Actor Michael Mealor chatted with Markos Papadatos about playing Kyle Abbott on the hit daytime drama The Young and The Restless. He also thanked the fans of the show for all of their support.
Mealor plays the role Kyle Abbott, the on-screen son of Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), the patriarch of the Abbott family. “I love Kyle’s devious side. I love when he has a goal and there is no line he won’t cross,” he said. “As of late, Kyle has grown up a little bit. Now, he has drawn more boundaries. It’s fun to go in and see which way Kyle will turn next and what he will do next.”
“I love that Kyle’s a business guy since my dad is a business guy too. I grew up thinking I was going to go into the business world. Growing up, as a kid in Georgia, I never thought I would go into TV and film. Now I get the best of both worlds: getting to act and playing a businessman. I love when Kyle is problem-solving. That’s fun,” he said.
On being a part of the No. 1 daytime drama, The Young and The Restless, Mealor said, “I honestly still pinch myself. It is amazing to be associated with the show’s legacy and its iconic cast members such as Eric Braeden, Peter Bergman, and Melody Thomas Scott. Every time there is an anniversary or milestone for the show or an actor, you revisit the history of the show. The impact that The Young and The Restless has had with this country and the rest of the world is truly remarkable. I am just thankful to be a blip in that history.”
Speaking of Peter Bergman, he had nothing but the greatest remarks about him. “Peter has become like a father to me,” he admitted. “While I have my own dad back in Georgia, Peter has become my ‘acting’ father, and he has taken me under his wing. I’ve never met a sweeter, kind-hearted person. Peter is truly just incredible. I am honored to be in his company and get to act with him on the same stage.”
In addition, The Young and The Restless has been renewed through 2024, and it was named “Best Daytime Drama” at the 2020 Writer’s Guild of America Awards. “There are so many components that go into this show, and there are so many people that work so hard: it amazes me how the writers balance everything with a cast this large, and how they keep every person in the limelight. To be a part of this show is really remarkable,” he said.
Mealor praised the show’s writing for being very “relatable,” “based on reality,” as well as “standard human condition” and “human exploration stories.”
When asked how he handles being dialogue-heavy on the show, he said, “Honestly, that is something that comes naturally. I wasn’t aware of it when I took the job. It was a nice surprise, of course, and especially to be able to keep up with the fast pace.”
Regarding his favorite moments or storylines on The Young and The Restless, he revealed, “The most fun was when I got to dig up Phillip Chancellor’s grave. That was a fun scene to shoot. Also, the birthday shoot campaign sticks out when I end up naked on every set of the show. I love the hospital scenes with Kyle and Lola, and Kyle and Summer when the whole liver transplant was going down. For me, the deeper storylines the better, since that’s what creates a real-life character and that creates a soul for Kyle.”
On being an actor in the digital age, Mealor said, “The digital age is a constantly evolving thing. I have had conversations with my manager, who is fantastic, and we’ve kept in touch during this quarantine. She is like a mother to me and she has given me a masterclass on TV and film, which is incredible. We are talking about the future of this business and what it’s going to look like post-COVID-19. It feels like a chess game as far as the rest of the acting world goes.”
He continued, “I moved to Los Angeles in 2010 and even then, the streaming services didn’t exist. Now, Zoom sessions are popular, and I didn’t even know about Zoom until the last five or six weeks. Now, Zoom and the streaming services are the new normal. It is definitely a chess game. There are so many outlets for content.”
For young and aspiring actors, he said, “Keep pushing, believing in yourselves, and know yourselves. Self-exploration is paramount in becoming an actor. If you can’t know yourself, then it’s hard to evolve in different characters. Having that human condition as your baseline is amazing,” he said.
“Knowing the people that are around you and knowing what’s healthy for you is important. You need to keep going. It’s a constant process for sure,” he added.
When asked to look back in a rearview mirror over the last five years, he said, “It has been constant education.” “I really became comfortable in my own skin with being a man in this world, and that’s an education in itself. Nobody’s ever perfect so it’s a constantly evolving thing. It’s about being a well-rounded man, deciding who I am, and who I am comfortable being. Once I really got that education (exterior and interior), and they both aligned over the last five years, my life really began to take shape,” he said.
On his career-defining moments, he said, “My entire career on The Young and The Restless. I haven’t had a better education than what I’ve been doing on that show. It is incredible in its own right. Before The Young and The Restless, I worked with Cameron Crowe. I grew up watching his movies. He had a lot of insights as far as life and acting. When I spoke with him six years ago, he gave me the confidence and the reassurance that I needed.”
If he were to do any track and field event, Mealor shared that he would do either the shot put or the discus throw. “I am a very slow runner,” he admitted. “Root strengths would be the event(s) for me.”
Regarding the title of the current chapter of his life, he said, “World exploration from home.”
Mealor opened up about his own experiences being quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There are good days and bad days, but luckily, there are more good days,” he said. “Being an actor there is a need to express some sort of creativity on a regular basis. At first, it was difficult, but I’ve picked up writing. Having taken up writing again has been really productive, nice, and cathartic.”
He defined the word success as “doing something different every day of your life.”
The heartthrob actor offered the following inspiring message to his fans during the pandemic: “I miss you. Please know that we are all in this together. We are all doing the exact same thing. Remember that this is a weird time for everybody and it’s not permanent. Stay strong. We will beat this and we will get back out there.”
“I am honored that The Young and The Restless fans have developed a love for me and my character, Kyle, from the beginning. I am honored that they expressed their love and they take the time to be outwardly expressive to me about it. Devoting the time to do that is incredible. I am honored that they are compelled to do that. One of the most valuable commodities in this world is time, and when the fans take the time to pour out their love and brains for what we are creating, that is just awesome. Thank you to the fans for all the love and support,” he concluded.
Photo Credit: Johnny Vy, CBS