Interviews Soaps

General Hospital’s Vinessa Antoine Dishes on Jordan’s Secrets and Love Life (Exclusive)

Vinessa Antoine
Photo Credit: http://www.vinessaantoine.com/
Heavy is the burden of secrets and lies on one’s soul! Vinessa Antoine joined ABC’s General Hospital in 2014 as Jordan Ashford, a DEA agent deep undercover within the criminal Jerome organization. Since nearly losing her life and her son as a result of being on the right side of the law, Jordan has risen to the title of Port Charles top cop — serving as Commissioner.

Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Tough scenes are coming for Jordan (Vinessa Antoine) and Anna (Finola Hughs). Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Since mending her relationship with her son, Jordan’s also found the time for love with new sweetheart Dr. Andre Maddox (Anthony Montgomery). But Andre’s connection with patient/friend Anna (Finola Hughes) — who also happens to be Jordan’s best friend, could lead to some major complications. Further complicating Jordan’s life is a tense, yet to fully be revealed history with former brother-in-law Curtis Ashford (Donnell Turner), which is rivaled by the paternity bombshell she’s keeping from son TJ (Tequan Richmond)!

There’s a lot of story coming for GH’s growing fan favorite. What does Antoine think about Jordan and Andre’s relationship? What’s coming in a few weeks that’ll have fans of Jordan and Anna — “Jordanna” in their feels?

Your fans might not know that you were once involved in ballet. What was it about ballet that piqued your interest?
I saw the Nutcracker; I was probably four. I think I talked my parents’ ears off to the point where they were like, “Fine, we’ll put you in ballet,” and it just kind of went from there.

At what point did you realize that ballet wasn’t for you?
It wasn’t until much later into my career, if you want to call it a career [Laughs]. It wasn’t much of a career! [Laughs] But it was definitely towards 20-21. I was living in New York City [while attending the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center] and able to go out for the first time. I think that’s when I was like, “Oh, I don’t really have to go to class, I can go to the club tonight”! [Laughs]

There seems to be a misconception that you were once a dancer for former Bad Boy executive/artist Diddy.
I don’t know where that came from! [Laughs].  I think somebody [asked me this once] and I had to clear it up because I have no idea where that information came from. I didn’t personally dance with P.Diddy or Diddy, [however] I did do some hip-hop dancing with other artists that were on the Bad Boy label, but I haven’t personally met him. [Laughs]

Let’s talk about your work on the CBC & SOAPnet drama Being Erica. How would you describe your experience working on that series? Was it your first contract role?
Yes, definitely. It was a complete shock and surprise, but I loved the script when I first read it. I was like, “This script is so powerful, so female driven” that I was like “Gosh, I hope I get a chance.” I [wasn’t] in Toronto for a long period of time [before that]. I thought I was going to be there for a few months, then I booked that job I ended up living there for almost five years.

So how did you go from Being Erica to General Hospital?
From Being Erica, there was a point where I booked another show while I was still on Being Erica – the SyFy show Haven. At one point I was literally flying from Nova Scotia back to Toronto; and I still had my place in California because my kids were here. So it was a little bit nuts during that time. [Laughs]

And so I did Haven, and then things kind of died down for a bit. I did some commercial stuff and some more stuff in Canada, and then I got the call to audition for General Hospital. I opened up the email with the audition [sides]; I took one look at it and I kind of felt like I knew who this character was in a weird way. The person I was dating at the time – he read it once and [when] he put the pages down and was like, “You got this.” I was like, “I kind of feel like I do.” It was a strange audition. I hadn’t had one like that in a while.

What would you say is the biggest difference in working in primetime and daytime?
Time. It’s literally time, time, time. There’s so much more time in primetime [Laughs]. You get all that time between set ups and the cameras and the coverage but with soap operas, it’s been an interesting challenge. I’m learning a lot by being able to just go in there and treat it almost like theater in a way, doing it in one shot.

The fan response to Jordan has definitely evolved since your debut. She’s really earned a warm spot in the hearts of GH fans.
In the beginning I think people hated me [Laughs]. They wanted to like me, but I think once they thought that she was a drug dealer – and all the negative things that come with that – I think they were not feeling me. And then I redeemed myself I think when they found out that Jordan was undercover. It’s definitely changed over the last two years. I have some amazing, positive, really cool fans for sure. I’m [very] lucky.

