Alanna Masterson on return of 'Walking Dead' and how motherhood has given 'life a whole new purpose'

By Alexandra Hurtado

Alanna Masterson is just like any first-time mom, except she slays zombies for a living. The 27-year-old actress stars as Tara Chambler in AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, which she joined back in season four. Now with the show in its sixth season, Alanna tells HELLO! she can relate to her character. "I’m a super, super optimistic person," she says. "I love that [Tara] is always optimistic, and I think that she is always trying to make the best of every situation even though she’s got a lot of layers to her."

Photo: Getty Images

Facing the apocalypse on the hit show, and playing a character who has multiple losses has also affected the way the TV star views life with her loved ones. "I think that’s what’s also amazing about this show, is you know, what would happen if all the things went away that people waste so much time thinking [about] or are important in your life,” Alanna says. “It makes you just kind of value every day and cherish every day knowing that you never know what happens in life."

The actress welcomed her first child with photographer boyfriend Brick Stowell back in November. Being a mom to her 3-month-old daughter Marley she says "is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. It kind of gives life a whole new purpose. I love [Marley] more than anything.”

Playing a strong female like Tara has also changed the star’s outlook on raising her daughter. She explains, "I can just continue to work hard and teach her that you can be a strong woman when you grow up and work long hours and make a life for yourself.”

Making life a “joy” for her daughter to grow up in is important for the first-time mom. Recalling the best piece of parenting advice she received from her own mother, the AMC actress reveals, “Always make it a safe and happy environment for your kid even when things are tough or when times are tough.” She adds, “Life is beautiful really, and you just make it a joy for your kids to grow up.”

But if there was ever an actual apocalypse, this savvy mom already has a plan in action. Keep reading to see how Alanna would react if real life mimicked the zombie show and what she tells HELLO! about Tara’s future on the series.

Photo: Instagram.com/@lucytwobows

There are so many diehard fans. Does it still amaze you the following Walking Dead has?
"I mean yeah, I would say on a daily basis I’m pretty shocked. I mean this is going to be one of those shows that people talk about when I’m old. It’s not going to go away. And even when the show ends, it’s going to last."

Where do you see the direction of Walking Dead heading this season with your character Tara?
"Especially this season, I think that Tara has found someone that she wants to fight for and take care of, and I think that she’s going to be just willing to protect Alexandria to make sure that everyone is okay. With the loss of her family, she didn’t really have anything to kind of fight for and now she does."

Can you relate to Tara?
"Yeah, absolutely! I’m a super, super optimistic person. My mom is that way – so even when times are hard and tough, you know she’s always like, ‘Hey listen, things can be worse or this can happen or that can happen.’ Or even with acting when something wouldn’t work out as planned she was always like you know something else is coming along the way, don’t you worry. I guess that’s kind of how I was raised."

There is never a shortage of deaths on this show. When a cast member gets killed off is there a goodie bag of sorts or a party you throw to bid him/her farewell?
"[Laughs] A goodie bag. That would be really funny! We do all get together and have a dinner or a lunch, or we all go to a movie or something. We’re all really close. It’s pretty devastating when people leave, so we try to say goodbye in the best way possible and not make it super sad."

Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Growing up, were you ever scared of zombies or vampires? Did your brothers make you watch those types of shows?
"Yeah. I remember watching [ Little Monsters] and just not being able to sleep because I was worried that someone was going to come out and pull me down. I also have four brothers [Danny, Chis, Jordan and Will] so I definitely saw things I probably shouldn’t have seen as a kid. I think I watched Arachnophobia when I was 6. I didn’t sleep for weeks."

And now, do you ever catch yourself looking over your shoulder, wondering if something is after you?
"No. I’m not very scared of many things. I definitely think that I would be prepared if there was some sort of apocalypse. I’ve learned so many tricks and things from the prop master. I learn all these survival tools."

Okay, so if there was an apocalypse, what would be the first thing you’d do, and what would be your best skill in that type of situation?
"I would take my family, well I mean my whole entire family, including everyone that lives in L.A. and New York, we would all meet. We have a meeting point. I would do whatever it took to get there either in a car or on a motorcycle, on a bicycle, I’d walk, just so we’d all be together. I’ve got good aim so probably, I would be the assassin of the group. I’ve got a good shot."

Photo: Instagram.com/@lucytwobows

For this season, were you pregnant with Marley while filming?
"Yeah. I was very, very much pregnant. Kind of from the get-go, and you know I was lucky enough to have people be so excited and willing to make it work. I also pushed myself a lot to work really hard and even when scenes were super grueling or we had 18-hour days, I never complained or anything. I was just grateful to be there."

You film in Georgia. Does it make you miss L.A. or are you loving raising Marley there?
"Yeah, I like being separated from it all. I think that’s maybe also why we’re all so close because we don’t get to just get off work and go home and hang out with our friends and family. It’s like these are our friends and family and these are the bonds we created out here so, I really, really enjoy shooting on location. Atlanta is a great city."

Have you and Brick both endured many sleepless nights since becoming parents?
"We’re a good tag team. He’s the best dad in the world. I’ll do nights, he’ll do days. We sleep when we sleep. I’m used to an actor’s schedule which you don’t really get much sleep anyways, and he’s a photographer and travels with Tyler, the Creator, so he doesn’t really sleep either. We kind of just figure it out."

How old is your daughter going to have to be before you let her watch Walking Dead?
[Pauses to think] "20. Yeah."

Catch Alanna on The Walking Dead, Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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