Sometimes you go months to a few years without speaking to someone and the minute you reconnect, you pick up right where you left off. Well, that's what happened when All My Children's Alicia Minshew and I reconnected after four years of not being in direct contact! Alicia has kept herself busy between motherhood, Hollywood, and web series! We talked about projects waiting in the wings, being a working mother, reminiscing about All My Children, surviving loss, and learning how Alicia would improve her life by 1% better everyday! There's so much happening with Alicia, we could have talked for hours, but alas, we got in everything we could in the time we had.
1. Let’s start with Surviving Sam, a new series where you play "Samantha Gallo," half of a divorced couple who’s forced to live together for the sake of their kids. This was a fun show to start work on. I worked opposite Rob Magnotti, who’s this wonderful stand-up comedian. I worked with all comedians which was great because I would show up on set and laugh as opposed to cry, which was a nice change for me.
So, we filmed the pilot and this was going to air on TV TIbi, a new network that was sort of like Netflix or Hulu, and they were going to be the main channel to stream Surviving Sam. We got four scripts and were getting ready to film the second episode and then I got a call, that for whatever reason, I don’t know, production was on hold. You know, I’ve seen this happen before, even with friends who work on big networks, and it’s just the nature of the business. It’s a bummer because we started with such gutso and then boom, everything came to a screeching halt. But, what’s meant to be is meant to be and I have my scripts ready and if they call me great and if not, it’s the nature of the business. You just have to go with flow and move on to the next thing.
2. You have such a good outlook on things. Where did that come from? Well, you know, I’ve been doing this a while. I did All My Children for 10 years and been part of a lot of independent films and web series. I’ve seen it’s really a crap shoot and it really does take the perfect combination for everything to work. You can have a great cast, great producers, great writing, and then you can lose the funding or a director. You kind of have to go, "Okay, I had fun, I enjoyed the shows I did and let’s move on to the next project and if something happens with this, great." I think if I were new at the business, I would be really bummed out, but I’ve been at it long enough to know. It’s actually been good for me to experience all these projects because I get a little taste of things. I get to meet some great people and I get to enjoy what I’m working on and I know nothing is a guarantee. I’ve met so many amazing people and one thing has lead to another. So, if something happens with Surviving Sam, great, and if not, I had a lot of fun working on it and got to laugh a lot.
Me: I think that’s a great attitude to have and I think having that attitude, especially around your daughter will show her that you have to go with the flow and I think that’s a great thing you are teaching her.
Alicia Minshew: Oh, thanks. Yeah, gosh, I hope she learns that. She’s as stubborn as can be right now, but you know that's because she’s in first grade [laughs].
3. A project that is in pre-production is Year Rounders that is going to be on SudsvilleTV. Yes. It’s a show created by Meg Kelley, who won an Emmy for Days of Our Lives and wrote for As The World Turns. She created this really awesome story about three generations of families in New England. It has a lot of soapy goodness…there are all sorts of secrets & someone is in love with someone else’s wife. The character she wanted me to play, she actually said I was too young for, so she asked me if I would mind playing someone older. She said she wanted me to look like one of the Real Housewives of NJ, but gone bad. I would have blond extensions and a spray tan. She wanted me to look like I used to be so hot, and I still kind of am, but I'm a bit of a mess now. I was like, "Yes, I want to wear a blond extensions and have a spray tan and have no one recognize me. That sounds fantastic."
4. What do you know about your character so far and what do you relate to most about her?
My character's name is "Georgina Phillips." She’s the wife of the most sinister man in town. I think she’s desperately trying to be understood and loved. She’s clearly not loved by her husband, so I think she’s looking for love elsewhere. Now, I can’t relate to that, but I can relate to her trying to be understood. I kind of feel like that’s a "Kendall" quality. She’s doing wrong things for the right reasons and that's very "Kendallesque." It’s going to be so fun and juicy. We are supposed to film on Long Island which is great because it keeps me on the East Coast and allows me to see my daughter. This is supposed to be 12 episodes, 30 minutes each, which is perfect for today's attention span. But, we are in the waiting game for this too. So, it’s another go with the flow kind of thing.
