Hunter King was a guest on Digest’s podcast, Dishing With Digest, where she talked about HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS, joining Y&R as Summer Newman, her two Emmy wins, “Skyle” and more.
Soap Opera Digest: There’s a lot to talk to you about. We’re going to start with that you are a California girl by birth. Tell us about your entry into show business.
Hunter King: I am. I always feel guilty whenever people ask me where I’m from that are in the business. I’m like, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t have a cool story. I’m from here.’ Yeah, I’m from here. My older sister kind of got into acting when I was 6, and I decided when I was 6 I wanted to do it even though I was painfully shy. And the rest is history!
Digest: Your first soap credit was on the Nickelodeon sudser HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS…. You played mean girl Adriana. Tell us about that experience.
King: It was so much fun. I had never done anything like that before. It was, like, my first soap kind of role. I was just very intimidated by the amount of material that we had to learn. I just remember being so nervous. i was like, “There’s no way I was going to memorize these lines.” But I wound up meeting some of my closest friends on that set. I’m still friends with Melissa Ordway [Abby, Y&R; ex-Chloe]. I’m still friends with Robert Adamson [ex-Noah, Y&R; ex-Phil]. I’m just so grateful for everything that show brought me and how it brought me to Y&R. It just has led into so many amazing opportunities. I got to know so many people and I feel like the industry is really small. It’s big, but it feels also really tiny. And the soap world is small. Somehow being on that show has let me get to know so many people. I mean, I’ll run into people and they’re like, “Oh, my God! Remember me from HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS?” It’s really cool. I feel like it’s kind of led me into the whole soap world.
Digest: You mentioned Robert. He actually played your boyfriend on HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS and then became your brother on Y&R. How would you describe your relationship with him and making that transition?
King: So, funny story. Robert met me at the gym the other day and one of my friends at the gym was like, “Oh, who’s this?” I was like, “Oh, this is Robert. We were boyfriend and girlfriend and now we’re brother and sister.” And they were like, “Wait, what?” Robert really took care of me on the set of HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS, made sure I was comfortable because it was my first love scene. He’s like a brother to me in real life. He’s just such a good friend and such a sweet soul.
Digest: That was the first time you worked with Melissa Ordway. Tell us about your friendship with her.
King: It’s so funny because we just hate each other on-screen. Abby and Summer can’t stand one another. Weal ways joke in between scenes. I’m like, “You’re the worst aunt ever!” She’s like, “You’re the worst niece ever!” And we always have to give each other mean looks. Afterwards you see us and I’m, like, hugging her. It’s so funny that we have to play like we hate each other so much. Some days it’s really hard because one of us will smile or laugh and then we can’t stop. But I adore Melissa. She is one of the sweetest people. She just works so hard and she balances life so well. When you see her at 5:45 in the morning, she looks so put together. Her outfits are so cute. I’m, like, in my PJs and she’s like, “Oh, I just threw this on.” And I’m like, “And you’re a mom of two.” She’s Superwoman. She’s incredible.
Digest: Now when HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS ended, you quickly made the transition to Y&R. What do you recall about getting the role of Summer?
King: I did. Jill Phelps [former executive producer], I worked with her on HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS and she went over to YOUNG AND RESTLESS and she kind of brought me along with her… It’s such an amazing show that’s been on the air for so long that I was so nervous coming into this show where everyone’s like a family and I’m the newbie and I don’t want to disappoint anybody or make a bad impression. I was just nervous of really impressing the cast and not letting anybody down.
Digest: I think you clearly did a good job because it wasn’t long before some Daytime Emmys were coming your way. You won back-to-back Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Younger Actress in 2014 and 2015. What stands out to you about your first win and that night and the whole experience?
King: Oh, my gosh. My mom came with me. We partied hard, and by party hard I mean out till, like, 11 p.m. We had so much fun. It was something you’ve never experienced before. It’s so exciting, getting together with all of the soap people from all the different soap operas. You’re finally all in one big room together. You get to celebrate just how hard everybody works, the cast and the crew. And the writers. I mean, I don’t even know how they do it! It’s so much material. I don’t know how they write it. It’s just fun celebrating everyone together and how hard everyone’s worked throughout the year. I mean, it was just a blast.
Digest: Do you remember the moment your name was called?
King: I feel like I blacked out. I don’t know, I feel like as soon as they called my name, I don’t remember what came out of my mouth. I don’t remember walking to the stage. I remember in 2015 my dress broke as soon as I hugged whoever was holding the statue. The strap of my dress came flying off and I put my arm to my boobs to hold my boobs up. I don’t think anyone noticed, but I do remember that. A great moment to have a wardrobe malfunction. I just remember feeling so grateful and almost in awe, like, “You’re sure it’s me? ‘Cause I did not deserve this out of my category.”
