She's been an amnesiac art thief, a sleeping-pill poppin' wacko and a kick-ass-and-take-names policewoman. Heck, Days of Our Lives' Hope Brady has even been dead! But Kristian Alfonso is still alive and well and playing the part, 30 years after she first set foot on the Days soundstage. April 14 marks the big anniversary. TV Guide Magazine spoke with the beloved suds sensation about her stunning run in Salem.
TV Guide Magazine: Thanks for depressing the crap out of us! We remember when you hit the air like it was yesterday. How on earth did three decades pass?
Alfonso: It's absolutely shocking. I got my driver's license two days before I moved from Massachusetts to L.A. to do Days. I was a baby! I honestly can't wrap my head around this time warp. But if 30 years have gone by in a blink, then it must be because I'm having a great time!
TV Guide Magazine: What's your most magical Days memory?
Alfonso: It actually happened before I got Days. I arrived at Grand Central Station on my first trip to Manhattan and looked up and saw this gigantic lit-up billboard for that week's Time magazine — a cover story with Days' No. 1 couple Susan and Bill Hayes [Doug and Julie]. I was completely awestruck, and then got cast as their daughter! That was just crazy.
TV Guide Magazine: Toughest storyline?
Alfonso: When I did quadruple duty during the Princess Gina [mind-control] plot. I was playing both Hope and Gina and also playing Hope as Gina and Gina as Hope. The continuity was a nightmare! Every night I fell asleep with scripts on my chest, but I loved every second of it.
TV Guide Magazine: You and Peter Reckell [Bo] made one of the all-time great supercouples in soaps, maybe second only to Luke and Laura. How does it feel to hit this anniversary flying solo?
Alfonso: Pete is missed but what is there to do? It was his choice to leave. I hear he's extremely happy. I've heard there's a solo story coming for me. It would be great to see Hope trying to move on and what a struggle that would be for her. I'd like to see her build a relationship with another strong guy, whether it's on the job or maybe she meets someone through being a single mom. I've had so many stories without Pete. Princess Gina was almost a year without him. And he had many without me. But what people remember most is the two of us together. We were given a golden opportunity.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you think we can ever again be enraptured by a pair of love birds, the way we were with Bo and Hope? Or are we just too jaded now?
Alfonso: It was an age of innocence back then, don't you think? It was a time when the audience could sit back and dream about romance, and watch it build and blossom. Soaps were all about taking their sweet time and allowing the viewers to fall in love with the people who were falling in love on screen. Why did Bo and Hope have such chemistry? I don't know. Pete played the rebel so well and Hope was all youth and bubbly innocence and big '80s hair, and somehow it worked. NBC took a huge chance with me, an unknown, unseasoned actress. Because of my Boston accent, they even changed the script to have Hope returning from a boarding school in Boston! It's been an amazing ride. [Exec producer] Ken Corday has done an extraordinary job keeping us on the air and NBC has been incredible, too. They've hung in with us through all the roller-coaster ups and downs and bumps and bruises.
TV Guide Magazine: Ever worry about getting the ax, especially after it happened to Deidre Hall [Marlena]?
Alfonso: Of course, because you hear so many rumors in the NBC hallways. Those walls pulsate! Losing Deidre and Drake [Hogestyn, who played John] for a while there was shocking. We all know nothing is forever so, when I get that call asking me to stay another year, it still takes my breath away. Because I do worry and my mind goes a little bit crazy. They're making changes! Do they no longer love the character? Am I on the chopping block? But that's okay. When you take things for granted you settle, and I don't ever want to be that person. There's always someone younger, prettier and taller who could probably do the job better. That's why, 30 years later, I still come to work with pride, still ready to earn every cent.