Yasmine Bleeth: The Bitch Is Back
Dynasty creator Aaron Spelling is revisiting the í80s with Titans, the most-talked-about new show of the season
(By Jacquelynn D. Powers, Sent to us by Ed)
Move over, Alexis Carringtonóthereís a new bitch in town. Her name is Heather Lane, and she has no qualms about sleeping her way to the top. It may have been 11 years since Joan Collins arrogantly sauntered across our television sets on Dynastyóshoulder pads, blood-red nails and allóbut Yasmine Bleeth was already taking notes and getting some soap experience of her own on Ryanís Hope and One Life to Live. And last month, Bleeth emerged not as a busty Baywatch babe, but as a scheming vixen with a hot wardrobe on NBCís much-anticipated Titans. Within the first episode, she was already causing trouble, bedding both a father and sonóand even marrying one of them.
So let the catfights and scenery-chewing begin. After all, both Dynasty and Titans were created by the most prolific television mogul ever, Aaron Spelling. And as his latest muse, Yasmine simpers and struts all over the Wednesday one-hour drama, which pits her against another nighttime-soap veteran, Victoria Principal. A stylish homage to Dynasty, Dallas and Knots Landing, Titans boasts a neverending closet of over-the-top designer gowns, scalding one-liners, grand exits, and cliffhangers in the who-shot-J.R.? vein. Of course, there are the obligatory supersexy and libido-driven men such as Casper Van Dien, John Barrowman and Jack Wagner for Bleeth to manipulate. And the 32-year-old native New Yorker is at the center of it all, a Versace-clad ice princess who knows how to drive her Jimmy Choo stilettos into the hearts of each character on the show. Talk about must-see TV.
JACQUELYNN D. POWERS: Is Titans going to be the next Dynasty?
YASMINE BLEETH: We hope so. Weíre all working hard and having fun. But the show has gotten a lot of hype, which makes me nervous. I donít want to put too much hope into it, just in case.
JDP: How would you describe your character, Heather?
YB: Sheís a home-wrecking bitch from hell! Iím a real girly-girl so I couldnít ask for a better part. Sheíll do everything anyone normal would think twice about doing.
JDP: Like sleeping with a father and a son.
YB: She didnít mean to do that. At the time, she didnít know. Sheís not vicious. But sheís definitely out for the bigger, better deal. If she does something wrong, sheíll make the best of the worst circumstances. But she wonít take the high road.
DP: What is your inspiration for your character?
YB: I didnít have to look that deep down. Of course, itís nothing I would ever do. But, you know, youíre a girl. We all have a little bitch in us. Itís that instinct we have. She doesnít have any issues with women. Itís about power. She wants to be in control. My inspiration is every woman whoís ever gotten screwed by a guy in life. She does what a man would do.
JDP: Are you using any past characters for guidance, like Alexis Carrington?
YB: Alexis is always inspiring. But actually, I go by Jackie Collins novels. Iíve read every single one. So I think of Heather as Lucky Santangelo, with no morals at all.
JDP: You are no stranger to soaps. What is the number-one rule for acting on soaps?
YB: Not being afraid to vamp it up and be over-the-top. You have to be able to laugh at yourself, too.
JDP: So Titans is campy?
YB: Of course it is. The difference between us and Dynasty is that we are winking at ourselves. This is pure fantasy.
JDP: Itís a guilty pleasure.
YB: Yeah, but what do you have to be guilty about? Itís like people having sex or eating ice cream and feeling guilty afterward. You shouldnít feel guilty about something that is funóitís not bad for you. I shop on the Internet and donít feel guilty.
JDP: Why did prime-time soaps die out after being so popular in the í80s?
YB: Everything is cyclical. When something gets popular, TV jumps on the bandwagon. There was ten years of Dynasty, Dallas and Knots Landing. It all has to die and come backójust like í70s and í80s fashion.
JDP: What were your thoughts when Aaron Spelling approached you to play this role?
YB: I liked it. I was so sick of playing the good girl. I wouldnít call them victims, but all of my characters have made the right choices. But this is a fantasy role. This is the first time Iíve played such a character.
JDP: Youíve turned Aaron Spelling down twice before. What was different this time around?
YB: Itís not actually like that. We talked a few times, but the part or the timing wasnít right. Iím not snubbing my nose at working for Aaron Spelling, but it had to be the right part.
JDP: How is it working with the creator of Dynasty, Love Boat and Charlieís Angels?
YB: Great. Heís a lovely man. He knows what heís doing, and I know what Iím doing. I couldnít be happier.
