First there was Brangelina, and now comes Otalia. The blossoming romance of Olivia and Natalia on the CBS's long-running daytime drama Guiding Light has been the buzz of the soap world for weeks. The groundswell of support for the couple has given birth to the now-famous acronym. Daytime fans and the LGBT audience have been curious and compelled to watch the daily drama unfold -- two women who have never before been in a same-sex relationship are finding their way toward love with each other.
Currently, the struggles of these two mainstay characters to identify and come to terms with what and how they feel for each other has even mainstream press keeping tabs on the show. Last week Otalia made the Must List from the editors of Entertainment Weekly.
But is there a long-term commitment to the characters and the story? Is there another man on the way to put a stop to the train that's left the station? Advocate.com spoke exclusively with Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia just as Otalia's world is about to be rocked this week on Guiding Light.
Advocate.com:What was your reaction when you were told that they were going to be pairing Olivia with Natalia?Jessica Leccia: For me personally, that I would be working with Crystal was exciting, and it was overwhelmingly positive. Crystal Chappell: This story has been in the works since January of 2008 and it was told to us then. I am open to whatever story they want to tell, and it's certainly something I have never done before. It was just a matter of being patient and seeing how and when it was going to happen.
It's been interesting to see how the romance is developing. These are two women who were originally enemies, moved in together out of necessity, and became friends. Is there a moment in Olivia's journey when she realized she had deeper feelings for Natalia?Crystal: I think she is confused. She is surprised how she is even able to coexist with another female and not be competitive with her. Natalia has given her a sense of home and "being" that she has never felt before. I think she is just feeling differently than she has ever experienced. After the "My Two Mommies" essay came out and her daughter opened up that perspective to her, she started to look at things a little differently.
Are both women in a state of denial?Crystal: I think Olivia is sensing she wants to say something. She just doesn't know what to say and she does not want to let this person go, because she is sensing she is more than just a friend. Beyond that, I think she is terrified. Jessica: Natalia has been in visible denial. I think she did acknowledge to herself that is she was OK with letting things lie for a while. Then she could cling onto the happiness she had with Olivia without complicating it.