Two-time Emmy award-winning actress Michelle Stafford is beloved by soap fans around the world. Best known for her roles as Phyllis Summers on “The Young and the Restless” and now as Nina Clay on “General Hospital,” the sexy siren is a fiery presence on daytime.
As a single mother to two young children, Stafford has always put a focus on her family’s health and well-being. So when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, it turned her world upside down. Michelle went on a mission to help her sister turn her life around. Accompany her to chemotherapy appointments, and spending time researching lifestyle changes that could improve chances of remission, Michelle saw one thing was missing — what she was putting onto her skin and how that was affecting her health.
Stafford founded Skin Nation (https://skinnation.com/) to give herself, family and friends a healthy product to beautify their skin. She loved the results and worked to bring them to a larger audience. In the process, Michelle has become a full-fledged entrepreneur with her skincare company really taking off in only a year and a half. But the best gift of all is that her sister is in remission and living a healthy life.
In addition to her television and entrepreneurial work, Stafford also serves as the beauty host for “EXTRA.”
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Michelle about how she wants to use her platform to inspire the next generation, as well as how motherhood has changed her perspective regarding the legacy she wants to leave behind.
In 2016, you launched your own skin care product line called Skin Nation. Can you tell us what inspired you to come up with your own brand of skincare products?
My sister was diagnosed with stage three cancer in 2012, and I started to research the toxic chemicals and carcinogenic elements in foods. I had conversations with all of her doctors because cancer was being diagnosed more and more over the last ten years, especially breast cancer. I began conducting my own research and I came across all these secret ingredients in skincare products. Some of these ingredients were like battery acid and aluminum, and this is something women use a lot of every day. I wanted to come up with a plant-based, non-toxic, non-chemical skincare line. And that is Skin Nation.
You are Extra’s special beauty correspondent. Can tell us more about that?
Yes, I am the beauty host at Extra and I hope to expand the position to do more things. I’m essentially hosting all the beauty segments. We focus on what is new in beauty treatments, cosmetic surgery, and how it is connected to health. It’s exciting. I think it is an area that so many women are interested in. I have had some of the procedures done on myself and they’re incredible.
You’ve had the opportunity to have contract roles on the CBS Daytime Drama “The Young and the Restless” and ABC’s “General Hospital.” In your opinion, how has the soap opera platform changed over the years?
I came into daytime television during the OJ trial, and I hear that event changed daytime a lot. At the time, no soap opera captured the public’s attention quite like the events that occurred in the trial. It was like what would become reality television. And unfortunately, it turned into a “show” and all the networks were preempting all the daytime shows to feature the trial. That event changed daytime television drastically, and we lost a lot of our audience because of it. Although I must say, we have gained a lot of our audience back recently because we can now also be found on a variety of different platforms, like Hulu, for example.
How has your preparation technique changed throughout your career in preparing for roles?
It does not change for me. I have a reliable technique that works with any project. Soap operas are done at a fast pace, and you must come up with your choice quickly. With other things, like movies and television, you have a little more time to prepare before shooting the script, and it is one camera. I have done independent projects that come with time restrictions, but it’s great because daytime has taught me how come up with the choices quickly. Sometimes if you have too much time, it might not always be a good thing, especially when you are trying to complete a project.
In 2013, you created The Stafford Project with Paige Goodman and Paige Long. Do you have a desire to reboot the project or create other content in the future?
I do have plans to reboot the project. We took a little bit of a break and then decided to shop it around. That is a process in itself, because you always get a bunch of no’s at first, and that is fine. The biggest roadblock that we have faced is trying to set up working schedules with Paige Goodman, Paige Long and myself. Because they are producers, they have other obligations that they are involved with as well. It’s all about finding the time where everything is aligned. It’s something that I want to reboot, but when that happens, I want to be able to focus on that task.
What platform would you like to partner with to distribute the project?
I would love to have one of the web-based platforms distribute the series. I love coming home and watching shows on Netflix. What they have done with the platform is very impressive. I feel the web-based platform is the only one that would work, because “The Stafford Project” is not made for network television.
How do you want to use your platform to inspire the next generation?
I don’t know if I inspire anyone out there, but I do want to inspire my children. They are the people I think about inspiring the most. If I do encourage others out there, that is great too. I also want to inspire women. That is something that I have always wanted to do. Like a women’s movement. To me there has always been a movement of women’s issues, and empowerment has been very intriguing to me. Women have always been a unique breed – but of course we love our men as well.
Can you tell us a little more about The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project and Citizens Commission on Human Rights?
The Literacy Project is a non-profit in Hollywood. It’s an afternoon tutoring program for children of all ages. And Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a great group that I have been a part of since the Columbine shootings. I wanted to make a difference after I was made aware that children were being exposed to medication. Now, of course not every one of them wants to harm their classmates. But we should be prepared and act before this happens again. There are a variety of different side effects with these medications. There are already warning signs before they are even given to children.
How has motherhood changed your views on life regarding the legacy you want to leave behind?
I want my children to think I’m cool, and they don’t. I want them to treat others like they want to be addressed and be able to achieve the goals that they set for themselves. Of course, having children has changed me completely.
What can we expect from your skincare line?
I’m going to have an event in October for the public. We have preservative-free, organic, plant-based products. And they’re affordable too (between $30- $40)!