Soap opera villainess tries new acting roles
Crystal Hunt focused on film performance

By Brandy McDonnell Published: October 5, 2007
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Actress Crystal Hunt is working on her happily ever after: a successful film career to follow her stint as a soap opera villainess.

Hunt, 22, can be seen on movie screens in the recently released "Sydney White,” playing the pal of Amanda Bynes' title character in the modern adaptation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” In the college comedy, Sydney wants to join her late mother's sorority at the fictional Southern Atlantic University. Dinky (Hunt) also wants to follow her mom's footsteps into Kappa Phi Nu.

While the sorority members, led by wicked Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton), accept blond, petite and perky Dinky, they reject tomboyish Sydney. Left homeless, Sydney moves into a dilapidated former fraternity house called the Vortex and befriends the seven outcasts who live there.

"I've always been in love with all of Disney's cartoons, you know, all their little fairy tales. I've been in love with them since I was a little girl,” Hunt said in a recent phone interview from her hometown of Clearwater, Fla., where she was visiting family. "It's an age-old story, and everybody knows it and loves it. And we're just making a modernized spin on it, which is very cool.”

The movie was filmed on and around the campuses of the University of Central Florida in Orlando and private Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. The setting was new and surprising for Bynes and Hunt, who have been acting since they were children.

"I started on a soap opera when I was 17, so I haven't been to college. It was kind of funny. Neither had Amanda until we pulled up to UCF's campus. ...We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so cool.' We were like, ‘Is this what it's really like or is this part of the set?'” Hunt said, with a laugh.

"We drove through the Greek row (of sorority and fraternity houses) at UCF, and they had like Slip 'n' Slides out front and volleyball nets, and it was like a constant party. ... I think we both were just like stunned. And they were like, ‘No this is real, this isn't part of the movie set.'”

Hunt's performing career is her destiny — at least according to her grandmother, who predicted it when the actress was just a few months old.

Her maternal grandmother insisted on entering her in baby pageants, even though her mother, a former Wilhelmina model, was reluctant to expose her daughter to the rejection of the acting and modeling fields. Hunt started appearing in commercials at age 3.

"I loved it; you know I was the one who dragged my mom to come with me. She was always so apprehensive. She was ‘Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you really want to do it? .