Adam Mayfield has made a splash on ALL MY CHILDREN this past year igniting enthusiastic devotion from fans and critics alike. But behind his good looks and charm there is a pensive soul who is carefully navigating his way through life's ups and downs while struggling with his own self-doubt. Please enjoy Part One of our interview in which he discusses his Texas roots, getting to know Scott Chandler, and the other profession he would have pursued if he wasn't acting.
We Love Soaps: You have been a very busy man this these days! I’d like to start where you are from. I don’t even hear your Texas accent on screen.
Adam Mayfield: Thank God it doesn’t come out on screen. It was suggested in Los Angeles I work with dialect coach but I never had the money for that. So I went for one hour. And she suggested all different vowel and consonant sounds that a native Texan needs to work on to get a standard American dialect. All our vowels are different. Then there’s “Rs” and “Ls.” I drove around in my truck practicing the exercises over and over so whenever I went to an audition there was no trace of it. I made a point when I first moved to New York even to use it in regular conversation so I could make the distinction. But now that I’ve been playing the character long enough it comes naturally. I don’t think it applies to the character and to the parameters of the storyline, it just wouldn’t make sense. Stuart didn’t have one, Adam doesn’t have one, which I thought was a little odd given they grew up in a place called “Pigeon Hollow,” which was a rural area of the Appalachians. But what are you going to do?
We Love Soaps: What part of Texas are you from?
Adam Mayfield: Houston.
We Love Soaps: And did you ever consider doing anything other than acting?
Adam Mayfield: Oh, yeah! When I was a kid I wanted to be a vet but I just got into acting. There was a time in high school I wanted to be a forest ranger. So it was either this or being a forest ranger.
We Love Soaps: How did you go from Houston to ALL MY CHILDREN in New York?
Adam Mayfield: I guess it starts in Texarkana, Texas. We moved around a lot. My dad kind of had a hard time holding down a job, not through any fault of his own. He was an industrial engineer by trade. Companies would hire him to come in [to] make things run more efficient. He just never seemed to get a footing on the corporate level. He was always in and out of jobs. We were living in Texarkana and I was from Houston. My mom was from Houston. She had plenty of ties in the city. She said, “Hey, there’s this performing arts school there, why don’t you go audition?” I auditioned [and] got in. So that’s why I moved back to Houston. It was called High School For the Performing and Visual Arts. Then I went to the DePaul University, the Theater School, formerly known as the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago.
We Love Soaps: Sounds like your parents were very supportive.
Adam Mayfield: I never really got to know how supportive my dad was. He passed away when I was sixteen. Two weeks after graduation I sold everything I owned, bought a motorcycle, and moved out to Los Angeles. I started going out on auditions. I’ve been in a ton of commercials - beer commercials, fast-food, car rentals. I bartended for years. I started getting guest spots on TV. Then I auditioned for ALL MY CHILDREN. I had a feeling about this one. I love to camp a lot. I’d go camping in the Angeles National Forest. My girlfriend at the time and I had a feeling about this one. We were coming back on a Monday afternoon and as soon as we got into cell service [range] there were calls from my agent, my managers, saying, “You need to call right away.” I thought I was in trouble. I thought I had done something wrong.
We Love Soaps: Had you ever watched ALL MY CHILDREN before this?
Adam Mayfield: I had watched a couple of times. But I got addicted to DAYS OF OUR LIVES [when] I was 13 or 14 years old. It was summer vacation. Both my parents were working at the time, and I was stuck around the house doing chores. Before long doing chores evolved into folding laundry every day between twelve to one watching DAYS OF OUR LIVES and getting really sucked into the story. I remember Bo and Hope were really heavy into the story at that time, and Patch and Kayla. I remember them more than anybody, those two couples really stuck in my mind. So there I was glued to the TV from twelve to one everyday. And by no means there’s anything wrong with that. But when you’re a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy, a little stigma is attached. I thought, “This is something I’ll need to put away when school starts.” And that’s exactly what happened. The only reason I quit was because I had to go back to school.
We Love Soaps: Did you know you were auditioning for Scott Chandler?
Adam Mayfield: No. They didn’t tell me who I was auditioning for. I think the name of the character was “Brody Parker” for the audition. I had no idea who I was playing until I got the role.
We Love Soaps: Were you familiar with David Canary’s work?
Adam Mayfield: Oh yeah! I used to schedule my college classes around BONANZA. He played Candy [from 1967-1973]. This was syndicated, mind you, everyday at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
We Love Soaps: Have you been told you resemble David Canary?
Adam Mayfield: All the time. Even people who have been on the show will forget that Scott was adopted. And they’ll say things like, “This is perfect casting because you two look so much alike.” Fans forget. Everyone seems to forget, which in my opinion works in my favor. His biological mother was Cindy, who died of AIDS, and Stuart offered to marry her and then he legally adopted me.
We Love Soaps: Have your ever met Ellen Wheeler [who played Cindy]?
Adam Mayfield: No. I’ve never had the pleasure.
We Love Soaps: Many have told me their first experiences on soaps were a little overwhelming. What was it like for you?
Adam Mayfield: Things didn’t get overwhelming for me for many months. I think because I was so thrilled to get the job and to move to New York. This was not a daunting experience for me in the least. Moving out here I was nothing but elated. I loved breaking down the material. I loved showing up for work. Sure there’s a nervous energy, but no fear attached. That didn’t come until a few months later. It really started to hit the fan when I was shooting 5-6 episodes a week and there was a lot of material and I wasn’t able to dive into the material for days at a time before I had to go up to bat. It’s been a hell of a journey learning how to refine my process as an actor, to bring the goods to the table just as well as if I had the material for two weeks.
We Love Soaps: Do you feel like you’re able to do that now?
Adam Mayfield: No. But I’m getting there.
We Love Soaps: Are you being hard on yourself, or are you actually getting this criticism from others?
Adam Mayfield: I’m not getting any negative feedback from anyone. I will certainly get gentle nudges from the directors.
We Love Soaps: How has the fan reaction been to you?
Adam Mayfield: So far, so good. I love fan events. How can you not feel good after showing up somewhere and having a couple hundred people tell you they adore you and they love your character and they want autographs. Soap opera fans are so salt to the earth. They remind me of my family back home. When I go to fan events I feel like I’m at a Sunday barbecue. They’re all my aunts and my grandmas and my cousins.
We Love Soaps: You seem very comfortable at fan events. And I think they’ve really taken to you.
Adam Mayfield: I was coming into the elevator just now, and the lady who works the door downstairs, she watches the show. She said, “Hi Scott, I love you!” And it makes you feel good. This is my first rodeo. This is my first time to experience anything like this. I’m very grateful. I’m very appreciative.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Stay tuned for Part Two of the interview in which Adam Mayfield shares how Stuart's death affected his own personal losses and what it's like working with Missy Egan.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He has started blogging again at www.shouldless.com.