To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener.
Fans of The Walking Dead have known Alanna Masterson since Season 4, when her character, Tara Chambler, was introduced as part of The Governor’s backstory. Viewers embraced the badass character on the AMC post-apocalyptic drama, and it didn’t take long for Masterson to be upped to a series regular, proving she really is a survivor. We’ve learned a lot about Tara since Season 4, so now it’s time to learn more about Masterson, who, incidentally, is pretty much a badass herself.
1. Her first acting job was on The Young and the Restless.
Masterson’s first professional acting credit came in 1994 when she played Colleen Carlton on the long-running CBS soap. Masterson told Interview magazine she was six or seven years old when she landed the part, and that she remembers the audition vividly. “I walked in, and they were like, ‘Can you cry?’” she recalled. “And I was like, ‘Sure,’ and I just started crying. Obviously, when you’re a child actor, you have zero inhibitions. You don’t care. You don’t get introverted thinking people are looking at you funny. So I cried on the spot.” Masterson added that she was always over-the-top dramatic and as a child, her only outlet for her own drama was acting. Years later, she booked The Walking Dead on her 25th birthday.
2. Three of her brothers are actors.
The acting gene clearly runs in this family. Masterson has three brothers who are professional actors: Last Man Standing‘s Jordan Masterson is her full brother, while That ‘70s Show’s Danny Masterson and Malcolm in the Middle‘s Christopher Masterson are her half brothers. Even though she appears to be close with her brothers, sadly, Masterson, a devout member of the Church of Scientology, has reportedly been estranged from her father, Joe Reaiche, for more than a decade due to his decision to cut ties with the controversial church, according to Vanity Fair.
3. Lizzie McGuire is her ride or die.
OK, not really. But Masterson is BFFs with actress-singer Hilary Duff, the former star of the Disney Channel comedy about a teen girl with an animated alter ego. Not only is Duff one of Masterson’s best friends, but according to The Gloss, the two women have matching bestie “ride or die” ghost tattoos.
4. She has zero tolerance for body shamers.
Alanna is a busy working mom — daughter Marlowe was born in 2015 — so she has no time for Internet trolls. After body shamers trolled her following a Tara-centric TWD episode a year after she gave birth to her baby, Masterson fired back on Instagram, reminding them that she had been diligently nursing her baby “and pumping in a van between takes” and that she wouldn’t change it for anything. “So before you decide to make a comment about my chest being ‘too large’ or how ‘fat’ I’ve become, just know that this little girl got the best start to life,” the actress wrote. “I wouldn’t have changed it for a second. I would’ve gladly continued to eat enough calories to produce milk for her little bones to grow.” Masterson also told the trolls hiding behind their computer screens to grow up, and then left them with this final challenge: “I would LOVE to see any man or woman give birth to a baby, nurse the baby, and then work 17 hour days and NAIL their own stunts.”
5. She originally wanted to be a dancer.
As a young girl, Masterson was heavily involved in dance and wanted to be a professional dancer. Once puberty hit, she had a change of tune. “I got accepted to North Carolina Ballet and I did this crazy intensive summer program and I wanted to apply to ABT and all these amazing ballet schools,” she told Interview. “And then all of the sudden, puberty hit me like a son of a b***h and I got boobs and a butt and curves and then I was, to quote unquote, ‘too big’ for ballet.” Masterson said her non-ballet bod was actually a blessing in disguise because she “probably would have blown out a knee by now and been retired at 26 years old.
The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Read more from Yahoo TV:
- First look: ‘Seinfeld’ alum Wayne Knight says ‘hello’ to ‘The Young and the Restless’
- ‘South Park’ turns 20: 5 things you didn’t know about the first episode
- ‘The Walking Dead’: 10 memorable characters who became walkers