‘The Young and the Restless’ Former Star Emily O’Brien Reveals What Was ‘Overwhelming’ About Her Transition to ‘Days of our Lives’

Emily O’Brien may be new to Days of our Lives, but she’s not new to daytime television. She was previously on The Young and the Restless. In a recent interview, she talked about a difference in filming the two shows.

Emily O'Brien
Emily O’Brien | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Emily O’Brien used to star on ‘The Young and the Restless’

O’Brien is a soap opera veteran. She is most known for playing Jana Hawkes on The Young and the Restless. The actress was in the role from 2006 to 2011. She was nominated for three Daytime Emmys for her work on the show.

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It officially announced in May that she would be coming back to daytime television in a new role on Days of our Lives. Her character, Gwen, was brought onto the show as a “pal” of Claire Brady’s (Olivia-Rose Keegan) as Bayview who also has a history with Jake Lambert (Brandon Barash).

O’Brien announced that she would be on the show on Instagram. She wrote, “After 8 months of discretion, I can finally share with you that I have returned to Daytime TV, 10 years later. But this time, I have joined the multifaceted family over at Days of Our Lives. It feels odd to post this during such turbulent times, but if you need a respite from the news, we are one of the very few scripted shows left running on air.”

The move to ‘Days of our Lives’

In a long-ranging interview with Soap Opera Digest, O’Brien talked about differences between her character and how she is in real life.

“Getting to play somebody who’s kind of raw and scruffy, a misanthrope who doesn’t really fit in very well, feels extremely comfortable for reasons that I don’t know,” she said. “I really truly enjoy playing an outcast.”

O’Brien noted that while she is “definitely quite centered and calm in real life,” she was able to connect with Gwen, a character who is much different than she actually is.

“She’s different and quite unpredictable and much more dangerous, maybe I should say,” she said of Gwen. “She doesn’t look or behave like most of the people in town, and that’s really fun. There’s more room to make a character colorful than if you’re playing an ingenue or a straight character, and it’s more interesting.”

The big difference between shooting on ‘The Young and the Restless’ and ‘Days of our Lives’

Though shooting daytime television moves super quick, due to the fact that new episodes air each weekday, O’Brien says this was even more of a challenge on Days of our Lives due to the show’s shooting schedule.

“It’s [the shooting schedule] extremely quick. But DAYS moves doubly quick,” she said. “On Y&R we did maybe an extra episode per week, and DAYS was doing two episodes per day. That was very overwhelming for me. Then I finally got the hang of it. It’s taught me definite memorization skills and to just go with your gut.”

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS, while Days of our Lives airs weekdays on NBC.