Interview conducted by Samantha Plotkin

Melt model Eric Martsolf, has recently signed on to play “Ethan Winthrop” on the daytime soap opera, “Passions.” Eric’s stage credits include: the "Pharaoh" in the Osmond National Touring Company of “Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” "Danny Zuko" in “Grease” and “Count Maoachi” in the musical version of “Happy Days.”

In addition to modeling, he has appeared in the films, “If Lucy Fell,” “The Cheater” and “Spanish Fly.”

Eric took some time out from his busy schedule to tell us some of the intimate details of his life, from being a soap opera actor, to how he got to where he is today.

Melt: How did you get your start?

EM: I went to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where I studied political science and pre-law. During the summers of my academic career, was employed at Hershey Park. I was a singer/dancer.
Half the year was devoted to entertainment and half the year was devoted to academics, so by graduation day I was pretty split as to what I really wanted to do. I really enjoyed both areas. I opted to go with the entertainment route.

Melt: What made you decide to be an actor vs. being a lawyer?

EM: I always had this feeling that I should be a lawyer based on the fact that my father has been an attorney for last thirty-five years, and I enjoyed the debating. Being a lawyer is not too far off from being an actor. When you’re in the courtroom and you’re trying to argue a case, you’re essentially displaying the art of conviction. It’s very much like the stage.

When I graduated, I simply said to my father, I wanted to go to New York and get the entertainment bug out of my system. I thought it was something I would eventually get tired of. I would just roll the dice for a year or two maybe and see what comes up, gamble a little bit, and not expecting to land anything significant. It turned out, after a couple of months, I was already traveling and going out of town for jobs.

Melt: Did you experience any rejection? How did you deal with it and keep going?

EM: Rejection is part of the business, and part of the industry. I think
that’s what makes many actors fall off the path -- the rejection.

Rejection is still something I wrestle with today. When I was eighteen, it
was hard to deal with, and it has become easier to deal with now that I’m
thirty. I have a better understanding of why we don’t get jobs. When you’re eighteen, you think, “Oh, I must be terrible.” But there are so many other factors that go into casting and jobs.

It’s really important to have a core group of friends that support you -- not only in the entertainment industry but in any facet of life. You need to have a good loving group around you that believes in you and you’re abilities.

Melt: How is modeling different than being on a soap opera?

EM: I always thought of modeling as a way to support my acting career and a way to support my career financially. It was always something to lean on. But I love modeling and the creative process of photography.

Melt: What made you decide to model for Melt Magazine?

EM: Well, I thought the magazine was a terrific idea. When Melanie Tooker (Melt’s editor), first came to me with the idea of modeling for this
magazine, I was obviously quite taken by the idea of a magazine for women that displayed men in a very classy way. I think she’s done a good job of that.

Melt: Do you like working on “Passions?”

EM: There is a certain amount of pressure going into the situation. The actor before me has a fan base, and was very well-liked so it was intimidating coming in. The casting department really put me at ease. They gave me the freedom and liberty to put my own personality, my own self into the character. They weren’t looking for a copy cat. They wanted a new character all together. So, that felt good. That’s wonderful for an actor to be able to throw himself into the role.

Melt: What’s it like replacing another actor?

EM: I started in early June. I’ve taped approximately twenty episodes so far. Feeling like the new boy is basically over now. I’m literally in the family now. I’ve become incorporated as part of the “Passions” network. I’m waking up earlier than I ever have in my entire life, but I love my job, I love what I do and I work with terrific people.

Melt: What kind of research did you do to prepare for playing the role of “Ethan Winthrop?”

EM: I actually had a lot of research to undertake because he has many different relationships with several characters on the show. I had to find out who I was in love with, who I was sleeping with, who my parents were -- and none of these questions are easy to answer on a soap opera because these are very conflicted characters.

It’s a constantly resolving story. Things are changing all the time. So, just when you think you have your feet planted into the character and you know just who he is and what he’s up to, the storyline changes at the drop of a hat. I like that though. It makes coming to work interesting.

Melt: Did you watch soap operas before you got on “Passions?”

EM: I sure did. My mother is a huge soap opera fan. Whenever I was home from school when I was younger, she would make me fold laundry and watch her soaps. So, I grew up watching them and appreciating them. They have their entertainment value. They’re a lot of fun. And I think “Passions,” has really broken down the barrier and dared to go where others haven’t. I commend them for that.

Melt: What do you like to do for fun?

EM: For fun right now, I read “Passions” scripts. I don’t have any spare time anymore! But when I do get some spare time, I like to play tennis or hit the weight room once in a while.

Melt: What advice do you have for people who want to follow their dream?

EM: First and foremost, get involved. One thing can catapult you into another.

Also, you have to do what you love to do. Don’t do it for fame or fortune. Always give it your best. When in doubt -- when it’s a battle between your heart and your mind, go with your heart because it will rarely lie to you.

Melt: What are your future plans?

EM: I plan to incorporate all three areas of my career. I don’t want to stay with one. I want to do television, film and theater. Stage will always be my first home, it’s what a grew up on and it will always be a love of mine.

In addition to my career, I would like to maintain a strong family unit. That will always be a priority of mine, a balance of career and family

Visit Eric's official site at

  Samantha Plotkin is an award-winning playwright, screenplay writer, and freelance journalist. She has a Master's degree in Screenwriting from USC. Her articles have been published and reprinted in magazines and webzines nationwide.  


© Melt Magazine 2002