INTERVIEW: How did General Hospital's Tajh Bellow nab his first Emmy nomination? The answer is crystal clear: undisputed talent!

Posted Tuesday, June 08, 2021 12:57:47 PM

Tajh Bellow (T.J. Ashford, General Hospital) is a gem of an actor, a gem of a man -- and a gem collector! Soap Central caught up with the Outstanding Younger Performer to get his thoughts on his Emmy nomination and how amethyst might have helped pave the way to his acting success.

General Hospital's Tajh Bellow rocked his scenes as T.J. Ashford last year, so it's no surprise that the talented actor managed to nab a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Younger Performer category for his work on the ABC drama. He tells Soap Central that it's all thanks to a combination of hard work and phenomenal costars. Oh, yeah, and maybe a little help from the energy of crystals!

Soap Central: Congratulations to you on your Emmy nomination! How do you feel?

Tajh Bellow: Oh, gosh, I have been floored about it for over a week! My family is elated, and I have random moments of energy highs where I'm like, "Yeesss!" And then it's back to normal. [Laughs] But I've been super, super happy and I'm extremely excited about everything.

Soap Central: How did you find out that you'd been nominated?

Bellow: It's actually so funny -- I was checking for the updates, and I was texting my TV mom, Briana Henry [Jordan Ashford], and I was like, "Hey, congrats!" And while I was texting her, she was texting me, "Dude, congrats!" And I was like, "What?!" [Laughs] So, I found out through her while I was informing her of her situation, which was very funny.

Soap Central: How sweet that you two had that moment together!

Bellow: Right? It started the day off perfectly.

Soap Central: After she told you that you'd been nominated, who did you share the news with first?

Bellow: I immediately told my mom -- mom is first. Mom has been a part of my career, and she is my mom, and it means a lot to us both. So, first thing, mom! And then second, I informed a lot of my family, but I also FaceTimed with Kate MacMullen [Willow Tait] to congratulate her. It was a flurry of people being informed and reaching back out at the same time. It was wild.

Soap Central: General Hospital dominated this year in the nominations. Are you feeling that sense of celebration as a cast?

Bellow: Yeah, it's incredible! As you said, so many General Hospital actors and different crew members were well represented in almost every category, and it's definitely a cast celebration. Frank [Valentini, GH executive producer], I know, was very proud. It's amazing.

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Soap Central: Which scenes did you end up submitting for your reel?

Bellow: The beginning of last year, Molly [Haley Pullos] rejected T.J.'s proposal, so I included that, and I included the scene where I wake up from a coma when I was abducted by Cyrus Renault [Jeff Kober]. I also submitted a few scenes where I got into it with my mom during the holidays, about how she decimated my relationship, and a few with Aunt Stella [Vernee Watson], unpacking what the abduction was like and the aftermath of that in my life. So, yeah, some great scenes with Vernee, as well, just when she was supporting T.J.'s emotional journey through it all.

Soap Central: Was it difficult to narrow down the scenes that you chose, or did you know immediately which ones you wanted to include?

Bellow: It's a hybridized version of that. I had a feeling generally about four scenes or so that I thought were good, and I knew I had to go back and find them. Then, with the others, I had to comb through the episodes that I did and look with a fine eye for maybe some creative differences, you know? Something else that I could show. So, I literally spent probably 48 hours combing through episodes, thinking, "No, not this. But close!" It was an event. [Laughs]

Soap Central: Do you remember how you got in the mood or prepared for any of the scenes that you submitted?

Bellow: With Vernee, Stella asked T.J. how he was actually doing when he was deflecting, and he was delving into work. I actually use substitutions, also, in a sense. T.J. was going through things in his life, and obviously, as a human being that exists and breathes, I also have my own trials and lessons to learn. So, I've been blessed to learn how T.J. can be a channel for what I'm personally going through, and sometimes you can merge those things and have a very specific performance.

Soap Central: I feel like using your real life in performances must help you create an organic performance. I mean, how can you ignore what's going on in your own life when you're trying to do a scene?

