Alice Hunter Has Found Her Dream Job On Y&R
Alice Hunter’s journey to Y&R, where she plays cultivated chemist Kerry Johnson, may have started when she was born in England, but fate was at work for a future in the United States, when her parents, Troy and Teresa, crossed paths in Tucson, AZ. “My mother is British and was a flight attendant when she met my dad,” explains the actress. “In fact, she worked in the airline industry her entire life. She started as a courier when she was 17. My parents got married pretty quickly, only four months after they met.”
The newlyweds relocated to Italy, where Hunter’s pop played for the professional football league there. “He then was looking for a way to get out of where he was,” says Hunter. “So, they moved to England and he started personal training. He actually trained the Duchess of York, Fergie. I remember hanging out with her and her kids when I was a kid at a golf course where my dad used to work. But living in England was a big culture shock for him. It wasn’t easy, but it was nice for my mom to be near her parents.”
A Piece Of Cake: Hunter celebrated an early birthday with mom Teresa
and dad Troy.
At 9, Hunter’s family, which now included little brother Tre, decided to resettle in Australia. “At that time, a lot of Brits were immigrating there and that was my grandparents’ dream,” Hunter notes. “My dad had a very involved job, so he wasn’t at home a whole lot and my mom felt quite lonely. It just became their goal to move to Australia, as well. We put in our papers and waited and waited until we got accepted. It was the happiest day.”
All Together: Hunter with her brother, Tre, and their mother.
Life was wonderfully different Down Under. “The thing that I specifically remember about England is walking to school in the freezing cold weather,” Hunter relays. “I remember indoor play centers, indoor swimming pools — everything was indoors! The beauty of Australia was going from having indoor leisure centers to being in the outdoors all of the time. We even had a pool at our house!”
However, there were drawbacks. “My British accent was a big deal for me,” sighs Hunter. “At school, kids would actually corner me in the playground and say, ‘Talk! Talk!’ because I sort of sounded like I had a proper Windsor accent. So, I got really Aussie, really quick.”
At 12, Hunter found her calling when she competed in a modeling contest. “I actually remember the moment that I found out that it could be a job,” she recalls. “There were these gorgeous girls, but it was like the stage just brought me to life and I won. I mostly won for my sass and attitude, and the prize was an agency where I could choose one out of three classes; modeling and deportment classes, catwalk classes or acting classes. Modeling didn’t really appeal to me, so I decided I’d try this acting thing. Then that was it for me.”
Hunter immediately embraced her newfound passion. “I went to public schools and I was involved in any kind of creative endeavor they offered,” she enthuses. “I took the career aspect of acting so seriously between 15 and 17, because you graduated at 17 most of the time in Australia, that I made it my mission to study the business of acting. Remember the Thomas Guide [maps of Los Angeles]? I had one of Los Angeles shipped to me in Australia, so that I could highlight the different routes from the studios to my acting classes to the gym. I signed up for all of these different websites with information on acting. I mean, I went overboard.”
College wasn’t even on the radar, as Hunter decided to move to Tinseltown after her high school graduation. Doing so before turning 18 elicited different reactions from her parents. “They had divorced at that point and my dad stayed in Australia,” she remembers. “My mom was so gung-ho that she sold her house and moved in with my grandmother so that I would have the money to move to L.A. That’s just how much she believed in me. And then we told my dad and he freaked out. He flipped, but he called me later and was like, ‘I wish you the best of luck. I love you.’ ”
When Hunter flew to the States, she wasn’t alone. “My mom came with me and she was there for about three weeks,” she details. “We found me a roommate on Craigslist, a gym, an acting class and a car. I got a little ’97 Honda Civic that we paid cash for. I loved that car. I even got a personalized plate with my name. It was my baby.”
Once Mom returned home, Hunter’s well-planned life quickly unraveled. “I realized my acting class was sort of a sham, I didn’t like my gym and my roommates were great for a few weeks and then one of their boyfriends moved in and I realized he was abusive, so I had to get out of that situation pretty quickly,” she shares. “My mother was on the phone from Australia and just freaking out, but I rented a U-Haul — I’d never driven one in my life — and I moved myself. I ended up living with a wonderful woman who I consider a dear friend and like an aunt to me.”
While troubleshooting her living and work situation, Hunter’s health began to suffer. “Looking back, I realized how stressed I was,” she admits. “My first job was at Abercrombie & Fitch, and even though that place was wonderful to me for two years, there were times I couldn’t go to work because of how sick I was feeling. I went on all these weird diets and I lost a lot of weight. I remember going back to Australia and when I got off the plane, my mother looked at me and gasped, ‘You’re so skinny!’ I had been hanging out with models, so I didn’t know I was very skinny.”
Still, Hunter was diligent about pushing forward with her career goal. “I just was really strategic about it,” she outlines. “I knew how to get into SAG, so I was doing extra work and very quickly got my vouchers through the show GREEK and through a Wayans Brothers film. Then I was auditioning for a lot of student films and I had got this little USC thesis film called Turbo, which to this day, gamers will say to me, ‘That was one of my favorites!’ ”
After booking both guest-starring and recurring roles on prime-time TV, Hunter landed on Y&R. Despite still getting lost in the cavernous CBS studios, she reports, “I love coming to work and I’m very sad when I’m not here. Y&R has changed me already for the better as a person and as an artist. I’m so looking forward to where this goes. I hope to be here for a long time.”
Star Power: Hunter enjoys working with Peter Bergman (Jack). “I found out what a sweetheart he is when I met him at my test,” she praises. “He’s been on the show for decades and he still has a twinkle in his eye and such a playful attitude.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: June 23
Here And There: Born in Middlesex, England, grew up in Queensland, Australia.
Cell Mates: “I did my 23andMe test and I am majority Caucasian and I think 46 percent West African. But it’s a little weird to think they have your DNA now somewhere.”
Oh, Brother: She has a younger brother, Tre. “He was named after a character in Boyz n the Hood. He’s four years younger than me and we’ve been each other’s best friends since the day he was born. There’s tons of photos of him as a newborn and me trying to hold him and feed him a bottle and talk to him and read to him.”
Relationship Status: “Single and focused. It’ll take a special man, that’s for sure.”
That’s Life: “I go crazy when I’m not busy. I mean, crazy! When I’m not busy, I start to question the meaning of life, and that’s never a good place to be.”
Pit Boss: “The love of my life is my dog, Bentley. He is a pitbull mix. He means the world to me. He’s also extremely handsome and very funny.”
Did You Know?
- Hunter wants to attend college one day. “I still like the thought of getting a degree just for the sake of having one,” she says.
- She formerly worked at The Grove, a shopping complex located behind CBS, her current place of employment.
Even while auditioning for the role of Kerry, Hunter was trying to get her own bead on the character. “I felt her morphing even throughout the audition process,” Hunter reveals. “I assumed a lot of things and I made a lot of choices just to have something to go in with. I didn’t tape for a long time after I found out I got the role, so I had a lot of time to sort of sit and ruminate. I had to stay very quiet about it. I did a lot of journaling, as actors do, to build up backstory.” Luckily, more direction came from former Head Writer/Executive Producer Mal Young. “I got a really good email from Mal, an in-depth backstory, but with room for some movement. I sort of took that on and combined it with what I had come up with.” When it came time to introduce Kerry to Genoa City, “I didn’t realize how slow the rollout would be,” she chuckles. “I came into my first couple of episodes just sort of ready to show it all, and then I realized the soap opera is a totally different beast. It is a different animal. It really can be a bit slow, but I’m here four days a week, so it’s fun to let out little bits at a time. Now, I’m really enjoying the process of character development that daytime television offers.”