Actress Leah Remini won her first career Emmy at the Creative Arts Awards on Saturday night, September 9, but it wasn’t for her acting work. She claimed Best Informational Program for her A&E nonfiction series “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” in which she sets out to expose the controversial religious organization. It started airing its second season on August 15, right smack-dab in the middle of Emmy voting. That put the show at the forefront of public awareness when it counted the most. And it has the backing of critics: the Television Critics Association awarded it Best Achievement in Reality Programming earlier this month.
Remini discussed her Emmy victory backstage. Watch their press room interview above, and read our entire transcript below:
It’s great to be honored for work like this, but you’re also, you hear from the families and from the people whose stories you’re telling and whose lives are being changed by you guys, putting their stories out there. Tell me about the get-back from that?
Leah Remini: Well they’re here tonight, and I am so happy to share this. This is really cool for them, and it’s not an easy job to do, but they are the ones putting their stories out there for everyone to hear and to experience, and for that we’re so honored to be the vessel to tell that story, and so it’s an honor. It’s an absolute honor. I mean, I’ve always wanted to win this [Emmy], but it means so much more knowing that it actually does belong to our contributors who were the brave ones who were telling us and all of you their stories.
Leah, what does this moment mean to you? Is this a career highlight, one of the biggest in your life? Can you kind of talk about what it was like being on that stage?
LR: Well, always, as an actress, you always wanna get an Emmy nomination or win an Emmy, but as you get a little older, and you realize what’s really important and you are exposed to stories like this, it becomes more about doing the right thing, and so… this doesn’t belong to me. It really does belong to our contributors, and so it’s more fulfilling.
Leah, for you, you’re gonna be going back to work as an actress. How are you gonna be able to balance that and this? Do you sort of have it all planned out as to how to keep the right amount of attention to each?
LR: Well we’ve been doing it. Yeah, we’ve been doing it. I’ve already started on “Kevin Can Wait,” and it’s definitely a balancing act but we have a great team. Our production company, IPC and A&E, and all of our producers, they put up with a lot of phone calls and a lot of notes via email (laughs). It is a balancing act.
LR: Okay, so you guys are good? You guys are busy typing? Okay, ‘cause I gotta drink, so you’re good, I’m good.