courtesy Mykel Shannon Jenkins
Mykel Shannon Jenkins is the first black leading man to land a contract with The Bold and the Beautiful in the show's 20-year history - and he earned this job the old-fashioned way. Jenkins won Season 1 of SOAPnet's I Wanna Be a Soap Star but got a snotty reception when he took his prize, a short-term cop role on General Hospital. "How I got the part made a lot of the cast unwilling to respect me," he says. Their loss. Jenkins went on to tackle guest spots on CSI, Saving Grace and Ugly Betty (where he was fantastic as Tavares, the faux-gay fashion designer who had a tryst with Amanda).

On B&B he'll play hero detective Charlie Baker and be thrust into a major whodunit. Which beauty will he eventually romance? Jenkins isn't fussy. "Have you seen the ladies on this show?" he says. "There's one hell of a selection!" - Reporting by Michael Logan