I had the opportunity to chat with actress Alicia Minshew recently, best known for her iconic role as Kendall Hart on the legendary soap opera All My Children. Alicia took some time out of her busy schedule to chat about her years on All My Children, her latest project, Surviving Sam,as well as everything she’s been working on in between.
Of course Alicia’s story begins with All My Children. Alicia was living in New York doing commercials and a few small projects when she got the call to read for the iconic part of Kendall Hart, originated by Sarah Michelle Gellar, but didn’t know that was the part she actually reading.“They kept it super hush hush, so they called the character ‘Candy’. They just said she was really spunky and fun, kind of bratty but you know all that good stuff. The casting director said, ‘Alicia, this role is perfect for you. Go and have fun with it.’ So I did and of course the one time when I don’t worry about it is when I actually get it. Then right before I signed my contract I was told, ‘Now I want to tell you something, we didn’t want you to be nervous, but this is the role of Susan Lucci’s daughter previously played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.’ I knew who Sarah was, and I knew who Susan was. I never watched All My Children but I knew who they both were. It was a very exciting thought; I was just scared out of my mind. You know I was twenty-something years old and I was brand new to the soap world, and I felt the pressure of ‘OK, I’m not only playing this Kendall character, but I’m playing Susan Lucci’s daughter.'”
Alicia took over the part of Kendall Hart in 2002 and played her the series end in 2011. Four years later Alicia has stayed busy, but still misses playing Kendall and her Pine Valley home.“I played her almost ten years; ultimately I started to put so much of myself into her that they [the writers] start to write for you. After a while they see your personality and they start to write maybe the way you talk, or they add some funny stuff, or silly stuff, or sarcasm. So after a while you know a lot of her was me. So it was a blend. Now some of the crazy stuff that she did was not me at all, and I miss that, ‘cause I got to do things with her that I would never ever do in my real life. She was a really fun character. To me she was so strong, almost stronger than me. I feel like she was this force. I’m a lot more vulnerable and meeker than she is. Kendall was a very strong character and honestly this sounds cheesy, I feel like playing her has actually given me more strength, because you play a strong character for so long that it kind of makes you stronger. I miss that. I miss being that strong feisty woman. It was really the most fun, I could not think of a better soap character to have played for me.”
Soap fans should be happy to know that Alicia has kept true to her soap roots in some of the projects she’s been working on since All My Children’s end. Especially in the web series Tainted Dreams and Beacon Hill.“[On Tainted Dreams] I’m with people from As The World Turns, Guiding Light, General Hospital andOne Life To Live. We immediately connected as a family because we all come from the daytime world. Everyone just gelled together beautifully. There are really 12 episodes, all a half-hour long, for which they are currently trying to find a home. There’s so much good stuff in these episodes, but I don’t want to give anything anyway. I just think there’s so much! There are social issues, there are race issues, there are sexuality issues, there’s funny stuff. It really is a true look at the behind the scenes when you’re making a soap opera. And it was written and created by Sonia Blangiard who was the producer on All My Children for years and moved on to be a director at One Life To Live and a director at As The World Turns. She grew up in the soap world, so her stories are based on real life stuff she experienced being a producer — seeing behind the scenes of what happens with these crazy actors. She writes stories based on real people. There’s a diva on a show, there’s a hunky guy who cheats on his wife, there’s someone who ends up being gay, there’s all these fun stories and they’re all told from her point of view, the producer and I play her. I play the producer. I narrate the whole thing, kind of like Sex And The City, so you hear everything from my point of view. These wonderful actors came together to play a show within a show. So you’ll see them filming their scenes on the show and then someone will yell ‘Cut!’ And you’ll see all the chaos when they yell cut. So for anybody who is a soap fan it’s a real treat. “In the middle of Tainted Dreams I got an email from Crystal Chappell. Crystal is an Emmy-award-winning actress I grew up watching on Days Of Our Lives so I was very familiar with Crystal. She’s been on Guiding Light, she’s been on As The World Turns, she’s been on a lot of soaps. Crystal had won an Emmy for her web series Venice, so she was one of the pioneers of taking these soaps and creating new stories to put online for the fans. When she approached me I was so flattered because I grew up watching Crystal. She said ‘Hey, I see you’re working on a web series, I have another one coming up that I think you’re perfect for, I’d love for you to read it.’ So I read Beacon Hill. She said ‘You’ll be playing a gay woman, are you comfortable with that?’ And I said, ‘Of course!’
Alicia’s latest project is the upcoming Surviving Sam which premieres on TVtibi this year.“It’s the story of this couple, Ben and Sam, that is getting a divorce but they’re forced to live under the same roof while they’re divorced for the sake of their kids. It’s called Surviving Sam, and I play Sam. So he [my ex-husband] has to survive living with me because I am the high maintenance, prissy, self-centered wife. The character of Ben is this completely obsessive-compulsive just quirky wacky dude who doesn’t want to get dirty, he’s got his own issues. So these two crazy characters live together with their kids and drive each other insane, basically. Yet all the while they still love each other. They are divorced so you see the push and the pull, he’ll have new girlfriends, she’ll have new boyfriends, and the kids have to deal with this. You know just mayhem in the household. That’s pretty much what we’re dealing with.”
You can also catch Alicia on the big screen in the indie films Desires of The Heart and Lies I Told My Little Sister, where she is already receiving the support of her All My Children fans.“I don’t think I would be where I am if I had not had the fans supporting All My Children and supporting that whole time. It’s pretty special. Every single time I do something new I’m blown away by the support and response I get. I know this happens with a lot of my other friends as well who do soaps. They see the same thing. They see the same thing and we talk about how we are really lucky to have that.”
Check out Tainted Dreams at http://tainteddreamstheseries.com/
Subscribe to Beacon Hill here http://www.beaconhilltheseries.com/
To get your Alicia Minshew fix, keep an eye on her website at http://aliciaminshewofficial.com/
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