From the moment I found out Rebecca Budig was on General Hospital, I knew I had to dive back into the world of soaps. What I didn't realize is that I would become a fan of her co-star Donnell Turner, who plays "Curtis Ashford." When I got a request to interview Donnell, I went to Port Charles! Upon arrival, I was introduced to a hot man with sexy eyes and a chiseled body, but by the time our interview was over, I found a humble man with a big heart, an infectious zest for life, and a desire to help/inspire others to overcome hardships.
Donnell may be in your night time dreams, but us Soap fans are lucky to have him in the Daytime as well! Donnell can be seen on General Hospital weekdays at 3pm on ABC.
1. Rebecca Budig is one of my favorite actresses, so we have to start off talking about her. What has been the best part working with Rebecca on General Hospital? What is one of the funniest things to happen during taping between the two of you? The best part of working with Rebecca is that she is a professional in every way. She is nurturing. I couldn’t have asked for a better actress to begin with at General Hospital than Rebecca.
Rebecca has great timing and an excellent sense of humor. On my first day of taping, Rebecca had a line that was directed to me. Now keep in mind I was initially supposed to be a grungy and dishelved character. Rebecca’s response was, "Really? Look at this man. I am not saying this line to a freaking model." The line was changed and "Curtis" became a little more hip.
2. What made you want to get onto General Hospital? This is always a big question asked. I had been a fan of General Hospital when I was younger. In fact I wrote to the casting director, Mark Teschner long before I moved to LA. Before I was cast to play "Curtis Ashford," I auditioned for GH a couple of years earlier. And it was 2015 that I was offered a chance to originate the character that you now see.
3. What do you relate to most about your character, "Curtis"? What is one characteristic of "Curtis'" you are glad you don't have? The part of "Curtis" I relate most to is his heart for others. He has an unrelenting pursuit of the truth that I identify with as well. I would have to say that I am not as driven by money in the way that "Curtis" is.
4. If Donnell and "Curtis" were to meet in a bar. What advice would Donnell give to "Curtis"? I would pull him very close and say, "Look bro, don’t get romantically involved with your sister-in-law."
5. Prior to joining GH, you were on Days of Our Lives and two episodes of The Young & The Restless. What is the best part about acting in the soap opera genre? What are the most challenging parts of it? I have had an opportunity to work on the soaps that you mention. I think for an actor you are always excited when you get the chance to work and do what you do. Soaps have traditionally been good for actors because one, there were a lot of them at one time, and they’ve given actors opportunities to grow and expand. Secondly, there is a mixture of seasoned professionals and newcomers that each brings something to the table.
What can be challenging early on is the amount of dialogue that you are given on a daily basis. After you’ve done it for a minute, you start to get it down and it becomes easier each time, ultimately building into your muscle memory.
6. With your sexy smile, irresistible eyes, and chiseled body, you must get a lot of attention from both men and women. How do you handle the craving for you? What do you like about it and what makes you uncomfortable? One of the most undeniable qualities about fans is their dedication to the people they love and admire. You can’t help but appreciate the attention. These are the people that watch our shows and comment on social media. I am very grateful to my die-hard fans. It does get sticky when you have an ultra-fan that takes it a step further by touching inappropriately or sending private messages that should be kept in ones private thoughts.
7. In this world of acting, how do you stay grounded and when others have been lead down more trying roads? I think having a sense of who you are and what makes you tick is the very basis of staying grounded. Of course having a great group of family and friends that also know who you are helps to maintain normalcy in a world that is anything but normal. I’m an athlete. I stay healthy by keeping my body and mind focused on the things that are most important and will help me to continue doing what I do.
8. Like you, I'm very into fitness. I battle with eating healthy, but am dedicated to working out. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encouragepeople to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Any focus that helps to keep people on track is a good thing. Staying consistent is a challenge that we each face in our own way. With so much going on in terms of my schedule, I have to remain organized. That is the one percent for me.
