Natalia's Curtain Call

Natalia's Curtain Call

As Guiding Light, daytime and broadcast history's longest running soap, ends its run on September 18, so too will it end the controversial run of its popular same-sex duo, Otalia. Actress Jessica Leccia (Natalia), one half of soap's most famous couple, along with on-screen acting partner Crystal Chappell (Olivia), certainly has been at the epicenter of the latest plot twists that have left some in the gay audience baffled. Here's why: Jessica was pregnant and set to go on maternity leave, so to write Natalia out of the show, the writers decided to make the character pregnant from her one night of passion with Frank Cooper, the man she had already dumped at the altar, when she realized it was Olivia who had stolen her heart. Viewers were hoping for a different exit story line, but it was not to be.

After giving birth to her new daughter, Leccia went back to work at GL to play out the next and final beats in the story line. In this exclusive with, the beautiful and talented actress gives her perspective on the lack of outward affection fans have been clamoring for from Otalia, reveals what to expect in the wrap-up from the soap's most famous couple, and shares the emotional moments of shooting her final Guiding Light episode. Leccia also talks about the impact Natalia had on her in her personal life, the groundwork it laid for all future same-sex couples on television and on the Web, and the opportunity to work with the amazingly talented Chappell. As many may know, Jessica is set to join Chappell's new Web series Venice this fall. on the birth of your little one, Ivy Lola. How is motherhood? How was it coming back to finish up Guiding Light following your maternity leave?
Jessica Leccia: My daughter Ivy is fabulous and a tiny little nugget of love. It has been crazy. I am glad I got a chance to be there for the end and had a nice farewell, because otherwise it would have felt very open-ended, which would have been even sadder. I am glad I could do it.

How do you think fans will feel about the ending of the Otalia story line?
Either way, everyone is going to be a little sad...the whole thing is just sad. I hope the fans can appreciate how the story ended or didn't end, or however they see it. Everybody really did the best they could, and no matter what, it's just going to be a little bittersweet. There was not a whole lot you can do, because the story has to be over and you really don't want the story to be over. I did not envy the writers at all.

Since Guiding Light has been canceled, did the compression of the Otalia story impact you as an actress? Did it make it any more challenging?
No, not necessarily. It would have been the same regardless if it would have been the end of the show or not. It just meant that the stakes were higher. You always want to go out with a bang. I think things were geared to go in the right direction whether Guiding Light had gone off the air or not. I think we have a nice way to say goodbye to some of the characters that did not seem too final or too sad. It's hard to describe it because I have never been in that position before.


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