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Kelli Maroney:
"Kim & I? We're Not at All Alike!"
Originally Published in Soap Opera Digest
(October 14, 1980)

They both hail from the Midwest…are actresses…and have come to the Big Apple to seek fame and fortunate--but that’s where the comparison ends! As Kelli Maroney was quick to point out, she and Kimberly Harris are not at all alike. She’s distinctly different from Ryan’s Hope’s nubile young vixen. Munching on a fast-food lunch of hot dog and soda pop, Kelli then ruminated on these differences and how they originally caused her a bit of difficulty with the role. “At first I had trouble with the part because I didn’t like Kim, didn’t like the things she was doing, and couldn’t imagine myself doing them--but I knew this had to change," Kelli began. "If I was ever to get a handle on the role, I knew I had to accept Kim’s basic manipulating nature, learn not to be judgmental, to broaden my mind ... and I did! ... and it worked! I am now greatly enjoying playing the part." Kelli's words flew around the room in a dizzying fashion. She couldn't seem to get them out fast enough. Sparks appeared to shoot forth from her fingertips, eyes, and very infectious and winning smile. It was refreshing and dazzling display and made glaringly obvious, another contract between her and Kim (one could never expect such unguarded reactions from that young woman!) Somehow sensing my thoughts, Kelli agreed: "Kim masks her true emotions...I don't! She has this motto, even if she feels rotten, she is going to say, 'hey, that doesn't bother me,' but I can't do that. If I'm hurt, I show I'm hurt. My instincts were to play everything for what it was. I had to learn to bury my own feelings. It wasn't easy."

Softer, less hyper, Kelli's whole demeanor had changed, as she voiced these last thoughts. It appeared she had great sympathy for the woman/child she's portraying ... to truly understand her cover-ups ... the games she plays -- games of survival. "I know exactly where Kim is coming from, Kelli softly smiled, agreeing with my assessment. "She grew up on ice. Nobody cared about her, nobody loved her -- the product of an illegitimate affair, she was given by her mother to her grandmother to raise. Yes, her grandmother probably loved her, but that didn't make up for the lack of not having a father or a mother. Not having natural parents made her feel very different -- and in a Midwestern city one doesn't like being looked upon as odd. Thus, she always felt she had to be twice as talented, twice as pretty, twice as charming, before anyone would accept her. It was very sad. It definitely put her under a lot of stress."

These deep-rooted problems have propelled Kim to take a much older man (a father figure?) as a lover ... and that's another area where Kelli and Kim have parted company. Kelli stated quite emphatically that she would never get involved with a man much older than herself. "I have always dated men who are four or five years older than I ... but no more than that," she explained. "I guess I would be suspicious of an older man who wanted to get involved with me. I would I assume I was just a little girl and wonder what he wanted from such a young girl. I know that sounds weird, but that would be my first gut reaction to what's going on. I couldn’t just relax and enjoy the relationship. I would always be searching for the man's ulterior motives.

Sex quite naturally follows love, and I commented that I found Kim to be a young woman quite comfortable with her sexuality. These words brought and immediate and fierce reaction from Kelli. "Kim is not comfortable with her sexuality, which is why she throws it around all over the place!" Kelli strongly corrected me, her eyes blazing intensely. "IT is just a device she uses to get her way. She has always used it so she is comfortable with the game. The only man she felt anything for was Seneca. The rest of the time it is like she is using it -- as with Michael. She never never really enjoys sex. It's just a tool ... and instrument to get her what she wants."

The smoldering looks, the proper sizzling body language -- Kelli seems to be very much at ease playing the sexpot side of Kim. Her lips parting into a small playful smile, Kelli concurred, explaining why this facet of Kim has been giving her the least trouble. "Unlike Kim, I am very comfortable with my sexuality and I guess I am because of my upbringing. Though it was never something we would just sit around and talk about, my parents never treated sex as being dirty. If I had a question, they would answer it -- they wouldn't hide under the table and blush." Pausing for a second, Kelli then blushed and added, "And through all this it occurred to me that sex was pretty neat."

If Kelli had been discussing Kim with such passion and love, it's probably because she's very grateful to have been awarded the opportunity to play the part. It's her first daytime role -- and major acting break to boot! -- and it happened so suddenly ... so unexpectedly. To paraphrase a familiar cliché: she had met the right rental agent at the right time. "I had just arrived in New York," Kelli breathlessly related, "was looking for an apartment, and the woman who was showing them to me had contacts in the business. She told me she knew this agent and would like me to see her. I did ... and got an audition. The next thing I knew I was auditioning for the role of Kim. I started work on the seventh day I was here. I'm still having a hard time I'm actually on TV. I never expected to be so lucky!

Time was up. Kelli had places to go, people to see. As she had stated earlier: "I am single-mindedly working on my career right now. That's the number one priority in my life at the moment. I have just begun. There's so much more I plan to do."

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