Watch Jackée Harry's 'scandalous' debut as Paulina on Days of Our Lives
"I'm fierce, fabulous, and sexy!" Harry tells EW.
But who is Paulina Price? Bowing March 1, Harry's character is described as an outspoken, opinionated, wealthy, and successful real estate mogul from Miami coming to shake things up in Salem.
"Paulina has plenty of money and she lives in Miami," Harry tells EW exclusively. "She's scandalous. I mean, you gotta be scandalous on Days of Our Lives — you need murder, scandal, and divorce! You also need secrets, and she has plenty. Secrets that'll be exposed later."
She adds with a hearty laugh, "But in the meantime, I'm fierce, fabulous, and sexy, which is such a stretch."
In a first look at her series debut (above), Paulina randomly appears on her niece Lani's (Sal Stowers) doorstep, decked out in a tight red dress and a fur coat.
"In this scene, I surprised my niece whose babies I'm going to be the godmother of," Harry says. "Sal and Lamon Archey play the young African-American couple on the show, and they're so good-looking and so nice. I'll tell you what, if this had been 40 years ago I'd have jumped [Archey's] bones!"
And Archey isn't the only man on set who caught Harry's attention.
"God, I love Jim Reynolds. He's really the reason we're there, he's been on the show for 40 years," she says of the actor who has portrayed the character of Abe Carver since 1981. "He is a leader, which he shows by his actions and his words. Working with him put me immediately into focus. He was so accepting! And you know Paulina wants to jump him! And he's already jumped nearly everybody. I didn't know he had that many babies. They had to break it down for me. You all have to watch to see how my background breaks down in the weeks to come, which is really fun."
And for any fans of 227, Harry understands that some will compare Paulina to Sandra Clark but says they're very different.
"Lord! I can't go that far back," she says. "I'll tell you that Paulina has more money than Sandra and she's classy, which I like. But when push comes to shove, don't mess with her cubs. You know how protective women are. Don't mess with my kid or my niece. That's very much a dynamic in there. I'm trying to be coy here."
Harry is proud that her presence will add to the much-needed diversity on daytime television, and she's also lifting up the generation of Black talent along the way. Hip-hop star Precious Way will portray Paulina's daughter in one of her first acting roles to date.
"There's not a lot of diversity in Salem on Days of Our Lives, and Paulina points that out immediately," Harry says. "They can use a little bit of me! And my daughter Chanel will come along soon; she's played by Precious, who is totally new to acting. Chanel is a hot mess! She's as cute as she can be though, and reminds me of my real niece. I'm trying to help Precious along and help her get acclimated as much as I can. It's so important to help young people."
The length of Harry's arc is as yet unknown, though she's flattered to know fans would love to see her stay on permanently.
"That's so sweet! There's a lot to expect from me as things are, and that's what I can say about that," she teases with a giggle. "I don't want to get in trouble. But there will be a lot for fans to enjoy. I will say that the workload is a lot. After all this, I don't know what will become of my brain. I have so many scripts at my house I say I have enough to make a tree. Look, I'm having a ball, and what I'll say about more is never say never."
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