August 11th is the big day: Vanessa Marcil Giovanazzo returns to ‘General Hospital‘ in her iconic role of Brenda Barrett. Today, on the occasion of ABC Daytime’s unprecedented pre-emption of its entire daytime soap line-up to show classic Brenda episodes, Giovanazzo opened up about being the focus of so much hype, her top secret new storyline and why it might be better to watch Brenda than be her.
Did you expect there to be so much publicity surrounding your return? Did you know ABC was going to devote a day of its programming to classic Brenda episodes?
No! Of course not. I’m still trying to get over the fact that they let me come visit. But what an honor. It’s really sweet. I love this show and I’ve always been very vocal about how much I love the show and how much I love my co-stars. I’ve always tried to make visits work within my schedule. It’s really exciting that we got to work this one out.
Do you worry [ABC Daytime President] Brian Frons is going to call you up if the ratings don’t double?
Actors don’t bring up ratings. I remember my old executive producer said that to me once. This show is a show that has stayed on the air this long for a reason. I’m just a small player on an enormous canvas. It’s really just an honor for me to come visit and try new things as an actor. It’s a really great place to do that. It’s almost like getting paid to do theater. So I’m just going to have a great time like I’ve always had on this show. The show is really the star.
What is Brenda’s initial storyline going to be. It seems shrouded in secrecy.
I know. There’s a huge, explosive secret. I don’t know what it is. They haven’t told me.
Who do you think is the love of Brenda’s life? Who do you think is the right man for her now?
I think she is so incredibly attached to both those men, Ingo Rademacher (Jax) and Maurice Benard (Sonny). She loved them in such completely different ways. I think they’re both the love of her life.
What is the secret to Brenda’s enduring appeal?
Good question. I have no idea. I think the writers have written an incredibly multi-layered, real human being. She’s not all bad. She’s not all good, like most of us. I just think she’s a great female character. I think she’s written really well.
Brenda always has the best clothes. How much influence do you have on her wardrobe?
The wardrobe is so great on this show. Our wardrobe woman now is named Mary and she’s incredible and passionate. The people on this show: the actors, the producers, everybody is so passionate. It’s infectious and inspiring to be around.
What is it like being back on the set? Have things changed? Were there any surprises?
It’s been the best. It’s been, in some ways, exactly the same way I felt when I was a kid and it was my first acting job and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be there. It still really feels like that for me when I’m there.
How are the new characters played by Brad Rowe, Andrea Marcovicci, and Adrienne Barbeau going to interact with Brenda?
It’s incredible when I walk on set every day to see some of these actors who I’m getting to work with. It’s really fun and it’s really an honor. I’m a small town girl from Indio, California. I can’t believe how blessed I am.
What is the secret to being Brenda? How can every woman be a little bit like her?
Just don’t evolve. Don’t read self-help books. Don’t go to therapy. Just stay impulsive and reactionary. Your life may not run very smoothly, but you’ll be like Brenda.