(by Stefania Del Monte)
Emmy Award nominated Katherine Kelly Lang is known to the general public for her role as Brooke Logan Forrester in The Bold and the Beautiful, a character she has played since the show’s first airing, March 23, 1987. Katherine is the only actress of the initial cast, together with John McCook (Eric), to still work on the series.
The famous CBS soap opera – which has become the most popular ever in the United States since 2020 – tells the story of the Forrester family, owners of a fashion house in Los Angeles. First aired in Italy in 1990, the show celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in the boot on June 4th.
The B&B’s troupe seems to have a special bond with Italy, where the set has moved several times, and Italian fans have reciprocated this affection by showing constant loyalty over time. Even today, in fact, the series is followed in Italy by over 3 million spectators per episode.
Over the course of three decades, audiences have seen co-star Ridge Forrester marry 13 times, 5 of them with Brooke Logan, a woman who never ceases to surprise us.
In real life, Katherine Kelly Lang is an internationally renowned star and mother of three, grandmother, woman in love, sportswoman and promoter of various charity causes. Let’s find out a little more about the incredible woman who hides behind the historical TV personality, asking her directly to tell us how she manages to live such a dynamic life, continuing to work with enthusiasm without, however, giving up enjoying her affections.
Good morning, Katherine! We are here to celebrate thirty years of broadcasting in Italy but B&B, The Bold and the Beautiful, is actually airing today in 100 different countries, with over 36 million spectators per day. When you first started, were you expecting such a success?
We knew that creator Bill Bell was a master storyteller, and he had so many previous successes, so we had an idea that the series would probably be successful. But we couldn’t have imagined how successful it would become, and how many seasons it would last. Those first weeks of filming were magic. The sets, the costumes and the feeling of excitement around the set were all extraordinary. We knew something special was happening… and here we are, celebrating thirty years of broadcasting in Italy!
The soap was actually shot in Italy on several occasions. What were your first impressions of the country and the Italian fans?
The Bold and Beautiful location shoots in Lake Como, Venice, Portofino, and Puglia have been some of the best experiences of my life. The first few times I went to Italy after the show became successful, it was such a surprise to experience the exuberance and warmth of the Italian people. They expressed their love and affection so openly and freely, shouting across a courtyard and running toward us to give us a big bear hug. It was something I’d never experienced before. The people are just wonderful. Every Italian is a chef and also an artist, always creating something magnificent, from dramatic architecture to grand gestures. Italians are bigger than life, and it’s wonderful. I would love for the series to shoot in Italy again, and I’m sure we will again, once things settle down a bit. Maybe sooner than we think.
Have you visited Italy again, for holidays?
Italy holds a special place in my heart. I love it there: the people, the food, the history, architecture, the art—everything. My family and I visit Italy as often as we can, both for work and for pleasure. I love Milan, Rome, the Alps, the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, I could go on and on. We’ve met so many wonderful Italian artists and business partners. Some have become close friends. I suppose it’s starting to feel like Italy is a second home for us.
We all know Brooke Logan Forrester but who is Katherine Kerry Lang in real life? What are your interests and your passions?
Surprisingly, there are ways I am like Brooke: we both love our children. We are businesswomen who are ambitious and driven. We are very passionate and competitive, and we have a determination to be happy. We are sensitive and feel our emotions very deeply. We are celebrities. We live in Southern California and work in a creative industry. But we’re different in many ways. I have always put my family’s and my children’s needs first and, for the most part, I feel I’ve made the right choices for them. There’s a lot less drama in my life, thank goodness. I also dress differently from Brooke. She’s more buttoned up business casual and I’m more boho chic: no make up, jeans and a tee shirt. And I’m into sports. Before, it was long distance horse-racing and now it’s triathlons. The main difference is that I’m a real person and she’s a fictional character I play. I have my priorities straight. I know what really matters in life, and I know how to create balance. I’m not sure about Brooke. I like that social media have made who I am more available to the people who watch me play Brooke on The Bold and the Beautiful.
What do you think of Brooke? What are her strengths and her weaknesses?