You’ve got a lot of story waiting in the wings given all of Jordan’s secrets. Will viewers see that blow up anytime soon?
Definitely very, very soon. I recently put an Instagram photo up saying that Tequan [Richmond], who plays TJ, there might a sighting of him coming up very soon. So I know that’s happening. And then there’s some stuff that I’m about to shoot with Curtis (Donnell Turner) that I think we’re going to start to see more secrets and understand why she has this almost hatred for him [Laughs]. But she doesn’t! She loves him. It’s just complicated. Very complicated.

You and Donnell have really good chemistry together despite not sharing an abundance of scenes. It’s great watching the two of you work together.
Oh thank you! He’s really cool. He’s a really cool person. We have some really cool stuff we’re shooting tomorrow so I can’t wait for you guys to see that [in a few weeks].

Can Andre and Jordan's relationship survive a major obstacle? Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Can Andre and Jordan’s relationship survive a major obstacle? Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Let’s shift gears a bit to the hunky man in Jordan’s life, Dr. Andre Maddox (Anthony Montgomery). Jordan and Andre finally took their relationship to the next level! That was like your second love scene since joining the show.
[Laughs] Yeah, I think probably ever!

What is it about Andre that Jordan finds so appealing?
It’s his like – I think it’s him being such a gentleman and so willing to let her be herself. He accepts Jordan for professional obligations – the “I gotta work a lot, I’ve got a lot of things on my plate.” He’s so down to earth.

Jordan’s relationship with Andre is very different than her previous relationship ex-lover Shawn (Sean Blakemore).
Jordan and Shawn had a lot of sexual chemistry and sexual tension, but it was always sort of built with fire and anger and deceit, never quite knowing if the other person was telling the truth. There was a lot of distrust between Shawn and Jordan. But I think with Andre – and she’s starting to feel that with Anna – she really wants to trust him.

I’m glad you mentioned Jordan’s uneasiness with Anna and Andre’s friendship. What’s fueling her insecurity?
I mean – really, truly, it is what Andre said a few episodes ago where he said, “Maybe I’m projecting my own personal guilt of cheating on my husband on him.” I think there’s a little bit of that there. Jordan has got [a lot of] guilt that she’s bottled up about Shawn, about her ex-husband and Curtis. I think she’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop with Andre and this is just that one thing that she can put her sights on.

One of the great things about the way Jordan’s feelings are portrayed is she’s directing her conflict to Andre, rather than taking it out on Anna in the form of micro and macroaggressions. The person she faults for what she’s feeling is him versus the woman.
Right! I think Anna and Jordan have a much deeper relationship than Andre and Jordan do. Their relationship goes further back and it’s rooted in friendship, and motherhood, and mentor-mentee. There is [trust] there. There’s a lot of that going on.

Fans always react positively to scenes with Jordan and Anna. It’s rare nowadays on soaps to showcase strong female friendships, so to see theirs be a centerpiece on the show is great.
It’s great! I love that woman. Man, I can’t say enough good things about Finola Hughes. She’s a professional but at the same time so smart and funny. I always enjoy working with her.

On set fun with Anthony Montgomery, Vinessa Antoine and Richard Burgi on the GH set in December. © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
On set fun with Anthony Montgomery, Vinessa Antoine and Richard Burgi on the GH set in December. © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Is there anyone that Jordan doesn’t regularly interact with that you’d like to work with more?
Hmm…I’m thinking. I love working with Richard Burgi as well. I’m kind of happy where I’m at right now. [Laughs] I’ll say I wouldn’t mind working a little bit more with Maura West because she’s fun!

Will you give us a preview of what’s coming up with Jordan in the coming weeks?
I will say that the “Jordanna” fans might be disappointed. There’s some stuff coming up that was heartbreaking to shoot for sure, but will definitely be heartbreaking to see.  And then in terms of family life – Tequan is definitely back. So TJ and Jordan definitely need to handle some truths for sure and I think that’s about to get really real with them.

About the author

Ryan White-Nobles

Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TVSource Magazine. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.