Article published in Dropline.biz on May 16, 2005

Actress Alison Sweeney“New Mom and New Days”

By Dino M. Zaffina

Alison Sweeney, “Ali” as she is referred to by her peers and close friends has spent the last 12 years entertaining audiences on Days of Our Lives as “Sami Brady” daughter of “Dr. Marlena Evans” (Deidre Hall) and “Roman Brady” (Josh Taylor). Now, Alison along with her husband, Dave (who she has known since childhood) have begun new days of their lives with the arrival of their first child, son Benjamin, or “Ben” as Alison refers to him.

Sweeney worked on the No. 1 NBC soap opera through to the last days of her pregnancy. She says, “It was pretty funny to work while I was pregnant because they didn’t write it into the storyline, so I had to do all of these special camera moves. They had to disguise my pregnancy on camera, which made a little bit of extra work everyday to keep it off the camera. Everyone had a good sense of humor about it, and thought that it was pretty funny, but they were all very supportive.” Alison had to hide behind flowers, carry groceries, and big purses. “Luckily it was winter, so I always had a big winter coat in front of me,” said Sweeney.

Alison has been very open about her pregnancy. Other than for Days, she has not tried to hide her body from cameras. Alison was featured on the cover of the February 2005 edition of Pregnancy (Vol. 6, No. 2). She posed for the cover, exposing her pregnant belly and inside the magazine as well. Sweeney said, “I feel that being pregnant is such a natural part of life.”

Although, Sweeney was pregnant, she stayed trim by continuing to workout with her trainer on a modified workout schedule. “I actually worked-out right up until the end of my pregnancy,” said Sweeney. Alison also continued her regular yoga classes up until the last week before she gave birth. She just had to adjust the poses to accommodate the pregnancy. Her goal was to keep her body healthy, getting plenty of rest, and eating right, so that she could care for her baby. “That is the most important thing,” said Sweeney.

Working while she was pregnant was no easy task. Always full of energy, Alison would normally go to the gym or out to dinner with friends after a long day on the set, but she noticed that during her pregnancy, especially toward the end, all she could do was go home and crash.  Sweeney understood, “Your body tells you what it needs.” She further stated, “When I got home, I would sit down to read a book or catch up on the news, and would wake-up three hours later.”

Now that Ben is here, Alison gets a big help from her husband, a California Highway Patrolman. “He is such a great father. He has been so active and involved with Ben since he was born.  Luckily he is an investigator for the highway patrol, so he has flexible hours that he is able to schedule his time with Ben and still continue his work.”

Since Sweeney has been back to work on Days shooting scenes for her return on the 20th of May, when “Sami Returns with a Vengeance,” Ben has had some opportunities to visit the set. “He does come with me to the set sometimes, not everyday, we have lunch together. If I do not have a long day, I will bring him to hang out. I bring him to visit with everybody and to be close to him. Everyone is so enthusiastic to see him and play with him and say hi. He feels the love,” said Sweeney.

During Alison’s maternity leave, Days cleverly hid her absence by disguising Alison as a man.  The writers came up with an idea that “Sami” would go through a nervous breakdown when she was devastated with everything that she had been through up until that point. A villain on the show “Tony DiMera” (Thaao Penghlis) offered her the opportunity to get revenge on all her enemies, and she did just that. Scenes were shot where a make-up artist transformed “Sami” into a guy, later to be played by Dan Wells.

The main catalyst that propelled “Sami” into this horrible behavior was losing the opportunity to marry the love of her life, “Lucas Roberts” (Bryan Dattilo). Her future evil mother-in-law, “Kate Roberts” (Lauren Koslow), set it up so that it would seem to “Sami’s” fiancé (“Kate’s” son) that “Sami” had cheated on him. Although, “Sami” professed her innocence, and claimed that she did not do it, no one believed her, including her “Lucas,” so he called off the wedding. Even “Sami’s” son on the show was devastated that his mother could commit such a terrible act.

Alison enjoys her industry; she loves working in the genre of soaps. Her career has also moved toward many guest appearances on some primetime shows. She would like to move toward directing some day.  “I keep my options open,” Sweeney said.

Accomplished actress and now author, Sweeney wrote a book entitled All The Days of My Life (So Far).  In her book, Sweeney set out to give the readers a look into a career in daytime television, growing up and all the stuff that she had been through on Days. Alison said, “I mostly came up with the idea after meeting fans over the years and all the questions they have about being an actress. What it is like to be on a soap and what are days are like. You get this question a million times, and I felt like I really wanted the opportunity to answer that question and give them an indepth examination of what our life is really like.”

Sweeney will be having a book signing in New York City at The NBC Experience Store on Saturday, May 21, 2005, the day after the Daytime Emmy Awards. The NBC Experience Store is located at the corner of Rockefeller Plaza and W. 49th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) across from the Today studio and next to the world-famous Rockefeller Skating Rink.

Alison is the first NBC daytime star to start blogging. “I’ve been doing a weekly blog on NBC.com and talking about what is it like to be a new mom and continue working. I keep the fans up to date with set jokes and let them know what is happening backstage. It is a lot of fun to answer all the fans questions,” said Alison.  “They post questions on my website and then I answer them on the NBC blog page.” (http://blogs.nbc.com/aliblog/index.shtml).

Sweeney is a celebrity that believes in the importance of volunteering time for charities. She has donated money, time, and her name to many charitable organizations. Alison is in the process of working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org) to develop a charity event for the summer of 2006.

For more information on Alison Sweeney visit her official website at www.alisonsweeney.com.

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