At age 7, Camryn Grimes first stole the hearts of soap opera fans playing the uber-cute, freckle-faced character Cassie Newman on the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless. Exuding natural talent, Grimes snapped up the role on her first theatrical audition more than two decades ago. She has been working on and off for that soap ever since, first as Cassie and now as her long-lost, salty-sweet yet sensitive twin, Mariah. The Daytime Emmy Award–winning actress is among several soap stars attending SoapFest Charity Weekend in Marco Island May 25-28. The event benefits children’s charities and Island Theater Company kids’ programs. (theateronmarco.com/soapfest)
NI: Do you have a connection to Southwest Florida?
Grimes: My grandmother lived in Naples for a long time and we would visit when I was younger. I love Florida. My favorite animal is the manatee.
NI: How did your love of manatees come about?
Grimes: My grandma would send manatee postcards from Naples, so I started reading up on them. I loved that they were these bumbling, beautiful sea cows without any natural predators. I connected with their plight [protecting them from boaters] and it became a love for me. I even have a manatee painting in my room. My No. 1 goal when I get there [Marco Island] is to find the nearest manatee. I didn’t get to see one last time.
NI: What do you love most about your work?
Grimes: I love soaps. I think what we do is so underrated. Many people who’ve worked in primetime will come on our show and [tell me] they were thrown for a loop because it’s so fast-paced and different than movies and TV shows. It almost feels like live theater.
NI: What do few people know about you?
Grimes: I’m an avid sketch artist. I have a naked [sphinx] cat. I love the macabre and listen to podcasts like “My Favorite Murder.” I also like the supernatural, the unexplained, and the mystical—like tarot cards and mediums.
NI: What’s it like to be part of SoapFest?
Grimes: This will be my second year at SoapFest. It’s really nice to do events where you can be yourself, joke around, and have one-on-one time with the fans over the course of an incredible weekend. Whether you like soaps or not, [the event] is super fun and we raise a lot of money for charity. And this time I’m gonna see a damn manatee! (laughs)