Days of Our Lives has been a mainstay of NBC's daytime programming for 40 years. On Sunday, one of its biggest stars was in the Scenic City to speak at She: A Women's Expo put on by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"We don't leave that often," said Deidre Hall with a smile, sitting in her dressing room at the Chattanooga Convention Center. "I don't get out to Chattanooga. You know? I've never been here before. And so, we do our job on a quiet stage. We don't get to interact with the audience. So, these sort of events are wonderful."

That job, portraying Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives, is one she's been doing for 36 years, now. How does she describe the journey?

"I find that Dr. Marlena Evans sort of reflects women of her time," explained Hall. "When I began the show, I was a woman completing a doctorate and trying to start working at a hospital. Several years later, I was then a woman who was getting married and considering having a family. Then I was a woman getting divorced. Then, I was a woman bearing a child. So, I have grown with the women in this country and I think that's why she's so relatable and that's why women my age, and I'm in my 60s, still, we're still doing what we're doing."

And Days is still doing what it's doing, as well. Even with some long-running soap operas ending and others moving to the Internet or Pay-per-View, DOOL is a daytime TV lineup staple. And Hall says it always should be because the soaps have a unique way of providing fans a comfort zone not replicated by other formats.

"Replacing daytime drama with a cooking show or a reality show is not gonna get the audience there," said Hall. "They come at all times in their lives and we're there. We're the same people. Days has been on for 40 years and so, we were there when your grandmother was babysitting for you, and when you had your family, and when you were in college, and on, and on, and on. And, for people that don't have family anymore, we stay their family."

Fans treat her as family, too. She says she never gets tired of hearing people's stories about their favorite characters or episodes or what the show has meant to them.

"The loveliest part for me is, I play a character who is so reliable that people trust me in the door," she added. "They say things; they're welcoming; they're open and revelatory, and that's a gift."

At the She Expo, Deidre Hall was preparing to talk to the crowd about female friendships.

"It's that kinship that women share that are the strength and the backbone, I think, of our country and of our world," she said. "I think women need to be reminded how strong we are when we stand united and how we can do anything. And we know that over many generation, but sometimes we don't pass it on."

In her spare time, Hall passes on what she has learned from life and her years in front of the cameras. She has authored two books. In Kitchen Close-up she explains how to answer the deadly question, "What's for supper?". And she shares beauty secrets in Deidre Hall: How Does She Do It? She also has a line of cosmetics, all of which are available on her web site.