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General Hospital’s Cynthia Watros Talks Daytime Emmy Nomination and What’s Next for Nina

GH Lead Actress reflects on Nina’s explosive year, affair with Drew, and her own career

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Last year, General Hospital’s Nina learned Willow is her OTHER long-lost daughter, almost lost her to cancer, and finally made her way down the aisle with Sonny… and then it all blew up. With Nina now in a very different space – and enjoying hate sex with Cameron Mathison’s Drew, of all people! – the Daytime Emmy Lead Actress nominee, Cynthia Watros, talks to FIRST for Women about her nomination, soap opera’s big awards night, her character’s drama, and missing onscreen ex Maurice Benard.

MUST READ: Maurice Benard Talks Sonny and ‘General Hospital: 60 Years of Stars and Storytelling’

Plus, Watros – who won the Lead Actress Daytime Emmy for playing Annie Dutton on Guiding Light 26 years ago – opens up about why she returned to Daytime after two decades and a healthy career that included starring roles on Lost, The Drew Show, Titus, and Finding Carter.

2024 Lead Actress nominee Cynthia Watros can’t wait to go to the Daytime Emmys

two women presenting an award
Mishael Morgan and Cynthia Watros presenting awardsKevin Winter / Staff

General Hospital star Cynthia Watros is looking forward to daytime’s big night – and it’s not just because she’s in the running for Lead Actress alongside costar Finola HughesThe Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang and Annika Noelle, The Young and the Restless’ Michelle Stafford, and Days of Our Lives Tamara Braun.

“It’s such a gift,” Watros says of her nomination. “Honestly, I wish I could share it with every single actor and actress on soaps. They should all win! I know that sounds funny, but I really admire this medium and the actors in it. There’s nothing out there like this, because of the product that we have to put out in such a short period of time. It’s such a hard job.”

Next weekend’s Daytime Emmy Awards will be all about celebrating that hard work with her General Hospital family, as well as the larger soap opera community. 

“Awards night is a fun night,” Watros says. “I love that we get to all get dressed up and be together and enjoy each other – because a lot of these people, I’ve known for a very long time.”

MUST READ: Soap Star Tamara Braun Reacts to Her 2024 Daytime Emmy Nomination

2024 Daytime Emmy Nominee and Lost alum reflects on her career

GL-Cynthia Watros as Annie-Dutton 90s
Cynthis Watros (1996)Evan Agostini / Contributor

The reason Watros has so many friends in Daytime is that she got her start on soaps back in 1994. In addition to earning the Lead Actress Daytime Emmy in 1998 for her final year as troubled troublemaker Annie Dutton on Guiding Light, she also filled in as Another World’s Vicky during Jensen Buchanan’s maternity leave.

After that, Watros branched out into primetime and movies, which kept her busy and often on the move with her twin daughters and mother in tow.  

“I’ve had such a beautiful career,” Watros marvels. “But about 20 years into it, I was sitting in some trailer somewhere like New Mexico and I was so… lonely. The shine had worn off on all the traveling.”

GH beauty Cynthia Watros as Libby on Lost
Cynthia Watros in ‘Lost’ Courtesy of ABC

When General Hospital invited her back to Daytime to play Nina five years ago, it felt like kismet and now, Watros is loving her commute to Port Charles.

“I get to go to work, know everyone’s name, become friends with people, and feel like there’s some civility,” Watros shares. “And then I get to play tennis, hike, have a life here, and actually be at home instead of hotel rooms. And I get to have a dog! I’m enjoying all the little things, for the first time in 25 years.”

MUST READ: The Bold and the Beautiful’s Annika Noelle Reacts to 2024 Daytime Emmy Nomination

GH Daytime Emmy nominee Cynthia Watros insists ‘Nina’s not crazy’

GH Nina Sonny wedding with Willow and family
‘General Hospital’Disney/Christine Bartolucci

Even as Watros revels in the stability of her “day job,” she’s also reveling in her character’s ongoing instability.

“Nina’s not crazy or evil: She’s flawed and filled with humanity,” Watros says. “She means well, but she was in a coma for [20] years and that has shaped her personality. She has her ups and downs, and lately it’s been a little bit turbulent, but she’s resilient man. I see her as a way of showing how we, as people, can make mistakes, left and right, and still, we’re worthy and resilient.

“Now, Nina’s mistakes might be a little extreme,” she concedes with a laugh. “I’ve never forced anyone to have a baby prematurely! But she is one of the most flawed and beautiful characters I’ve played.”

