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TV Guide Online
Cameron Mathison Q&A
April 23 2002

If patience is a virtue, then Cameron Mathison (Ryan) has an unlimited supply. After four years on All My Children, Mathison got to keep his shirt on and flex his acting muscles in an emotional story that earned him his first Emmy nomination. The heartwrenching saga of the death of Ryan's wife, Gillian, offered Mathison a chance to showcase his skills, and the actor reached down deep to give an intense and memorable performance. Now, Ryan's world is expanding with the addition of his birth father, giving Mathison a stronger base in Pine Valley's family fold. The Emmy ceremony will be a big night for Mathison, only overshadowed by another big ceremony he and his fiancée Vanessa Arevalo are planning in July. Read on as this thoughtful thespian discusses his nomination and his daytime future. — Delaina Dixon

Congratulations on your nomination.

Thank you very much.

Where were you when you learned of your nomination?

I was in the hair and makeup room at work, and I had no idea the nominations were coming out. I walked in the room to get makeup, I looked up, and everybody was huddled around the television watching the nominations. Literally three seconds after I was in the room, my picture was up on the screen.

Were you in complete shock?

I was in total shock. I didn't jump up and down, I just stood there staring with a little grin on my face. It was a big relief for me. I was really thrilled that I was recognized. It made me feel like a weight had been lifted, because I had sort of become popular for other things — like having the shirt off — and this was a wonderful feeling.

What was different in 2001 versus the other years you worked on AMC that allowed you to earn a nomination for your work?

In a large part, storyline. I was given a really demanding storyline, and also I've been studying, going to [acting] classes all through the year. That's been helping me a lot on the show, and off the show on auditions as well.

What is the one skill you've had to work on the most?

Oddly enough, the one thing that you really need is the material, because if you just play a character that doesn't allow you to demonstrate your ability, you never let anyone see your skills. My storyline was big for me throughout the year, and I became much more comfortable and confident with my work as well. You just feed off yourself.

Who was the first person you told?

I called my fiancée, Vanessa, first. She wasn't there so I left her a message. Then I called my mother. She thought something was wrong because she could tell I was in a bizarre state, on the verge of an emotional something. She said, "Oh my God, what's wrong?" I said, "Nothing's wrong, Mom. I've been nominated for an Emmy." She was thrilled and started to cry.

How did you prepare for those agonizing scenes of Gillian's death, which I'm certain is on your reel?

Yep. In daytime, there is always so much going on [at] the set, so I had brought my earphones with me and certain music that could keep me in a place where I needed to be. The whole time I kept my earphones on and didn't talk to anybody, which is very uncommon in this medium. I hid away in the corners until we blocked the scene. If we could have gone right to tape without a dress rehearsal, I would have done it. I was pretty much ready to go.

Was it hard to say goodbye to your co-star, Esta TerBlanche, who played Gillian?

Esta and I are really close, and this was the end of us working together because I knew she was leaving the show. Looking down at her in that hospital bed, all bandaged up, it wasn't really hard to get emotional. It's the longest relationship I've ever been in. I was with her for four years; I've never been with anyone for four years in my whole life. (Chuckles) I just listened to my music and got into a place and believed every word I said. It wasn't really hard to get to where I had to go.

When you were doing those scenes, did you think this could be an Emmy-winning performance?

I did think that this was an opportunity for me to show what I was capable of, and I was looking forward to the challenge. I wasn't thinking of it as a potential Emmy reel, but it turned out that way, and that is pretty nice.

Your character is finally getting a family.

It's phenomenal. I love working with Jack [Scalia, who plays Chris, Ryan's dad] and more with Susan Lucci (Erica) and Alicia Minshew, who plays Kendall. It's really nice to understand my character more. I had been making up my own [character's] past; now it's been defined. It's interesting. Just the other day, I found out Ryan is part Italian, which I didn't know. It's exciting.

Your co-star, Josh Duhamel (Leo), has been nominated in this category before. Has he given you any advice on maintaining your game face when they announce the winner?

No. We're really good friends, and we've been joking around a lot, me and him and Mark [Consuelos (Mateo), who is also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor]. I've been nominated for other awards, so he doesn't need to say any of that, but we have really had a lot of fun in the irony of us all being nominated at the same time. We'll say things like, "Don't worry about it, I've picked out your Emmy reel, it's all taken care of," and kid with each other. It's kind of bizarre. We've got a 66 percent chance of AMC taking home the Supporting Actor Emmy.

Are you preparing an awards speech, and who would you thank?

You can't really help but think about it. You can't help but think of the people who have helped you all the way back, before you even got started. The number one people I would want to thank are my parents and my brother. They are outrageously supportive.

Are you going to give a Halle Berry-inspired speech and cry if you win?

I hope I don't. I'm a little bit of an emotional guy, so I could see that happening to me, but I hope I'm in the position where I don't have to cry.

You've done several projects outside daytime, including a guest spot on The Job. Are you interested in pursuing more prime time and film, and opportunities behind the camera as well?

I would love that. I think everybody in daytime would love that. I've been auditioning here and there and coming close on some stuff. I've got a real cool idea for a documentary to do behind the scenes at All My Children, a spoof, but that's the only thing behind the camera I've thought about doing.

Has it been decided how long you'll stay with AMC?

It's still not figured out. I'm just kind of staying until it is. It's been really great on the show, and I'm getting married this summer, so I might take a little break, and I might not. I don't know. The communication [with the producers] is totally open.

I read you're a bit of a photo buff. What's the last thing you've shot?

I've been so busy, so I haven't really pursued it. I even brought my camera to work, because I want to do portraits of all the actors in their dressing rooms — just capture each person in their own environment. I think that would be a cool thing to do. I'm trying, but I always get pulled in so many different directions.

Well, you are planning a wedding. That takes up a lot of time.

You would think so, but no, I'm not doing any of [the planning], so it takes up zero of my time.

Where and when's the ceremony?

We're getting married in Vail, Colo., in July.

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Ryan and Kendall are the property of Jean Dadario Burke, ABC, and All My Children. This site is in no way affiliated with All My Children, ABC, Cameron Mathison, or Alicia Minshew. It is for entertainment purposes only. Screen captures were obtained from ABC Screen Captures.