|The Young and the Restless character|
|Portrayed by||Mishael Morgan|
|First appearance||June 14, 2013|
|Introduced by||Jill Farren Phelps|
Created by head writers, Josh Griffith and Shelly Altman, and introduced by executive producer, Jill Farren Phelps, in 2013, Hilary comes to town as the seemingly innocent assistant of Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard). It is eventually revealed that Hilary is working a vendetta against Cane's father-in-law, Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), whom she blames for her mother's death. Hilary and her accomplice Mason Wilder (Lamon Archey) take pleasure in tormenting Neil and his family, from trying to get Neil to fall off the wagon and trying to drug Cane into her bed. Hilary and Mason are exposed before she goes after Neil's son, Devon Hamilton (Bryton James). It is Neil's forgiveness, and Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman)'s compassion, that puts Hilary on the path to redemption. Though it takes some time, Devon eventually comes around and the two develop feelings for one another. Despite their feelings, Hilary gravitates toward Neil and they start an affair much to the dismay of Neil's daughter and Cane's wife, Lily (Christel Khalil) who refuses to accept the reformed Hilary.
Morgan described the character as having an "A-type personality", as well as being "very put together". Though the plot surrounding the character's introduction received generally negative reviews, several critics applauded Morgan for overcoming critically panned writing.
Morgan's casting and her character were announced on May 17, 2013. According to Morgan, she sent in her audition reel, and was immediately hired to play Hilary. Morgan made her debut as a recurring cast member on June 14, 2013. After several episodes as a recurring cast member, Morgan was placed on contract with the series. In October 2013, head writer, Shelly Altman revealed to On-Air On-Soaps that Morgan would stay with the series indefinitely, despite the change in head writers. Despite appearing in the series credits as a recurring cast member upon her debut, Morgan confirmed that she was immediately offered a contract due to the fact that she was outside of the U.S. She had to be placed on contract to obtain her visa.
Mark William Calaway of Global Television Network described Hilary as "Cane's vengeful assistant who knows what she wants and has no problem going after it." Morgan revealed that Hillary is introduced as Cane's new assistant and described as an "A-type personality." Hilary is very well "put together," and "driven." The character is clear about what she wants and has no problem going after it. According to Morgan, the character comes off as a "genuine person," and appears to have everyone's best interest at heart. Because Hilary is a new character, Morgan was able to model Hilary after the college aged version of herself. Hilary is "very driven and ambitious and knows what she wants in life." Despite redemption, "there's a little bit of vixen still inside her," Morgan told Soaps In Depth. Hilary has a habit of taking the path of least resistance, whether she hurts others or not. Upon her introduction, Morgan said Hilary looks at the world as an "evil place where everybody is out to get her." Because of that Morgan said, "[Hilary] felt she needed to be vindicated."
Introduction and redemption
According to Morgan, her character's direction depended on fan reaction. Due to Cane and Lily's recent troubles thanks to Lily's growing attraction to Tyler Michaelson (Redaric Williams), Hilary's introduction comes at a time when the couple is already on shaky ground. Despite Cane and Lily making it through their troubles unscathed, "There’s… a doubt factor," said Goddard. Morgan revealed in an interview with Soap Opera Network that Hilary is out for "vengeance." Morgan also admitted that Hilary flies under the radar for quite sometime, but that even she did not know Hilary's motivation.
In October 2013, Shelly Altman stated that Hilary would soon branch out and become involved with other characters, but said that first Hilary must understand "the truth of what really happened with her mother," before she can start to "see things differently". This realization is what allows for the writers to move the character forward. Altman stated: "She is not going to be a psychopath, and she never was a psychopath. Hilary is a woman in pain because she has lost the most important relationship in her life. She needs to blame someone because she cannot see that her mother was responsible for what happened." According to Morgan, Hilary is in the process of "identifying who she is" when Jack (Peter Bergman) puts out a lifeline. Morgan stated that Hilary is shocked by Jack's "capacity to be compassionate". Hilary does not expect this reaction, from anyone. Hilary now understands that she has to "make amends", but is shocked when Jack defends her against Lily. According to Morgan, no one has ever defended her before. Though Neil forgives her, it is Jack's "support" that is a "real turning point" for Hilary. Morgan said Hilary's is sincere in her change of heart. Hilary loses herself in her grief, and goes about it the wrong way. Hilary is adamant about changing her ways.