Brooke follows her heart and she can’t fake it. She’s authentic. She’s a woman who’s not afraid of being completely empowered that way. When she’s in love with a man, she goes for it. She doesn’t wait for him to pursue her. She’s ambitious and follows her professional dreams and achieves them too. She is unapologetic about her choices. At the bottom of her heart, she’s a good person, and she loves her children passionately. Sometimes she makes the wrong choices, but it’s not because she’s self-destructive or self-defeating. It’s because she’s human. One of the most surprising things about Brooke is how she can find redemption even after making grave mistakes. I think that’s a positive message for everyone. We are all human and we all make mistakes, but we can always find forgiveness and make a new beginning.
What keeps your enthusiasm alive in playing Brooke, even after so many years?
Brooke is a wonderful character. It has been an incredible privilege to be able to go to work every day and play her for so many years. She is never boring. When I get my scripts, I’m always surprised by the challenges she is facing today. Every story is different, even though they sometimes may at first seem similar. She’s so familiar and part of me that I can’t imagine life without her. This role has given me so much and, coming to work every day and fulfilling my passion to be an actor, is priceless.
Who is your favorite character in B&B?
Brooke, of course. She doesn’t get cynical about love. Her heart is always open to it. She’s always ready for a new adventure.
And your favorite actor?
They are all my favourites and I have chemistry working with each of them in a different way. Susan Flannery (Stephanie) was so disciplined and powerful as an actress and she always challenged me to be at the top of my game; John McCook (Eric) is so funny, even when he tells the same corny joke for 30 years; Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) is a manly man who is a sensitive poet at heart; and Annika Noelle, who plays my daughter, Hope, is such an amazing actress. Our entire cast is inspiring, but these are the people I have had most of my scenes with, so they are the people I’m closer to.
In addition to portraying Brooke in The Bold and The Beautiful you have done many other things. For example, you recently starred as Elizabeth Morgan in the romantic comedy Stan the Man. Is working in a movie very different from working in a soap opera?
The pace of filming might be different. There might be only one camera in a film, while in the soap we use three at the same time. Things like that but, apart from the technical differences, the work of an actor is the same. What’s fun for me is to play new kinds of characters. It’s great that the shooting schedule of B&B has a lot of time off we can use to do outside projects. Brad Bell allows me to take time away from the show for that, too.
You have been constantly at work for over 33 years. Has it been difficult to be a professional actress, a woman and a mother of three at the same time?
It hasn’t always been easy. I was pregnant three times during the filming of The Bold and the Beautiful. Brad Bell and the production were always great about either hiding my pregnancy (wardrobe, props and camera tricks), or writing it in, and giving me time off to give birth and take care of my new-born baby. The show is so family friendly that I’ve been able to bring my children, when they were babies and toddlers, to the set. Sometimes they even played Brooke’s fictional children on the show. That was great, because I could be close to them while I was working. Then when they were older, I tried to be there as much as I could. I would do anything for my children, and while my daughter Zoe was pursuing tennis, I passed on a lot of extra traveling for work so I could travel with her to her tournaments. The production has been pretty flexible overall, so that’s one of the reasons why I’ve stayed for 30 years. I could be a mother and an actress.
You are very much involved in charity work. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I hope to be able to do more for others this coming year through the charities I’ve made a commitment to support, Women for Tri and Breakaway from Cancer. Women for Tri is an organisation that encourages women to participate in and train for triathlons. Before, mostly men competed in triathlons, but now participation by women is growing. I am so honoured to have been a part of Women for Tri from the inception. I love supporting women and do that whenever I can. There has been a huge jump in numbers since we started this. A lot of women are now becoming involved in triathlons all over the world and signing up for races. Breakaway from Cancer is a national initiative to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention through survivorship. I’m a national spokesperson. My father died when I was 13 years old from colon cancer, and both of his parents also passed away from colon cancer as well, so I always knew I wanted to get involved and help with cancer awareness, prevention, and treatment.
Do you have any unfulfilled dreams? Something that you still haven’t done?
I will always push myself to continue to discover new limits and try new things. I just became a grandmother for the second time. I would love to run a marathon one day. We just opened a clothing store in Beverly Hills, Benheart USA, where we sell handmade Italian leather goods. I hope to keep launching new jewellery and triathlon gear lines, and I also hope to do more for others this year through my charities. I hope to be acting in new films, and maybe even producing. And I never want to stop working full time as Brooke on The Bold and the Beautiful. I’m looking forward to some great storylines for her in the second half of 2020. Life always has some new experience waiting around the corner, and I’m up for it.
Cover: Katherine Kelly Lang
images courtesy of the interviewee
Read here the article in Italian