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Melissa has been starring as "Natalie Balsom" on ABC's soap opera "One Life To Live" since July 2001. It didn't take long for Natalie to shake up one of Llanview's most prominent families when she revealed that she, not Jessica (Bree Williamson), was Viki's (Erika Slezak) daughter. In late 2002 the family was in for another surprise when they discovered that Natalie and Jessica were twins. She landed her first major acting role on Wishbone at the age of 17, while she was still in high school. After completing high school, she followed her acting dreams to Los Angeles and began auditioning. In April 2003 Ms. Archer was honored with a Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Newcomer. Miss Archer is a former dancer and, in her free time, enjoys karaoke and the challenge of logic puzzles. She relocated to New York for her One Life to Live role. Melissa was born on December 2, 1979, in Dallas, Texas, where she was also raised.
More Fun Facts About Melissa Archer
Birth Name: Melissa Jean Archer
Place of Birth: Dallas, Texas
Other Acting Jobs: Guest starred in the television series Wishbone.
Likes to do in her spare time: Enjoys dancing, including jazz, hip-hop, ballet and tap.
Meet Melissa Archer
Melissa Archer's slightly late for her Digest interview at Josephina's on Manhattan's Upper West Side, but when she gets caught behind a slow walker on her way to the table, she doesn't shove her way forward. Despite what many fans think, Archer is nothing like the character she plays on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, the terminally-insecure, often-nasty Natalie, who came to town in July and dropped a bomb: She, not Jessica, was Viki's biological daughter. And, shockingly enough, she was right.
Unfortunately, all of that bad behavior has made her the newest love-to-hate character amongst fans ... and not all of them include the "love" part. "A couple of people who think it's real say, 'I hope Seth leaves you and goes to Jessica and you're all alone and how can you be so mean to her?' Gee, thanks." But Archer's taking it in stride. "It's pretty hysterical." And she's enjoying herself so far: "I'm loving it. It's awesome."
Co-star and on-screen "mom," Erika Slezak (Viki) has proven to be a wonderful mentor, too. "She really knows her stuff." Though early on, Archer admits, her scenes made her feel a little uncomfortable: "There were some scenes where I was so bratty! At the end I wanted to go apologize to everybody."
Soaps, says the actress, who grew up in Texas but has had a yen for the stage and California (New York being merely a stopoff) for years, are a logical training ground for where she really wants to be - in the movies. "I've always felt pulled towards soaps," she explains. "It's like going to acting class and getting paid for it."
And in that long-ahead future, where she gets to act with her choice of co-stars, who would she choose? Naturally, Archer goes right for the best: "Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro." Sounds about right to us. "
Melissa Archer on Jolie
ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Jolie (John/Natalie) vs. Jovan (John/Evangeline) fans have a serious feud going on (even with Cristian back in town). Oftentimes, it's gotten a little nasty with Jovan fans accusing Jolie fans of supporting a non-couple. In a recent interview with Melissa Archer, WEEKLY asked for her opinion: Does she think John and Natalie were a couple?
"No, I don't," she says. "Believe me, I've had actual friendships like this where you get so close. The friendship is very deep and there's always that underlying chemistry of something more. You get close to going there and one or the other party backs out of it. It's just like the classic two best friends, a guy and girl, who end up making out just once because they're such good friends. Then they drop it and never talk about it again."
Archer remembers the moment when the tide turned. "John and Natalie never actually did explore it," she continues. "They were going to. Right after the whole incident with Paul in Atlantic City where we went back to his hotel room. That was the point in which we were going to explore it because Natalie definitely wanted it, and John I think wanted it maybe for the wrong reasons, he wasn't necessarily ready for it. It was just the wrong time for him. It was rejection that she wasn't wanting to deal with and instead of taking it in stride and talking about it with him she went into the arms of Paul."
Archer feels the story was realistic. "I don't think anybody would want to be with someone who's not 100 percent there. Natalie felt like she couldn't compete with a dead person and in her mind she was ready to move on from Cristian. She couldn't sit around and wait for it because if it took him five years already, how much longer is it going to take him?"
Still, watching him then turn around and hook up with someone else did sting. "Seeing him move on to Evangeline, just shortly after the incident between him and I, hurt her even more because she felt like, 'how is he able to move on with her but not me.'"
Two Reds Are Better Than One
When SOAP OPERA WEEKLY asked ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Melissa Archer (Natalie), what actor from another show she would most like to work with -- she didn't even need to stop to think about it. "Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, YOUNG AND RESTLESS)," she raved. "Oh, my God! I watched Y&R for years, and she's amazing. I watched it when she first came on the show, and she was a total bitch, psychopath. But we loved her as that. She left the show, and then she comes back with the same attitude, same flair."
Sounds a lot like early Natalie. "But better because she's still got that Uummph. Like she walks into a room, and she's got that thing going on. She can do this whole crying/laughing/angry thing in two seconds flat, and it's so real, it's so raw, and it's so amazing. She just doesn't care. She just lets it go. It's phenomenal. I don't know her personally, but I just know from her work she's great."
Archer even let Stafford know of her desire to work with her, in a roundabout way. She mentioned it to a reporter, who put it in a magazine, which Stafford read. "I got this letter from her. I was so excited. But I never wrote her back, because I didn't really know what to say. She said when she's in New York or I'm in L.A. we could meet up." Or maybe they could be co-stars one day. "We are both redheads. We could actually play family members or something. So that would be cool. 'Could Phyllis come to ONE LIFE TO LIVE, please?'"