Alexandra Chando is an Emmy-nominee actress who became part of the long running soap opera As the World Turns on July 27, 2005, a day prior to her birthday. This twenty-year old was also featured in MTV’s True Life: I’m Getting My Big Break just as she got her big break on the soap opera. Alexandra stopped by and talked to BuddyTV about working with MTV, her character Maddie, and balancing acting with education.
Alexandra, can you start off by telling us a little bit about your background and how you eventually ended up landing your role as Maddie Coleman on As the World Turns?
Okay. Well, when I was younger I did a lot of community theater, I was really heavy into theater and musical theater especially, and in high school I stuck with it and did a lot of theater. And then my summer going into my freshman year of high school I went to the city on an open call for a manager and they signed me. And I started auditioning my freshman year of high school and I got a pilot when I was a sophomore and commercials and everything, but the pilot did not get picked up. And then, it was time for me to decide what I wanted to do about college and so I either picked schools out in LA or New York; I decided to go to school in New York and I did one semester and I got As the World Turns. I auditioned for it, I thought it was one of the worst auditions I’d ever went on, and I ended up getting it.
So this was your first major gig then?
First major gig that is airing.
Were you always a fan of soaps?
I grew up watching General Hospital actually. But I never pictured myself on a soap opera. I always said I don’t think I would do a soap opera but I absolutely take any of that back because it’s like school. I’m learning so much. You get so much experience and exposure and I’ve improved and I’ve learned so much just by being on the show for a year and a half.
If I’m not mistaken, I think I read this somewhere, but shortly after you landed your role as Maddie, MTV gets in contact with you and they end up documenting your whole experience on MTV’s True Life: I’m Getting My Big Break. Is that how it happened?
Well actually, I found out I got the role and then literally like an hour and a half later the publicist calls for the show and was like, “MTV contacted us and they want to know if you want to do this.” I mean, my head was spinning. Two hours later I got an offer to do this great show and it was a great opportunity.
That’s crazy. Tell me what was that like for you? I mean, obviously first day at a new job is always stressful and crazy as it is. What was it like having MTV and all these cameras following you around?
It was so insane. The first day…what happened was that I found out the show on a Friday. MTV was at my house on Saturday, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, just recording me and doing kind of like a pre-interview. Then I started work on Monday so I had like…I jumped right into it and it was very nerve-wracking the first day, especially because I hadn’t met anybody. I met two people and they were the people I had screen tested with so I was really uncomfortable with the fact that I was gonna walk in there and have a camera crew following me around. It was very nerve-wracking, but after a while I got used to it, people on the show got used to it, and it’s awesome that I have the first couple of months and the first big event that I went to and some other things documented, it’s like a scrapbook.
So can you tell us a little bit about your character Maddie? Are you anything like the character that you play?
I used to be! She’s kind of changed through the years. But in the beginning she was really kind of quirky and she’s just a really caring person and she was very comedic. She’s still is. But she’s very comedic and kind of dorky and quirky. And I kind of see myself as just a big dork so in that sense. But she’s really changed in the past few years. She started out kind of silly and then over the summer, this past summer, we had found out that she was attacked by her brother-in-law and sexually abused so it kind of turned the whole character around because for about four months she was just almost crazy. She wouldn’t tell anybody about it and she had held it in for a year. It was really hard for her. She kind of went to this dark place and now once that was all cleared up then they kind of are starting to bring her back and she’s a little bit more quirky, but she’s just like a really caring person, loves all her friends, and is so supportive and would do anything for them or for her brother. The thing about her is she can be really nosy. I get a little annoyed even sometimes when I read the script I’m like, “God why is she so nosy? Just keep your nose out of other people’s business!”
Do you have any hints that you might be able to give fans as far as what we can expect from Maddie in upcoming episodes?
Well, now that it was announced that Casey, or Zach Roerig who plays Casey, is leaving the show, things get a little rocky for Maddie and Casey. Casey has a jail sentence and after he’s sentenced she kind of is without him for a while and then someone new comes into the picture. She starts working with him and I don’t know what happens from there. It hasn’t even started yet so.
So you’re also recently nominated for an Emmy award for outstanding young actress. Congratulations.
That has to be exciting. How did it feel when you first found out?
Obviously it felt great. I mean, I was telling myself that I wasn’t getting nominated and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I found out, they normally announce it on like The Morning Show after they did it on The View. This year they only announced the best show, lead actor and actress, they didn’t even announce my category, so that was kind of a bummer because you know last year I watched the whole show and it was such a hype. Everybody who would hear their name get announced and it’s such a hype. This year we found out, our publicist called us and said congratulations and we were like, “Oh, I guess we were nominated.” Still, it was awesome. I mean, I was on cloud nine and it didn’t hit me for a while. I don’t think it has hit me yet. I think it will once it’s Emmy night.
I also understand that you’re juggling college classes and working as an actress at the same time. How challenging has that experience been for you?
Some days it’s easier than others. This semester I picked two classes and there’s three-hour night classes and sometimes I don’t mind it. This semester it has been challenging because they’re core classes and I’m not necessarily interested in what I’m studying. It’s just kind of a necessity, so I have a real hard time staying focused. I mean, there are so many times I come home from work I’m like, “I just don’t wanna go! I can’t.” But it’s really important to me to finish so I kind of just suck it up and do it. But it is challenging. I give myself a break over the summer, I don’t take any summer classes. It’s hard sometimes. Sometimes I’m just like, I just wanna act, it’s hard to balance because I don’t give school my 100% because acting and my career and the show is my number one priority. So school kind of falls in second. So that kind of gets a little hard to balance but you know, I try.
What else do you have in store for the near future? Are there other projects that you’re working on at the moment, outside of As the World Turns that you want your fans to know about?
Nothing at the moment that I’m working on. I’m auditioning and it’s really hard with the show because there’s a lot of scheduling conflicts because we film everyday. So it tends to be very hard because I’m on under contract so they own me. They can say yes or no to anything. So it’s a little difficult, but I have singing lessons again. I used to take them every week when I was in high school and I stopped once I moved to the city. But I started again and I wanna start seeing if I could do some musical theater because I really think that that would make me very happy.
Any final words for your fans out there?
Just, I really appreciate all the support and thank you for watching and supporting and I really hope you enjoy the show.
(Interview Conducted by Royce Yuen)
Image Courtesy of cbs.com