The soap world has been repeatedly rocked this year, with the cancellation of countless iconic institutions leaving only four shows -- Days of Our Lives, Young & the Restless, Bold & the Beautiful and General Hospital -- standing. With their futures uncertain, several of the stars have united for Dirty Soap, a reality show that aims to engage a new generation of fans and keep the genre alive.
Dirty Soap's best-known face outside the world is Kelly Monaco -- winner of Dancing with the Stars' first blockbuster season -- and the latest actor to sit down with The Insider. In addition to getting a sneak peek at tonight's episode [click here to watch], Kelly broke down the reality of working in soap operas today, revealed how that fueled her decision to join a reality show and weighed in on the current crop of Dancing stars.
Insider.com: Was there any trepidation about signing on to Dirty Soap?
Kelly Monaco: Yea, of course. I think there's always trepidation whenever you got into a reality based program. My first instinct was, "RUN!" [laughs] But I think it's the right time to infiltrate reality television. As you know, daytime is in a very dire state and if any of us actors can keep it on the map, we've got to facilitate more of an audience. That's what generated my decision to be a part of this show. Initially, at least. Now it's taken on a different life and a different meaning. But in the beginning, I was very hesitant.
Insider: On that tip, what's the mood like on the General Hospital set these days?
Kelly: It's a sink or swim kind of attitude at work right now. We're all pretty realistic about the state of daytime and the generation of this genre. We're trying to keep it on the air, and everyone, from top to bottom, is stepping up to put our best foot-forward. We have got to make people tune in and save daytime. We're very aware that we could be pulled at any time, it's the reality of the times. But we're hoping to make daytime cool for a generation that may not know we exist.
Insider: What have you thought about your portrayal on Dirty Soap thus far?
Kelly: Every week is a different emotion [laughs] – either hiding under the couch or loving it. You have to kind of go with it. You're putting yourself out there, in a very vulnerable position and people are going to love you or hate you for it. One of the keys to reality TV is being OK with who you are, and accept that not everyone is going to like you. Just be yourself. That’s all you can do.
Insider: The end of your 18-year relationship with high school sweetheart Michael Gonzalez has been a big part of your storyline on Dirty Soap, were you nervous about getting so personal?
Kelly: I'm pretty aware of what I'm allowing out there. I've allowed my experience with my relationship to become public because I am in a healthier place with it and think people can really relate to my struggles. It seems shameful to have a platform to discuss and heal and evolve but not use it. We all go through it, this may be to the extreme, but it happens to everyone.
Insider: The other big part of the show has been digging into why Farah and Kirsten's relationship suddenly went kaput -- what are your thoughts?
Kelly: It's so weird that it's so unclear what went wrong. I feel like both of them are still kind of shadowing the real problem because, from my stand point as a logical human being looking at it, I can't see where the issue is. Did they just grow apart or did something sabotage the relationship? I feel like there's something underneath the covers that isn't being shown. I would love to see them be real about what happened. You don't just fall apart like that without something big happening. It seems like something more substantial had to have happened to ruin such a dear close friendship. I don't know what the f*** is going on with these girls [laughs].
Insider: Prior to Dirty Soap, you were the first Dancing with the Stars winner, ever. Do you have any favorites this year?
Kelly: I said it from the very beginning, without seeing any of them dance, I had my favorites. JR Martinez has got an extremely inspirational story that I think the audience will get behind, I love David Arquette. I think he's taking personal mishaps and turning them into something really positive. I love Ricki Lake, she's my female frontrunner. And I think Chaz Bono is tremendous. The courage it takes to get out there and speak for a community is incredible. They're the four that stand out to me as the superstars of the season. And I love that there's no shoo-in: they didn't cast a Pussycat Doll, or an ex-dance champ -- there's been a lot of that lately. This is the first year in a long time where there isn't a contestant with a tremendous amount of dance experience.
Insider: This is now the thirteenth season and the show typically starts with 13 contestants -- lots of people are buzzing that an upcoming DWTS season could be a battle of all the winners. Would you be interested in returning to the ballroom?
Kelly: It's definitely been thrown around, but it's so scary to think about that for the reason I just said: Looking at the winners, probably 10 out of the 12, have some sort of prior technical training. It would be really intimidating to go up against that. But if I take what I believe in and why I joined the first season – to challenge myself -- and remember that it's not about winning, I might be down for the experience.