This interview originally aired in the August 26, 1997 issue of Soap Opera Digest.
Kristian Alfonso’s dressing room is in the remote section of the DAYS OF OUR LIVES studio, quiet and removed from the hustle and bustle near the hair, makeup and wardrobe departments. Alfonso has had a busy day and is extremely apologetic about being a wee bit late for this interview.
Dressed in black jeans and a T-shirt, with her “Hope” hair and makeup, the actress looks radiant — it’s no wonder she has been named one of Soap Opera Digest’s Most Beautiful Women three times. But her beauty doesn’t make her unapproachable. Alfonso is far more bubbly than her reserved alter ego, the kind of girl you’d love to draw as a college roommate.
Not that Alfonso had time for a college roommate. Tapped by DAYS at age 20, Alfonso literally grew up before the camera. She started as an inexperienced, chubby (for soaps), but breathtaking kid who squabbled with her co-star, and became a polished pro who enjoys a lovely working relationship with one leading man — the same guy she kinda couldn’t stand way back when — and a special friendship with the other.
“I feel very comfortable here,” says Alfonso, who left DAYS in 1991 and returned in 1994. “It’s like a family.” She’s particularly appreciative of Peter Reckell (Bo), the other half of one of daytime’s most popular supercouples. “I think our working relationship is even better than before,” She smiles. “We’ve both matured. There’s no ego involved. There’s a complete trust factor. He’s a delight to work with.”
Of course, any soap actress who’s experienced the kind of success Alfonso has can get a little restless, storyline-wise. “I would like to see Bo and Hope on the run again and see more developmental story with that,” she says. “I’d like to see Hope get her guts back.”
Alfonso’s comings and goings may have contributed to the changes in her character: She returned three years ago as an amnesiac named Gina. Since the audience wasn’t supposed to know if Gina was really Hope, Alfonso’s portrayal was by necessity mysterious. Even her son, Gino, was confused during the “puzzlebox” mystery. “When he went to Montessori school, the teachers watched it on lunch breaks,” she recalls. “He would come home and say, ‘I saw you on TV today, Mommy. The box was right there. Why don’t you just pick it up? It’s right there. Why can’t you see it?’”
Alfonso’s face brightens as she talks about Gino, 6. “He has a fuller schedule than I do,” she laughs. “I’m always with him running to 1,001 birthday parties. I’m telling you, it’s unbelievable. I was doing a photo shoot yesterday, and he called me and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this: two more parties!’ And I said, ‘What time, honey?’ because sometimes they’re at 9 in the morning. Who has birthday parties at 9 in the morning? But I’m with my son, so that’s all that matters.”
Want to see Alfonso clam up? Ask about the other men in her life. Perhaps the dissolution of her marriage to real estate developer Simon Macauley has made Alfonso gun-shy about discussing her relationships. Though rumors and running rampant at the set that she’s dating co-star Victor Alfieri (Franco), and the two have been spotted smooching and holding hands in public, Alfonso hotly denies there’s a romance. “We’re friends,” Alfonso clarifies. “I really don’t have a personal life. I never had this problem before. Peter and I went out in public and nobody ever said anything.”
Friends and family are clearly very important to Alfonso. The Massachusetts native says she misses her East Coast-based clan. “I wish my family was out here more,” she sighs. “They are the No. 1 priority in my life.” Luckily, some West Coast confidantes keep her homesickness at bay. “I’m very close to my nana, who is my grandmother,” she says wistfully. “Frances [Reid, Alice] I like my California grandmother. I love her.”
Alfonso, who has less than a year to go on her contract, isn’t making plans to move back home, however. “I actually purchased a new house,” she says. “I love what I do. My son loves it here.” As for her future with the show, “I don’t know. We’ll see,” she shrugs. “Never say yes, never say no. My decision is usually based on the story. I’ve been pretty fortunate; I’ve always have pretty good story.”
“Life’s going by fast,” Alfonso reflects. “I must be having a good time!”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: September 5
Hails From: Brockton, MA
Other Roles: Pilar Ortega, FALCON CREST, Lauren Ehtridge, MELROSE PLACE
Rink to Rink? The former Junior Olympic gold medalist rarely hits the ice. “I haven’t ice skated in so long. I did once for a few moments at a birthday party. But I really don’t ice skate that much anymore unless it’s with my son.”
On Collin O’Donnell (Shawn-Douglas): “He is just so wonderful to work with. HE’s a kid and the acting hasn’t taken him away from being a kid and I love that. We’re a good team.”
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