Her Life is Bigger Than Her Career
Afternoon TV Magazine, 1979
by Alan L. Gansberg
Article Provided By Sabrina
With Sarah’s creative energy, she’s ready for anything—no blueprints for the future for her. She’s taking things as they come and her acting career is one of them. Is this “fiery quality” typical of the new wave of soap actors and actresses who are lighting up the screen?
There’s a calm air to Sarah Felder—almost an aura. She’s warm, intelligent, down-to-earth and secure. By her own admission she hasn’t had a hard life, but she doesn’t take her successes for granted either.
“Siobhan Ryan is my first professional job since I got out of Juilliard,” she explained, referring to one of the top acting schools in the country. “And I can’t express my excitement.”
Sarah Felder is still going through the transition of student to professional. She’d been in school for some time—prep school in her native St. Paul, Bennington College in Vermont, the National Theatre Institute in Connecticut, and finally four years at Juilliard. She was discovered for the role of Siobhan while performing in her final school production.
Her apartment on New York’s Upper West Side is tucked away in a brownstone on a block that is clean and inviting on her end and a bit raunchy towards the other end—a typical New York City block.
“I love it here now,” she admitted. “But coming from provincial St. Paul, Minnesota, New York took quite a bit of getting used to. I mean, I had never seen drunks on the street, nor had I ever been so aware of poverty.”
However, living on the West Side of Manhattan has been helpful in other ways, especially in adapting herself for the part of Siobhan and to be part of the Ryan family environment. It’s like living in her television neighborhood, since “Ryan’s Hope” could conceivably take place right around the corner from Sarah’s apartment.
Sarah knew the storyline, since she had been an unabashed fan of “Ryan’s Hope” for quite some time. She was also able to discuss her character with Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer, the writers and executive producers of the show, who are always available. And, of course, she credits the cast with making her first few months on “Ryan’s Hope” a “totally positive experience. It’s nice to get out of school and go into a professional situation where everyone is a pleasure to be with and work with.
“I love Siobhan, which helps too,” Sarah insisted, flashing her irresistible smile and running her fingers through her flaxen light brown hair.
“I understand Siobhan’s struggle. She’s a kid trying to break away from her parents. All kids go through that. We all try to be our own person; we do things to make our parents understand our needs. Everyone has done that—it’s universal. But we have each solved that struggle in our own way.
“With luck Siobhan will get it together, I hope,” Sarah stated softly, with care. “She’ll eventually have to realize that she can be what she wants without her mother’s sanction.”
Sarah didn’t articulate how she herself made the inevitable break that she wants for Siobhan, but it’s obvious she is someone who can stand on her own two feet.
“I’m stubborn in keeping my private life to myself,” she said with a serious expression, adding, “which suffices to say I have none.” And she burst into laughter.
“No, seriously, it’s neat to be recognized and it’s neat that people take the time to write letters and say nice things. I’ve never had fans before,” she insisted, “but it’s also an odd position. I couldn’t possibly answer all the letters I get and I’m too shy to send a picture of myself to strangers. I know in a way I’m public property, but I refuse to have my privacy violated. I hope the viewers understand.”
Although she likes to keep a sane perspective on her acting life, Sarah admits she gets a kick out of being in the world of daytime television. At times she even finds herself a fan instead of a star, walking up to other daytime performers on the street and praising their work. She started watching “All My Children” when her ex-roommate and buddy Tricia Pursely Hawkins was cast as Devon Shepherd. Sarah still watches the show today.
Now that Sarah is on her own, spiritually and financially, what would we find if we looked into Sarah’s glass-bright hazel eyes and tried to decipher the future? We’d only see a cloud, because Sarah Felder refuses to articulate definite goals for herself. What she says and does is well thought out, but she doesn’t follow a blueprint for success. There’s a method to her madness, to the “fiery quality” she believes every actor must have, but she won’t define it for herself or others.
“I don’t want to rule out possibilities for myself,” she explained. “I’m a survivor. I was trained on the stage, but I’m making my living in television at the moment because we have to be realistic—TV is where we’re going as a profession.”
There are many adjectives to describe her. Strong. Attractive. Humanistic. Realistic. Sarah Felder is not a stereotypical wild-eyed actress hoping for stardom. She has more stature, more self-confidence, more pride.
“I say from time to time that I’d like to do a film, but I’ve got to take things as they come,” she said and then winked, “if they come! If I don’t play my life this way I might get disappointed and then the fun would be gone. I just got out of school and this is my first job. That’s a pretty good start, wouldn’t you say?”
Sarah's career is on the move.
Although trained on the stage,
she's happy with television.
Sarah's "fiery quality" can't be doused. All
options are open for her but she's taking
things easy. She doesn't want to plan her life
because then "all the fun would be gone."
Sarah's on her own now but[,]
despite her busy schedule, she
still finds time to money around.
She fit right into the swing of things after
moving to New York's West Side. It reminds
her of her "Ryan's Hope" neighborhood.
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