Flashback moment: I recall visiting the set of Days of our Lives in the eighties and seeing Christie Clark at work. I was amazed. She was not only cute as a button, but talented too. She was a kid, a young teen. I recall her mom on the set who told me, 'We will see where this goes.'
'You're kidding. My mom said that?' Clark laughed. Today, some twenty something years later, Clark is still cute as a button, talented, but has blossomed into an extraordinary young lady who has returned to play the role that let's just say 'has made her a mark in the fictitious town of Salem.'
She was nominated for four Young Artist Awards for her portrayal of Carrie, and was nominated for two Outstanding Younger Actress Daytime Emmy Awards.
Clark, a native of Orange County, California, has been playing Carrie Brady on and off Days of our Lives since 1986. (Andrea Barber played Carrie before Clarke, and for one year in 1990, Tracy Middendorf played the role). She returned this past December after a six year absence in what she refers to as 'coming home.'
'Oh absolutely. I wanted to come back and just work,' Clark shared with Soapdom. 'I was really tired of the whole audition scene. I called Ken (executive producer) about a year ago, and just flat out said, I want to come back. I let it be known that I was interested.'
During Clark's time away from Days of our Lives, she embarked on new ventures that included traveling abroad with friends, and doing Shakespeare at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. And oh yes! She tied the knot.
'I've been busy. My husband is British. I was introduced to him through a friend, and who would have known I'd be marrying him,' Clark said. 'It's so ironic! I was going to leave for home a day earlier when a friend encouraged me to stay a day longer, and I met him. Boy am I glad I stayed.'
Acting has always been a first love for Clark. She said that as a child she possessed a passion for the art after performing as a kid in a play.
'It's like you know this is for you,' Clark said. 'I just pursued it, and things started happening.'
A family friend helped her land an agent and she started with a commercial for Mattel. She appeared in the horror film 'A Nightmare on Elm Street Part II, Freddy's Revenge,' and had a guest appearance on 'Ask Max' before landing on Days of our Lives.
After playing Carrie for a couple of years, she left to pursue other options that have included guest appearances on 'High Hill,' 'Life Goes On,' Danielle's Steel's 'Changes,' and the film 'Children of the Corn-Part II,' as well as a stint on General Hospital.
Clark said that the joy of everything she has accomplished is her current return to Days of our Lives.
'Over the years I've been back and forth on Days. Don't get me wrong, everything I've done has been the greatest experience,' Clark said. 'But coming back, is like coming back to a second family. Everyone from cast to crew has been just so supportive, and I'm so pleased to have the job.'
Clark admitted that while she was away she kept up with Days of our Lives just to know what was going on with whom and keep abreast of the storylines.
Clark feels that the popularity of Carrie is due to her being a good girl, very giving, and with close ties to the core of the show. Not lonely that, the fact that the viewers saw her literally grow up on the show also adds to the character's appeal, Clark believes.
Clark added that although Carrie posses all those qualities, she'd like to see her stray even for a day.
'As an actress you like to branch our. I'd like to be a bad girl. I don't always want to be stepped on,' Clark said. 'I'd love to go wild! Give me that one night stand. I'd like to show my tom boy side. It would be such fun.'
Clark does enjoy the fact that she never knows what will happen next. She has never met the writers' and has only seen a photo of James Reilly (head writer), but believes that intrigue is important.
'I really do. I like to be shocked,' Clark said. I like being excited with the script.'
Clark's first day back was a bit nerve wrecking, and she tried to be the real pro of following everything to a tee, but today is getting more relaxed with a little improvising and adding her charm.
'Working with Alison Sweeney (Sami) is just a joy, not to mention how proud I am of her and the fine person that she turned out to be. She will improvise, and now I'm starting to get in it. It's such fun and it makes for great viewer ship,' Clark said. 'Oh yea! I must throw in how proud I'm also of Melissa Reeves (Jennifer) and Judi Evans (Bonnie).
Clark opened up on the speed of the soaps today and how much faster she has found the storylines to move as opposed to years back. She feels that they move swifter for the fans to keep their attention.
'Let's face it! Today you have talk shows, computers, iPods -- it's easy to be interested elsewhere,' Clark said. 'I think that by showing if you missed an episode, you missed a lot. You need to grab the audience.'
Away from the grind of daytime, Clark enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, and commuting between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
She is also quite an entrepreneur. Well, sort of? She has invested in a restaurant called 'Mamacita's" in San Francisco, a place that serves the 'best Mexican food,' she said. The business is co-owned with her cousins and plans are in the works to open one in Los Angeles.
'I don't know about entrepreneur. I'm probably more like Carrie. If I had to be in charge of the financial situation, I'd be in trouble. I like to give things away and feed everyone,' Clark laughed. 'I'm the creative type. I did the decorating, and on a Saturday night you'd find me drinking, eating, being merry, and spreading some Christie love, and make it smell nice like flowers.'
Clark is full of bright ideas and goals, and is an explorer by nature. She's always open to new ideas and believes in 'Never say never.'
'I'm that way. Everyone should explore what life has to offer. I'd like to someday pursue writing and see where that goes. Heck, someday I may own a blueberry farm or taco stand in England,' she gushed.
Clark said that her parents have instilled great values in her. They made her pick up the dog poop. She also credits the Days of our Lives family as a big part of her life.
Soapdom wants to know if you have any message or thoughts for your many devoted fans? 'Just thank you for your support and welcoming me back with open arms,' she enthused. 'As for a message? Enjoy each day. Travel and enjoy the world.'
Christie Clark's timeline on Days of our Lives
(1986-1990, 1992-1999, 2005- )
2317 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, California. 94123
Web Site: mamacitasf.com
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