Bellow: Right! It's a little of my life, but then I also add some imagination, just so I can transfer things over correctly. Some things don't apply! [Laughs] You can't bring everything, because it wouldn't all make sense.

Soap Central: What do you think about the competition in your category?

Bellow: Everyone is so amazing. I'm the only male, which is insane! I'm super honored and humbled. I think everyone is so talented, and obviously Sydney [Mikayla, Trina Robinson] and Katelyn, they are so, so, so overwhelmingly talented. I'm happy to be considered with them because I respect them both so much.

Soap Central: Ever since they merged the category to be both male and female last year, it's only been girls who've been nominated, so you're going down in history as the first male in this new Younger Performer category, Tajh!

Bellow: Wow!! I did something right! Thank you to that 48 hours! [Laughs]

Soap Central: Did you end up doing anything to celebrate your nomination?

Bellow: I have been busy, which is a good thing. I am planning to do that, probably next week, where I can get everyone together and not have anxiety about all of the other things that I have to get done. But I will be celebrating soon! And I'm looking forward to it. Family and friends!

Soap Central: Are you the type of person who will prepare a speech on the chance that you win, or are you the type to wing it?

Bellow: They have something interesting happening this year, and I'm waiting to be fully informed, but I think we all have to prepare a speech in advance, because of COVID. There's a form of prerecording that's being integrated into things. So, I think I have to prepare a speech! [Laughs]

Soap Central: And what about what you wear? Is that something that you worry about or stress about?

Bellow: It's crazy -- I was beginning to worry and stress, because as a guy, I actually love clothes and fashion, style and expression. I'm all about it. I'm also an Aquarius -- that has nothing to do with it, but it does! [Laughs] But actually, Kenneth Cole reached out, they contacted my team and were like, "We'd love to have you wear one of our suits," and I was like, "No way!" So, I'm going to be wearing Kenneth Cole! Sneak peek: it will be blue!

Soap Central: Wow, that's amazing! Congratulations. Do you believe in lucky charms? Like, will you carry something or keep something close to you for good luck during the ceremony?

Bellow: That's a great question. I do believe in the energy of crystals, so I will definitely have one of my trusty pals with me.

Soap Central: I know so many people who are into crystals, which is so interesting! It somehow bypassed me, but I feel like I need to look into this!

Bellow: Yes, you should! It goes back into time, so I think you should. I could help you with that, by the way. Literally. I literally have a crystal company! I have little pieces, big pieces -- I literally love it. And yes, I just used the word "literally" three times because I'm just so excited to talk about it! [Laughs]

Soap Central: I love it! What's your company called? We can link to it so fans can check it out.

Bellow: Oh, thank you! It's called Rock of Ages.

Soap Central: Oh, my God, that is a great name!

Bellow: Thank you! So, the name on Etsy is RockofAges66, but the general name is Rock of Ages.

Soap Central: What inspired you to start a crystal company?

Bellow: I have loved crystals my entire life. Ever since I was a kid, there's just always been a wonder to them, and I've always collected them. I was a kid that learned, "Oh, this is amethyst, and this is obsidian, and this is hematite." I really liked it. I always loved geology in school, too; it was something that always naturally called to me. Fortunately, last year gave me the opportunity to form the relationships and connections needed to begin this company. So, that's how it started.

Soap Central: Is there a specific crystal that brings you good luck? One that you usually turn to for that?

Bellow: Probably my birthstone, amethyst. I feel like it always keeps me centered, which could bring good luck. Amethyst is my go-to.

Soap Central: Well, I hope that the amethyst works for you on Emmy night! And if not, your 48 hours of choosing scenes probably will!

Bellow: Awesome! Thank you!

Soap Central: Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

Bellow: Yeah, Brooks Darnell [Nate Hastings], Briana, Vernee, Haley -- they're all a huge part of my process. I give them what I can, and literally, what they give me is always more than enough. Half of the battle is just showing up and sharing with them, so I just want to make sure they're included! I couldn't do it without them.

What do you think about Tajh Bellow being nominated in the Outstanding Younger Performer category at this year's Daytime Emmy Awards? Do you think he's the "crystal clear" winner? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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