Victor Alfieri starts today in the new role of Ciro on ALL MY CHILDREN. Soap fans are familiar with Alfieri's work as double crossing Franco on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and swinging photographer Giovanni on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. But behind the good looks and romantic accent is a deep soul who has needed to employ humor and resilience to overcome traumatic losses. Please enjoy Part One of this interview with the multi-talented Victor Alfieri.
We Love Soaps: How did ALL MY CHILDREN come your way?
Victor Alfieri: They approached me in early March to find out if I was interested in playing a fashion photographer. I had just gotten off the set of UNDERCOVERS with J.J. Abrams. I have to be honest, I wasn’t really interested in the beginning. Not because it’s a soap opera, but because I was in the middle, and am still in the middle, of producing a movie I wrote. I knew a soap opera would take a lot of time because they shoot every day. I asked, “What’s the character?” They said it was a fashion photographer and I thought I played that already [on BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL]. I wanted to play something different. But then I read the material. And this guy was like crazy, in a good way!
We Love Soaps: How is he crazy?
Victor Alfieri: Ciro is his name. He lives in his own world. He doesn’t follow any rules, he doesn’t respect anybody, but in a good way. He’s a very famous photographer. He thinks he is The Man and that people should just go to him. It’s funny to play because he’s a little cocky, but I’m playing him likable. He will make you laugh. He’s fun to play, and I think he’s fun to watch. He provides that comedic relief that every soap needs. So I read the material, I called my agent and manager said, “Yes, I want to do this, this is crazy, this is fun.” It happened very quickly. I accepted the first week in March, and started working March 10th. I met with the producer and the casting director, and both ladies are super nice. I felt right at home. I felt good inside. Like, “Wow this is a good family.” I showed up on set and all these ladies were so beautiful. I figured, “I’m going to stay here awhile.”
We Love Soaps: Is this going to be a contact role?
Victor Alfieri: It’s recurring. We’re not talking about contracts right now. As long as they want me I’m there.
We Love Soaps: Are there any one of these beautiful ladies that Ciro is going to get to know better?
Victor Alfieri: I shot a lot of episodes with the character of Natalia, Shannon Kane. I don’t know where they are going with that, but it’s obvious Ciro has a thing for her. She is beautiful. Sometimes I become speechless. Like, “My God.” They are all beautiful. On the first day I was working with the character of Randi, played by Denise Vasi. She has those beautiful eyes and that complexion. I asked her, “Are those real?” And she said, “What? The eyes?” Yes, they are so blue, so beautiful. Also the girl who plays Amanda is so beautiful. I feel like I’m in the candy store. I’m very happy. There is beauty on the outside, but they are very beautiful on the inside. I have to say, with all honesty, they are really nice people. I got to know the girl that plays Madison [Stephanie Gatschet]. We have all hung out already. And with J.R., who plays Brock, we’ve gone to dinner a couple of times already, and it’s like wow, I’ve never done this before on other soaps. They are very nice nice people.
We Love Soaps: How is Missy Egan? She’s also a friend and is just adorable.
Victor Alfieri: I actually was a producer and lead in a movie called, “My Father’s Will” in 2007 and casted her for a role in that. And I had worked with Jacob Young and Bobbie Eakes on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. My character was involved with Bobbie on that show.
We Love Soaps: You grew up in Rome, Italy. What was that like?
Victor Alfieri: It was a blast. I love Rome. I appreciate it more now than ever. When you wake up with the Roman Empire every day, you get used to it. You don’t even pay attention to it. I have been in California since 1994 and now it’s like “Oh my God!” I appreciate it more.
We Love Soaps: Is your family still there?
Victor Alfieri: Yes, everyone is there. I keep in touch with all my family every day. No kidding, I just got off the phone with my grandmother.
We Love Soaps: I understand your grandmother and mother raised you?
Victor Alfieri: Yes, just the women. My grandmother, mom, and my aunt. I got a lot of love.
We Love Soaps: And you were seen as a “class clown”?
Victor Alfieri: My childhood in a way was very happy, but without a father around the women had to work. I was left alone at times, even as a little kid. Not because they didn’t love me, but because they had to provide for me. It was kind of a sad childhood. I think that’s where the comedy comes from. A lot of people think I did comedy because I was such a happy person. But the comedy comes in to fill the sad moments, those lonely moments. It comes from suffering. That was my way of compensating of not having a father figure, or a brother of sister. I was really alone.
We Love Soaps: Where was your father?
Victor Alfieri: He’s still in Italy. I never met the guy. He left when I was a year old. I have no grudges, I don’t feel sadness or anger toward him. I have no resentments. People have said, “Why don’t you look for him, why don’t you find him?” It’s like looking for a stranger. I know he is my biological father but that doesn’t mean I have to look for him. I was a little kid, he abandoned me. He never never cared about me. The real parents, the real family, are people who suffer and go through life with you. Not just the people who conceive you.
We Love Soaps: And then that family was your grandmother and mother.
Victor Alfieri: And the great thing about them is that they never spoke anything about my father in a bad way. They never said anything bad about him. They never said, “Oh my God he abandoned you, he’s such a bad person.” Actually, when I was thirteen, and I was a little man, my mom gave me his phone number. I thought, “I don’t know this guy.” It felt weird. I told her I didn’t want to do it. But she kind of forced me to do it. And I did.
So I did talk to him once. He was very nice on the phone. But the conversation was weird, like between two strangers. Sure enough, I opened this door, and he did not take advantage of it. He just disappeared again. It didn’t bother me, he was just a stranger. I do have some relatives from his side looking for me on FaceBook because now I’m a public figure. They approach me with stuff, I just don’t know how to respond. It’s like come on, now that I’ve done projects in Italy, done BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, now you’re looking for me? That’s so shallow. I don’t respond to that. My mom agreed in a way. She knew I gave him a great opportunity when I was thirteen and he didn’t take advantage of that. The past is the past. You live and learn.
We Love Soaps: You were also a very good looking child, when did you start modeling?
Victor Alfieri: I want to set the record straight on this. A lot of people confuse it. I wasn’t modeling for like a designer or an ad campaign. It Italy we had “Fotoromanzis”, they were like magazines where they take live pictures of people and then it’s like a comic book with real people.
We Love Soaps: Like a photographic soap?
Victor Alfieri: Yes, it’s like that. So it wasn’t really modeling. You had to act the lines, and then they would put it together like Spider Man. Actual modeling, I have to be honest with you, I’m uncomfortable. I kind of freeze, I have to have a purpose in front of a camera. I liked it, I did it a few years. I was making good money.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Press here for Part Two in which Alfieri shares the brutal details of the violent attack that changed his life and ended his fotoromanzi career. Plus, what was the name of the first character he portrayed on DAYS OF OUR LIVES? Come back to find out!
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 is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at www.shouldless.com.