By Rebecca Silverstein
Recognize this face? There are two good reasons why. Reason No. 1: Alexandra Chando plays manipulative rich girl Sutton Mercer on ABC Family's hit new series "The Lying Game." Reason No. 2: Alexandra Chando plays sweet foster kid Emma Becker on ABC Family's hit new series "The Lying Game." That's right -- she plays separated-at-birth twins! Wonderwall chatted with this former "As the World Turns" star about her new gig, the demise of the soap opera, awkward fan encounters and more.
Wonderwall: How do you differentiate between Sutton and Emma when you're playing them?
Alexandra Chando: "It's less of a conscious thing for me now. It's about the way they handle situations. I have really come to know these girls. Sutton is self-centered and a little bit more manipulative and has her eye on the prize and doesn't really care who she destroys on her path in the way. But at the same time not malicious. She is just extremely self-absorbed. Emma is so not like that."
WW: Is one harder to get into than the other?
AC: "Sutton was difficult. Initially I had no idea what I was going to do for Sutton, because I didn't want her to be a cliche character. And for me, I sort of relate to Emma a bit easier -- she comes a little more naturally to me, so she is seeming easier to play. Less thought needs to be put into Emma."
WW: What is it like seeing yourself on billboards for "The Lying Game"?
AC: "It's so wild and surreal. Like, 'That can't be me. That's not me. That's crazy!' It's just extremely surreal, and it hasn't really sunk in. I think it is a bittersweet thing that I am in Austin because I am not seeing it all and I don't have the chance to get wrapped up in it, but at the same time I am kind of missing out. People have been sending pictures of being on a New York bus, which is crazy to me."
WW: Do you prefer filming in Austin to filming in LA?
AC: "I don't mind being in Austin for short periods. This time, we're only here for just over three months, and it's a nice way to really stay focused, and the cast has gotten really close because we are all each other has. So in that aspect it's really great to stay focused and maintain that camaraderie. But on the same token for me, my life is in LA, and it's a challenge for me to be away from family and friends and my life and just be in a bubble of work."
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WW: Where is the strangest place you've been recognized by a fan?
AC: "The bathroom is always a weird place. I was in an airport bathroom down south. I always get a little self-conscious."
WW: Before you were on "The Lying Game," you were on "As the World Turns." Soap operas are known for their grueling schedules, but with this you have to play two characters. Which is harder?
AC: "This, definitely. It's just the hours. Soaps are the closest thing to a 9-to-5 job. Granted, you only get four to five takes, and that's kind of stifling in an artistic sense. But it definitely moved a lot quicker, whereas pretty much almost every day of mine is a 15-hour day, and it becomes exhausting. So I would say that this has definitely been more of a challenge."
WW: As a soap opera veteran, what's your take on the cancellation of 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live'?
AC: "It stinks. 'As the World Turns' was such a great experience and such a great school for me. It was better than any class I could have ever taken. It's a shame, because a lot of people get their start [on soaps]. People who are just entering the industry can find their way on a soap and really get the experience, and it's kind of a shame that that is coming to an end."
WW: What shows are you looking forward to in the fall?
AC: "I am looking forward to 'Hart of Dixie.' I love Rachel Bilson. I think she is adorable, and Josh Schwartz obviously puts out great stuff, so I am interested to see that."
WW: You were on an episode of MTV's "True Life" for their "I'm Getting My Big Break" episode, which was filmed during your first days on "As the World Turns." Have you seen it since?
AC: "You know what's really funny? [My co-star] Blair Redford and I had an interview with MTV, and they brought it up. Blair had no idea, and so he was like, "We are going to watch this." So he made me sit down and watch it with him, and it was the first time I had seen it in years. I was mortified! I was such a dork. I mean, I am still such a dork. It was awesome to have a little scrapbook of my first six months. I wish they would give me all of the footage, because I know they had a lot of stuff that they got that didn't make the show. It's pretty cool to say that I have that and see how big of a dork I was. I was young. Younger!"
Catch Alexandra on "The Lying Game," Mondays at 8/7c on ABC Family!
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