Soap opera fans first fell in love with Alicia Minshew over a decade ago, when the young actress was cast to play Susan Kane’s daughter, Kendall, on All My Children. Ten years later, Alicia has created the role of a lifetime as wife and mother to daughter Willow. Celebrity Parents spoke exclusively with Alicia about All My Children, adjusting to family life in New York City, and new chapters.
How did you get your start?
I always knew I wanted to act. I moved to NY and my parents were very supportive. I auditioned and made my living through commercials. I did a lot of theater which was fun, too. I auditioned for All My Children when I was 21. I auditioned several times, actually, and the casting director said there would be a part for me. I eventually got cast in the role of Kendall. I didn’t know that I was going to be Susan Lucci’s daughter. Had I known, I would have been so nervous! And I was on the soap opera for almost 10 years.
What is that like being in one role for almost a decade?
It’s intense. You’re on set all day, and then they give you 20-30 pages a night to study. My husband Richie said it’s like you’re forever having homework. You get used to it, though. Kendall was the most fun character to play. She was the town bitch, the misunderstood daughter, the slut, and then throughout the years they evolved her into a nicer character. She became a wife, a mom, a business owner. Being Kendall, I got to play so much, but I also wound up growing with her. I was so lucky because I had fun, I had great story lines and I got to interact with all the characters on the show. My son on the show was deaf, so I got to work with deaf children. The character became a friend of mine, so saying goodbye to her was like saying goodbye to part of me.
What is it like to leave the character behind?
It was definitely rough. But I was lucky because I had a husband and a child to distract me. Finally, I could go to Mommy & Me classes instead of Richie taking her!
I’m sure the fans must miss you, though.
Honestly, soap opera fans are the most loyal fans ever! I meet them on the street, even today, and they ask me how Erica is. [laughs] Even my grandmother, who is 101, is a big soap opera fan! In fact, she got me started watching Days of Our Lives. She was so excited for me when I got the job on AMC, but wanted to know why I couldn’t work with Days of Our Lives! [laughs]
Now, you’ve just recently moved back to NYC. What has the experience been like?
We loved being out in California; we built our life there as a family. We lived across the street from The Grove so Willow would run around there. As a mommy, you bond quickly with other mommies, so when you leave, you feel really sad. My All My Children family became like aunts and uncles to Willow. I was sad coming back here but once we got back, and I saw the city, I got reinvigorated again, and I’m thrilled to be back. Our families are here and for Richie, his business is here.
It is so nice that he was supportive of you and your career.
I’m so lucky. Richie is the best father and husband. He was incredibly supportive and took care of Willow when I was working. I’m happy that Willow has adjusted brilliantly to life in NYC. Now that we’re back, it’s almost like we never left. But we’re learning now how to have a kid in the city.
And the holidays are here. There’s nothing like NYC during the holidays.
I agree. In California, you lose that sense of the holidays, because I was wearing a sundress and flip flops and it was Christmastime. Willow was so excited to see snow for the first time!
Willow is wandering around as we’re talking, and I have to say, I love how she refers to herself in the third person![laughs] I know! I don’t know how she started doing that. My friends ask me if she is going to be a rapper!
[laughs] What are you working on now?
I have been busier here than in L.A. I signed with an agency which I love. I hit the pavement again, and I just got into voiceovers which I LOVE. You can work from home, which is amazing. You can go into your closet and the sound quality is brilliant.
Do you think that your soap days over?
I never say never. But because I did that gig for 10 years, I’d like to try something new while I still can. There’s so much to try here, so many new things. I might go back to soaps, but for now I want to see what else is out there. I have this journal I keep and in the front I wrote “New Chapter.” Since then, fun things have been coming up, and everything has come together. I am super close with my AMC cast mates; they are like family to me and extended aunts and uncles to Willow. It’s an exciting, new time for us, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.