“One Life to Live” fans had the privilege of literally watching Kristen Alderson grow up via her portrayal of Starr Manning, a role she landed back in 1998. And “General Hospital” fans then had the unique privilege of watching the actress shed the character she’d played for nearly 14 years on OLTL and embody her new character — Kiki Jerome — right before their eyes. The journey has been filled with a lot of ups and downs, but Alderson recently shared with Soap Opera Network that Kiki is finally coming into her own — which she couldn’t be more thrilled about!
“So much is happening right now!” the Pennsylvania native enthuses of her “GH” storylines. “She gets involved in people’s business, other than Michael’s (Chad Duell) business, which is really fun. I am really excited about the storyline coming up. It was so fun to shoot, and I feel like it’ll be really entertaining.”
And the reason Alderson loves it so much is that she feels Kiki is finally getting her stride — as is the show in general! “I think that we’re really focusing on the core characters again; for awhile, we were bringing in a lot of [past characters], and I think now, they’re kind of like, ‘Ok, the characters that we have now, let’s really broaden their horizons,’” she explains. “And that’s how I feel, at least, as a character. The stuff that I’ve been filming recently that will be airing soon, I feel it was meant for Kiki. It’s making her really cool and independent from Michael, which is really exciting. I’m really proud of [headwriter] Ron [Carlivati], and I think that [the writers] are on the right track.”
Though Alderson has been playing Kiki for quite some time now, she admits that she’s just now starting to feel that she has fully embraced the new character without too many elements of Starr. “When the change had to be made with Kiki, it was really tough. I called [Carlivati], and I was like, ‘Hey, am I playing Kiki right? Is everything good?’” she recalls. “He said, ‘You’re doing great, but it’s hard for me, because I instantly start writing you as Starr!’… Just because they all grew up watching me as Starr, which is great; that’s what makes the characters connect to me. So if that’s the way it works, that’s the way it works. And now I feel like there’s still enough Kiki from the beginning, but there’s also a little bit of Starr. It’s a little mix, and I’m proud of Ron, that he’s been able to do that, and grateful, because that’s why the audience is still liking me.”
Though the actress has pretty much shed her OLTL character, she hasn’t allowed the show to fully leave her life. In fact, she explains that she recently had a reunion with some of her former Llanview co-stars! “We just went out to dinner with Michael Easton [Silas Clay, “GH;’ ex-John McBain, “OLTL”], Kassie [DePaiva, Eve Donovan, “Days of our Lives;” ex-Blaire Cramer, “OLTL”] and Trevor [St. John, ex-Victor Lord/Todd Manning, “OLTL], and it was so nice,” she shares. “Chad met Trevor for the first time and cracked him up, of course. That was really fun. And we all do stay in touch on Facebook. You might not see the person all the time, but you know that we’re there for each other, all the cast and crew.”
Speaking of crew, “DAYS” actress Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady) has done some directing at “GH,” and while Alderson hasn’t been able to work with the actress directly, she has observed Sweeney at work behind the cameras. “I’ve seen her shadow other directors, and she’s very quiet and keeps to herself,” Alderson reveals. “She’s very focused on doing her thing.”
But did seeing Sweeney at work convince Alderson to try her hand at something behind the cameras? “It would be kind of cool, but at the end of the day, I love acting. I feel like I could write a few ideas, but then I’d need an actual writer to write the script!” she says with a laugh. “I could say, ‘Oh, I have a great idea about a movie: Make it about this, this, this and this — now go write it for me!”
Whether she spreads her wings or chooses to stay in front of the camera, one thing is for sure: Alderson’s fans will stand behind her, which the actress is extremely grateful for. “I’ve gotten nothing but support from the fans and nothing but love,” she enthuses. “To see these people that have been going to fan events since I was so little, and they’re still going now, but for ‘General Hospital,’ means so much to me. It’s a beautiful thing.”