The internet practically exploded with THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS fans reacting to Brytni Sarpy’s debut as Elena — specifically, the character’s first meeting with Devon, which clearly left the widower feeling a bit befuddled. While Sarpy says that she was excited to create the character of Elena, she confesses that she also felt a whisper of trepidation, because she was well aware that Devon and his former love interest, Hilary, were one of the most wildly popular couplings in Genoa City. Indeed, their love story only ended when Hilary’s portrayer, Mishael Morgan, left the show, prompting the soap to kill off the character in a poignant storyline arc that had Devon marrying her right before she died. “I’m treading really lightly with this whole situation,” the Y&R newcomer insisted to Soaps In Depth. “I know how sensitive these shifts can be!”
Not that the beauty isn’t up for the challenge. “I came from playing Valerie Spencer [on GENERAL HOSPITAL], where I broke up a very liked couple with Dante and Lulu, so I understand being on the front line where the audience does not want a shift to end, and starting a new one,” she smiled. “But the writing team has done such a fantastic job. Hilary’s presence is always visible.” And that was before Morgan returned to tape scenes which showed just how much Devon’s late wife was still on his mind… even when he was with Elena! “As scared as I was about it,” said Sarpy, “I think Elena’s evolving relationship with Devon is being written very delicately. I haven’t heard much negative reaction so far!”
Of course, at the moment, Elena comes across as a warm, caring doctor, struggling with her own demons, which are centered around her mother’s untimely death. Still, soaps have a tendency to throw in twists and 180-degree turns for characters. Sarpy shied away from identifying her alter ego as either the classic good girl or a vixen. “I think humans are multifaceted, so it’s very hard to pin them down into one category or the other,” she admitted. “We all make decisions, and some of those decision can be bad or have terrible consequences.
"I feel like Elena’s secrets are slowly coming out, with dealing with her mother’s death and that trauma," added the actress. "She was committed to her work instead of her mother, and she now feels guilty. She’s removed herself from being a resident [at the hospital], which is almost like she’s punishing herself. All she has left of her family is Jett, and she wants to right the wrong of not being with her mother by being there for Jett while he’s sick. I’d say that she’s a good person with baggage… but who knows?” Anything could happen!
Whatever happens with Elena — or even Elena and Devon — Sarpy is savoring driving onto the CBS lot. “It’s been a really easy, chill transition [from ABC],” she admitted with a smile. “I love the environment, and am really enjoying working with the people here. I would love to share scenes with everyone on the canvas. I think Y&R does a great job of bringing characters on and threading them together. The more Elena makes Genoa City her new life, the more chances I get to play with everyone!”
For more on your favorite Y&R stars, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine