Although considered by some to be a dying breed, soap operas are a part of our cultural fabric, enjoyed by generations of devotees who integrate the lives and loves of the characters into their own. And Stephanie Gatschet, better known as the devious Madison North on ABC’s enduring All My Children, is quite content to be a part of it all.

“My career in soaps has been a blessing,” says the twentysomething Philadelphian best known for playing perennial good girl Tammy Layne-Winslow on the now-defunct Guiding Light. “I think soap work is highly underestimated.” While she cherished playing Tammy, Gatschet now relishes her role as the murderous and blackmailing—yet misunderstood—Madison.

“She’s a woman who has been through some serious stuff, which gives her layers and makes her interesting to play,” says Gatschet, who is honing her acting chops through this multifaceted character. “I like to push myself out of my comfort zone,” she adds. “It can be very therapeutic, and also quite empowering.”­

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