In an interview with TV Source Magazine, Morgan revealed that the writers did not know what direction to take her character in a romantic sense. Morgan also revealed that she suggested that there could be something between Devon (Bryton James) and Hilary from the beginning. However, the writers never had plans for Devon to be Hilary's love interest. Of Hilary's budding romance with Devon, Morgan said Hilary brings some excitement to Devon's life. In the meantime, Hilary rejects the idea that she has feelings for Jack. According to Morgan, "She's a little insulted," by the notion due to her prior history with Cane. Though Jack is single, she doesn't realize how "intrigued by the possibility," that she is, until after someone else points it out. Shelly Altman said that Hilary is very "embarrassed" when she impulsively kisses Jack. Hilary "admires and respects Jack, but he [is] her boss!" According head writer, Jean Passanante, Hilary is extremely "relieved," when Jack does not make a big deal about the kiss; however, Hilary has to "accept that Jack's unwillingness to discuss the kiss is him not wanting to pursue a subject that could embarrass her or negatively influence their professional relationship." In the meantime Hilary is annoyed by Devon's relationship with Esmeralda (Briana Nicole Henry) because she thinks "he deserves better" then a woman who seems to be interested in his money. A confrontation with Devon about Esmeralda leads the realization that her kissing Jack "was the catalyst for Devon's actions with Esmeralda." Though it seems Devon is moving on, Altman insisted there is a "definite attraction between [Hilary and Devon], even if they're both in denial." Of the potential romance, Altman said "they'll need to get around a very surprising obstacle!" That obstacle would come in the form of Neil who has recently lost his bride to be. In an interview with Sara Bibel featured on Daytime Confidential, Morgan said that Hilary is attracted to Neil because during a time when she is trying to turn her life around, he keeps her grounded. However Morgan did admit that Hilary's attraction to Neil was a bit "creepy" considering Rose's brief romance with Neil. Morgan hinted that Devon's newly inherited billion dollar fortune might have scared her away. "That [wealth] adds to the attraction for sure, but I feel like she's pretty reformed," Morgan remarked. She explained that Hilary is trying to go after the "right things" and "do the right things." Meeting someone like Neil who is willing to forgive her and help her out changes Hilary's views on the world and people in general.
Morgan said Hilary and Neil had built a friendship and hinted at the possibility of a romance. However, Morgan also agreed that Hilary's attraction to Neil could be "more about daddy issues than romance," and her actions could be driven by those issues. Of her character's attraction to Neil (and Jack) Morgan said, "she wants that reassurance from older men a little bit that she's on the right path." Morgan said Hilary has a "tendency" to take her admiration for these men a little "bit further" then she should. Jean Passanante told On-Air On-Soaps how the storyline unfolded and also hinted that Hilary's attraction to Neil comes from growing up without a father. In addition, Hilary's connection with Devon and Lily's refusing to forgive Hilary for her past created "a great big mess, with much story opportunity," Passanante continued. The scribe said the "rooting-ness factor" would be turned "on its ear a bit." Shelly Altman said Hilary is "tormented" when Devon admits his feelings for her because she can't deny that she reciprocates those feelings. Neil gives Hilary a "role model for a healthy, stable relationship, which is what she craves." Hilary is under the assumption that her feelings for Devon will go away. Though she decides to go through with her wedding to Neil, Hilary is shaken up by the confrontation with Devon. In an interview with Michael Logan of TV Guide, Morgan admitted that Hilary's attraction to Neil is fueled by her "daddy issues." In the meantime, Hilary thinks marrying Neil will make her feelings for Devon go way. "Right now, this all feels like a dream, and she's riding that wave," Morgan explained. On the July 3, 2014 episode, Hilary confronts Devon and she is terrified when he says, "I love you and you love me." According to Morgan, Devon's admission "scares the crap out of her." Morgan also hinted at another unexpected curve ball in the triangle.
Hilary, born as Ann Turner is the daughter of Rose Turner (Leslie Stevens). As a child, Ann has a music box, with a twirling ballerina as a gift from her parents. Ann desperately wants to take dance lessons, but she never gets them due to her father being sent to prison. After her mother's death in April 2007, Ann leaves the country and settles in London. At some point, Ann changes her name to Hilary Curtis. Hilary has a degree in economics and international studies. During her years in college, Hilary interned at WorldCo. She later worked for the same company, specializing in multi-platform advertising and social media. Hilary worked for a prominent financier, but she had abruptly quit on the day Gus was released from prison. Speaks three languages including Mandarin.
