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

By Brandy McDonnell Published: October 5, 2007
You don't feel like you have to, you want to?' And I'm like, ‘Mother, quit it, let's go,'” Hunt said with a laugh.

When her mother realized how Hunt enjoyed acting, going to auditions became contingent on making good grades, Hunt said.

In 1991, she landed a tiny, uncredited part in the movie "Problem Child 2.” But her real breakthrough came in 2003, when she was cast as Lizzie Spaulding on the long-running soap "Guiding Light.” She played the part for three and a half years.

Hunt was nominated for a Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest's favorite villainess award for playing the "sometimes sweet, partially psychotic” character.

She also got public recognition: People often confused the actress with her devilish character, giving her dirty looks or scolding her for kidnapping her baby sibling and burning down her boarding school on the show.

"I remember my first fan club weekend with ‘Guiding Light,' everybody was so scared to talk to me,” she said, laughing. "So I had a pasted grin on my face. Like, you know how, like the muscles in your face start to hurt when you smile so long? Those muscles were like fully exhausted by the end of the day. I was like, ‘I've gotta smile so they know that I am a nice person, not like Lizzie.'”

Before "Sydney White,” Hunt appeared in the 2005 movie "The Derby Stallion,” where she played the love interest of future "High School Musical” star Zac Efron. The actress, who described herself as a girly tomboy who likes shopping, shooting shotguns and flying helicopters, next will be seen in the 2008 teen thriller "Brooklyn to Manhattan.”

She hopes to continue getting roles like Dinky, whose family, background and accent differ from hers and other characters she's played.

"You get to really create. Like, what are her parents like? ... Does she have siblings?” she said. "I think all those things affect a character, and you wouldn't think that all that goes into it but it does. ... You have to go deeper into it when you're creating how you're going to play the character.”