Digest: And the next year you get another one. How was that?
King: Insane. Again, I was like, ‘Are we sure? You’re positive on this? I got to make sure my name was on the thing.” I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it that I won with again, all the people that were in my category and watching their tapes. I wanted to be the moment in Mean Girls where she breaks up a part of her tiara and throws it to all the people in the crowd that were also up to be the prom queen. I wanted to do that with my Emmy, like, “One for you! And a piece for you!” But again, just unbelievable.
Digest: Where do you keep them?
King: Um, okay, this is weird. I keep one of them in the bathroom upstairs, like, the powder room and I keep it on the toilet, like, on the back of it. It’s a good conversation when people come over. They’re like, “Wait, what? An Emmy is in the bathroom?” The other one I move around. Sometimes it goes in this little shelf in my kitchen area. Sometimes I put it in the pantry, just for fun, to kind of freak people out.
Digest: Let’s talk some Y&R. Obviously, Summer has been really busy in Genoa City these past few years…. I feel like the “Skyle” fan base really grew in a new way when Michael Mealor made his debut as Kyle in 2018. First of all, tell us what Michael is like to work with as a co-star.
King: I love Michael. He’s amazing. He’s, like, one of my best friends. We bicker but in, like, a fun, bantering way on set. I feel like no on really knows, like, “Wait, are they running lines or are they bickering?” They’re not really sure with it. But I’m constantly giving him crap, he’s constantly giving me crap. We’re poking fun at each other all the time. But he is such a joy to work with. We just have so much fun running lines together for hours before our scenes. We’ll get sidetracked and talk about random stuff and we’ll be like, “Okay, okay. We really need to go over our lines again.” But I love him dearly. He’s again, so talented but also I love him as a human.
Digest: They do have a very active fan base. Were you surprised when the story made this turn and Kyle and Summer got back together?
King: I feel like in the storylines of soaps things are kind of like an ebb and flow. You’re like, “Okay, this might happen eventually. Maybe they’ll see each other.” So it’s never out of the realm of possibility that Summer and Kyle were going to get back together, at least in my eyes, ’cause they were each other’s first loves. I feel like they were kind of tied together through that. As playing Summer, I want that for her. She wants it so bad. I was really excited when I read that they were getting back together. I love the “Skyle” fan base. They’re so funny and they tweet us the funniest stuff. They’re very loud on Twitter. They’re amazing. They tweet the funniest screen grabs. I’m like, “Oh, God. Why does my face look like that? I’m making a double chin in that one. Did they really have to include it?” But they’re great. I was really excited. Also, I love working with Michael. And again, I always tell him, I’m like, “They’re paying you to be my friend so you have to hang out with me.” So there’s that, too.
Digest: Obviously, I think the “Skyle” fans have their own take on why the characters are meant to be. Do you think they’re a good match?
King: I think so because they grew up together and I think that Kyle has kind of loved Summer in every stage of her life, just like him. I think they’ve just been through so much together as friends and as a couple. If they can get through that sh*t, they can get through anything, right? And I feel like no one understands one another on their levels of their crazy families. I think they’re a good match. The rest of Team “Kola”, they might not think so. But I like them together.
Digest: Would you like to see them give mar- riage another go or would you prefer that they sort of take it slow this time around?
King: I don’t know. It’s kind of fun when it gets messy. The Summer in me is like, “Come on! Let’s get messy.” But I think they’ll maybe, we’ll take it slow and we’ll see, although slow in soap world is very different than slow in real world. Slow in soap world is like, “We’ve been dating for two months, is this going to happen or not?”
Digest: You will be hitting the eight-year mark on Y&R this October. What does it mean to you to be a part of the show for this long?
King: It’s mind-boggling. I feel like I have to say that to people on Y&R, eight years is like, “Oh, she’s still a newbie.” Like, to them, it’s nothing, but for anyone else that’s not in the soap world, outside the industry, barely any shows run eight years let alone like you’ve been on the show for eight years of ra show that’s been on for so long. Like, that’s insane. It’s crazy. I just feel so grateful to have been a part of one show for so long and worked with all the same people that I love for so long. I feel like it’s a dream come true. You don’t really expect that to get to happen o you when you become an actress. It’s hard to find steady work and then to find really steady work with people that you love and you want to see every day for eight years, that’s even rarer. I feel really lucky.