Though It Hasn’t Always Been A Fairy Tale, Kristina Wagner Is Grateful For Her 35-Year Journey With GH.
Thirty-five years ago this week, on September 7, 1984, GH audiences were introduced to spirited Aztec princess Felicia Cummings, who would go on to become one of the show’s most popular heroines. Her debut not only changed the course of Port Charles history, but had an enormous, almost incalculable impact on her portrayer, Kristina Wagner (Kristina Malandro at the time), who was only 22 years old when she was plucked out of college in Indiana to take on the role.
“Absolutely, profoundly life-changing,” is how Wagner describes her sudden soap stardom. “Everything changes. Even the way your own personal family views you, the way you’re received, and the way you move about your day-to-day life.” Her perspective on her celebrity — and on her fans — has changed over the years. “It used to be terrifying for me to meet somebody who was so enthralled with this person that you portray on TV. It used to be so frightening for me. And now I have nothing but gratitude, love, appreciation, respect.”
Both on screen and off, the actress’s early years on the show were defined largely by Felicia’s storybook romance with Frisco, played by Jack Wagner. The characters married in 1986 and 1990; their portrayers followed suit in 1993, but divorced 13 years later. In recent years, Wagner’s relationship to the Frisco/Felicia phenomenon has also undergone a transformation. “When people would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, you guys inspired me so much and I really fell in love with Frisco and Felicia, they made us feel so good,’ it didn’t really resonate with me,” she explains. “I just couldn’t grasp where they were really coming from; this was my job and I was just kind of showing up for work.”
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