cover/photos: Paul Gregory
Personality, beauty, brains, courage, talent and a sense of humor can take you very far in life. The key is to not allow rejection or any obstacle to stop you from achieving your dream. Actress Alicia Minshew's journey to becoming an actress is a perfect example of how to keep on striving for your dream and not let anything stop you. SayWhatNews sat down with the former All My Children star and discussed her family, career and life after the Soaps:
SayWhatNews: Hi Alicia, it’s such an honor to speak with you. First tell us in three words who is Alicia Minshew?
Alicia: Aw thank you! It is my pleasure. Okay-in three words Alicia Minshew is:
Silly, Sensitive and Nutty!
SayWhatNews: If you don’t mind I would like to start at the beginning for our readers who might not know your background? Alicia you were born and raised in South Florida. Do have any siblings?
Alicia: I have 3 sisters! We are all very close and very different! I have a very tight knit family and feel that family is the most important thing! I grew up in South Florida and ALWAYS knew I wanted to act! So I started doing plays in high school and that lead to me getting the acting "bug"! I then starting modeling and doing some commercials in Miami, meeting my manager, and that lead to the big move to NY where I booked AMC! It did not happen overnight! Years of hard work and auditions and acting classes! My family supported me the whole time-which was so important.
SayWhatNews: What was it like being the third girl of four girls with a father who is an Episcopal Minister and a mother who is a Pilates Instructor?
Alicia: My Dad is the coolest! He is very open and liberal and you would never know he was a priest! We did go to a lot of church functions and went to church every Sunday! I liked it because I got to flirt with the cute boys in church. Typical preacher’s kid! I was grounded a lot for sneaking out, drinking and all of the above! My Dad was not strict-I was just trouble! I have karma coming my way with my daughter now! My mom was a health nut. So-I grew up with a lot of exercise around me and very healthy eating habits! I am so grateful for that now. I am now the same way! I am very into health and fitness.
SayWhatNews: After graduating from High School you received a musical theater scholarship to Indian River College. How did you become interested in theater and acting?
Alicia: As I said I had always wanted to act. I was always in dance classes, music lessons, and did school plays. My grandfather was a Vaudeville performer and I always looked up to him and was doing skits with him! We were very alike! My parents were awesome in helping me stay on the right path and supporting me! The move to NYC was what did it! That was one of the best times of my life! I studied with amazing acting teachers, got my agents, and continued doing commercials for a while! Eventually other doors opened up for me.
SayWhatNews: How did a college student performing in stage plays and musicals like “Grease”, “Kiss Me Kate” and “God Spell” end up hosting a satellite music program called, “The Music Zone”?
Alicia: Musical theater is what I really wanted to do-as I LOVE to sing and dance! But once I got in front of the camera for commercials-I thought hmmm - TV or film could be fun too! And pays the bills…sometimes! My agents in Miami sent me on this audition for this new Satellite Music Station called The Music Zone. It aired all over the place...even Guam! Nutty huh? After a bunch of callbacks I got the job. I was a host with about 6 other people and made my living from this from when I was about 19-21 years of age! It was SO fun! I was looking for old footage the other day and can't find it. I was such a nut! We got paid to talk about music, interview bands and just act silly! Fun! It did not last long, as MTV was huge and took over. And that is when I said okay-time to leave south Florida and go to NEW YORK!
SayWhatNews: Right after college, you began modeling in Miami and ended up with your first audition with the hit Soap Opera, “All My Children” in New York City. How did that opportunity come to be?
Alicia: Once I arrived in New York, that’s when my manager started sending me on a ton of auditions…. and the lovely casting director Judy Wilson kept calling me in to audition for AMC. I was not ready yet -but she saw something in me and kept calling me in over a few years. She is the best! And finally -she said "Okay Alicia...I think this role is perfect for you. Just go in there and have fun with it!" So I did! And of course when I let go and just had fun-that is when I got the role!
SayWhatNews: Now Alicia, you weren’t cast at that time but the New York experience pushed you to relocate and go after your dream as an actress. Can you tell us about that experience and what gave you the courage to make such a big move?
photo: ABC/All My Children - Alicia Minshew (Kendall),Susan Lucci (Erica)
Alicia: I think my family supporting me gave the courage to go and make the big move. I also moved with my boyfriend at the time and he had the same dream. We both had supportive families and that is HUGE! We were lucky. I also believed in myself. I learned to not take things personally. If I did not get the job-I knew I was just not right for the role and I would move on and try to just enjoy the process. I had some great friends that were actors too and we were all in the same boat in New York. So there was safety in numbers too. It was a fun, free time to just learn and enjoy the process. New York is a great city to be in and I loved it. So -there were tough times, but I got past it and had fun while I was learning.
SayWhatNews: Your big break came when you were cast as Kendall Hart, Erica Kanes estranged daughter on All MY Children. The role was originated by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Was it hard or even scary to take on a role that fans had already established a love/hate relationship for?
Alicia: It was damn scary taking over after Sarah played Kendall. I did not watch the show before-thank God. So I had a chance to just make the role my own. It took me a while to get comfortable in the role. Daytime is hard! The fans were not crazy about me in the beginning. Who can blame them? I heard Sarah was awesome! I think I just did a different take on the character and played her differently. And ultimately-the fans warmed up to me. THANK GOD!
SayWhatNews: As a AMC fan myself, I remember when you debuted as Kendall and thought who is this girl, she is not original Kendall but you as an actress immediately changed my mind and I became a huge fan of your portrayal of Kendall. Have you received similar feedback from AMC fans and how did it make you feel to know fans welcomed you with open arms?
