Her Life's Right On Track
Soap Opera Magazine
Everything in Susan Haskell's life is terrific: As a child she was "a good kid," she graduated from famed Tufts university with honors, she enjoyed a successful modeling career that took her all over the world, and after only two years on OLTL she's won an Emmy.
Susan is thrilled with the way it's all turning out. "It's been great, especially this last year, which was fantastic," the chestnut-haired actress told SOAP OPERA MAGAZINE.
It's been all peaks and no valleys for Susan, but she climbed her highest mountain this year when she won the 1994 Daytime Emmy for Best Supporting Actress. What skyrocketed her to fame was Susan's compelling, at times heartbreaking performances as Marty, the beautiful young victim of a gang rape by a group of college "fraternity boys." The gripping story of her assault, and her problems in coping with the emotional trauma that followed, has won raves from both viewers and critics.
"The rape storyline has been so rewarding," Susan says. "It's nice to know that all that hard work is paying off, and doing so well with the viewers.
"And I enjoy what I do so much. Every day I go to work loving it. That's the biggest blessing. I can't think of anything better."
Susan's seemingly charmed life began in Toronto, Canada. She was born after her parents, both Americans, moved there because of her father's business.
"They were supposed to stay there only a couple of years, but they loved it and never left," said Susan, who's also a U.S. citizen. As a youngster, Susan says, she was pretty much the same as she is today.
"I guess I was a good kid," Susan admits. "I was the one who was always helping the teachers. I don't think I've changed that much. Maybe I'm a bit more outgoing, because of the business I'm in.
"My mom says she still sees me doing things I did as a kid. I get shy, I put my head down - those things haven't changed at all."
Since she can remember, Susan has been fascinated with science, and she originally planned to carve a career in science and medicine. She graduated cum laude from Tufts U. in Boston with a B.S. degree in biopsychology, which deals with the way the mind affects the body and vice versa.
"It's a real mix of things like nutrition and how it affects your brain," Susan explained, adding that she's still very interested in the subject. "Maybe sometime in the future I'll go back to school and get my master's degree."
At the suggestion of a hairdresser, Susan tried modeling while still in high school and kept it up all through college. After graduation, she became a full-time model.
"I modeled in Milan, Italy, Paris, Germany, then traveled to Tokyo and Australia. They take you to great places. My sister Carolyn was also modeling and she was there a lot of the time, so I had a traveling companion. It was really ideal.
"Then I just decided I wanted to do more. I was making good money, but I realized I wasn't going to be a supermodel, so I began to think about what other challenges I could get into."
After doing TV commercials and finding out she liked it, "acting seemed to me to be a natural progression. I decided I wanted to do it right, to get the basics, the techniques, the speech, so I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts."
The drama lessons paid off. She quickly landed her first professional role in an episode of the TV series My Secret Identity, then got a part in the film Strictly Business. Within a year she was called to audition for her current role as Marty on OLTL.
"I had never watched a soap opera in my life," Susan confessed. "The night before the audition I got the character breakdown, which described Marty, and I liked it. It told me she was angry and lonely, a rebel, with a lot of money, who came from Boston. Tsh_her-lifes-on-track_grouphe similarities our backgrounds were pretty funny. I could relate to where she grew up.
"Then I found out she had a disease, and here I am drooling, thinking: 'Here's the medical stuff I love.' So it all seemed to fit. Her character appealed to me right off the bat."
Susan auditioned for the role and got it - without even taking a screen test! When the job offer came so quickly, she remembers thinking, "Are you teasing me?"
Just like the rest of her life, acting came easy for Susan, right from the first week. She took it all in stride. "I was fine," she says matter-of-factly.
In her first year on the show, Susan didn't have the front-burner storyline she has today. "Looking back, that was great for me," she says. "It gave me a chance to work into it.
"Once you have more confidence, and you're handed an opportunity like the rape storyline, you are more experienced, more comfortable with it, and you're excited about it."
Susan is grateful that the show's writers have chosen to play Marty's story out over such a long period of time. She feels so lucky, she says, adding, "I keep pinching myself."
Susan admits she has no idea what's ahead for Marty. "It's never been my thing to worry about it or ask about it. I have a lot of confidence in the writers. Marty graduated from college recently, so I guess it would be a natural progression for her to get some kind of career.
"She's going to have problems and conflicts dealing with TODD. She has to work through all that stuff. Marty still hasn't let a man touch her. She's a young woman and that's important. She's going to have to deal with that. She's not done yet!"
In her personal life, Susan says, everything is coming up roses (of course!). "A lot of things have settled for me. I like my job, I've got a new place to live. My personal life is on track. My family is healthy. So what more can I ask for?" Susan concludes with a happy smile.