Currently, three daytime soap operas feature breakout super queer couples: All My Childrens Reese and Bianca; As The World Turns Noah and Luke; and Guiding Lights Olivia and Natalia. Now The Young and the Restless, is the latest drama to straddle the pink bandwagon. Eager to convert more fans to the gay side, last month Genoa Citys trusted legal eagle character, Rafe Torres, played by 24 year-old Yani Gellman, came out in an unusually subtle scene.
You may have seen Gellman before hes previously been in horror flicks like Urban Legends: Final Cut and in 2002's Jason X. And teenage girls fell in love with the actor when he starred in 2003's The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Most recently, he has been cast in the Canadian series Monster Warriors, which should be enough to arm Gellman with the armor to fight Y&Rs evil Victor Newman.
As Rafe Torres becomes more entrenched in the canvas of the soap, sources tell Out that an unusual love interest -- could it be straight Newman heir, Adam? -- is on the horizon. Moreover, there are rumors that Phillip Chancellor IV (played by former Guiding Light heartthrob John Driscoll) may squire the briefs off the workaholic. Or maybe Rafe will find himself in the middle of love triangle with both characters?
We caught up with Yani to dish what its like working on his favorite soap opera, playing gay for pay, and if Y&R plans on showing Rafe getting it on with another Genoa City male.
Out: Welcome to the daytime gay-waves! The Young and the Restless boasts a large Canadian cast, and youre from Toronto.
Yani Gellman: I am! We have a little Canadian contingent on our set. I consider Toronto my home. I try to visit every three months and visit my family and friends. I was born in Miami, and after my parents broke up I moved to Australia, then Spain with my father, and then to Texas for a short while, and then Toronto. And now I live in Los Angeles.
Whew -- You get around. Did you watch Y&R before joining the cast?
I did with my sister after we got home from school. My sister is a die-hard Y&R fan. Shed always make me watch with her. I stopped watching it for a long time, but when I booked this role I got sucked back into life in Genoa City.
Literally. As a fan it must be surreal to be walking around The Newman Ranch.
It hasnt been as weird as I thought. It certainly was for my sister. She came down to visit the set and she had a blast. She couldnt believe we were on the Y&R set ten years after we fell in love with the show.
Is Rafe Torres a recurring role?
Yes, it is.
Youre 24. Yet youre playing a lawyer! Discuss.
[Laughs] Rafe is very fresh out of law school!
Rafe obviously blew one of his professors!
[Laughs] This is definitely one of the first adult roles Ive played. Its been a little bit of challenge. Ironically, I attended University to become a lawyer before the acting bug bit me. This Y&R gig is a dream come true -- in more ways than one. The legal situations Rafe is assigned is something I can relate to, so the dialogue comes easy.
When you auditioned, did you Rafe was gay?
I didnt know. All I knew was that he was a young lawyer. I was on the show for a month or so before the producers called me in for a meeting to discuss the direction they wanted to take Rafe, and I was cool with it.
Is your family cool with you playing gay?
Yeah! Theyre all happy. I have a lot of friends in the gay community, and a couple family members who are gay. Everyones really proud to be a part of this experience because its quite the landmark role. And its about time.
Y&R has never featured a major gay male character before. Gay couples like World Turns Nuke and Guiding Lights Otalia have earned a very passionate, cult-like fan base. Y&R fans have already created a You Tube Channel for Rafe before he has even been paired romantically with anyone.
I did know that, actually. Wow. Im overjoyed at the prospect of playing a meatier role on the show. And hopefully in a great storyline. Hopefully, the fans and press support this character and the show.
Y&R nonchalantly announced that Rafe was gay matter-of-factly. Were you happy that Y&R didnt make a bigger deal over his sexuality?
Im very happy. When they told me Rafe was gay, I was curious as to how theyd deal with it. When I got the script, it showcased beautifully where we are as society today. Theres a lot of acceptance in todays world.
Have you created your own back-story for Rafe?
I usually do create a back-story to help me motivate my performances, but I really havent had to do that on Y&R, because theyve provided me with an idea of who this character is. Hes a hotshot lawyer, Billy Abbotts friend, and Estella's nephew.
Since Billy and Rafe went to school together, does the Abbott playboy know that his Latin friend is queer?
I dont know if Billy knows. Rafe and Billy havent discussed his sexuality onscreen as of yet.
Maybe Rafe and Billy got it on one drunken night in college!
[Laughs] I dont know what the writers have planned for us.
Youre a sexy guy, but Rafe is always drowning in these ugly suits. Do you hope that Rafe lets his hair down and lets loose?
I hope so. Theyre taking their time developing my character, but little by little, youll see more of him.
Preferably without clothes. Is Rafe getting a love interest? I know Rafe has a crush on the very straight Adam Newman.
Im not allowed to really talk about anything that hasnt aired. I think Rafe would be very disappointed if he didnt find love down the road.
World Turns instituted a one-year kissing and sex ban on their gay couple, Nuke. Do you think Y&R will treat Rafes sex life as equally as they do with his straight counterparts?
I dont know. I havent been on the show long enough to know how the top brass deals with these things. Having said that, Im pretty much down for anything.
Be careful who you tell that to!
The Young and the Restless airs daily on CBS. Check your local listings for channels and times.