Becoming Bianca



Just when gay soap fans were giving up hope of ever again seeing a major gay character on daytime, All My Children's producers announced they had recast the role of flagship lesbian character Bianca Montgomery. With Eden Riegel’s (ex-Bianca) decision to take on the role of Heather Stevens on The Young and the Restless instead of opting to return to the show that made her famous, the door swung open to recast the role. All My Children had some big shoes to fill — Riegel won an Emmy for the role — and the long, exhausting, and very carefully thought-out search for her replacement began.

Enter soap newbie Christina Bennett Lind, a New York-based actress who had been steadily making her mark in that city's theater scene and who looks uncannily like her predecessor. All My Children handpicked the young talent to take on the role of Bianca, and she will make her big debut Tuesday, June 15. Is it just a coincidence? Or is it a timed move, since all the major gay pride celebrations are held this month? Whatever the case, an AMC spokesperson confirmed that Bianca’s return, which coincides with her trying to locate her on-screen mother, Erica, is just one aspect of her future dilemmas in Pine Valley: “There is a complete and long-term story in the works for the character of Bianca from here to kingdom come.”

The Advocate caught up with Christina Bennett Lind to see if she is ready to take on the long haul of a soap actor’s life and also if she is ready to step up and be an advocate for the gay community.

The Advocate: Congratulations on getting the role. I hear you had auditioned for All My Children many times in the past before getting Bianca.
Christina Bennett Lind: I had auditioned for a few contract roles. And I got to know Judy Blye Wilson a bit, who casts All My Children, through the audition rooms. This one came around, and she thought it was right for me. So I looked at that as compliment, because Bianca is a beloved character on the show. This one just worked out.

How have your castmates treated you since your arrival at the studios?

It has been great. Everyone has been amazingly supportive and welcoming. Honestly, I was not sure what to expect, because a lot of people have been on AMC for so long and a lot of people were new. But I think the common bond of everybody just having moved from New York was helpful to me. I think they saw little reflections of themselves in me as I was stumbling around the first week and not having a real place to live.

Stepping into this major role created and made famous by Eden Riegel and being the moral center of Pine Valley has to come with a feeling of pressure. Are you feeling that now?

In the beginning, I did feel a little bit of pressure when I was auditioning for the role. I did look at some of Eden’s footage online to prep for it. She, for obvious reasons, was so beautiful, real, and honest in her portrayal of Bianca. Ultimately, what it came down to for me was not trying to mimic her. Part of me feels very strongly that Eden created a character that was so well-written, detailed, and complicated, and the element of being gay was part of who she was, but it did not define her. I sort of wanted to take that and breathe my own life into it and do something else by using myself rather than using someone else’s interpretation. I understand these emotions and all humans do, of wanting to support your family and be equal and be in love. Ultimately, I said, "I can feel the pressure, but I am going to let it go." The role is so full and rich that I thought, Well, now I am just going to throw myself into it.

Tags: television