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Alanna Masterson on return of 'Walking Dead' and how motherhood has given 'life a whole new purpose'

By Alexandra Hurtado

February 23, 2016
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Alanna Masterson is just like any first-timemom, except she slays zombies for a living. The 27-year-old actress stars as TaraChambler in AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, which she joined backin season four. Now with the show in its sixth season, Alanna tells HELLO! shecan relate to her character. "I’m a super, super optimistic person,"she says. "I love that [Tara] is always optimistic, and I think that sheis always trying to make the best of every situation even though she’s got alot of layers to her."

Photo: Getty Images

Facing the apocalypse on the hit show, and playing a character who has multiple losses has also affected the way theTV star views life with her loved ones. "I think that’s what’s alsoamazing about this show, is you know, what would happen if all the things wentaway that people waste so much time thinking [about] or are important in yourlife,” Alanna says. “It makes you just kind of value every day and cherishevery day knowing that you never know what happens in life."

The actress welcomed her firstchild with photographer boyfriend Brick Stowell back in November. Beinga mom to her 3-month-old daughter Marley she says "is probably thebest thing that has ever happened to me. It kind of gives life a whole newpurpose. I love [Marley] more than anything.”

Playing a strong female likeTara has also changed the star’s outlook on raising her daughter. She explains,"I can just continue to work hard and teach her that you can be a strongwoman when you grow up and work long hours and make a life for yourself.”

Making life a “joy” for herdaughter to grow up in is important for the first-time mom. Recalling the bestpiece of parenting advice she received from her own mother, the AMC actressreveals, “Always make it a safe and happy environment for your kid even whenthings are tough or when times are tough.” She adds, “Life is beautiful really, and you just make it a joy for your kids to grow up.”

But if there was ever anactual apocalypse, this savvy mom already has a plan in action. Keep reading to see how Alanna would react if real life mimicked the zombie show andwhat she tells HELLO! about Tara’s future on the series.


There are so manydiehard fans. Does it still amaze you the following Walking Dead has? "I mean yeah,I would say on a daily basis I’m pretty shocked. I mean this is going to be oneof those shows that people talk about when I’m old. It’s not going togo away. And even when the show ends, it’s going to last."

Where do you see thedirection of Walking Dead heading this season with your character Tara? "Especially this season, Ithink that Tara has found someone that she wants tofight for and take care of, and I think that she’s going to be just willing toprotect Alexandria to make sure that everyone is okay. With the loss of herfamily, she didn’t really have anything to kind of fight for and now she does."

Can you relate to Tara?"Yeah, absolutely! I’m asuper, super optimistic person. My mom is that way – so even when times arehard and tough, you know she’s always like, ‘Hey listen, things can be worse orthis can happen or that can happen.’ Or even with acting when somethingwouldn’t work out as planned she was always like you know something else iscoming along the way, don’t you worry. I guess that’s kind of how I wasraised."

There is never a shortageof deaths on this show. When a cast member gets killed off is there a goodiebag of sorts or a party you throw to bid him/her farewell?"[Laughs] A goodie bag.That would be really funny! We do all get together and have a dinner or a lunch, or we all go to a movie or something. We’re all really close. It’s prettydevastating when people leave, so we try to say goodbye in the best way possibleand not make it super sad."


Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Growing up, were you everscared of zombies or vampires? Did your brothers make you watch those types ofshows?"Yeah. I remember watching[ Little Monsters] and just not being able to sleep because I wasworried that someone was going to come out and pull me down. I also have fourbrothers [Danny, Chis, Jordan and Will] so I definitely saw things I probablyshouldn’t have seen as a kid. I think I watched Arachnophobia when I was 6. Ididn’t sleep for weeks."

And now, do you ever catchyourself looking over your shoulder, wondering if something is after you?"No. I’m not very scared ofmany things. I definitely think that I would be prepared if there was some sortof apocalypse. I’ve learned so many tricks and things from the prop master. I learn all these survival tools."

Okay, so if there was anapocalypse, what would be the first thing you’d do, and what would be your bestskill in that type of situation?"I would take my family,well I mean my whole entire family, including everyone that lives in L.A. andNew York, we would all meet. We have a meeting point. I would do whatever ittook to get there either in a car or on a motorcycle, on a bicycle, I’d walk,just so we’d all be together. I’ve got good aim so probably, I would be theassassin of the group. I’ve got a good shot."


For this season, were youpregnant with Marley while filming?"Yeah. I was very, verymuch pregnant. Kind of from the get-go, and you know I was lucky enough to havepeople be so excited and willing to make it work. I also pushed myself a lot towork really hard and even when scenes were super grueling or we had 18-hourdays, I never complained or anything. I was just grateful to be there."

You film in Georgia. Does itmake you miss L.A. or are you loving raising Marley there? "Yeah, I like beingseparated from it all. I think that’s maybe also why we’re all so close becausewe don’t get to just get off work and go home and hang out with our friends andfamily. It’s like these are our friends and family and these are the bonds wecreated out here so, I really, really enjoy shooting on location. Atlanta is agreat city."

Have you and Brick bothendured many sleepless nights since becoming parents? "We’re a good tag team.He’s the best dad in the world. I’ll do nights, he’ll do days. We sleep when wesleep. I’m used to an actor’s schedule which you don’t really get much sleepanyways, and he’s a photographer and travels with Tyler, the Creator, so hedoesn’t really sleep either. We kind of just figure it out."

How old is your daughtergoing to have to be before you let her watch Walking Dead? [Pauses to think] "20.Yeah."

CatchAlanna on The Walking Dead, Sundays at 9 p.m. ETon AMC.

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