EDMONTON -- A soap opera star from St. Albert is still pinching himself after winning a Daytime Emmy for his role on The Young and the Restless.

Jason Thompson won the award for his role as Billy Abbott on the long-running American soap opera.

The Daytime Emmy for Lead Actor in a drama series was a long time coming for Thompson.

"That was my sixth nomination and I hadn’t ever heard my name called so it was a fun moment to hear it for sure," says Thompson.

Thompson has been acting on soap operas for 15 years, first as Dr. Patrick Drake on General Hospital, before moving to The Young and The Restless four years ago. He says the character he is playing now is a lot of fun.

"He's a little reckless when he wants to be, he drives a little too fast sometimes, he drinks a little too much sometimes but he's a lover and a bit of a fighter," said Thompson. "He likes to take a punch. I think he'd like to take a punch than throw a punch which I really appreciate about him."

It took a lot of fighting for Thompson to break into his acting career. He started off as a model, after being discovered as a teenager working at Earl’s in downtown Edmonton. That led to a successful stint doing ads for big companies like Gap. But his heart was set on being an actor, so he moved to Los Angeles with big dreams and very little money.

"If I knew I had an audition on the following Tuesday I would scrape together whatever I could to put gas in the car to get there and if I couldn't afford gas I was taking the bus," said Thompson.

After seven years of auditions, he finally landed a role on General Hospital, initially being hired for only an eight-week contract. His contract kept being extended and eventually he spent over a decade on the soap opera, before joining The Young and the Restless.

"I always felt it was something I was capable of doing and I knew how hard I had to work. At a certain point you just have to outlast the other ones and hopefully your number gets called," says Thompson.

Even though Thompson now has a successful acting career is in California he still has deep roots in St. Albert, where he was born and raised, and Edmonton, where he co-owns the pubs Redstar and The Bower, as well as the coffee shop Lock Stock.

"It still feels like home to me in a way. I think it will always probably feel that way."

And because of COVID-19, Thompson was at his home in Los Angeles when he found out he won the Daytime Emmy award. His wife and two children were with him, celebrating alongside the actor in a moment captured on video and posted on his Instagram account.

Thompson says even though he imagined accepting the award wearing a tuxedo on a big stage, he prefers the way things turned out.

"I was at home with my family with my kids on my lap. I'm going to have that video for the rest of my life."