Eden Riegel joined the cast of “All My Children” in the summer of 2000 as Erica Kane’s lesbian daughter, Bianca Montgomery
. Only after Riegel won the role did producers tell her she would play a homosexual—the first openly lesbian central character to be exact. “I wanted to make sure they were going to do it in a responsible way, that it wasn’t just for the sensationalism of it,” she says.
Although she is not gay in real life, Riegel had little trouble researching for the role. She turned to her half sister, who is gay, for advice. “I had never heard her coming out story,” says Riegel. “She had been through a very similar situation as Bianca. She was trying to deny it to herself and to everybody else that she could be gay.”
Prior to winning the coveted role, Riegel landed her first major acting job in “Les Miserables” on Broadway. She attended the Professional Children’s School where her classmates included Macaulay Culkin and Christina Ricci. In addition, Riegel went on to guest star on such shows as “New York Undercover,” “Law and Order,” and “As the World Turns.” She also starred in the 1999 hit teen comedy, “American Pie,” opposite another daytime alum, Jason Biggs (ex-Pete, ATWT).
In 1998, Riegel enrolled at Harvard University where she planned to major in social and political theory. In fact, she planned on putting acting behind her and becoming a lawyer. For extra curricular activities she participated in Hasty Pudding, Harvard's Theatre Club, and performed with an acapella singing group, The Radcliffe Pitches. At the end of her sophomore year, Riegel landed an internship at the White House. But her agent submitted her for the role on “AMC” and the rest as they say, is history. “I do want to finish my education,” she says. “But this is what I love, and I don’t think I could be happy doing anything else.”
After being nominated four times for Outstanding Younger Actress for her portrayal of Bianca, Reigel finally nabbed the award in 2005. It was also the year Eden left the groundbreaking role she created to pursue other avenues. She moved to Los Angeles, spendiing her time auditioning pursuing stage work. She was recently seen in a reading of Agnes of God at the Theatre at Boston Court in Pasadena, California.
In addition, Riegel continued to make the occasional appearance on All My Children where she reprised her beloved role of Bianca. She returned to the role full time in the fall of 2006.
DID YOU KNOW?
When in Los Angeles, Riegel hangs out with former AMC stars, Elizabeth Hendrickson (ex Maggie), Eva LaRue (ex Maria) and Amelia Heinlie (ex Mia, now Victoria, Y&R). While she is on deferred status with Harvard, Riegel studied Spanish at UCLA.