Independent Woman
CBS Soaps In Depth, April 8, 2003 Issue

Jessica Dunphy (Alison) grows up
As she approaches her first anniversary on AS THE WORLD TURNS, Jessica Dunphy still finds it odd that people have a hard time separating her from her scheming character, Alison Stewart. "She's so not me," laughs the actress. "When I tell people that know me about the character, they're like, 'You couldn't possibly be like that.' And then people that see the character don't think I could possibly be nice. It's very weird."
In fact, while her rebellious alter ego's future is decidedly bleak, Dunphy's looks brighter than ever as she strikes out on her own to forge a new life for herself.

"It Was Extremely Overwhelming"
Of course, when she joined the cast of the long-running soap back in April of 2002, Dunphy discovered she had her work cut out for her. "I had no idea what I was doing," she admits with a chuckle. "I had never done a soap before. And soaps are all about getting in there and knowing your blocking and all that. I was so dumbfounded by it all."
Having already appeared in independent films like Storytelling and television series like THE SOPRANOS, the young performer was unprepared for the schedule of daytime. "Soaps are a totally different genre for acting," she explains. "It's really fast-paced and technical, and even to this day, sometimes I get a little nutty."
Luckily, once on-screen sister Kelley Menighan Hensley (Emily) returned from maternity leave, Dunphy began to get the hang of it. "As soon as I met everyone and settled in, then it started becoming easier," she admits.

"You Just Have To Go With It"
Knowing firsthand how intense the experience was, the actress was more than eager to share what she'd learned with other newbies, including co-star Bailey Chase (Chris). "He had just started, and I told him all my techniques and everything," Dunphy reveals. "Because you come in and you're just expected to know all of this information. So I told him some things that are helpful to me.
"Having a different director every week and knowing their different styles, working with that, it's just very technical," she adds. "Sometimes you have so much on your plate and they're making you kind of crazy. If you look around at all the people waiting for you, it can get kind of nutty. So I just have to focus, because if not, then that's when you get overwhelmed."

"My Little Palace"
Whatever Dunphy's secret, it seems to be working for her. She recently made a couple more SOPRANOS appearances and moved out of her parent's Pennsylvania home into her own Manhattan pad. "My first apartment," the actress says with a big smile. "I go back to Pennsylvania every two or three weeks, but I really feel like my New York apartment is my home. I love it."
Although she moved in June of 2002, Dunphy laughs as she admits that she's only just now finishing decorating her new digs. "Everything in it, all the furniture, I designed myself," she reveals. "It was fun."
But having a career and a place of her own was always in the cards for the fiercely independent young woman. "I love being on my own," Dunphy declares. "Even when I was younger, I could never just sit behind a desk. I needed to be out there and working. Even though sometimes I get crazy, I love it. I'm having a great time right now!"

-- Chris Eades

Birthday: October 23.
All out of love: After her fruitless pursuit of Aaron, Alison may turn her attention elsewhere. "I think she'll have a love interest somewhat soon," Dunphy teases. "I mean, it's about time!"
Married to the Mob: Will she be returning for the next season of THE SOPRANOS? "I hope so," she says. "That's all I can say about it, but I hope so. It seems like an open door. They haven't even started yet, but I'd love to. I had a great time doing that."