It was 30 years ago this month -- April 14, 1983 to be exact -- that Kristian Alfonso sashayed onto Days of Our Lives as Hope Williams Brady, her daddy Doug's beloved 'Princess.' Despite her acting naivete, Alfonso immediately captivated viewers with her feisty and fiery portrayal of the spoiled little rich girl. Then, the soap struck gold by pairing her with Peter Reckell's Bo, and they quickly emerged as one of the most beloved supercouples in the show's history. Alfonso reflects on the Days gone by, shares some of her favorite memories, and discusses Hope's future moving forward.
Has it really been 30 years?
It’s like a blink, right? I’ve been transported 30 years, but I remember everything in between about how I got here.
Isn't it wild to think back to the 80s and realize it was three decades ago?
It is, although I don’t miss the shoulder pads or the big, big hair or the lip gloss.
Remember Bonne Belle Lipsmackers?
I do. I did a commercial for them.
Let's talk Days. What was the best advice you've gotten during your tenure on the show?
It was from my parents. They told me to always be prepared, to be focused and to work hard. And to always give them their money’s worth.
Any words of wisdom from anyone on the show, like Frances Reid (ex-Alice) or Bill Hayes (Doug)?”
Frances would always tell me, “Don’t worry. It’s going to be fine.” I guess she could see how nervous I was, when I first started. She’d say, “Dear, it’s going to be fine. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be fine.”
You were such a novice, when you started. Deep down were you worried that you wouldn’t last?
I was terrified. I was scared because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I wasn’t as seasoned, by far, as everyone. There I was the little girl from Boston with the Boston accent -- which is why they wrote in that Hope went to boarding school in Boston -- working with all of these incredible actors that had been there for a while, knew the ropes, and knew what they were doing. I can remember (former producer) Al Rabin coming over the loudspeaker saying, “Face toward the light. Kristian, feel the light.” I was like, “What light? There are like 5 million lights above my head.”
That's an important part of working on set.
I can remember Deidre (Hall, Marlena) saying to me once, “You’ve got to move back. You’re shadowing me.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. Of course, I’d lean in more and say, “Excuse me. What did you say? “ Then, I realized what that was, because you don’t want to shadow an actor. As things would come up I have to say everyone was always very helpful.
Was there a turning point, like a particular scene, where you finally thought, Okay. I've got this. I'm going to fine?
I still don’t think I’ve got it. (Laughs.) That's probably why I still get nervous. I have butterflies in my stomach, and I get excited before a scene, because I want it to be great. I don’t want to just walk out on set and go, “Okay. I’ll say my lines and I'll go home.” I want to feel good about what I’m doing and I want to have fun doing it.
Who was your best pal on set, when you started on the show?
It was an actress that started like a month before I got there. Barbara Crampton. She played Trista. We hung out. We'd go out to eat. We’d go to the movies. She made me feel very comfortable. I suppose we gravitated towards each other, because we were both new.
Will you share a funny out take from over the years?
There are so many. I remember when they started giving me scenes at Shenanigan’s. They thought, We’ll make her a waitress. We’ll give her a job. I had this tray and they put glasses on it. Everything went sliding and falling, so they took the tray away from me. Then they said, “Just give her silverware. She'll be fine with that.” Oh no. They took that away, too, and I became the hostess. I wasn’t very good with carrying stuff.
What about a funny Bo and Hope moment?
One of the funniest was when Bo and Hope were in bed. Actually, Bo hadn’t made it to bed, yet. They had put satin sheets on the bed. I was wrapped up in my sheet and had another sheet on top of that. Pete had silk pajamas on and when he went to jump in, he slid out the other end of the bed. I watched him go right by me. He landed on the floor and grabbed the sheet that I was holding onto. I wouldn’t let go of it, so I fell on top of him, and a lamp fell on top of both of us. That was probably one of the funniest.
Was there anyone who took you under their wing in those early days?
Everyone was kind and supportive, but there really wasn’t time to sit me down and say, “These are the ropes. This is what you've got to do.” Suzanne Rogers (Maggie) was always so sweet and kind and a little protective, which she still is. Bill and Susan (Seaforth Hayes, who play Doug and Julie) were always so supportive. And Frances Reid was hilarious and supportive. I really bonded with these people right away.
Do you have a craziest fan encounter from over the years?
I was at the market and someone saw me, screamed and ran toward me. I thought something had happened, so I looked behind me, like, Oh my God! What's going on? At the time Hope had been attacked or was being held hostage. This woman was like, “Here’s some money you can get away.” She really believed that I was Hope and had gotten free. It was all very confusing.
Let's fast forward to the present. One co-star you must love working with, these days, is Lauren Boles (Ciara).
She is adorable. She is so funny and sweet and missing some of her teeth, right now. There's one on the side of her mouth that has been loose for so long. Every time I see her, I’m like, “Oh my gosh. That tooth still has not come out?” I'm always asking her about the tooth fairy. Lauren and my son Jack actually go to the same school. Sometimes I'll go there during lunch to talk to Jack, and I'll see her in the playground. She'll run up to me. She's a sweetheart.
Peter Reckell is gone and there's no leading man for you, right now. Is there anybody on the canvas that you think would make an interesting match for Hope?
I believe everyone is taken.
That has never stopped anyone in Salem.
Yeah. But Hope has never done that. I don’t know... I’d love to work with everyone on the show, but I’ll leave that to the writers. They’ve never disappointed me. I’ve enjoyed every storyline that I have been involved in.
Are you ready for Hope to move on without Bo? Is it at all scary?
Not at all. Why would it be scary?
Because you've been part of a couple for so long?
Right. But I’ve done many stories without Bo, as Bo has done many stories without Hope. This is actually the first time I’ve been on the show without Bo. There are great things, exciting storylines that could possibly be pursued.
Have you talked to Peter since he left the show?
No, I have not. Actually, I don’t believe anyone has heard from him. He’s been traveling, and he’s been busy. He sold his house. He’s enjoying life. Kelly (Moneymaker, his wife) is performing a lot. He wanted to spend more time with his daughter, and he wanted to take a break. I wasn’t shocked when he told me he was leaving. He had been talking about it and thinking about it for a while.
Do you envision yourself being part of Days for many more years to come?
If I’m invited back, then we’ll see where Hope is going. I’m having a great time. I’m having a blast, and I really do enjoy and love working with the people that I work with. I love walking through those studio doors every day.