9. One thing that is very close to your heart is talking to youths at schools and motivating them for their future. Like Whitney Houston sings, "I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way." What is it about your story that made you want to inspire kids? Out of all the kids you have met, have any of them later contacted you with their success story or perhaps how you inspired them? What was the most heart-breaking story you have found out from the kids you've spoken to? As a kid, I was inspired by all of the professionals and motivators that I had the opportunity to listen to when I grew up. The idea that I get to do what I love for a living is an incredible gift. The fact that I also get to inspire others is a really big deal to me.
At Washington State I was speaking to group of youths at an event that was designed to reengage the young people and help them gain entry back into society. Since that time numerous students have contacted me through social media and have told me about the things they are doing because they were inspired by me. On the flip side, I have also seen either on social media, or have heard other students have succumbed to drugs and stints in jail.That is heartbreaking.
10. What are 8 things people don't know about Donnell Turner? I think everything that I want people to know is already out there. But to give you something that may be different, I would say that people might not know:
1. I played semi-professional basketball.
2. I have modeled around the world.
3. Last year’s Daytime Emmy Awards was my first award ceremony where I was asked to present.
4. I’m a Martial Artist.
5. I keep hand sanitizer on me at all times.
6. I am an ambassador for the No More organization that raises awareness against domestic violence.
7. A couple of my favorite clothing brands are Lululemon and Allsaints.
8. I am right handed but can only snap on my left hand.
Donnell Turner was born on January 8th in Tacoma, WA. When he was a baby his family relocated to Chicago. The love for acting was born as a child when Donnell participated in church plays. In high school he played basketball and played trumpet in the band. The talented athlete briefly played semi-pro basketball as a shooting guard before changing his focus to pursue acting full-time. After relocating to Los Angeles in 2001, Donnell has booked more than 100 print ads worldwide including: Nike, Pepsi, Hilton, Disney, AT&T, Coke, and Infinity. In addition to these major brands, he has also worked in nine national commercial campaigns in the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Donnell was the 2014 Mercedes Benz C-Class Spokesman. Donnell has modeled ALL over the U.S. and internationally including: Hong Kong, Thailand, France, Italy, Amsterdam, Belgium, and Spain. The actor has noted that one of his favorite places in the world is Florence, Italy. He trained with Northern California Casting, Van Marr Academy, Beverly Hills Playhouse, and Lesley Kahn Acting Studios.
In 2014 and 2015 Donnell was the lead in two important plays in Los Angeles including the classic, The Black Doctor (Ira Aldridge circa 1759) at the Legendary Matrix Theater, and, the modern Crescent City Ghosts (a tribute to the 10 year anniversary of hurricane Katrina).
Some of his television credits include: How To Get Away With Murder, Dexter, Anger Management, Rizzoli and Isles, 2 Broke Girls, Revenge, The Mindy Project, Teen Wolf, CSI, 90210, and Parks and Recreation. The versatile actor is not a stranger to daytime drama. He portrayed the character of "Dr. Aiden Williams" opposite to Kristian Alfonso on Days of Our Lives for five episodes between 2009 and 2010. He also briefly portrayed a doctor on The Young and the Restless in 2015 for two episodes. Donnell's perseverance and tenacity paid off. He grew up watching General Hospital and began writing to casting director Mark Teschner in the 1990's. He auditioned for the role of the District Attorney in 2014. However ABC had other plans for this hidden gem, and later offered a 4-year contract to bring life to the original character created specifically for him as "Curtis Ashford" on General Hospital. Since November 30th, 2015 he has been gracing our screens with his good looks, talent, skill, and charisma portraying this unpredictable anti-villain.
He has given motivational speeches empowering and encouraging others across the country at high schools, colleges, religious organizations, and professional business events. On April 2, 2016 (Global Autism Awareness Day), Donnell was an honored guest speaker at the Autism Speaks Walk Now event.
Fitness is an integral part of Donnell Turner's life. Aside from a regular workout routine that includes hiking and kickboxing, which he has been practicing for 30 years. He has Firearms (9 mm) training, Knife Combat, Nun Chuckas, Submission Wrestling, Tae Kwon Do, Tang So Do, Muay Thai and Yoga. He is very proud to have studied and practiced Muay Thai in Bangkok, Thailand.