5. You have a lot of projects that you work on, then they go on hold and you go to the next project, so how do you balance motherhood, family, and work? I’m very lucky that I’ve got a very supportive husband and a very hands-on father. When I was working on Shelter for Hulu, I was out of town and worried about taking Willow to school and getting her lunches ready and taking her to gymnastics, but, he made the time to do everything I usually do and work ,and for that, I’m really lucky that I can go to work and be out of town and know that I have a very hands-on husband with a flexible job who can be there for her when I can’t. At the same time, if I’m working in the city or auditioning, I just make sure I schedule my things around her. I tell my agents I can't audition past a certain time or I can’t work certain days because she has a recital at her school. I’m trying to be really present for her now because she’s little and I don’t want to miss a thing. I feel like it’s easier to work more when she’s older and she gets more independent and goes off with her friends. But right now, she’s so cute and precious, I don’t want to miss a moment. My agents and managers know my daughter comes first and if I have to say no to something, it’s hard, because I love to work and I love what I do, but I will absolutely choose her over work right now. I’m lucky I can do that, but I also know it’s not forever because she’s growing quickly. I’m trying to enjoy her when she’s small and walk her to school and be there for her when I can. I’m still trying to find that balance, but I know she’s in good hands when I'm not there.
6. One section I developed on my website is called "One Percent Better," where through my own fitness regime, I am inspiring people to improve their life by 1% everyday. If you could improve your life by 1% everyday, what would you improve? That’s a fantastic question. I have to tell you. I see you on Twitter, first of all, you are looking fantastic my friend. I’m always like, "Look at Adam, looking really good and very inspiring."
Me: Thank You. That means a lot to me. I’ve been working hard this past year at my fitness and I feel really good about what I’ve accomplished and it’s nice to hear that it’s inspiring to other people.
Alicia Minshew: It is. If I were to improve my life by 1% everyday, I think I would be more present in the moment and not worry about the bullshit stuff [laughs]. When I say more present, I mean more present with my husband, more present with my daughter, more present in what I’m doing with my stuff, with my friends and not always worrying about what I have to do later or what I have to do tomorrow or next week. I just want to be more present with whomever I’m with, including myself, and just know that’s the moment I have and give it 100% in that moment. I was just talking to Richie about this. I’m so glad you asked that question. We were saying there are a million distractions…between e-mail, texting, Twitter, etc and it can take you away from the person you are in front of, the group you are with, or your child. It's not just texting and e-mail that distracts you, but also worrying about this and that and getting ahead of yourself. Instead of just sitting and playing Lego’s with my daughter, I might be worrying about an audition next week or replying to an e-mail my agent sent me, it’s all valid stuff, but it takes away from the moment(s) I have with her. I’d like to be there with her not 80%, but 100%. I try to put the texting away for a minute and stop worrying about what I have to do next week and just be there with her and for her. There are days where I’m really proud of myself and I do it and then there are other days when I get distracted and I start worrying about what I have going on and that’s when I want to go, it doesn’t make a difference to worry, just be present with her 100%. Richie and I do it to each other too. We want to be more present for each other.
7. One project you just mentioned, Shelter, is a TV pilot you did for Hulu. You play a young widowed teacher with 2 children, a 10 year old and a teenager who take in a homeless family during Christmas following the death of your husband. I loved this show. It sort of fell into my lap. Pat Denson, the writer/creator of the show called me and said we have this role for you. I read the script and loved it. I play one of the mothers and the other mother is played by Jennifer Gotzon from Frost/Nixon. She is a phenomenal actress. She’s a bundle of good energy and love and light. We met at the table read and just hit off. We were lucky we had such good chemistry because the chemistry has to be with the mothers because it’s really about their friendship and raising their families without dads. I think it’s a really cool story because it’s going to speak to a lot of families out there who are going through the same thing.
So, we filmed the pilot and a teaser for the second episode. It’s being edited now and if the powers that be at Hulu like it, we’ll get the time slot they are eyeing and we’ll film the remaining 11 episodes. It would be great for us to get to tell this story because it was a great group of people to work with, but more so, because this is based upon a true story. This is the story of a widow who would not sleep in her and her husband’s bedroom after her husband passed away. So, she had this spare bedroom, since she was sleeping on the couch, and she’s a teacher at school and one of her students is a sweet little boy who would come to school looking homeless and she comes to find out that he was living in his car with his mother and it was so heartbreaking to her that she said, "You know what, I’ve got this extra room," and she approached the family about coming to live with her. The family moves into her and her husband’s bedroom and these two families, which are polar opposites by the way, which lends to some funny moments, live together without dads. The mothers couldn’t be more different. My character is the wealthy uptight mother and Jen’s character is the free spirit/hippie. So, you’ve got two completely different people trying to raise their kids under one roof. I hadn’t heard a story like this before and when I read it and found out it was true, I felt honored to be part of it. We filmed it and I hope this gets picked up because I want to tell more of this amazing story. So, again, it’s a bit of a waiting game as we wait to hear from Hulu.