By the end of last year, Nina finally found herself part of a family – fulfilling her deepest need. The road to get there wasn’t easy and the honeymoon didn’t exactly last long, but it sure gave Watros juicy, Emmy-worth material to dig into.

2024 Lead Actress nominee talks Laura Wright and Carly

GH Laura Wright and Cynthia Watros Daytime Emmy Guiding Light 1998
Laura Wright and Cynthia Watros (1998)@watros.watros via instagram

For her 2024 Daytime Emmy reel, Watros submitted the painful scene in which Nina confessed her sins, fears, and loneliness to Cyrus (who was pretending to be a priest!), along with some explosive scenes with onscreen nemesis Laura Wright.

“This year was about Nina finding out that Willow was her daughter, so I submitted some of those scenes where Carly had to tell her,” she says. “At first, Nina didn’t believe her, then she believed her, and then she was like, ‘You rotten, dirty bitch!’ It was amazing. And Laura was incredible.”

While Watros is quick to praise her partner in histrionics and Wright was there to celebrate her when she won her first Emmy back in the ‘90s, Nina and Carly would never show each other such kindness and support. Sonny’s ex-wives tend to paint each other as the villains in their respective stories – as do their General Hospital fans!

“I understand that passion,” Watros says. “When I was a teenager, I ran home to watch a soap, so I get loving a soap character and wanting them to do well – because if they do well, then you feel like your team won.”

GH Daytime Emmy nominee Cynthia Watros talks Cameron Mathison’s Drew

GH Drew NIna hate sex Watros talks.jpg
Cameron Mathison and Cynthia Watros in ‘General Hospital’Disney/Bahareh Ritter

Team Nina certainly took a hit last year. Her lies cost her everything she’d built with Sonny and though she got back her beloved job a Crimson, she found herself alone again. Then, Watros got a game-changing message from General Hospital executive producer Frank Valentini.

“They sometimes tell you you’re going to have a love scene – which means don’t go to McDonald’s. For awhile!” she sets up. “So Frank sweetly let me know and I thought, ‘Oh, I guess Sonny and Nina get back together.’ But then a little voice was like, ‘You better text back, ‘With who?’”

Valentini simply replied, “Drew” – as in Carly’s latest ex, who blames Nina for sending him to prison!

“At first, I was like, ‘How’s this gonna work?’” she admits. “But I trust Frank, the writers and the process – and as we were shooting it, I was like, ‘Oh, this really is gonna work.’

“What I liked about it is that Nina got her sexy back,” she adds. “She might not care for his personality a whole lot, but whether you liked it or not, she does find Drew very attractive!”

MUST-READ: ‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Mary Beth Evans Talks Steve, Kayla, Ava and the Daytime Emmys!

GH Lead Actress Nominee admits she misses Nina’s old crowd

woman smiling; cynthia watros
Cynthia Watros Disney/Ricky Middlesworth

Since parlaying last year’s drama in another Daytime Emmy nomination, Watros has been thrust back into the lonely role of town pariah. While she clashed with Ava this week on General Hospital, Watros admits she gets a bit jealous when she spies portrayer Maura West working with her former onscreen love, Maurice Benard.

“I’m mourning not being able to see my friends anymore,” Watros tells FIRST for Women. “Even though it’s just words on a page and you’re playing a character, I miss working with them. When I see Maurice and Maura on a totally different set, I’m like, ‘I wonder what they’re doing over there?’ And I don’t get to see Katy (MacMullen, who plays Willow) a whole lot, and I just love her so much.”

Thankfully, Drew is trying to help Nina mend her relationship with Willow, so she’s getting some time with MacMullen, again. But with Nina and Drew playing a bit nicer lately, it begs the question – could these frenemies with benefits grow to become actual lovers?

“You never know,” Watros hedges. “I’m just having a great time, whatever we have together. Because Nina’s has never had a relationship like this. I mean, she’s downright rude to Drew sometimes, and they’re very raw with each other. I love it.”

MUST-READ: ‘General Hospital’ Star Finola Hughes Talks Daytime Emmy Awards and What Drama Is Next for Her Character, Anna

Whatever to come for Nina, Daytime Emmy-winner and 2024 Lead Actress nominee Watros is ready to celebrate with all her soap opera pals next weekend.

General Hospital airs weekdays on CBS. The 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will air Friday, June 7, on CBS, 8:00-10:00 PM, ET/delayed PT. 

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