know if I should talk about him... I guess it doesnít matter," Davis muses. "We [became a couple] over the July 4th weekend, but we had been friends for a long time before we started dating. I was single, and people were like, ĎItís always someone whoís right under your nose,í and I thought, ĎI wonder if thereís anyone under my nose?í And I couldnít think of anybody, but there he was. And I didnít want to jump into a commitment really quickly because thatís what I usually do, but meanwhile, we havenít been seeing other people, so... I donít know." And howís this for coincidence: He used to work with Griffinís roommate. Laughs Davis, "Itís such a small world."