Mishael Morgan’s mother is a huge fan of The Young & the Restless.
She has been watching the highest-rated daytime drama on American television since migrating to the Greater Toronto Area with her family two decades ago. The only reason her middle child – the second of three girls – viewed the series then was because she did not have a choice.
“Sesame Street was usually on at the same time and it annoyed me that I couldn’t look at it because my mom was looking at her favourite show,” recalled Morgan. “When I became a teenager, I started following The Young & the Restless.”
The family matriarch now has another reason for being glued to the television when the internationally syndicated soap opera is airing.
Her daughter debuted on the show last June as Hillary Curtis.
“This is a brand new character which is good for me because I didn’t have to figure out how to play her any differently than someone else had,” said the actress. “She was my character from the start and I modelled her after me when I was in university as someone who is very driven and ambitious and knows what she wants in life.”
Morgan’s entrance to the show, which has been running since March 1973, was almost surreal. She landed the role after sending her tape to the producers.
“The executive producer couldn’t remember someone getting on a show through just forwarding a tape,” said Morgan. “They looked at my reel and basically said I had the job. That was how it was relayed to me. I was very nervous my first day on the job, but as soon as I got on the set, everyone was welcoming and understanding. They made me feel as if I was part of the family.”
At age 10, Morgan acted in her elementary high school production – Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.
“I fell in love with acting then because I enjoyed being alone on stage where I was allowed to shine,” she said. “I just love that feeling but I didn’t pursue acting at the time as a career because I felt it would be hard for me to make good money as an actress.”
One night while covering a friend’s bartender shift at York University where she graduated with a political science degree, talent agent David Ritchie walked in and convinced Morgan to put her law school plans on hold and sign with his agency – Ambition Talent – which he opened seven years ago.
Impressing producers in her first audition, she landed a role in Trey Songz’s ‘Wonder Woman’ music video and her first regular role as Tracy Dupont-Roymont in YTV’s Family Biz. She has also appeared in hit TV shows The Best Years, Republic of Doyle and Beauty & the Beast and feature films, including Beat the World, Casino Jack and Total Recall.
Morgan was accepted in the University of Ottawa Law School program in 2008.
“Two weeks before I started, I landed my second series regular role on a show and I found out the money I could make would pay for my law degree,” she said. “So that’s how I sold it to my parents and was able to put off school for a year.”
Now acting full-time, law school will have to wait a few more years. Her father predicted she would be a lawyer because she fiercely defended her older sister when she got into trouble at home.
“I will become a lawyer someday, but acting is what I really want to do now because that’s what makes me happy,” said Morgan, who migrated from Trinidad & Tobago at age five.
She intends to make the most of this career after being given a second chance in life.
In December 2004, Morgan was involved in a serious car accident while vacationing in T & T with the rest of her family.
“It was the first time in a long time that I was back in the country of my birth for Christmas and as soon as I landed, my cousins invited me out,” she said. “We went to a restaurant and made a few other stops before I encouraged them to return home because I was feeling exhausted. I fell asleep in the back seat and the next thing I knew I was being dragged out of the car and my neck was hurting badly.
“At the hospital, the medical staff suggested putting some plates at the side of my head to shift the bone back in place if I did not have money for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). My dad said he would pay the bill and insisted they do the MRI to find out exactly what was wrong with me.”
Tests revealed that the C7 cervical vertebra, which is at the top of the spine, was broken in two places and Morgan would have been paralyzed from the neck down if the MRI was not done.
By RON FANFAIR