WILMINGTON – Former Wilmington resident Alycen Malone is portraying a makeup artist and hairstylist to actress Eva Longoria, who is playing an actress in the new NBC comedy show, “Telenovela.”
The comedy, which aired a one-hour special Dec. 7 and will air weekly beginning Jan. 4, revolves around the backstage lives of the cast and crew of a fictional Hispanic soap opera.
Malone, 33, who’s wanted to act since she was a child and has actively pursued work in the industry since her early teens, said the pilot was filmed in the spring and the 13 episodes were shot from August to November.
She has no speaking parts in the series – yet, Malone said – but she doesn’t care.
“I think a lot of people, when they come out to Hollywood, want to be famous or assume that’s what you want, but that’s not the goal for me. The goal is for me to make a living doing what I want to do,” Malone said. “If that’s the goal, then I’ve already accomplished it.”
Malone feels fame in and of itself is an unsettling concept, and she is unsure how she would feel if it came her way.
“I’m certainly open to bigger things happening and bigger possibilities. I’m always open to that,” Malone said. “But I’m having a lot of fun doing what I’m doing.”
Malone said when she was a student at St. Rose School in Wilmington – about age 12 or 13 – she began contacting modeling agencies in Chicago. Although Malone said she worked “a few jobs here and there,” she never attained the height required for high-fashion work and wishes now she had pursued more commercial projects.
So Malone let that dream go. Besides, Malone added, “getting to the city was always a hassle.”
“I knew when I was old enough and on my own, I would seek out more,” Malone said. “So I went to [Wilmington] high school and didn’t do that much.”
In terms of acting and modeling, that is. Socially, Malone said she was very involved. After high school, she studied theater for a year at Joliet Junior College. During that time, Malone read a magazine article about the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, which had campuses in New York and California, and made that life-changing decision.
Malone decided against New York, with its scary high crime rate. But California ...
“I knew I needed to take the plunge while I was still young and restless,” Malone said.
So Malone traveled to Ohio for the audition and was accepted into the program. Three years later, Malone graduated and then went to the British American Drama Academy in England for a month of Shakespeare studies.
And then – it was off to Hollywood, to figure it out, she said.
Malone doesn’t feel acting is difficult work but the hours are often long, with unforeseen down time when nothing happens, she said. The cause, she added, can be simple. A light breaks and filming stops while it’s being fixed.
However, the unpredictability and variety of the assignments are part of the industry’s appeal. She’s worked as a stand-in; she’s worked as an extra; she’s worked in commercials. People back home get excited when they glimpse her on TV, but to Malone, it’s just another day’s work.
Other roles, according to Malone’s Facebook page, include the militant leader of an underground alliance of redheads (the webseries “Tute Voller Kinder”), a Jersey Shore college student whose life changes forever after an alcohol-filled night (“The HBO Voyeur Project”) and a party girl (the soap opera “Passions”).
Sure, she’d like more regular shows and more speaking roles. But life, so far, really is good.
“I’m around great people and living a great life in California, as I always hoped I would,” Malone said.
Through these experiences, Malone is becoming impervious to people’s opinions, good or bad, and focusing instead on excelling at her craft. Although it’s thrilling to spend the bulk of her day in a world where everything is pretend, it’s also important, Malone said, to know when to put make-believe away.
“Mostly, everybody knows a lot of rejection, so it gives you the thickest possible skin,” Malone said of the film industry. “But you keep this glimmer of hope that tomorrow is a new day.”
For more information about “Telenovela,” including the one-hour special preview and an additional digital exclusive episode, visit www.nbc.com/telenovela.