“I have a girlfriend who comes over on Sunday nights and we dye each other’s hair, knit and watch Downton Abbey.  I’m actually a frustrated hairdresser.  I’ve always done my friends’ hair.”
That’s the down-to-earth style that caused me to fall for Deidre Hall, for 32 years Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives.  Beauty and easy charm radiate from her, there’s nothing “done” about Hall.  She is warm, friendly and assured and blessed with common sense.  She’s also a gardener, that’s another reason.
We met in Toronto to discuss the big glossy book Days of Our Lives Better Living, an impressive lifestyle guide to which cast members contributed tips for a healthy and rewarding life, recipes, workouts, attitudes and philosophies and of course, plenty of photos.
Among her many contributions is a recipe for red pepper soup, a look at her garden, makeup tips, exercise routines, and shots of Hall in her pjs munching low cal popcorn sprinkled with brewer’s yeast in front of her fireplace.  Hall recommends fruits and nuts and a caveman diet to retain energetic health.
Hall has written two books (Kitchen Close-Up and How Does She Do It? A Beauty Book) and created a cosmetics line, she is a gifted water-colourist, a philanthropist, and raises her own fruit and vegetables in her Malibu backyard.  She takes regular college courses and is getting into stand-up comedy.   How does she do it?
“In the early days we worked 12, 14 and 15 hours on Days. There was no time to do laundry; there was no life outside the studio.  But the producers are wiser now and they don’t ask us for such long hours. Today it’s just a few hours a week so that leaves me time to do the things I love.”
But most important says Hall, is making time for friends and loved ones.  Her sons David Atticus Sohmer and Tully Chapin Sohmer, born by surrogate, are at university and it was tough to send them off, so family ties are on her mind.
Meanwhile, Days of Our Lives ratings’ have soared of late, in part due to the falling off of other daytime dramas, and as Hall believes, in reaction to the dwindling appeal of reality shows. “We’re consistent, we work on a low budget and we give the audience what it wants”.  See?  Common sense despite the evil twins, satanic attacks and kidnappings she’s been party to over the last three decades.
By the end of our half hour together, Hall has become my personal stylist, offering makeup and wardrobe tips, suggesting I wear bolder colours and accentuate my eyebrows.  As I was leaving I resisted returning to ask if she thought I should cut my hair.
I missed her already.