Eden Riegel on Bianca and Reese, Prop. 8, and “Imaginary Bitches”

 
 

Eden Riegel recently returned to ABC’s All My Children to reprise her role as Pine Valley’s beloved lesbian sweetheart Bianca, whom she first played in 2000, when Bianca was a teenager coming to terms with her sexuality. Eight years later, Riegel’s character is now a mother of two and newly engaged to Reese (Tamara Braun), an architect she met in France.

During her time away from the daytime drama, Riegel and her husband Andrew Miller launched a web series called Imaginary Bitches, in which Riegel plays a single (straight) woman with high-maintenance imaginary friends (tagline: "Life’s a bitch. Then you invent one").

Immediately after the election results on Nov. 4, Riegel created and starred in an anti-Prop. 8 PSA (with her Imaginary Bitches co-stars), and donated a portion of her DVD sales to fight for gay marriage.

We chatted with Eden via email this week about improvements in lesbian visibility on daytime TV, gay marriage, and discovering her inner bitch.

AfterEllen.com: How does it feel to be back on All My Children? Any chance you’ll extend your contract and stay longer?
Eden Riegel: It’s amazing to be back. It’s like going home (if home was a really cold studio filled with really gorgeous people). But the best part is working with Tamara Braun. She’s a fantastic person and an amazing actress.

As far as extending goes, I don’t know. My immediate goal is to execute the current story as well as we possibly can, but if they have a way of extending this story into something equally exciting, who knows?

AE: What do you think the writers have in store for Reese and Bianca? What would you like to see happen with them, if you were writing the storyline?
ER:
When they asked me to come back, it was to explore Bianca and Reese’s relationship as they moved toward a wedding. Which is why I was so excited to return.

In terms of the future, what I want is for us to really dig in deep to the issues that come up for same sex couples as they make the adjustment to from love’s first blush to becoming a family. Bianca and Reese have had a head start with Bianca’s beautiful daughter Miranda, but bringing another child into the picture brings it’s own set of complications. Especially when it’s the biological daughter of only one of them.

I love the idea of exploring what family really means and what’s great about daytime television is that you get to see the relationships and dynamics shift and grow over a longer period of time than you can in other, quicker mediums.

AE: The first sex scene between Bianca and Reese just aired and it was one of the sexier ones your character — or any lesbian character — has done on daytime TV. Did you and Tamara talk about how to approach it ahead of time? Are you happy with how it turned out?
ER:
We work so well together and are so comfortable with one another, we just went into those scenes like we would any others. I haven’t seen the final product yet, but I’m extremely happy with the reaction they’ve gotten from the fans! We thought it was pretty hot, too.

AE: Your character seems to be allowed to be more physically affectionate with Reese than she was with previous girlfriends. Do you think this is a sign of progress, and that there is more acceptance by the American public — or at least those who watch daytime television — of same sex couples on TV?
ER:
Absolutely! There was a time not so long ago that Bianca and Maggie could barely greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, now Bianca and Reese are actually in bed together. I love it!

Bianca and Reese’s sex scene 11/14/08

In my experience, soap fans have always been extremely accepting of Bianca’s journey because daytime fans really care about their characters.

If you’re a fan of the show and you like Bianca, you want her to be happy and the scenes we’ve done are an expression of that happiness. It’s always easier to accept a different lifestyle when you know and care about the person (or character).

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