Though Anastasia Horne's Port Charles character's name is Lark, her behavior is more mischievous than frolicsome. In nine months in PC Lark Madison has done everything from smoking dope to lying about her age and identity in order to lure the late Jake Marshack into the sack. How ironic is it, then, that the actress playing this adolescent cutlip is named after a saint? "Some people assume my folks named me after the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia, but that's not the case," she explains with charachteristic enthusiasm. "My folks were at mass one sunday when my mom was pregnant with me, and they saw something about St. Anastasia in the misalette and fell in love with the name. I don't know much about her, except that she was burnt at the stake. But I've definately enjoyed having such an unusual name." So, the name is real, and so is the talent. Though only 20, Horne has been playing to cameras for more than seven years. Throughout her childhood in Claremont California, she was involved in musical theater, with parents Michael and Marie more than willing to spring for private singing and acting lessons. But when Anastasia approached thema t age 12 and told them she wanted to be on TV, they put her to the test so to speak. "They made me go out and find my own agent," she says with a laugh. "They were totally supportive of what I wanted to do, but their attitude was "If you're really serious about this, then you handle the details," So I did: I called the Screen Actors Guild and got a list of agents, and started interviewing with them. "My folks did help a bit: They drove me to interviews in L.A. But in the end, I picked my own agen. the whole experience taught me a lot about fostering independence, as well as the importance of going after what you really want no matter how scary it seems." Amazingly, she got the first two TV roles she auditioned for- a commercial in Spanish for Disney and a role on the Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated. "There I was thinking: Whyd does everyone say its so hard to break into this business? It's a peice of cake." She laughs ruefully. "Little did I know. "Kids Incorporated taught me a lot about working with cameras, other actors, adults, but in a way it gave me a false sense of security, too. I was on the show for three years. When I left and didn't get everything I auditioned for, I freaked! It took me awhile to figure out that entertainment is an up and down business." Talking to Horne, it's hard not to be aware of how young she is: She's quick to giggle, and like many of her generation, her voice rises at the end of sentencesso that no matter what she says, it sounds more like a question than a statement. But watching her act there's no doubt she possesses a talent beyond her years. Ask Horne about her character, and the words come fast and furious. "She's smart but manipulative. She was abused as a child, and now all she wants is love and affection, but of courseshe does not realize that she's going about getting it in the wrong way. She seems tough, but she's really very vunerable, which I'm sure is the case in real life with "bad girls." It's a truism that actors love playing "bad" characters because its so much fun, but for Horne, portraying Lark is especially delicious because she's "so different" from her own personality. "I feel like I'm experiencing the teen rebellion I never had in my own life," she confesses. "I get to do all the bad stuff I wanted to do as a kid but was too scared to! "The day I had to come to work and pretend to smoke pot, I was a wreck. I've never smoked it in my life-I've never even smoked a cigarette- and I was afraid I wouldnt know how to make it look believable and would come across looking like a total dork! But I think I did ok." While Horne may be unusual in her lack of experimentation as a teen, apparently she's pretty typical for her age when it comes to driving. She's had two fender benders this year, the last a major nightmare. "I was on my way to work, and as usual traffic was crawling." She sighs, "Well, I bent down to put my french fries on the floor, and when i looked up, the car infrony of me had stopped. I hit it, and my airbag went off- and i was only doing 10 miles per hour! I couldnt believe it! Everyone was yelling at me because it prevented me from moving my car-the woman i hit, the guys from AAA, even passing cars! "As if that wasnt bad enough, the bag cut my neck and burned pats of my face. When I got into work, the makeup guy really had to do a number on me, and I still have a scar from it. It was totally traumatic." Not traumatic enough for her to stop driving, though. She's still tooling around in the same 1993 Dodge Spirit. "It's a big boat and I like it that way. I feel protected," she says with a laugh. But she does admit she's driving more carefully now that shes paying her own car insurance. Paying rent is her responsibility these days as well. SHe recently moved out of her parents' home to live with three of her sorority sisters in Pamona, where she attends California Polytechnic State University. She chose Cal Poly because her parents went there. As for getting involved in a sorority, she explains: "I did it because I wanted to meet different people. Obviously, I knew the people in the theater department, but I thought it was important tp expose myself to a wide cross-sectionof people, and sororities are a way to do that. It's also a great way to meet guys," she adds giggling. Horne bristles the stereotype of the shallow sorority girl. "Yes there are sorority girls like that, but one of the reasons I chose this sorority- Chi Omega- was because it didn't fit the mold. They didn't all dress and talk alike; they werent all bubble brains. Everyone had her own individual style and her own opinions and they were all very down to earth. No way I'd join anything where everyone gets off at being the same!" Right now, Horne's major is drama. But she's also interested in teaching special education and is toying with the idea of a double major. But thats a big maybe: She has enough on her plate just acting on a soap while attending college. "Its hard" she says, "but I know I can do it. Getting a college degree is very important to me. It's not something I want to put off." Her seeming drive to push herself to the limit comes, she says from her mother and grandmother. "They always told me to work really hard and do my best. If I slack off, I feel really guilty, like Im letting them down as well as myself. Muust be a Catholic thing," she jokes. Though she makes light of it, being Catholic is important to Horne. She still attends Mass every sunday at the parish in which she grew up, and even sings in the church choir. "It's a way to keep in touch with my community and make sure I see my family at least once a week," she says. She's less enthusiastic about the four years she spent attending Catholic school (" I hated wearing a uniform, and some of the nun were crazy.)" but points out that ot probably helped more than it hurt. "I definately learned discipline," she says. Horne likes to hang out with her friends, going to movies and museums. Another favorite spot is Disneyland. "I absolutely love it there," she gushes. "There truly is a sense of magic in the air that makes you feel like your a kid again. It's also a great place to people watch." Often these days Horne's the one being watched, as more and more fans begin to recognize her on the street. "It's defiantely weird, she says "but its kind of fun. Someone came running over to me when I was out with my roommates, and they got the biggest kick out of it, the fact is they new me from Port Charles. To [my roommates] im just me one of the gang." But not all her contact with fans has been posotive. Horne says she's gotten a number of sexually explicit letters, as well as letters expressing intense hatred for her character. But rather than get upset, she takes it all in stride. "hey, as far as the hate mail goes, at least I'm getting a reaction. I must be doing something right, right? For this talented young actress, that goes without saying.
-Taken from Soap Opera Weekly and written by Deirdre Martin
October 13th 1998