Bianca Taylor talks General Hospital, life after soaps, a possible comeback and more. Check it out here--->>
We were contacted by a member of our soap family who asked us to reach out to Bianca Taylor (Claudia Johnston Phillips, General Hospital) to see if she would be interested in giving us an interview. Bianca Taylor, known then, as Bianca Ferguson had been tweeting with some members of the Soap Twitter family. The family was excited to engage with her and expressed how much they enjoyed her on General Hospital and how they would love to see her return. We were more than willing to reach out to Bianca. We are always ready to talk to any members of our soap family and always more than willing to adhere to requests made by our readers. It was a win-win for us.
We loved talking to Bianca! She was warm, genuine and it felt like we were talking to family. Bianca is from and grew up in Gary, Indiana wherein her own words, her upbringing “prepared me for what I would do in life.” Bianca left home at eighteen to attend the Historically Black College and University, Spelman College, in Atlanta, Georgia. While studying there, she was “taught remarkable things. HBCUs have a way of getting you started and imparting in you all the things you need for the majority culture you will enter later on life.”
Bianca left Spelman College after one year. She believed she was ready and prepared for her next juncture in life. “I made the decision to go to acting school to become an even better student of the craft of acting. I discovered a conservatory in Chicago near my hometown of Gary, Indiana. I enrolled in the Government School of Drama where I studied for two years. Then I moved out to California and within a year I landed the role of Claudia on General Hospital.”
Bianca played Claudia Johnston Phillips from 1978-1987 during the “Golden Years of Soaps”. I explained to Bianca that I’m not a General Hospital lifer so I wasn’t that familiar with the role. I asked her to tell me more about Claudia for myself and for others who might not be as familiar as well. “Back then there were only three networks. So our viewers thought of us as an extension of their communities. Even so, as an African American, it wasn’t easy to get a job on a soap. But thankfully I did. General Hospital was so much fun to be a part of. Claudia was brought on to be the love interest for the character, Bryan Phillips (Todd Davis) and to expand his role. Thank goodness the writers decided Claudia would be Laura’s (Genie Francis) best friend. And by doing that my character got the chance to be included a lot more. Whatever was going on with Laura, Claudia was there because she was Laura’s best friend. It ranged from Laura exercising to Laura getting married whatever she was doing; I was included.”
Soap fans are some of the best fans around. We are also some of the most loyal fans. So, it wasn’t surprising to me at all the support Bianca received from Soap Twitter. However, Bianca who is still fairly new to it was pleasantly surprised and warmed by it. Really she was closer to shocked that she was remembered and that the fans said they would love for her to return to General Hospital. She told me however when she thought about it further she realized it made sense. “In some ways, I couldn’t believe people remembered me because it had been so long since I was on the show and I wasn’t what I would call a main character. But I believe that because Claudia was Laura’s best friend that made Claudia and me best friends to the entire country.” Yes! Laura’s bestie is everyone’s bestie.
There are countless special memories for Bianca regarding her time on General Hospital that she has kept close to her heart. She especially remembers with fondness; being on set for the “Wedding of the Century” Luke and Laura’s wedding and being there when they chose the music for the “Luke and Laura sound.” Those are memories Bianca told us she will cherish forever.
Next Bianca and I talked about the progression of technology and how it empowers and evolves society throughout generations and how it has empowered soap operas. In the ‘80s it was the VCR and the ability to tape a show and watch it later that contributed to the power of General Hospital (and other soaps). And it helped the show stay relevant and prevalent as women were going off to college and as they were working outside of the home more. Bianca believes the power of technology is a major reason why the show was so popular and a big part of the reason why she is still remembered today thirty years later. And it was also this progression of technology, Internet/Twitter, that brought her and Soap Twitter together.
You could call it a fluke or a coincidence that brought Bianca and Soap Twitter together. We like to call it fate. Bianca joined Twitter in 2016 but you could hardly call her active. And then last month Soap Twitter found Bianca and this wonderful relationship was born. “I don’t know much about Twitter. I’m still learning. I pushed some button, people found me and reached out to me. So many people have remembered me and remembered things I was in. It felt like a resurrection. I am amazed by the power of Twitter. I had no idea. I see how brave you all are. You don’t only talk about soaps. You talk about the world and what is going on in it. It’s all so new and interesting to me. I love the power of the community there. In life it’s all about community, reaching out and working together. Coming together as a community is the most important thing we can do and recognize that our differences don’t really matter. In all the ways that really matter; we are the same.”
Bianca left General Hospital in the latter part of the ‘80s. She embarked on two other important “careers”, that of a wife and a mother. “I met the man I would marry. I became the wife of my remarkable husband, actor Meshach Taylor (Designing Women) and I became the mother of three wonderful kids. My family, including supporting my husband’s career, became my primary focus. I'm very proud of that sacrifice. I’m very proud of my husband who did great things in his career.” As Bianca should be.
We must mention that Bianca didn’t return to acting full time but as she made sure we were fully aware; “I didn’t stop living.” She went back to college. She owned her own line of natural hair products named “Bianca’s Botanicals.” Bianca considers herself a pioneer in the natural hair products industry (which hasn’t “always a thing”) just as she was one of the pioneers for black women actors on soap operas. Bianca has been at the forefront of both. “After I left General Hospital, just as I did while I was there, I continued to push the narrative of inclusivity and the narrative to be authentically yourself.”
Bianca did return to acting and has made appearances in Beverly Hills 90210, The Sinbad Show, Criminal Minds, True Detective and Murder in the First. To date, Bianca’s most memorable return to television has been in her role on Grey’s Anatomy. From 2012-2018 she has made three appearances in the role of Elena Bailey, Dr. Miranda Bailey’s (Chandra Wilson) mom. “I was so happy when I got the role on the show the first time. And I was even happier when I was called back. My favorite was the episode that I played the flashback scenes when Miranda was a child. I played Elena in several different timeframes. I played Elena when Miranda was eight years old, twelve, seventeen and starting college, twenty-one years old and when Elena was seventy years old. It was a good role for me.”
We asked Bianca if she was open to returning to General Hospital. “Of course! And to think there are fans who want me back? Why wouldn’t I be?” Laughter. “I’m so grateful for the career I have had. I would love to return to ABC and/or General Hospital. I would love to return to acting in any capacity and I am more than open to any opportunity.”
We would love for Bianca to return to General Hospital as Claudia and/or a relative of Trina’s. But there could also be roles she could land on The Young and the Restless, Bold and the Beautiful, and Days of Our Lives. She could land roles on network, cable, and streaming platforms. But Bianca has a heart for daytime so let’s make some noise and see what happens!
Bianca is currently writing a book so let’s also keep our eyes open for that!
Bianca thank you so much for speaking to us! It was my pleasure to meet you!
Please stay in touch!