Hilary comes to Genoa City as Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard)'s nearly perfect assistant at Chancellor Industries. However, Cane's close friend, Jill Fenmore (Jess Walton) suspects Hilary has an ulterior motive. In the meantime, an anonymous blogger targets Cane and his wife Lily (Christel Khalil)'s entire family, and even insinuates that Cane and Hilary are sleeping together. It is eventually revealed that Hilary is working with Mason Wilder (Lamon Archey) to ruin the Winters family because she blames Neil (Kristoff St. John) for her mother's death. Hilary goes so far as to serve liquor to the recovering alcoholic Neil. Neil apologizes to Hilary for his part in Rose (Leslie Stevens)'s death, and also forgives her for her schemes. He then helps her get a job at Jabot Cosmetics as Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman)'s new assistant. In the meantime, she warns Devon about Mason's scheming, though he refuses to listen to her. Devon changes his mind about Hilary when her suspicions about Mason prove true, and they become friendly, much to Lily's chagrin. Hilary works closely with Jack, his son, Kyle (Hartley Sawyer) and Jill in an attempt to get Chancellor Industries back from Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). Kyle accuses Hilary of falling for Jack, though she rejects the notion. At the Valentine's Day gala, Hilary impulsively kisses Jack, but later apologizes. She badgers Devon about his tryst with model Esmeralda (Briana Nicole Henry). After surviving a hostage crisis at the gala, Hilary reassures Devon that the situation is not his fault, and they grow closer. Hilary continues to clash with Lily when Jack handpicks her to organize a fashion show for Jabot at the club. Hilary accompanies Neil to Los Angeles for a meeting with Forrester Creations and she fulfills her dream of appearing on the game show, The Price is Right. Neil and Hilary soon begin an affair that she wants to keep secret until Devon catches them together and exposes it. Neil convinces Hilary to move in with him despite Devon and Lily's protests. Following an awkward Father's Day celebration where Neil's youngest son, Moses (Randall L. Smith) mistakes Hilary for the nanny, and Lily warns them about the pressures faced by unwed parents whose children are starting school, Neil proposes marriage, and though she hesitates, Hilary accepts. Devon suddenly confronts her about her their mutual feelings and kisses her the day before the wedding. Though she doesn't deny her feelings, Hilary warns him that she is committed to Neil. As Hilary and Neil say "I do," she reminisces about her kiss with Devon.
Morgan's portrayal received generally positive reviews, while the storyline surrounding her introduction received criticism. Of the actress, CBS Soaps In Depth wrote, "Mishael Morgan steals every scene that she's in." Michael Fairman of On-Air On-Soaps named Hilary the "worst new character" of 2013, panning her initial storyline but praising Morgan's portrayal. He wrote: "This whole storyline from the blogger to Rose, to Hilary’s revenge with the help of Mason (Lamon Archey), which gave story to the Winters clan, was just not needed, and this character isn’t either, even though Mishael Morgan plays her to the hilt!" While Daytime Confidential also panned the blogger storyline, the website praised Morgan for her "sex-sational" performance. They wrote: "Someone give that girl a Kim Zimmer Award. She definitely turned sh** to sugar in 2013." Morgan also ranked at #7 on their list of the "10 Best Soap Opera Newbies" for the year 2013. They wrote: "Much like a boring lump of coal can sometimes turn into a sparkling diamond, The Young and the Restless found quite the gem in Mishael Morgan (Hilary), via the soap's snorefest blogger storyline. Sexy, manipulative and on-the-make, Hilary descended on Genoa City like a one-woman plague of locusts in 2013. That isn't quite accurate, since she had help in the form of previously-wasted hottie Mason (Lamon Archey). When was the last time daytime had a pair of mocha schemers this delicious? We can't remember either." Soap Opera Digest hailed the storyline surrounding the character's introduction as the "Most Boring Story" for the entire year. However, the reveal of Mason as Hilary's secret accomplice proved to a highlight for viewers and critics alike. Of the revelation, Soaps In Depth said it was "The twist you didn't see coming!" Lamon Archey said the revelation garnered quite the reaction from fans on Twitter.
Soaps In Depth noticed the chemistry between Hilary and Devon in their very first scenes together. The magazine also wrote of the possible pairing of Hilary and Devon, "We're digging the idea of them together!" Jamey Giddens (of Daytime Confidential) applauded the rivalry between Hilary and Lily and wrote: "Am I dreaming this? Are beautiful women being fabulously bitchy with one another, while rocking gorgeous holiday hairdos on CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless? Screw visions of sugarplums; this is what I need in my stocking from daytime's most-watched soap! A fed up Lily (Christel Khalil) gives Hilary (Mishael Morgan) one helluva neck roll-infused dressing down today on Y&R. The "trick please" look Hilary shoots back at Mrs. Ashby definitely jingled my soap-loving bells." ABC Soaps In Depth immediately praised the "rapport" between Jack and Hilary. Omar Nobles of TV Source Magazine also loved the dynamic between Jack and Hilary, but also saw the potential of a romantic triangle between Devon, Hilary and Neil. Initial fan reaction had viewers divided about Hilary's being with Devon or Neil. A large portion of the fans base had problem with the significant age difference between Hilary and Neil.
Soap Opera Digest said Neil and Hilary's appearance on The Price Is Right seemed so "jarring and misplaced" that it halted the story. The magazine said "instead of providing a fun break from melodrama, the maneuver smacked of a publicity stunt gone wrong. Game over!"
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