Let's see...Sarah Brown has won two consecutive Emmys as conniving Carly Roberts on General Hospital, she's a working mom to daughter Jordan, who will be a year old in July, and she's a scholar. How does she do it? Only she knows for sure. Kids, if you thought Oprah was driven, you haven't been treated to the world according to Sarah Brown.— Jonathan Reiner
Is it hard to leave all the angst over baby Michael at the studio?
I have days when I walk out of the studio and I'm so depressed...I just want to drive off a cliff. Not seriously, but I just have this "letdown" feeling. I walk out of a scene in which my heart has just been torn out and I'm bawling my eyes out, or I'm screaming at this one and I just threw that one up against the wall, and it all can get to you. The trick in acting is to try to leave that stuff at work and not let it affect you. But I do personalize a lot of my work. That's just the way I work.
Sometimes you've got to find a little compartment in your brain and you have to turn it off when you leave and then turn it on when you come to work. It's very difficult. What I usually do is jump in my car and turn the music up really loud on a great station, and I try to just focus on the music. Once I do that for a little while, all the tension is gone by the time I get home.
Have Steve [Burton, Jason] and Billy [Warlock, A.J.] been helpful?
Yes. They're both awesome actors and a lot of fun to work with. If you mean helpful in the sense that it helps me to deal with the trauma of it all, no. But they are helpful in the sense that I come to work and do these awesome scenes with them, so even when I feel awful and lousy, I say to myself, 'It's good because this is really good work, and that's what it's about.' For me, it's a personal struggle to keep the work in a little box and keep your personal life on the front burner of your mind.
Carly is exactly the kind of mother that everyone thought she would be, but have you changed a lot since becoming a real-life mother?
I don't think I ever experienced the word joy until I had my daughter. I feel pure, infinite joy and light when I'm with her. It's bigger than anything I could ever hope for and imagine. It's truly awesome, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I mean, she likes me pretty well.
It's an incredible responsibility, too.
It's the biggest responsibility I think I've ever had in my life, because you're shaping the life of another human being, and the children are the future. There is a lot of second-guessing yourself and not knowing if you're doing the right thing by [being a working mom]. That is a big thing for me. If you don't work, you stay home and spend zillions of hours with your child, and as they get older, they're your whole [life]. Then, when they leave you, you've got nothing left. That happens to a lot of women — they don't know where to put their energy when their children leave because the children have been the sole focus of their lives.
I want to find a way to make a balance. I'm really passionate about what I want to do in the future, and I think that it's setting a good example for my daughter, because she'll grow up and realize that there is a way to balance motherhood and a career.
Does she come to the studio with you?
She comes to the studio with me almost every day that I work.
Are you raising her Jewish?
Yes, she's Jewish. I converted, and she converted with me.
Since you weren't raised Jewish, what does it mean to raise a Jewish child?
There is a lot of responsibility in it because there is a lot of history with our people. I had no prior knowledge of Judaism before I started studying it, and I got deeper and deeper into it as I went along. I study Kabbalah and I've been reading a lot and really getting into everything. I also read the bible, because throughout history, there have been people who weren't Jewish but who still did incredible things, and I want my daughter to know all there is to know, and all that is good.
At the same time, I want her to have a connection to the people and the state of Israel, and the hardships that Jewish people have gone through in the last century. When I converted, they asked me why I wanted to have a child brought into this world as part of a people who have been persecuted throughout history, and my simple response was, "Because that's who she is. It's in her blood, and her father and mother are Jewish." It's not about worrying about what might happen to the Jewish people in the future. It's about knowing who you are and standing up and believing in what you're connected to. If my daughter grows up and doesn't feel connected to Judaism, I won't feel like I failed. I'll just feel like that's not her path and she doesn't have a Jewish soul.... but I think she does.
I mean, we're not huge into going to the synagogue every week. Judaism, for me, is more a spiritual thing than a religion, but I feel that I have a Jewish soul. I didn't convert because of my marriage; I just always felt like there was a Jewish soul inside of me just dying to get out.
Professionally, what are some things you're looking forward to doing in the future?
I've got a lot of projects in the works. I'm always thinking about what's next, and I've got really big plans for myself. I want to do some films, nighttime work, and I'd like to work with the best of the best. That's my ultimate goal and dream.
How do you stay so spiritual and so driven?
I really have to focus on it!
Well, you really seem like you have it all together.
You know who has it all together? Jackie Zeman (Bobbie, GH). She's just an awesome example for me. She's been such a mentor to me, but she doesn't even know it. She makes me want to be a better person, because she gets up at 4 a.m. to feed her kids and get them off to school, then she comes to work and jogs, and she knows all her lines! I'm not saying that Jackie is the reason for my fire — I have a lot of good role models around me. I just have huge dreams, and the sky is the limit for me. There is no box that you can stick my dreams into. Whatever happens to me in my life, my spirit will persevere. I know that about myself from where I've come from and where I've come to.
You've done a pretty good job so far, I'd say!
I won't go as far as to say I'm proud of myself, because I don't think of it in terms like that. I think, more than anything, I'd like to be a really good example to every young woman or young man out there who comes from a situation in life where they may feel like they don't have the same opportunities as everybody else. And I want to let them know that they have all the opportunities the world has to offer, because you are responsible for who you become.
Although what has happened to you in your life may have shaped you into who you are at this moment, who you become is up to you. So, I want to be that example for anybody who was my age when I started thinking about bigger and better dreams, and about getting out of a small town and trying to do something. What I've learned about life is that whatever you think you can't do, you can — you just have to push yourself into the direction of miracles.
I think I say this to every actor, but you should write a book or have your own radio show!
I don't have time for that right now, but thank you. Maybe I'll think about it in the future. I've got a billion dreams, and there's just not enough time in every day to do everything. That's something I'm learning now — that you only have 24 hours in one day and you have to find a way to expand your limitations, and there are limitations.
Do you have a personal relationship with some fans?
Actually, I do. It's funny because I've taken on a couple of pet fans, I don't mean to say it like that, but I had a girl who wrote to me who lived in the same town that I lived in when I decided that I wanted to become an actress. She wrote me this incredible letter about where she was in life and what her dreams were and how she didn't know if she would be able to reach them. She sounded so much like me at her age, and her name was Sarah Browning, it was really funny. I got on the internet and looked up her email address and I sent her an email which was a couple of pages long about how I did it, where I went, and she immediately jumped on that advice. One day, when I have a lot of free time in my life, I'd like to devote a lot of time to trying to make a difference in a mentoring sort of way.
Everyone knows that you're incredibly talented, but I'm really pleasantly surprised to find out that you're so spiritual and also so willing to give back.
I think my dad is the biggest spiritual leader in my life. He's so awesome! He turns me on to all kinds of amazing books. I've been reading all these books and trying to expand my mind. I'm getting into this whole quantum physics and time-space continuum thing, which is really killing me. You find that with all these things, it's pointing toward the same thing — that there is one God, and no matter how anybody describes it in any different religion, it's all the same...just a different description.
I'm amazed! You read about quantum physics, too!
Quantum physics is so amazing to me. The whole theory of the time-space continuum is amazing. I'm reading these Stephen Hawkings books called Black Holes and A Brief History In Time, and they are so awesome! They expand my mind in a way that nothing else ever has. I started reading it, and I thought: I'm just a dot, a tiny little pebble that floats around this insignificant, medium-sized sun. It really makes you put things into perspective.
I hope you don't confuse the Hawkings stuff with your lines. That would be awfully embarrassing.
Yeah, it would be embarrassing, and a little confusing for a lot of people.