Zuleyka Silver School Days

Zuleyka Silver (Audrey, Y&R) reminisces about her school days

What is your earliest school memory? “I do remember the first school that I went to in the U.S. after my family moved here from Mexico. I couldn’t speak any English but I was placed in a regular class anyway and the teacher told me if I needed to get water to raise one finger and if I needed to go to the bathroom, raise two fingers. So that’s one of my earliest memories because I remember not understanding anyone or anything, but I began picking up the language little by little.”

How would you describe yourself as a student overall? “I was a better student when I got older, but overall, I made 
good grades so I would say I was a good student.”

Would you describe yourself as a teacher’s pet? “No, definitely not. I would get sent to the principal’s office for talking too much or for passing notes. Once I had command of the English language, I was unstoppable.”
Did you do anything else that could be considered naughty behavior? “We weren’t allowed to eat in class, but my favorite thing to do was sneaking [Flamin’] Hot Cheetos in my backpack. I’d open the bag before class and then I would sneak my hand into my backpack and eat Cheetos one by one very slowly.”

Any other bad behavior you want to cop to? “We had to wear uniforms and I was just trying to look cute, so I would wear a spaghetti strap top underneath, and whatever color it was, I’d also wear a matching artificial flower. I would have a pink flower to go with the pink spaghetti strap and the next day would be green. I also wore hoops [earrings] that I would paint with nail polish to match whatever color I was wearing that day. Inevitably, a teacher would ask, ‘Do you think this is a fashion show?’ and I would get sent to the office. I was only doing it because the universe was boring and I was trying to give it some life.”

Who was your favorite teacher in grade school? “Mr. Lopez. He was our music teacher and we all had to sing and learn how to play the flute. I just remember having a lot of fun and always looking forward to his class. He was very patient with all of us.”
What was your favorite book at that age? “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”

What was most memorable to you about high school? “I had an odd high school experience. I was there for ninth grade and then homeschooled for 10th and 11th grade because I was either going out for auditions or my family was moving around. I remember not liking homeschool because I couldn’t be with my friends. I went back to public school for my senior year.”

Was one of your parents your teacher when you were homeschooled? “No, we would go once a week to meet a teacher and she would give us the work for the week. Then we would meet with her and take tests in person.”

Did you have plans to attend college? “I was able to get ahead with homeschooling, so in my senior year I started going to community college. I would go to high school in the morning and at noon, I’d leave to attend Cerritos College. I took classes that would count for both high school and college credits. Looking back, I think I was trying to get ahead too fast.”

For the years that you attended high school, what clique did you belong to? “I was definitely an outcast and wasn’t popular at all. The homeschooling prevented me from having a solid group of friends but I did have two friends, a guy and a girl, and that turned out to be beneficial for me. A lot of girls were getting pregnant, while me and my friends were still playing tag, throwing water balloons at each other, learning dance moves and writing raps.”

Did you ever have an after-school job? “No, but I did get a job at the snack store during recess in middle school because I wanted to make some money. It was, like, 60 bucks a month, which was pretty good because I only worked 30 minutes each day.”
Did you ever go to prom? “No. I never had a boyfriend in high school, so no prom experience for me.”

Which one of your high school classes would you do over again? “Physics because I cheated through it. I have no idea why I didn’t pay more attention.”

Although you didn’t go to college right away, you did end up earning your degree. How did that come about? “I took a long break to go to acting school for two years. When I was 24, I went back to community college and then I transferred to UCLA, where I graduated with a degree in philosophy, with my minor in film and TV. I already knew I wanted to be an actor but I still wanted to go through the college experience. Initially [my major] was political science and then I took one philosophy class and I switched to that. I thought, ‘I’ll do philosophy and maybe if I don’t want to act, I’ll go to law school since it’s such a popular undergrad [thing to do] before going to law school.’ ”

Are you in touch with any former classmates? What do they think about your soap job? “I’m in touch with a few through social media but I still have my best friend and she loves that I’m on TV. She’s really proud of me.”


Courtesy of Zuleyka Silver