Soap Notes: Actress Brytni Sarpy Talks General Hospital [Exclusive]
The Spencer familyÂ on ABC’s General Hospital is legendary. Does it get any bigger than Luke, Laura and Bobbie? They’reÂ three of the most famous characters to ever call Port Charles home. Earlier this year, the Spencer clan gained a family member, in the form ofÂ Valerie, Luke and Bobbie’s niece. The character immediately got off to a drama-filled start when a troubled Luke held Valerie hostage.
TV Goodness recently checked in withÂ Brytni Sarpy, the actress who plays Valerie Spencer. Sarpy’s a native of California; she graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama; and now she’s getting the chance to impress soap fans on GH. SheÂ talked to us about her character, working with a powerhouse cast; and her love of ABC’s Scandal.
TV Goodness: I just want to get it out of the way and tell you I do watch General Hospital.
Brytni Sarpy: Awesome!
TV Goodness: First of all, I think youâ€™re doing a great job.
TV Goodness: And second of all, for people who donâ€™t know, tell me about your character.
Brytni: So I come in as Valerie Spencer and itâ€™s kind of a big deal because she comes into a legacy family, Luke Spencerâ€™s niece. (multipleÂ Emmy Winner Anthony Geary) They have an estranged sister, Patricia, who they end up just meeting because Luke has been going through his kind of like a bipolarity kind of mental breakdown, if you will. And in order to find answers everyone is looking for this sister that no one has ever met which is Patricia and they end up finding me instead. And with that said, I kind of get pushed into Port Charles through situational circumstances with what is going on. Itâ€™s a lot to kind of get into.
TV Goodness: I know I get it.
Brytni: Valerie is a Spencer through and through. Sheâ€™s tough sheâ€™s passionate. Sheâ€™s a go-getter; she wears her heart on her sleeve. She definitely has hero qualities and sheâ€™s a good girl. Sheâ€™s a fighter. She grew up raising her mother because sheâ€™s been sick. Sheâ€™s taken care of her mother and has a very maternal quality about her. Sheâ€™s sincere.
TV Goodness: The thing about it is, youâ€™re a newcomer to soaps and you came into an iconic family. Your first day you’re working with some legends and Emmy winners. Tell me about that? Was it exciting for you? Was it scary for you or both?
Brytni: So exciting and such a quick learning experience. Working with Tony (Geary) I think heâ€™s one of the most giving actors that Iâ€™ve ever worked with as of yet. He definitely raises the bar for you. He makes the scene better and better because he is such a giving actor. Heâ€™s really dialed into you so youâ€™re really able to go there with emotion. Jane (Elliot, Tracy Quartermaine) — she gives amazing advice. Sheâ€™s really good at easing my fears a little bit on days I was feeling a little nervous. Also Emme Rylan (Lulu Spencer), whoâ€™s been in soaps for so long, I feel like she is my soap buddy or big sis if you will. That is transitioning into a new character, everything in soaps in general. Yeah, itâ€™s been a fun experience, especially working with those amazing people.
TV Goodness: And itâ€™s a different pace then any other type of acting. How are you handling the lines?
Brytni: (laughs) It was explained to me before I jumped in that it is more of a memory muscle type thing that after awhile you just get it. You just kind of find the flow. So I think first week, I had maybe fiveÂ episodes. It was a lot. I think I already have really progressed with my ability to retain information, to get there emotionally, to make my marks where they are supposed to be, invested mentally in my character work. I think as time goes on Iâ€™m getting better and better and better, which is cool. It sets me up for success in so many different areas because, like you said, it doesnâ€™t happen like this everywhere. Usually the amount of scripts we cover in a week can span an entire feature film or half an entire season on a primetime show.
TV Goodness: Yeah, absolutely being on soaps is great as an actor. It helps you in every other aspect of your career.
TV Goodness: What can you tell me about where Valerie is going? One of the things that I noticed, obviously Lulu and Dante are a big couple, but you are starting to form a bond with him and itâ€™s making Lulu uncomfortable. Besides that what can you say aboutÂ what is happening with your character?
Brytni: I think right now Valerie is just trying to find her place in Port Charles. Valerie doesnâ€™t know any of her family at all. She doesnâ€™t know anyone in Port Charles and the only one who has taken her in is Dante, which is why I think their relationship has progress well. Which makes it natural for a character like Lulu, itâ€™s her husband, to be weary about this new girl in town, be it her cousin or not. You know? Â Yeah, I think those dynamics are going to be flushed out a lot more between Lulu, Dante and Val. And I think that sheâ€™s really finding her placement in town as far as her family and getting to know everyone better…and where sheâ€™s going to work, where sheâ€™s going to lay her grass roots in Port Charles.
TV Goodness:Â What else do you do besides being on GH? Are you working on any other projects right now?
Brytni: Projects wise, Iâ€™ve been kind of devoted to Valerie, especially for the first few months. Iâ€™m just getting my feet wet and really understanding my character. I kind of like to dive in and take things kind of in a mental space and really dissect my character so I know what Iâ€™m doing. So for me focusing on that is important. Aside from that, daily life, is that what you are asking as well?
TV Goodness: Yeah. I know you have a dancing background.
Brytni: Dance is my other passion. I do that a lot in my spare time, modern, jazz, hip-hop, ballet techniques…And I love to work out. So fitness is kind of my go to when Iâ€™m happy or sad. Yeah, I like to eat. (Laughs) I like to eat well.
TV Goodness: What do you want to see for your character?
Brytni: I just think I really want Valerie to start establishing herself in Port Charles. I would love her to have different storylines with different characters and really make her mark in Port Charles. Yeah, just growth, I think for her.
TV Goodness: Your character is living with Nikolas. Do you see that going somewhere? I know Rebecca Budig (Hayden) is playing sort of his love interest now, butâ€¦.
TV Goodness: How do you like working with Tyler Christopher (Nikolas)Â and that dynamic? Do you see that going anywhere or no?
Brytni: Tyler is great. As far as their relationship, I feel like their dynamic as housemates is going to stay like that for a while. I think throwing in a sexual relationship or relationship in general would be a little muddy for Valerie right now. But who knows? Iâ€™m not sure as Brytni. Probably not leaning towards that but it could happen you never know. He is a womanizer!
TV Goodness: Iâ€™m going to take a right turn but one of the things I ask people when I interview them is — because we are called TVGoodness — what are the TV shows you love and have to watch?
Brytni: I love Game of Thrones. Iâ€™m so happy itâ€™s back. I love Scandal — I think Kerry Washington has done an amazing job.Â I hope they donâ€™t get Papa Pope (Joe Morton). Heâ€™s such an amazing actor and adds such quality to the show.
TV Goodness: Youâ€™re part of an iconic family on General HospitalÂ and I think the show has been really good these last couple of years. I just want to thank you for talking with me and I hope to get to talk to you again.
Brytni: Yeah, thank you so much.
General Hospital airs on ABC. Check your local listings for times.
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