Kristian Alfonso: What I’ve Learned From Nearly 30 Years on ‘Days of Our Lives’

In many ways, Hope was just like Kristian Alfonso herself. “If I could go back as a young girl walking into Days in 1983, I would tell myself, ‘Thank you for taking the risk. You’re about to go on an incredible journey. It’s one you will always be eternally grateful for.’” 

Ahead of her last appearance on October 14, Alfonso opens up to Glamour about the lessons she’s learned along the way, from the value of nerves on the job to asking for what you need. 

Alfonso with Days co-stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and Galen Gering (Rafe Hernandez) in 2015.

NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Simplify big work decisions

When my contract was up for renewal in the mid ‘80s, I remember not knowing whether to stay or go. I asked my dad for advice. I was like, “Should I stay, should I leave? I just don’t know what to do.” And he asked me if I was happy, and I said, “I am happy.” And he said, “Well, there’s your answer.” 

Being nervous can actually serve you well in your job

I am always nervous because I want to be great. I’ve never been the person who is like, “Let’s just get this done and I’ll collect my paycheck.” I want the audience to feel what the character is feeling. I want to give it my best. I want to give them their money’s worth. They gave me their time, I want to give them some enjoyment. But even though I’d been at Days for so long, some actors would tease me for feeling nervous. But my parents would always tell me, “Kristian, it’s good to be nervous, you never want to be too comfortable.” 

Don’t mistake your job for your identity

None of my identity is wrapped up in playing Hope. When they say cut, I’m out. I’m Kristian. Ultimately, a job is a job, and a lot of relationships—great relationships, even—are created [from those jobs], but never assume anything. Just show up prepared. Be professional. And always be respectful of your co-workers, regardless of who’s been there for how long. It doesn’t matter. We’re all trying to accomplish the same thing.

Never be afraid to let others know what you need

I never miss a family moment, a life moment, ever. And Days always knew that. If something was happening back east with my family, then I’m getting on that plane. My family trumps everything. They are my heart and soul. So I was never afraid to ask for days off, and Days worked with me to make that happen. 

It’s OK to learn as you go. You don’t need to know everything now

Being in the business world and having my jewelry line, I kind of learned as I went. I had real estate ventures, too, and would buy property and manage it in addition to Days. I was brought up that you can do anything you want to do. And to believe in yourself. Not that there aren’t going to be tough times and you’re going to fall and stumble, but the important thing is to get back up. Sometimes you get back up a little slower, but don’t let anything or anyone hold you down.

Learn to be a great negotiator

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a great negotiator, but it’s important to remember every situation is different. What worked once may not work again. But you need to be able to compromise, to not dig your heels in, because there is always a way around something. You can always make something work. A little give and a little take. And being fair.

Loyalty matters

I actually really thought about leaving Days four years ago. And I didn’t. I stayed. Ken Corday asked me not to leave, so I stayed for him. I don’t regret my decision because Ken Corday has been truly wonderful to me. I love his family. I love his wife. I’ve always felt such great love and support from the Corday family. So I have no regrets about staying. Sometimes things happen in families and you need to take a breather, but that doesn’t mean your love diminishes.

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