Soap story actors aren’t often given much credit in Hollywood (or anywhere else) as thespians, though many are certainly trained as such. But for some, in a profession defined by rejection and uncertainty, the real and perceived loss of a bit of industry prestige is a fair trade for a regular role on a popular daytime drama that ensures steady work and a regular paycheck. It’s better to be a working soap story actor than a wannabe movie star, right?
Just ask Christel Khalil, whose 20-year portrayal of Lily Winters on almost 1,600 episodes of “The Young and the Restless” has earned her an NAACP Image Award (plus half a dozen more nominations), a Daytime Emmy Award (plus four more nominations), and, at 34 years old, the pecuniary wherewithal to splash out $2.15 million on a multilevel Mediterranean-modern villa privately sequestered behind dense hedges and prickly bougainvillea on a high ridge above Malibu’s rugged Latigo Canyon.
With picturesque mountain, canyon, and coastline views, the almost 2,800-square-foot home was built in 1989 in a generically Mediterranean manner that has since been transformed into a designer-done architectural retreat with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, plus a main-floor powder room, spread over three floors.
Guests pass through a walled courtyard brimming with lush tropical plantings and then, a vine-encrusted arched loggia before arriving at the snazzy steel and glass front door. Throughout the boldly painted interiors are knotty, honey-hued wide-plank wood floors and high ceilings, some of them clad in wood, while remnants of the residence’s late-1980s neo-Mediterranean roots, if they can be called that, include a traditional clay-tile roof, spindly wrought-iron accents, and polished terra-cotta pavers.
The main floor includes a great room composed of intimately scaled living and dining areas and a kitchen fitted with up-to-date stainless-steel appliances, custom Shaker cabinetry and stone-like tile countertops. Upstairs, where they’re positioned to take in the view, are a small office and an airy family room with a three-sided fireplace trimmed in brick, with a terra-cotta hearth. French doors lead to a huge, bi-level terrace crowded with potted plants.
The main-floor homeowner’s suite includes a small private terrace, and a bathroom sheathed in stone-like tile, with a jetted spa tub set next to a huge picture window that frames a meditative view over the mountains.
Outside the two lower-level guest bedrooms, with over-the-shrubbery views, the relaxed, pea-graveled backyard offers a sunken spa trimmed in flagstone, an outdoor shower, and a fireplace lined with reclaimed French fire brick set into a rough-cut stone wall.
The soap veteran, who also voiced a character on the mid-aughts animated series “W.I.T.C.H.” and appeared in the indie comedy “We Need To Talk,” remains the owner to a charming 1940s cottage with a detached guesthouse in a quiet, leafy area of North Hollywood that was scooped up more than seven years ago for $750,000.
See, folks. While those who wish to be the next Will Smith toil away for years and decades of missed big breaks and rejection, Khalil now owns more than three million bucks in real estate.