INTERVIEW: Kristian Alfonso Reflects On Her DAYS OF OUR LIVES 30th Anniversary

Kristian Alfonso
Kristian Alfonso made her debut as Hope Williams in DAYS OF OUR LIVES 30 years ago this month. Over the past three decades we have loved her performances in DAYS, as well as primetime soaps FALCON CREST and MELROSE PLACE. She's also hosted shows, and starred in films, but DAYS has always been "home." We Love Soaps spoke with Alfonso about her long career, DAYS OF OUR LIVES and where she sees the character of Hope today. Read our new interview below:

WE LOVE SOAPS: It is wonderful to speak with you just a few days shy of the 30th anniversary of your DAYS OF OUR LIVES debut.
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: It's shocking. I can't get my head around it. It's just like yesterday.

WE LOVE SOAPS: In honor of this milestone, can you tell our readers the story of how you first came to DAYS. I understand you had auditioned to play Hope a couple of years earlier, and then returned in 1983 when you started on the show.
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: That's true. It goes back to when I was competing in a dance competition. I was a lyrical jazz dancer where Wilhelmina was one of the judges and had approached me about joining her agency and coming to New York. Then one thing led to another and to another, and then someone from NBC had seen me on a beauty board for the counter of department stores, and contacted me about playing a role in a miniseries called The Star Maker. I think I was with the Eileen Ford Agency. They flew me out here [to Los Angeles] and I read for it, and got the role and worked with Rock Hudson. NBC put me on contract for a year and had me read for the part of Hope on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. I was still in school at the time which would have meant everyone in my family would have had to move to California. So I went back to Boston and two years later the character of Hope came up [again] and I read for it. They flew me out and moved me out and, happily, they hired me.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES star Kristian Alfonso debuted
on DAYS OF OUR LIVES 30 years ago this month!
WE LOVE SOAPS: I remember Hope's very first scene. Do you remember it well or is it all a blur at this point?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: I remember exactly what I was wearing. I believe it was in Shenanigans.

WE LOVE SOAPS: I am a huge fan of Bill and Susan Hayes, and I've always loved Hope's scenes with Doug and Julie.
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: They are a couple in love, and are so adorable. They have such admiration and love for one another. I love working with them.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Let's fast forward to 2013. If someone was tuning into DAYS OF OUR LIVES for the first time and you had to tell them about the character of Hope, and where she is in life now, what would you say?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: Do you have enough tape? [Laughs] Today, she is basically a single mother because her husband is off clearing his head, going through a midlife crisis, I guess, or investing something. I'm not quite sure. I've always described Hope as a diamond in the rough waiting for another facet to be discovered. She's such a multi-faceted character. You never know quite know what she's going to do. She's not predictable. The only thing that is predictable is the love and loyalty she has for her family.

WE LOVE SOAPS: You have played so many different types of stories on DAYS. Is there anything Hope hasn't done at this point that you would really like to see her do?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: I have to always say that with the different writers through the years and producers, I leave it to them. I don't even try to guess because they would always come up with a far better story than I ever could. They've never disappointed me and always challenged me. And I don't believe I've ever repeated a storyline. Now that Hope is single... well, not single, but Peter [Reckell] is no longer on the show, there really is a plethora of things that could be discovered.

Kristian Alfonso & Peter Reckell

WE LOVE SOAPS: I loved when Bo and Hope came to New York in 1985, and scenes with Mister Mister's "Broken Wings" playing the background. Maybe Hope could visit us here in New York?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: That would be great!

WE LOVE SOAPS: Why should people watch DAYS OF OUR LIVES right now?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: There's something for everyone. That's something I really love about DAYS OF OUR LIVES, it really caters to every type of personality.

What I love about the writers is how they lead one story into another.

An example from the past is when I came back in 1994 as Gina. It wasn't a story that just hung around to reintroduce me, even though I was playing Gina knowing I would eventually become Hope. You do it for months at a time and then something kind of settles and then all of a sudden Hope starts having these memories and that parlays into another story, and then that continues. It's so exciting for myself as an actor, and I hope it's just as exciting for the viewer.

WE LOVE SOAPS: You've worked in projects with many screen legends over the years including Macdonald Carey, Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman. What did you learn from working with them?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: Dedication. And their love for what they're doing. And to believe in what you're doing. And to be honest and dig deep.

WE LOVE SOAPS: You've played many roles outside of daytime in your career. Our readers enjoyed you immensely as Pilar on FALCON CREST and Lauren in MELROSE PLACE. Any fun stories from those sets you can share?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: I was working with Jane Wyman on FALCON CREST and, of course, I was a nervous wreck and telling myself "never them them see you sweat." In between setups Jane and I would be sitting and chit-chatting. I remember the A.D. coming over one day and saying, "Excuse me, Ms. Wyman, the First Lady is on the phone and would like to speak with you." Jane has been married to [President] Ronald Reagan. She said, "I'm busy, I'm busy, I'm busy," and waved him away. But very nicely. I was kind of surprised that the First Lady was calling.

We continued our conversation and he came back over again and said, "She really needs to be speak with you." But she waved him away again. About 15 minutes later the A.D. came back and she looked at him and said, "What?" He said, "I'm sorry Ms. Wyman, but it's the President of the United States." It was just incredible to sit there and watch the whole thing.

WE LOVE SOAPS: If the Kristian Alfonso of today could go back to 1983 and give the young Kristian, just starting out on DAYS, a piece of advice, now that you're one of the veterans , what would you tell her?
KRISTIAN ALFONSO: I would tell her the same thing my parents told me back then. Work really hard, continue to work hard, and always give them their money's worth and a little bit more.

Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals. He appeared in FRANCOPRHENIA and the documentary SOAP LIFE in 2012.

3 comments:

  1. Great Interview With Kristian!

    Brian :-)

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  2. I used to kiss the tv screen way back in 1983, as a 5 year old boy who was crushing on Hope BIG time. I followed Kristian all over the place..."Full House", "Baywatch", etc. Hope continues to be a favorite of mine on Days and I appreciate how dedicated Kristian is to the role and the show.

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  3. Kristian was and is, the perfect Hope. She is both a character with much depth and, enduring beauty (inside and out)! Keep on keepin on, Kristian!!

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