Soap Interviews: Christel Khalil Grows Up in Genoa City


photo courtesy of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

Interview by Gwen Reyes. Originally published for TV Week by FYI Television

“Daytime Emmy” winner Christel Khalil is a huge part of the landscape in Genoa City. The original Lily Winters appeared as a young child, but in 2002 Khalil took over the teen-aged role and quickly made a name for herself on “The Young and the Restless.” She left a few years later, but quickly returned to the role custom made for her, tackling a meatier Lily and pushing her into darker territory. Once she aged, Lily began running in bad crowds, but always found her way back to her family.

“For fourteen years [is a lifetime],” says Khalil on her decade and a half run with “Y&R.” “I would say she started off as a bratty teenager and then she [turned into] this goodie-goodie who never did anything wrong, but she’s made some mistakes recently. She’s this fierce protector over her family. She just kind of evolved from starting off really nice, but now she kind of shows her teeth every once in awhile.”

Khalil has no plans to leave Genoa City anytime soon, but she does struggle with the mundane elements of her character, especially when she notices the repetitive storylines and situations Lily runs into. Many actors love spending years with their characters as the time provides ample personal development, but Khalil does wish Lily could do more than just spend time with her family.

“It’s just been the same thing [for her],” adds Khalil. “Family this and family that, but it would be nice to have something else [for her to do].”

Lily and Khalil practically grew up together, and it’s almost hard to know where one ends and the other begins. What is easy to see is how much Khalil cares for Lily, especially when she desires so much more for Lily outside her family obligations.

“Never in a million years did I think I would be here fourteen years later, that’s for sure,” notes Khalil. “You get to do more than the same thing over and over again, so it’s been nice getting to have something to do. I’m hoping they will integrate my character more with other characters. Sometimes I feel like I only work with the actors that play my family, rather than doing business with someone else or having drama with something other than just family. I’m hoping that will happen. I’d love to get her back into modeling or into the fashion business; just something fun and different.”

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