"I'm totally not the person who watches 'TMZ' or reads all the tabloids," says Mishael Morgan, who plays recently ousted GC Buzz host Hilary Curtis on "The Young and the Restless." "That is actually my sister. She's the tabloid (fanatic), looking at everything. She knows everything that's going on in everybody's life, but that's never, ever been me."
Playing a gossip monger, however, has been "fun" for Morgan.
"What I really love is that Hilary was able to have her own company, where she was able to delegate, grow and push it to the next level. It's been exciting having Hilary having her own platform to shine. It's been a great opportunity to do something different. That's the best part of being on a soap. There are always opportunities to play completely different things and change your character in dramatic ways. And Hilary loving the fame and being the center of this 'TMZ'-style show has been interesting to play. This is a girl who came from nothing and had an alcoholic mother. So, this is a major switch."
Morgan was a longtime fan of "The Young and the Restless," years before she joined the soap's cast.
"My mom was a huge fan of the show," shares the actress. "I didn't have a choice in the matter, (I had) to watch it with her."
Morgan embraced the chance to become part of the soap when she was hired to play Hilary in 2013; particularly since the character was an incorrigible bad girl.
"Growing up watching the show, I'd always loved to hate the villains," she admits. "The fact that I'm actually able to play one on 'The Young and the Restless' now is a dream come true."
Among her Genoa City favorites growing up, Morgan cites Jill, Phyllis and especially Sheila, "who was crazy, from back in the day," says Morgan. "That's when my mom really liked the show."
Morgan says that one of her highlights was getting to work with Jess Walton, who plays Jill, during her first week on the soap.
Jess is the exact opposite of her character, states Morgan, telling how she sat down and talked to Walton about the fact that she'd watched the actress as a kid. "She's been a really good mentor to me," she says. "She's somebody you can talk to about anything. She's so sweet. She's awesome, like a mama bear."
To date, Morgan has been pleased with Hilary's run -- lots of villainous moments interspersed with a few nice-girl ones.
"It's nice to be able to color my performances with that; to dip into the bad-girl side and then come back around. Hilary has been redeemed a few times, so she's not just an evil person. She goes back and forth. She's always moving and changing."
Fans who Morgan occasionally encounters in public are quick to offer up advice for her character. Namely, counseling.
"They're happy to meet me and will say they love my work," recounts Morgan. "But at the end, it's always, 'Hilary really needs to sit down and talk to someone. She's getting a little too crazy.' They always give me that little wrap-up at the end."