Story by Karen Paton-Evans
Photography by JPI Studios
Though previously nominated three times for a Daytime Emmy for her role as Steffy Forrester in The Bold and the Beautiful, everything was different for Windsor’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood when she received a fourth nod this year.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gave her the great news on Mar. 20, reaching the actress at her Hollywood Hills home where she and her husband, Elan Ruspoli, were delighting in their 16-day-old son.
Getting ready to attend the award show on May 5, Jacqueline carefully put on her gown and then went to kiss her baby goodbye. Little Rise promptly spit up on her light-hued dress. She quickly changed into a dark gown.
Arriving in Pasadena, California for the 46th Daytime Emmy Awards, “the heel of my shoe broke off just before I got to the red carpet,” she laughs.
Jacqueline was a little concerned that her seat was near the stage, in front of her peers and far from the restroom should she suddenly need to do what nursing moms do.
Keenly aware she was in unchartered territory, Jacqueline felt stunned when her name was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. “I didn’t expect to win. For the past six weeks, I had been saying goo goo ga ga to my baby. Now I had to talk to all these people. #MomRealLife!”
Jacqueline is now back on set and learning what it is like to be a working mom. The actress, recording artist and television personality set her baby on her knee and spoke with Windsor Life about the most amazing 12 months of her life.
WL: Where and when did you meet your husband?
JMW: “A friend introduced us and we went out on a double date three years ago August. We support each other. Our love language is the same. We’re not really big cellphone people and when we’re at home, we like to unplug and just be together.”
WL: What are you discovering about Elan since he became a dad?
JMW: “He’s over the moon. Fatherhood has opened up a different part of him. I knew he was going to be an incredible father. Elan is already so in touch with his feelings. We’re on the same page. When there’s a beautiful moment, we sit with it. Not a lot of people do that. We constantly ground each other and remind one other to be grateful. I’m very excited for him to pass on his knowledge to our son. We’re really enjoying this time.”
WL: Any big changes in your home since your baby son arrived?
JMW: “Once he’s a-movin’ and a-groovin’, we will have to babyproof more.”
WL: You can party with the best of them, as witnessed on the E! television travel series, Party On. Now that you are a mom, what are you typically doing on Saturday nights?
JMW: “Being on that show was incredible. I wanted to do some traveling before having children and have fun. I am happy to have done it and I am happy that time is over. Now I have this beautiful baby boy. Juggling motherhood and going back to work, I respect so many moms out there. What did I do with my entire day before my baby was born? Thankfully, I have my mom here to help out. One of my best friends from Windsor is also here. I’m surrounded by a lot of love and support. I’m very lucky to have that. My nights now are quite the opposite from my days with the travel show. I’m staying home with our baby and listening to his coos and cries. When he opens his big brown eyes and smiles, it’s wonderful, even when I didn’t sleep the night before. The day I won the Emmy, Rise rolled over for the first time. Yesterday, he gave a big laugh. Every single day, there is a change in him. He is looking more like a little boy. Rise just makes me stay present even more.”
WL: Did you watch soaps growing up or while you were studying acting at Ryerson?
JMW: “Oh, yeah. The Bold and the Beautiful has been on air since 1987. I remember watching the show when I was 13. Years later, when I booked the show, it was a freak-out moment as an actor. The cast were just so welcoming and warm to me.”
WL: You scooped an Emmy after only four nominations. Evidently, the Susan Lucci curse has not befallen you!
JMW: “I used to think, ‘Yeah, I could happily be that girl who gets nominated again and again.’ My mom taught me not to let other people define me. It was nice to win, though!”
WL: What is one of the special Emmy moments that you will always treasure?
JMW: “The week before the Emmys, I was invited to a lunch that the Emmys does every year. I met Eileen Davidson who plays Ashley Abbott on The Young and the Restless. She won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series last year. Also at the lunch was Heather Tom and many other actresses. I grew up watching these women. It was a pinch me moment. They have set the bar so high in our daytime community. It was such a huge honour for me to be among women of that calibre.”
WL: Steffy Forrester has been a big part of your life since 2008. What do you love most about your character, who the audience often loves to hate?
JMW: “I think Steffy is beautifully flawed. There are a lot of layers to her. I love her strength and conviction – and that she is a tell it like it is kind of girl. Steffy can be strong with some people but she’s really vulnerable. When her walls come down, it’s a wonderful sight. It’s been great being on the show from 2008 and to have loyal fans out there who have been with Steffy through the ups and downs. I know there are people who live vicariously through her. What Steffy does is not necessarily appropriate for the real world but that’s why people like her – because she does what she wants. It’s fun to dive into her character and she is certainly fun to play. Steffy challenges me in so many ways. On The Bold and the Beautiful, we film quickly – 80 pages of dialogue a day. It’s not like a film where you can say, ‘Let me try it this way.’ We don’t have time to really play around. As an actor, I try different things creatively. I need to have my character’s emotions right there. I love to stay in the present and not sweat the small stuff. I choose every morning to be grateful for my experiences. After putting that energy out there, it’s nice that it has come back to me. Winning the Emmy was a moment I will not forget.”
WL: A few years ago, you were the Ride Marshall for the Windsor heart health fundraising ride held in memory of your brother-in-law, Bob Probert, a former NHL defenceman. When choosing meals and activities for your own family, are you mindful of being heart smart?
JMW: “Heart health is extremely important. The body is a temple and we need to treat it well. It’s vital to eat nutrient dense foods. I follow the 80/20 Diet Rule, eating properly 80% of the time. If I want to indulge occasionally, I do. I like to be in nature and meditate. We take our dog to Malibu and go hiking. I want to be healthy for my child.”
WL: You have been an avid motorcycle enthusiast. Do you still ride? If so, what is in your garage now?
JMW: “I haven’t ridden since I was pregnant. There’s an awesome ride that goes past Malibu. Right now, I have a Ninja 600 but I’ll probably go back to a Harley-Davidson. I’m a Harley girl. Riding was a big part of growing up in my family. For me, sometimes meditation is doing yoga, sometimes it’s going on a ride.”
WL: With your busy life in California, are you able to connect occasionally with your friends in Windsor?
JMW: “I’m flying out to Arizona for a bachelorette party for Chelsea Stokalas. There will be six of us, all from D.M. Eagle Public School in Tecumseh. We’ve been best friends since kindergarten. When we’re all together, it’s like nothing has changed. With best friends, you can go all around the world and do different things but when you’re with each other, you pick up right where you left off. This will be fun. Bringing back all our Windsor memories will be really nice. I’m excited!”
To see Jacqueline in action as Steffy Forrester, tune into The Bold and the Beautiful, airing weekdays at 1:30 pm ET on CTV Two.