Actress Jacqueline MacInnes Wood will never forget where she was when she got the call back in 2008 that she’d landed the role of Steffy Forrester on THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL. “I was in the changing room at Victoria’s Secret at The Grove [an L.A. shopping mall],” she revealed to Soaps In Depth. “I was a screaming, squealing girl in a dressing room!”
The news meant Wood would need to hustle back to her native Canada in order to get her work-visa paperwork lined up to start the job in less than a week. A whirlwind, to be sure, but by the time she was back in Los Angeles for her first day on set, she was feeling calm, confident and totally in control. “I was nervous but not as much as you’d think,” she admitted. “What made me most nervous was the fact that my first scenes were with [Hunter Tylo’s] Taylor and [Ronn Moss’] Ridge. I grew up watching B&B, so I knew these faces.”
It wasn’t until the following week that Wood finally started to feel that dreaded sense of doubt kick in. Learning her first day’s scenes had been easy because she’d had more than a week to memorize them, after all. “They were the same scenes I’d auditioned for, so I felt good,” she explained. “But then they gave me about eight or 12 scripts for the following week, and it was just like, ‘Holy... !’ I had to keep my head above water.” Thrown into a storyline that involved both a romance with Marcus (played by Texas Battle) and ongoing hostility with Brooke, Wood felt as if she’d been chucked into the deep end of a pool and didn’t know how to swim! “I think I blacked out for, like, three months after that,” she laughingly recalled. “There was a lot going on and a lot that I was learning about myself as an actress. That’s when I got nervous.”
It’s been 10 years since then, and while in many ways, it seems like just yesterday, Wood acknowledged that if she were to look back at those early scenes, she’d probably have some critiques. “Absoutely,” she says, “but I also know not to be too hard on myself.” While she learned how to master lots of material in a short amount of time, the actress says the show still keeps finding ways to outpace her. “We’re working at an even faster speed now, if that’s even possible,” she says, noting that it’s the biggest change she’s noticed with regard to the gig since she started. “I would kill to have the days like we used to!”
When she debuted on the show, the actress was a 21-year-old with a blank-canvas future and no strings attached. Today, she’s a more grounded businesswoman who recently got married to Elan Ruspoli. “I’m such a different person than I was then,” she says. “It feels so long ago, and yet it’s gone by so quickly.”
Though Wood took a hiatus from the show from 2013-’14 to travel the globe as host of the E! travel series PARTY ON, she’s continued to get her wanderlust sated on B&B, calling the travel opportunities one of the biggest perks of the gig. At the same time, she’s equally content in her adopted city of Los Angeles with the sort of consistent schedule most actors can only dream of. “This is where I want to be,” says the newlywed. “I feel very fortunate, humbled and honored to live in this beautiful city and still get to film all over the world. We have one of the best shows on the planet!”
Ten years in, Wood still loves coming to the set and laughing it up with her co-stars, and she’s grateful to viewers for going the distance with her as well. “The fans have been so loyal and dedicated, even during the two and a half years I was gone. It’s such a wonderful feeling to have people go through my ups and downs, both as an actress and as Steffy. They’ve been there, and it’s really humbling.”
For more on your favorite B&B stars, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!