Alicia: AW thank you so much! So sweet! It took me a while to find my way with Kendall and just daytime in general. The pace is SO fast! It is a lot of work-but SO fun! I did get the same feedback from the fans which made me so happy and such a relief they did not hate me! On the street they were so loving and supportive and ultimately were there for me every year I was on the show! I guess I made Kendall more vulnerable and softened her a-bit which people liked. But made sure she did not lose her strength. The fans have been and still are the best!
SayWhatNews: From 2002 -2011 you played Kendall Hart. That’s a long time to play a character. As an actress how did you keep the role interesting and fresh?
Alicia: I tried to just have fun with the character and try new things. Throwing in some humor always helped! I was lucky that the writers always wrote so great for me over the years -so they kept me busy and having fun. I got to play a lot of different things! Kendall was a great role that was never boring! And I think that as I grew up-so did the character. So it kept it interesting!
SayWhatNews: Alicia as a soap star you have appeared at a lot of soap fan events and die hard soap fans can be overzealous sometimes. Tell us about your most interesting encounter with a fan?
Alicia: One of my most interesting encounters was when a little girl was shaking and almost passed out when she met me. I was so concerned for her and this was my first fan event too! I could not believe her reaction. Once she was okay--I think I gave her a lollipop or something--I gave her a hug and spent some time with her. I guess young people get over-excited! Amazing how young girls took to my character. I was beyond flattered but did not want that to happen again!
SayWhatNews: Oh yeah, that would have made me a nervous wreck. Sadly after 41 years, All My Children was cancelled by ABC. Can you tell us about the last day on the set and how you and your cast-mates coped?
Alicia: It was a surreal day. We were all pretty prepared for it and tried to look at it as a celebration of the amazing show's longevity. It was almost like a big party. There was a lot of laughter and love in the air. But once we taped the last scene-...that is when the tears flowed. It was just surreal. I was a bit numb. We are a family and it was like a family saying goodbye. We had a big party that night and all just said-see you later! And we all had a few drinks too! At that point we were not sure if the show was going to continue online. It was a weird feeling. But I feel we all eventually had closure.
SayWhatNews: Now that your time on AMC has come to a close. What exactly have you been up to? I see that you have been working on some independent films and made an appearance on a show on Oxygen. Tell us about your new projects and how things have been since AMC?
Photo: Lies I Told My Sister Cast courtesy of Alicia Minshew
Alicia: I have had some amazing time with my 2 year old daughter Willow, which I did not get when I was working the long hours on AMC. I am so grateful for that. I can take her to her classes and play dates and just watch her grow. There is nothing better. And she is fun too!
I have been taking a sitcom class-as I am dying to do comedy! I did a little improv show at the ACME comedy theater last month. It was so fun to just take a risk and do something I am not used to! I want to do new and different things--having some fun auditions and meetings.
It is exciting to start this new chapter in my life and see what is out there now! I just got back from New York-where I filmed a small supporting role in a beautiful indie film called "Lies I told My Little Sister ". I played a girl who is dying of cancer. Heavy stuff-but a beautiful script. I loved the cast and crew. It was nice to be doing something different! I just love to act-so it felt good! I leave for Georgia in the end of July to film another indie film. I play a southern girl. So different from Kendall! Can't wait! So -life is good. Busy and good!
SayWhatNews: That’s wonderful; fans will be so pleased to see you again on the big and small screen. Now before AMC you starred in some live stage productions such has “Beggar Horseback and “Of Love and Betrayal”. Would you ever consider going back and starring on Broadway?
Alicia: Are you kidding--I would LOVE to do theater again. Those were fun little shows in NYC! Not sure if I could ever do Broadway-You have to be the best of the best....but would LOVE it. I would love to do any theater. There is nothing like being on a stage, NOTHING.
SayWhatNews: Alicia, you are a Philanthropist and have a passion in helping children. How did you get involved with charities that help children and why?
Alicia: - I have always has a soft spot for helping children. I used to do a lot of charity work for kids in my church when I was a teenager. That has always been in me. Now that I am a mother,it means even more to me. I got involved in an organization called City Year. They help children stay in school. And target areas where the dropout rate is high. I went to an event and learned about it and that was it. I wanted to be a part of it. So I am looking to do an event for them in the fall! It means a lot.
SayWhatNews: That’s amazing, please keep us posted on that. Also in your spare time you are a Health Advocate and love to do long distance running, Pilates and, dancing. What would be your advice to someone wanting to get healthy and exercise more?
Alicia: I would say just making the first step is the hardest. But once you start-you get in the zone and start looking forward to your workout time. It becomes a part of your life. You start to feel better and more energized! I also say to be kind to yourself and if you skip a day…, there is always tomorrow--baby steps. You can work your way up to your goal. But be patient and try to have fun with it. Be persistent!
photo: Alicia Minshew @ People Choice Awards After Party/wire
SayWhatNews: The 39th Daytime Emmy Awards are coming up on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at the Los Angeles Beverly Hilton Hotel. I have to ask about your dress. What designer will you be wearing and can you tell us the color?
Alicia: I am looking forward to the Emmys as it will be my last one representing AMC. I have not chosen a dress yet! YIKES! But we are working on it. I love color! So-we will see what I get! Should be fun! I will keep you posted!
SayWhatNews: What’s next in the future for Alicia Minshew?
Alicia: What's next is: shooting the film in Georgia and perfecting my southern accent, potty training my daughter, and a possible move back to NYC! We will see! Three big, different things! In the meantime-I am going to enjoy my comedy class and laughing my butt off every day of my life with my baby and hubby!
SayWhatNews: Thanks so much for the interview. It was a joy speaking with you.
Alicia: This was my pleasure! Thanks for having me!
Alicia Minshew Website