The Right Man for the Job

Yani Gellman leads Y&R into its first wave of gay storylines in the show's 36-year history -- and controversy ensues.

BY Michael Fairman

June 02 2009 12:00 AM ET

YANI GELLMAN ON Y&R (

Viewers found out in a conversation during a potential setup for a date that Rafe was gay. In case some missed the very nonchalant moment, set it up for us.Basically, Lily was trying to set her good friend Colleen up with me as sort of this new eligible lawyer in town. So she leaves the two of us to talk over coffee, and I sort of mention in a very offhanded way that I am gay. It was done in a way that was sort of matter-of-fact. The nice thing about it was, there was a comfort level with it that I think spoke highly of the show and our audience and where we sort of are right now in society, in that a character on the show can be very much be a lawyer and a person first, and his sexual orientation really is just another element of his persona.

Have you watched any of the other gay story lines on the soaps, such as Otalia on Guiding Light or Nuke on As the World Turns to see how these shows are tackling same-sex issues and relationships?I am a Y&R fan through and through, and I don't stray too far from it. I grew up watching Y&R with my sister after school, and I never dreamed in a million years I would wind up on the set and having it out with some of the heavyweights on the show! It's just awesome! It's a dream come true.

Speaking of the heavyweights, who have you gotten the chance to work with that blew you away, now that you were actually on set living your dream?The funny thing is, it's such a comfortable set to work on. The entire cast has been so welcoming, and they really quickly set you at ease. I had a scene recently with Eric Braeden [Victor], which was a bit of a confrontation scene where about halfway through I had to pinch myself and go, "I can't believe I am locked in a bitter stare down with Victor Newman, one of the biggest icons of daytime television ever!" And then I had to tell my sister about that scene right away, even though you are not supposed to give out spoilers. I was like, "Oh, my God! You are not going to believe who I just had a scene and yelling match with! It was Victor, and it was really cool."

Rafe Torres is Adam Newman's trustworthy attorney. Adam's turn to the dark side has taken so many twists. On one episode Rafe stumbled upon a box with the Botox in it that Adam had been injecting into his eyes to make him appear blind. Is Rafe going to figure this out?I am not at liberty to talk about where the story is going. You would never want to ruin the surprise for the audience.

Does Rafe feel "friendly" or attracted toward Adam? Is he smitten, or is he suspicious of his client?Let me put it like this: Rafe is anything but a dumb guy. At the same time, he has a responsibility to protect his clients' interest, and that is all I will say!

You are related to the former Newman maid, Estella, who was just kicked to the curb after Victor and Ashley suspected her of being behind the "gaslighting" of Ashley.Yes, I am related, and she is my Aunt Estella. We are developing that relationship there, and as the episodes come down the pike, you will see more of the backstory there.

So many men, so little time ... the rumors have been rampant on who will be Rafe's love interest. Could it be the "straight" and twisted Adam Newman, the incoming John Driscoll as Phillip Chancellor IV, the just-returned Thom Bierdz as Phillip Chancellor III, or someone else?I am very much an eligible bachelor. The truth is, I don't know yet who my love interest will be, but I have a couple of people in mind. How's that?

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