Interviews Soaps

The Young and the Restless Star Zach Tinker on Shock Daytime Emmy Nomination, Potential Romance for Fen and Love of Trash TV

Zach Tinker
Photo courtesy Zach Tinker

This talented soap opera newbie burst onto our screens for a short yet memorable time, earning himself a Best Younger Actor in a Daytime Drama Emmy nomination and hordes of fans clamoring for his return to Genoa City. Find out how he got his start, where he’d like to take the character of Fen and what televised train wreck he can’t turn away from as TV Source Magazine sits down with Zach Tinker!

I’ve been excited for the opportunity to speak with The Young & The Restless‘ new Fenmore “Fen” Baldwin, Zach Tinker, for a while now. Not just because he was a talented new actor taking over a legacy character role, but because of Zach Tinker himself.

From his social media, it’s easy to see that he’s an easygoing guy but he’s also someone who fiercely supports his show and co-stars. Not that other actors don’t do that, it’s a rarity to see it happen so openly and so often. Color me unsurprised when speaking with Zach proved that he really was good vibes all around! I can honestly say that I wasn’t having the best day from work to home stress but having a chat with Zach proved the perfect way to unwind. There’s definitely good reason behind the wave of positive support for him from Y&R fans.


I definitely wanted to lead with this huge Daytime Emmys news! You got the Best Younger Actor nomination! How did that feel for you when the announcement came out? 

Initially surprised. I was not really thinking that I was going to get nominated seeing as I was only on the show for about two months beforehand and so many of the other people I was up against had been on for years. It didn’t even cross my mind.

When I did get nominated, it was first a moment of, “Are they sure?” And then after that was it was just felt like such an honor. Since then, it’s still felt like a dream to me.

I think a lot of people had a similar reaction but then they too realized that they understood why you were nominated. You’ve gotten a lot of support for your nomination from fans on social media!

Yeah, I saw!

When did you get the news of the nomination? Were you ready for when it dropped?

So, I was checking beforehand and driving myself crazy waiting for the nominations to come out. Then I said, “You know what. I’m just gonna go to the gym and try to take my mind off it.” So, I went to the gym, turned my phone off and then I got home and I turned my phone on. There was like 100 tweets with me tagged in it and thought it was weird, so I looked and that’s how I first saw. 

It was an interesting way to find out now in the world of social media. 

Within that same vein, what did you submit for Emmy consideration?

So, I submitted the very first scenes I actually did on the show with my parents. When I came back and said I was quitting law school to become a condition. After that, I used the clips where I went in to talk to Ana about recording my song and then she kinda drops it on me that it’s her song we’re recording, and I have a mild panic attack. Then the last clip was me going to her place and apologizing for how I acted in the studio. 

That’s great! I think those intro scenes for Fen were definitely pretty impactful for a lot of people. This was around the time where a lot of people wanting to see more of their familiar characters on the show. I think that was a good way to go!

Especially right now, I think there’s a lot of changes going on with the show. It always takes a little while for people to get used to change. Those scenes were very important to me because I know how important this show is to a lot of people. I wanted to do this character justice and portray him honestly while still in tune with how Max [Ehrich] had previously portrayed him. I’m happy how those turned out.

Was it your original intention to submit? Had you been thinking about it before or did you want to try giving it a shot? 

Funnily enough, no. Our PR guy at Y&R, Mac Cain said, “Hey, by the way if you want to submit to the Emmys then you can.” But for me I was like, “But is there a reason?” There was no way in my mind that I would ever be nominated but I said alright! 

So, I submitted, I got the pre-nom and thought that was so cool. And then I got freakin’ nominated! I guess you never know! You might as well take the jump than not take the jump.

Exactly! I feel like holds back a lot of people — not just people submitting for awards but doing anything in life. You kinda just have to shoot your shot, right?

Yeah! And the pre-noms meant a lot to me — and of course the nomination meant a lot too but the pre-nom is the part where your peers are judging you. I really have come to respect — even more so — the people I work with. To have them give me the nod, again after such a short amount of time on the show really meant a lot to me. 

The community between actors, everyone behind the scenes and even fans has always been tight knit. It’s so great when we all support each other. To know that your peers are behind you must be really great.

Exactly.

Similarly, I remember when the news first came out about Fen being recast, I think there had been a talk with Max who couldn’t make it and how this return was supposed to be a short one. A lot of people are super curious, and I don’t know if you can talk about it but will you be back to Y&R?

I don’t know how much I can say about it. However, I am still on the show! I think that’s all I can say technically. Fen is still on the show. Nobody needs to worry about him being gone! He’s not gone forever and that’s kind of all I can say.

People are saying this tour he’s on is way too long! 

I think so too! I think Fen’s learned his lesson and is ready to return to GC. Stir things up a bit!

We’re ready for it! So going back to acting in general, I know your whole family is in the entertainment industry but mostly work behind the camera. What’s that like being the actor?

I’m kind of the black sheep of the family! My dad’s a writer, my brother’s a writer and I initially went to college to pursue writing. I remember that I did a play up in Spokane, Washington in college. It was Tape, a Stephen Belber play and I remember after our first performance I realized it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 

I had been acting before as a hobby but it really clicked for me after that first performance. I think that week I submitted to transfer out to LMU and I came out here. The rest is pretty much history after that. 

Wow, that’s a big move!

My whole family’s been pretty supportive. My dad was a little hesitant in the beginning because he knows how hard of a life it can be. I think he’s seen that I’m in it for the long haul so everyone’s pretty much on board.

It was nice getting this Emmy nomination too because it kinda solidifies that I made the right choice. That it’s happening!

And they can’t take that away! 

Exactly, exactly.

What really excites you about acting in comparison to working behind the scenes? 

What excites me about acting is that I’m a very neurotic person. I’m a heavy thinker. Acting is the one time where my brain kind of shuts off and I’m extremely present. It feels very nice. Acting is very therapeutic for me!

It’s really the only time where I feel complete and utter happiness. I think a lot of actors can testify to the fact that it almost becomes like a drug. It’s so fulfilling and if you live to act, you feel so alive on stage and when in front of the camera that after you first realize it’s what you want to do… You really don’t want to do anything else. You can’t do anything else because you’ll never get the same fulfillment that you get acting. 

For me, I would say that getting to understand someone else’s perspective and be someone else. It’s just such a beautiful art form. As actors, we get to provide a service for people to experience emotions they might not experience in their day to day life or that they can relate to because they are going through it. I just think that the arts in general… you know, life can be sustained without art but life is kind of meaningless without art.

About the author

Coryon Gray

Coryon Gray joined TVSource Magazine as a staff writer in October 2014. Prior to TVSource Magazine, he's written for and moderated Asian entertainment blogs and forums. On top of writing duties, Coryon is also a panelist for the TVSource Podcast and Soap Countdown Podcast.