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TV Goodness Q&A: Beacon Hill’s Alicia Minshew [INTERVIEW] 

Alicia Minshew Option 1
Photo Credit: Peter Hurley

Alicia Minshew is known for playing the awesomely fierce Kendall Hart Slater on the iconic daytime soap, All My Children. As you may recall, Kendall was the daughter of the legendary Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). It’s been almost three years since the ABC series was cancelled. What’s she been up to since then? Plenty. TV Goodness chatted with her about AMC and her newest projects, which include two web series that all soap fans must watch. And her movie, Desires of the Heart, was recently screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

TV GOODNESS: I’m going to start with All My Children. I am a fan. I’m a big soap fan.

Alicia Minshew:  I love that.

TV GOODNESS:  What do you miss about All My Children and your character? 

Alicia: What do I miss the most? I don’t know what to say. Well, first of all, I miss the cast and the crew. We just became like a second family. You miss seeing these people every single day on a daily basis, the camaraderie. Can I just tell you as well, I have one of my good friends that used to be on the show over at my house right now, Rebecca Budig, who played Greenlee.

TV GOODNESS:  I love her too. She’s fantastic.

Alicia:  Isn’t that funny? And a few days before that, I was talking to Thorsten Kaye who played Zach [and is currently Ridge Forrester on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful]. So we are still a very tight-knit group of friends. I do miss seeing them every day on a daily basis. I also miss playing my character. I played Kendall for almost ten years. So to not play her, to have her voice, to literally put on her shoes…I actually miss playing her. I miss that character. There’s something really fun to step in someone else’s shoes and play a different character every day. There’s that that I miss.

TV GOODNESS:  I think it’s weird there are still soaps on TV and Erica Kane and Kendall and all these people are not part of that. It’s just a very strange time.

Alicia: Thanks for saying that. It is weird, there is still life going on the other soaps. And you’re like wait, how can we not be one of them. There’s that. I totally understand. Very weird.

TV GOODNESS: And you must get people coming up to you on a daily basis. I could imagine, especially in New York.

Alicia: You’re right. Especially in New York. We filmed in New York. I actually live very close to the old studio where I worked at for years. ABC has the big studio right by where I live and I pass a lot of old crew members. I pass some of our cameramen on the street so that’s kind of nice. I do have fans come up to me and say, ‘Oh Kendall. Sorry I don’t know your real name but I miss you so much on the show. I miss All My Children.’ That’s all I hear, ‘I miss that, and I miss it.’

TV GOODNESS:  That’s sort of a sweet thing.

Alicia:  It is very sweet. It’s nice, it’s nice. I like to hear that. And I say you know what, thank you, I miss it too.  Everyone’s doing well. It’s kind of a whole new chapter for everybody else.

TV GOODNESS:  Absolutely! And going in to that, you are on two of the popular web soaps now. Let’s start with Tainted Dreams, which you guys just got nominated for an Emmy.

Alicia: It’s so cool. You would like Tainted Dreams because you had mentioned…other people from All My Children are on that show.

TV GOODNESS:  Yeah, I was watching a little bit before.

Alicia: What I love about that is right as All My Children was ending, I got a phone call from Sonja [Blangiardo], who is the creator of Tainted Dreams. ‘I wrote this web series,’ she said. ‘Ironically I wrote it years ago before All My Children was even cancelled.’ But it’s interesting that she sent it to me after the show was cancelled. She said I had you in mind for one of the characters. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of soaps and what really happens when the cameras turn off. I actually play her [Sonja]. I play the producer who kind of has to deal with all these crazy actors. It was kind of fun to play a producer. I got to work with Terri Ivens [ex-Simone, AMC], and Bobbie Eakes [ex-Krystal, AMC] and Walt Willey [ex-Jackson, AMC].  And the people from other soaps, Natalia Livingston, she was on General Hospital. It was nice I got to work with people that I always wanted to work with. And we filmed that last summer in New York City for about a month, actually about three weeks.  And we had fun. It was different, the pace was really fast but it felt more like a film because we were on location shooting outside. We were shooting all over the place. And to get the Emmy nomination was like, wow! There’s 12 episodes that have not even been seen yet. And the episodes get better and better. And all this juicy stuff happens. There’s a lot of cool stuff that happens in it so to get the Emmy nomination was just a really pleasant surprise. I’m just so proud. Just really, really proud to be part of it.

TV GOODNESS:  I think the thing I enjoy about this aspect…when you watch soaps, you see so many different people that you would love to see together. Like you and Natalia. I loved her on General Hospital and it’s a very different role for her. It’s interesting to see you guys together.

Alicia: You also know who I enjoyed watching? You know Kelley Hensley? She was on As the World Turns [where she played Emily].

TV GOODNESS:  Yes, I do.

Alicia: She was really good. She works with Walt Willey and they had some really great chemistry. You see Walt in a completely different light, then you ever saw him on All My Children. The whole process of that was just really fun and we instantly got along well. When you all come from a soap, you all kind of have this instant respect for one another. Because we know what it is like to be on a soap. So to have us all come together was a really fun experience. And now the Emmys are next month. I don’t think I’m going to be going but I will be there in spirit wishing them well. It’s a fun little surprise.

