Soap Notes: Victoria Konefal on Playing Ciara Brady on NBC’s Days of our Lives
When Victoria Konefal joined NBC’s Days of our Lives last year, she took over a high profile role. Ciara Alice Brady is the daughter of one of the show’s most legendary super couples: Bo and Hope Brady.
When the character started airing in December 2017, fans instantly accepted her version of Ciara: a tough talking, leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding young woman. This quick approval is a feat not always easy to accomplish. But Konefal did it without breaking a sweat.
Well, maybe she broke a little sweat. The soap newcomer tells TV Goodness the audition process was “nothing I was ever used to.” In fact she says it was more strenuous and secretive than she ever expected.
“It took a total of four months and I went in the room about seven times, and the entire time I was auditioning, I didn’t even know I was auditioning for the role of Ciara. They had given out this nickname with a fake storyline because they didn’t want any of the secrets of the show to come out.”
Once she did find out who she’d be playing, she didn’t have to go far for help with research. She already knew who Bo and Hope were thanks to her mom, an avid Days watcher.
“Bo and Hope really were her favorite characters ever,” Konefal says. “They were her super couple. They were what she looked forward to watching. So when I told my mom that I play Ciara Brady, she let me know how important that was. She made me understand.”
Over the last six to seven months, her mom’s lovingly shared her thoughts and opinions on her daughter’s storylines. “Like, she hates Claire, but she loves Olivia [Rose Keegan a.k.a. Claire Brady],” laughs the native New Yorker. “So she’ll call me and she’ll be like, ‘She’s so mean, blah blah blah.’ I just have to remind her that it is a show and all those things aren’t actually happening to me.”
To help her transition into life on a daytime drama, Konefal says she’s relied on several things including her high school education.
Growing up in New York, the actress went to Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts, more widely known as The Fame school. Plus, she’s discovered she has a talent for memorizing dialogue. “I have learned that my memorization is stronger than I thought it was. I have to film three episodes a day sometimes so I learned that I’m able to work in crisis mode.”
And she’s turned to her soap mom, Kristian Alfonso. “Kristian’s amazing. There’s something about her, I don’t even know how to explain it,” she raves. “She always teaches me how to know what my lighting looks like when I’m on set. She teaches me about everything, little tricks. Memorization tricks. She gave me the whole background of the character. I’m so grateful to Kristian.”
Ciara’s recent past is pretty dark and tragic. In addition to her father dying, her step-brother raped her. She’s a character that’s referred to herself as damaged goods, but at the same time, she exhibits an unwavering strength.
“I love how outspoken she is, I love how she doesn’t let anyone walk all over her,” Konefal explains. “I think she gets her strength from Hope as well as her own life experiences. Being through everything she’s been through pretty much forced her to grow up and be stronger than she needed to be.”
Konefal’s currently embroiled in a classic summer story featuring betrayal, arson and a broken leg. What it all seems to be leading to is a potentially fun yet twisted triangle.
On one side of the equation is Tripp (Lucas Adams), her sorta-but-not boyfriend. Ciara caught him almost hooking up with her niece/roommate/former bestie, Claire.
“They genuinely care about each other,” she says. “Tripp is the first person that Ciara has let into her life romantically since Chase did rape her. So he is a really special person in her life. He helped her bring that guard down. But now the guard is back up because he betrayed her so she doesn’t even know what to think anymore.”
She does feel there’s hope for Tripp and Ciara, however. “Once Ciara understands the situation a little more and once she realizes that it was pretty much Claire that initiated it and she was being manipulative, once Ciara understands that, I’m sure she’ll forgive.”
On the other side of the equation: ex-serial killer Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson). Konefal says she’s surprised how quickly that ship has taken off. “[It’s] all I see in my Twitter feed. I can’t keep up with it. The fans are really going for it.”
“I think that the dynamic between their characters is really good, in that they’re both damaged souls and they kind of understand each other,” she continues. “They see each other for who they really are if that makes any sense. And, I don’t know, I think that the whole idea of him being a reformed man, and a man who has changed, it doesn’t work unless Ciara buys it.”
Konefal feels like Ciara does genuinely believe it thanks to what transpired in the recent cabin scenes. “[Ben] took care of her, he saved her life, he cooked her food, he washed her feet, he washed her shirt. They had all this time and Ben kept proving himself to be a trustworthy person so that’s where the trust comes from.”
Another benefit of this evolving triangle: the simply perfect super couple names. In the social media universe, Ciara and Tripp are known as Tiara (Konefal: “Tiara is perfect!”) while Ciara and Ben are called Cin. In fact, there’s a contingent of fans out there who have labeled this the Summer of Cin.
?: @robertscottwilson pic.twitter.com/4cjs5NKUom
â€” Days of our Lives (@nbcdays) July 6, 2018
“The fans are so creative. They came up with the names so quickly,” Konefal says in awe. “I remember when Cin first started coming about and the fans were deciding between Cin and Biara and Bin, like, B-I-N, and I don’t really like that one, ’cause it’s kinda like garbage bin. But, Cin? I think it’s really sweet. I don’t know. I really like that name. It’s a good one.”
Whatever your shipping preference, she’s just grateful the fans are invested. “They get so into the show and all I want to do is make an impact on the fans and make them feel something,” Konefal adds. “They let me know when I do and I appreciate it so much. I may not be the best at responding to them on Twitter because I get overwhelmed with technology, truthfully, but I appreciate them so much.”
“Fans, if you’re there, I love you so much, and I hope you don’t think I’m ignoring you because I am not. Rob is a lot better at talking with fans than I am, but I love the fans so much.”
Speaking of Wilson, we had to ask Konefal about the fun way he pronounces her character’s name: “See-ARE-uh” versus “See-AIR-uh.”
“Listen. He just didn’t know how to pronounce my name. So he was winging it. And then after a while the directors told him the real pronunciation,” she laughs. “Kristian [Alfonso] actually came up to him and was like, ‘it’s See-AIR-uh.’ And so, eventually, he fixed it.”
“I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t right because he was doing such a good job and we were so into the work. So I let it slide, But Kristian did not. She didn’t want him to call me by the wrong name.”
Fans will soon be able to get a glimpse of Konefal in another project, the upcoming horror indie, Fog City, where she relished playing a villain. “It was actually the first film I ever shot, but for some reason, it’s coming out three years after I shot it. I don’t know why. But it was amazing because the character really let loose and I got to be crazy, that’s so much fun.”
Make sure to catch Konefal weekdays on NBC’s Daytime Emmy-winning drama Days of our Lives. Check your local listings for times.
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