JDP: What is the working environment like?
YB: Everyone is comfortable and gets it. We donít stop laughing all day. Thereís no ego.
JDP: Casper Van Dien is stunning.
YB: Heís pretty okay. For once, itís nice to have somebody undressed on the show more than I am.
JDP: The pilot had to be reshot and Jack Wagner was a last-minute addition.
YB: Part of the pilot was reshot, just a few scenes. As for Jack Wagner, they wanted to bring him on because they were thinking about not keeping one character.
JDP: And heís going to be a villain, as well?
YB: They wanted a guy who could be a counter part to me. They felt that the character of my husbandówhich has nothing to do with the actorówas written a little weakly.
JDP: Will there be any catfights between you and Victoria Principal?
YB: Iím into it. Apparently Victoria doesnít want to do it. I was hoping for a Jell-O fight. And if she wonít do it, Iíll settle for one of the other girls.
JDP: Is trying on all of the fabulous clothes on Titans the best part?
YB: Every day Catherine, our costume designer, brings me in the most beautiful clothes. Yesterday, she brought me a gorgeous John Galliano/Christian Dior gown.
JDP: Do you get to keep any of the outfits?
YB: No, but I have the wardrobe at my disposal, which is just as good. That way it doesnít take room in my closet. And you can only wear an outfit once, darling! Itís a fantasy role: She wears ridiculous clothes. You know you want to wear high heels with your bathing suit, but you donít.
JDP: I want the heels with the fluffy feathers.
YB: I got to wear those marabou shoes with my negligee on my wedding night. She just doesnít care.
JDP: What about you in real life?
YB: Iím a little more subtle than she is. She knows sheís having fun and loves life.
JDP: Titans is the lead-in to The West Wing. Does that match up?
YB: I like that. It goes Titans, The West Wing and Law & Orderófrom light, fluffy entertainment to serious. It gives the night a nice edge.
JDP: Will Titans help you lose the title of a Baywatch babe?
YB: Well, honey, I thought I had lost it. Guess not! When I first left the show I didnít want to be labeled that. I wouldnít wear a bathing suit, and tried to be very serious. But itís ridiculous. I have no issues with it now. Put me in a bathing suit, I donít care. Itís a compliment to be a Baywatch babeóas long as it doesnít mean bimbo.
JDP: Why is Baywatch such a phenomenon?
YB: Did you ever look at our cast? We had some of the most beautiful actors on TV. Baywatch was so huge internationally because it didnít lose anything in the translation. Iím not joking. It was visualóbeautiful California and healthy people.
JDP: Titans has a pretty good-looking cast, too.
YB: There arenít too many ugly people on TV.
JDP: Any plans for you to show off your swimming on Titans?
YB: I show off my body. But she doesnít get wet. It would ruin her shoes and makeup.
JDP: You grew up in New York City. What are your best memories?
YB: I had the greatest life growing up in New York. I saw all walks of life. I learned to be savvy. My mom would send me on modeling and commercial jobs when I was 12. I moved out when I was 17. When all of my friends were applying to college, I got on a soap opera, so I didnít have to go to college. I was so excited.
JDP: Are you totally an L.A. girl now?
YB: Iíve grown accustomed to it. Itís a beautiful place. When I go back to New York, I get a little claustrophobic. Youíre so overwhelmed by people all the time. In L.A., you donít have to see anyone.
JDP: Your Website mentions that you support breast-cancer research and awareness. How involved are you in this charity work?
YB: My mom died of breast cancer ten years ago and I started working to raise money for research. I do this because itís something that I care about. I can say something to younger girls. But Iím not trying to be one of these people with issues who put their name on every charity.
JDP: Are you currently dating anyone?
YB: Currently not. Itís the first time in my life Iíve been single for this long, and I like it. Itís good for me. Iím having fun without any men in my life.
JDP: What is your biggest indulgence?
YB: Shopping. Thatís what I spend money on. My dad says itís ridiculous. I donít even wear the stuff. I just look at it in my closet. But it makes me happy. I canít help it.
JDP: What makes you laugh?
YB: I laugh at myself. I love people who love life and donít take themselves too seriously.
JDP: What is the most bizarre request you have ever gotten from a fan?
YB: One guy asks for pictures of my toes in different types of shoes. Heís very specific. Mostly theyíre open-toed shoes. Like Iíd take the time to photograph my feet for him in different shoes. People are bold.
JDP: What are you looking forward to most about Titans?
YB: Sleeping with all the different men on the show. What more could you ask for?