TV GOODNESS: And then you are also involved with Beacon Hill, which is Crystal Chappell’s project. Tell me about that.

Alicia: That was funny. I was in the middle of shooting Tainted Dreams and I got an e-mail from Crystal. And Crystal and I sort of follow each other on Twitter. We’ve met over the years at different events. I’ve always been a big fan of hers. I grew up watching Crystal on Days of Our Lives [where she played Carly].

TV GOODNESS:  Of course!

Alicia: So I’ve always known who she was. And I had heard she was doing all these…she was sort of the pioneer of all these web series online. And I just always respected her so much, so when I got an e-mail from her saying, ‘I’m part of this new project that I have you in mind for a character, what do you think?’  I thought, well my God, if Crystal is going to offer me anything I want to hear what it’s about because I have such respect for her. So I read the script. Loved the script. And then I saw who I was playing. I was playing opposite her and Sarah Brown. And then she said you’re going to play a lesbian. And I thought, well that’s awesome because I’ve never done that before! And I loved having the chance to sort of dig my teeth into something that I’ve never done before. This is totally a different kind of thing. She’s a reporter, she’s in love with this woman.  It was just a really different role to play. When she told me everyone who was involved and it would be shooting in Boston, I said, you know, I’m in. Thank god it worked out because it came right after Tainted Dreams, a few weeks later. It was another group of people that I had very high respect for from other soaps. We’ve got Crystal, we’ve got Sarah Brown, Melissa Archer, [Natalie] from One Life to Live, and all of these great actors that I wanted to work with. So I was in the same situation. Here it is again, I get to work with these really great people on a totally different script. Same sort of thing. Beacon Hill and Tainted Dreams are two very different shows. Which is really fun to kind of go from one thing to the next. And to get to work with Sarah Brown, by the way, she’s one of the best actresses, actors, man, woman, that I have ever worked with.

TV GOODNESS: She’s amazing.

Alicia: She’s amazing! She’s just got this very special, real grounded feeling and we hit it off right away. We connected right away. And it made our scenes just kind of flow. We had kind of an instant chemistry as people. And hopefully it translated on screen. It was a really great experience.  I just read season two which we are going to be shooting in September.

TV GOODNESS:  Oh exciting!

Alicia: What I love about this show is that it’s very political and that’s very hot right now. You’ve got House of Cards, you’ve got Scandal and all these different shows out there right now that are about politics. And Beacon Hill has that and even more. It just feels very modern and just really, really smart. But a totally different experience from Tainted Dreams. It was just as good to work with really great people. So it was fun to do them both.

TV GOODNESS:  You’ve also been doing some film. Tell me about Desires of the Heart. I was reading that it won a couple of awards…

Alicia: The producer of this film — her name is Solila Parida — she is from India. She had made some Bollywood movies. She wrote this beautiful script and she wanted to sort of make her first American film. And she was a fan of All My Children.  So while I was on All My Children I got a phone call from her saying I’ve written this role with you in mind. She wrote the role and I don’t think she wrote it with me in mind but because she wrote it and watched All My Children, she thought oh maybe she will be good for this role.  So I read it, loved it. Nothing happened for about two years. I didn’t hear from her and I thought well, okay, maybe this wasn’t meant to be. Then as soon as All My Children went off the air. I would say it was the week it went off the air, the week of my last work week there, I get a phone call from her saying, ‘Hi, it’s Solila, I’m back. Everything’s worked out with the film. Are you still available?’ And I was! I was available because it was almost like fate. The show just ended and it was a nice kind of thing to do coming off of All My Children. So I reread the script, and I loved it. I flew to Savannah, Georgia for two and half weeks. And got to play this really fun role. This was a southern girl so I had to have a little accent, so I worked on my accent. And I got to play the southern girl who’s an artist and this Indian man comes from India and falls in love with her. It’s this whole sort of mystical love story. They filmed the other half of the film in India. I didn’t get to go to India but the other characters did. And so I think that’s why it was considered a foreign film because it has stuff set in India and a lot of Bollywood actors. It was just a fun experience. I worked with Val Lauren who’s done a bunch of films. And for me, I just like to act and I like to play different characters. So it was just very special that I got a chance to do this right after All My Children ended. It was so different. It was more time than I was use to but what a luxury to be in this beautiful place and time was very…I didn’t have to do everything in one take.

TV GOODNESS: That must have been weird for you the first time when that happened.

Alicia: It was a definite luxury. [Desires of the Heart] is sort of making its rounds right now to different film festivals. I think the one in LA [La Femme Film Festival] was one of the first ones. And it won an award for best Foreign Feature which was kind of cool. Anytime you get nominated or you win an award it’s a surprise no one ever expects. I don’t ever expect to get anything. When something happens it’s just a nice little…it’s just nice.

TV GOODNESS:  Well, yeah, because people are saying they like your movie.

Alicia: You feel appreciated.

Minshew can also be seen in the upcoming independent film, The Funeral Guest. And she recently did a short stint in the off-Broadway show, My Big Gay Italian Wedding.

Alicia’s Social Media Stats:

Twitter: @Alicia_Minshew
Official Site: Alicia Minshew Official

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