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Hair's the story for actress
by Nancy M. Reichardt

Some actors are so identified as a particular soap opera character that they find it hard to be accepted in another role.

Cady McClain played Dixie Martin for 14 years (albeit not consecutively) on All My Children and to a great effect. When she recently quit the show, she did not foresee a quick return to daytime.

She was looking to do other things. She is so identifiable as the AMC heroine she played, that few expected to see her create another daytime character. Yet McClain had barely left the show when As The World Turns came to her with the proverbial offer she could not refuse.

And she developed a new look when she took on the role of Rosanna Cabot on As The World Turns . She has created a character so unlike Dixie Martin that it is hard to recognize the actress.

"It's all about the hair," McClain says. "When I was trying to reinvent Dixie, I would change my hair to help me find the acting challenge.

"Fans thought of Dixie as one character, but I saw her as many different ones. I finally had nothing new to create." She laughs. "There were just no more haircuts."

She describes the hair as part of the external devices that go into making up a character. McClain, an artist herself, likens the process to using an artist's palette. The hair is just one of many colors, but it is one that is most visible.

When she left AMC , McClain says she "left to open doors for greater opportunity. And then I got a phone call out of the blue."

The actress notes that daytime is a demanding job, and she really had left hoping to have more time to pursue the theater, independent films, acting classes, her painting and a myriad of other things. She says she performed in at least 10 plays while on AMC , and although her character on ATWT was once a good girl, she has been scarred by life and McClain welcomes the opportunity to play at being bad.

"She's definitely not a good girl anymore." she says. "And there are just so many avenues I can take."

McClain feels her character's newly hardened demeanor is due to her having been hurt when her fiancÚ, Mike Kasnoff, (played by Shawn Christian, then) and her sister Carly Tenney (Maura West) had a tryst that resulted in a pregnancy.

McClain teases that even though Christian will not be returning to the role, the character is due to resurface soon. Prepare for fireworks.

United Feature Syndicate