Days of Our Lives; Kayla reveals her thoughts on her controversial storyline, Stephen Nichols’ return, and her real-life history with her sister.
By Bonnie Siegler
Photos by Robert Ferrone
Beauty has so many faces, and often the most appealing looks of all are those that take us by surprise. More than just a pretty face is one that reveals individuality, wit and more than a little wildness. Lovely Mary Beth Evans, a.k.a. Kayla Brady Johnson on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, has an unexpected other side: free-spirited and sassy, while possessing a serene elegance—a unique combination. Shakespeare said that beauty provokes more thieves than gold. Surely he was referring to both Mary Beth and her alter ego Kayla.
With a new look, new attitude and new storyline, Mary Beth is quickly transforming Kayla Johnson into a 90s woman. Left in the devastating wake of her beloved husband Steve’s death, confronted with single parenthood, juggling the demands of a career and diaper duty (both on screen and in real life), Kayla is now embroiled in a love triangle with none other than her ex-brother-in-law Shane Donovan. But 90s women wield all kinds of clout. They run cities and congressional committees, production companies and military platoons. And they take charge of their own lives. Keeping everything in perspective, though, is paramount to Mary Beth. “Seriously, my life is being a mom. When things get crazy on the set, I sit back and think about what’s really important…..and that’s what is at home.”
What are your feelings on the love triangle between Kayla, Shane and Kimberly?
It’s gone in so many directions. Sometimes I feel that the fans hate it and want Kimberly and Shane back together. But then I get reports saying that it’s at least 50/50 and sometimes swinging in the Kayla/Shane direction. I’m hoping to make the Kayla/Shane relationship a bit spicier….something a little different than the other stories. Since it was approached so peculiarly….a triangle between some top characters that was suddenly just there with no place to go, I think it can work. But I think we all have to commit to it. To tell you the truth though, I don’t know what direction we’re going in.
Just recently, Kayla spoke up for herself, saying to Kimberly that Shane is now hers. She stood up for what she believes in….
I think it’s really about time, don’t you? But Kayla’s walking a very fine line here. Kimberly is her sister. I feel some days that I’ll be hit in the supermarkets by fans.
Are the confrontation scenes between you and Patsy difficult?
No, not at all. Sometimes it’s fun. We really play off each other. I always love doing scenes with Patsy—she’s always there.
Having a sister of your own in real life, did the two of you ever date or like the same man?
No, we’re very different. I always had one boyfriend forever….like for five years.
It almost seems like Samson—in reverse—where he needed his hair for strength, while Kayla seems to have gained strength and confidence with less hair….
(loud giggle) I like that! A lot of people said that it was about time that she got feistier. Now she’s more like I am in real life. I felt I was looking too frumpy with my long hair—both for Kayla and myself. Plus I wanted a style that didn’t need much fussing. When I cut my hair and changed my clothes, I wasn’t to present a sassier character. But that backfires at times because I’ll say, ‘Oh, Kayla can’t say that;’ maybe I’m just not used to the change yet. I told one of the producers recently Kayla is an older person now. Her husband has died and things have happened to her. She’s not the same person that she was a few years back—she’s had to grow up, and I think it would be nice for her to have a truly mature relationship on the show, instead of saying ‘I can’t have him.’ Those stories have been played out a million times. I want to make her a bit more mature.
With Deidre Hall and Wayne Northrop’s returns—how far off can Stephen Nichols’ return be?
I can’t believe the rumors. My makeup man here said, ‘Oh, we all hear that Stephen Nichols is coming back.’ I just talked to him today and she said, ‘Absolutely not.’ He’s happy and getting some jobs. He’s hoping that things for him really break. And I don’t think he really wants to come back—not now anyway. I think he would tell me…we’re very good friends. I’m sure that he misses all of us here….and the money, but he also want some different artistic things in his career.
In the off-chance scenario that Stephen did come back and Kayla was with Shane, how do you think the audience would handle it?
If Stephen came back and I didn’t go back with him, people would just flip…that’s my opinion. I really have no idea what would happen because I have my mind set on him not coming back. I love and adore Stephen, but I think he’s much happier now.
Maybe Kayla should start all over with a clean slate?
I’ve said that several times, but they like Shane and Kayla. And it has possibilities for really being there. But I would like to see the obstacle not be Kimberly. That’s a very controversial subject, being involved with your sister’s ex-husband. So it’s hard to give the couple a chance if that remains the obstacle. But Kayla deserves to find happiness now.
What character would you pair Kayla with?
I don’t mind being with Shane. I like Charlie. We have a great time, and I think the couple could work. But if it doesn’t work, I would want them to bring in somebody totally new. I don’t want Kayla being a Salem guy-hopper.
If you could rewrite a chapter of Kayla’s life, what would it be?
The whole mourning period of Steve. I never wanted to take the wedding ring off…it bothered me that I didn’t go to the house and deal with all our possessions or pack up our things, that I never went to the grave again. I understand when a character is written off the show, they want to move on. Spending a couple of weeks in a mourning period is so true to life though, and painful…but Kayla and Mary Beth had to move on.