8. Since you play a woman who lost her husband, is there someone close to you in your life you’ve lost and how did you get through the grief? That’s a really, really, really good question. Last year I lost someone close to me and this year, I’ve lost two very special people, so there’s been a lot of loss the past few years with me. Last year, my ex brother-in-law passed away at the age of 42, he had a stroke and was a vegetable for a year and then he died last year. That just blew me away. I think it’s always harder when it’s someone younger and they have their whole life ahead of them. It’s hard to lose someone who was 100 years old, of course, but when someone’s younger and it happens suddenly, the grief is different because you grieve for them not living a full life and all the things they won't achieve.
Most recently, I lost my grandmother a few months ago at the age of 104. She is the closet person I’ve lost. She’s the reason I liked soaps. I started watching soaps because of her. I knew it was coming, but the minute she passed it was a very hard thing for me to wrap my head around. It still is. One day she was here and the next day she wasn't. To get through the loss, I just believe and hope her energy is swirling around us, but I wonder where is it? I know it’s in a better place, I know it’s in some beautiful realm that none of us humans can understand, but I’m curious, is she okay? Is her soul happy? Is she at peace? I’d like to say yes and I’m going with that and I think because I believe that her soul is somewhere peaceful, that’s very healing for me. Cause I felt like if I believed in nothing, I think, for me, personally, it would be harder for me to deal with the fact she’s gone, but because I believe that’s she somewhere beautiful and peaceful, that gives me some healing that she’s okay.
Me: I’m with you on that. I lost my grandparents a few years ago. I think the same thing, you know that they are together and they’re somewhere enjoying each other’s company. That thought gives me peace.
Me: Well, we can’t end this interview talking about death, so I just have a few All My Children questions for you.
Alicia Minshew: Of course, we always have to cover All My Children.
9. What do you wish you could have done with "Kendall" that you weren’t allowed to do? Ooohhhh…that’s a good one, oh, you’re asking good questions. I’m always asked All My Children questions and I don’t think I’ve been asked that one. You have to admit, "Kendall" got to do a lot of stuff. I’m trying to think of who I would have liked to have more scenes with or who I would have like to hit or kiss…Adam, you’ve stumped me on this one.
This is a tough one because I felt like I was given so many interesting stories over 10 years, you know, I played so many different things, but I would have liked to do a little more comedy with "Kendall." I feel as if I was always crying over my dead husband, my sick children, or my own heart problems quite a bit, which as an actress, it’s always good to play the emotional stuff, and you want to be given that material, but I had fun when, with Thorsten Kaye, I got to play a mafia girl and wear a little black wig and kind of be incognito. I would have liked to do more character stuff, like dressing up as different characters. It would have been fun to have "Kendall" team up with her husband and do some really funny stuff, which you don’t always get to see on soaps. It was always fun to break out of the regular "Kendall" mode and do something funny and goofy.
10. Who do you still keep in touch with from the show? Everybody. I talk to Rebecca Budig on a regular basis. We talk, we Skype. We don’t get to see each other often because she lives in California. The last time I was out there, I got to see her and her daughter. She’ll always be one of my closest friends. I just saw Thorsten a few months ago, and I’ll be seeing him in a few weeks for his birthday. I mean, Thorsten is like an uncle to Willow, so he’s uncle Toasty. Cameron Mathison and I keep in touch. Melissa Eagan, I just saw when she was in New York. Tamara Braun is probably one of my closest friends. Tamara lived in New York for a while, so I spent a lot of time with her. Susan and I text each other. It’s been a while, but a few months ago I got a really sweet text, out of the blue, from her, which is always nice to get a text from Lucci, you know what I mean. She just wanted to say hi and that she was thinking of me and I do the same with her. I feel like I made some of my closest friends from that show and they will always be my friends. And now we are all scattered on different shows, doing their own thing, but we’re all still very close.
I have a picture of you, me, and Rebecca together. It’s funny, I found my old photo albums the other day and I was going through them and I was like, "Look at us, we look the same, but we have a more youthful look in our eyes" [laughs]
Me: I still have the signed picture of you hanging in my apartment when were at the fan club party and I was singing and my singing got shut down and you said, "Keep singing rock star."
Alicia Minshew: Oh my gosh, I remember that! I, remember, that, perfectly! That was such a fun time!
Me: It sure was. This was a fun time too getting to catch up! We'll have to talk again soon as some of these projects come to life more.
Alicia Mishew: Definitely! It was great catching up with you too Adam!