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Tips From The Top: One On One With Alison Sweeney

I spoke to award-winning actress, TV host and producer Alison Sweeney about her journey and best advice

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles
Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles

Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your story and what you have learned from your journey to date. First things first, though, what is something about you that your fans don’t know?

Alison: After this many years, it’s sort of hard to think of something fans don’t know about me. Perhaps they don’t know that I speak Spanish fluently or that I’ve been riding horses since I was a little kid.

Adam: What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your development and success?

Alison: There have been a lot of setbacks and frustrations in my career. A lot of stereotypes associated with being on a soap opera and the challenge of not fitting into the traditional physical description of an actor. I think these challenges have helped shape who I am today, the kind of actor and the producer I am, not to mention how proud I am of the career I’ve carved out for myself in spite of these “failures.”

Adam: How did you like UCLA? Do you have any favorite memories? I went to college at USC but got my MBA at UCLA, so I am one of the few people with a fondness for both schools.

Alison: I had a brief experience at UCLA… I took a few courses after I graduated high school but my filming commitments at Days of our Lives made it hard to get to campus. I still consider myself a Bruin but of course, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had made a different choice.

Adam: In your experience, what are the common qualities among those who have been able to enjoy success in the entertainment industry? What advice do you have for those either trying to break in or advance?

Alison: Hollywood in many ways is a very diverse group of people so it’s hard to narrow down one attribute – I guess determination would be the #1 quality. You have to want this more than anything else, and be willing to sacrifice a lot to fight for a place in the Entertainment Industry. Some people walk into incredible opportunity, others spend decades fighting for their breakthrough moment. My advice would be to be careful, not fall for those looking to take advantage, but also willing to take chances and risks when it feels right in your gut. Believe in yourself.

Adam: ​What are the best lessons you have learned through your career in entertainment that are applicable to those who will never earn a living in front of or behind the camera?

Alison: The best lesson I’ve learned in this town is how important it is to understand the road to success isn’t a straight line. It’s curvy and twisted and doubles back plenty. You have to be willing to take chances, and understand that sometimes something that seems sideways actually gets you way closer to your goal!

Adam: Who are some of the best leaders you have been around and what have you learned from them? What do you believe makes an effective leader?

Alison: My dad is a real inspiration to me. He used to work in the corporate world, but he’s always been a champion of my creative side. He has guided me and encouraged me, while still working to keep my head out of the clouds… a combination of artistic temperament and common sense. He is a great leader and a great communicator. No matter what my problem is, I know I can call him for guidance!

Adam: What are three things you think everyone should know?

Alison: Being right doesn’t always help. Don’t complain unless you have a suggestion to make it better. Self-awareness is a rare and precious commodity.

Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?

Alison: I suppose something that’s always stayed with me is the adage that no one ever said on their death bed, “I wish I’d worked more.” As important as it is to be motivated and goal-oriented, it’s crucial to remember what it’s all for – what it all means. Whatever that means to you!

Adam: ​Who have been the biggest influences in your life and why?

Alison: My parents have been very important influences in my life. My dad I described above. My mom always encouraged me to pursue my artistic instincts. She’s a violinist, and I remember even as a kid being so inspired by her talent and her connection to her instrument. It’s so beautiful to see a real artist perform, and I was so lucky to grow up surrounded by that.

Adam: ​What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?

Alison: I’ve been riding horses since I was a little girl. Interacting with an animal, communicating and caring for a beautiful creature like a horse, or people who have pets like dogs and cats…I think it’s been a big part of who I am.

Adam: ​What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?

Alison: I saw a bumper sticker today that read, “I hope something wonderful happens to you today” and I thought wow, what a lovely sentiment. It seems to me that it’s the little things add up. So, maybe just letting someone into your lane when you’re driving, or being patient with a harried server at a restaurant. Those little moments could make a big difference in someone else’s day.

Adam: Is there is anything else would you like to share?

Alison: Tune in to Chronicle Mysteries on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. I’m really proud to work with Hallmark Channel because I love that the movies we make are ones families can watch and enjoy together. It’s such a joy to know every day the work I do brings people together and makes audiences happy. I’m really proud to be co-creator, executive producer and star of this series of movies (the fourth premieres on August 25) because they continue to combine my passion for true crime podcasts with my love of serial storytelling and romcom.

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