Beloved actress Crystal Carson made a name for herself on General Hospital as Julia Barrett, older sister of Vanessa Marcil’s Brenda, from 1991-1993, with several recurring appearances until 1998.
She was initially brought on the show as a love interest for Tony Geary’s Bill Eckert. After leaving the soap, she had a recurring role on the TV series JAG and just last year appeared in the series Club 5150 with former All My Children star Eden Riegel (ex-Bianca).
But acting has taken a back seat to the other two roles she cherishes – being a mother to her 15-year-old daughter and an acting coach with her company –Auditioning By Heart.
Being a Mom
When Carson left General Hospital, it felt like a choice between having that job or starting a family.
She and her husband had been trying to have a baby via invitro fertilization, but it still wasn’t working after five tries. “The thing I was trying not to do was take a break from the show, but I knew that I had tried everything else.”
Once away from the show, she was able to get pregnant and give birth to her daughter, who is the light of her life. Carson then decided to become an acting coach and created her own company.
“What I discovered was that I can act out of my home studio or on sets, behind-the-scenes with actors and get all my creativity fulfilled. Everything I loved about acting I get to do and still be home and make my own schedule so that I could be with her. She’s 15 now, and it’s been amazing.”
The Travel Bug
Coaching has also allowed the actress to indulge in her third love.
“I love to travel, and now that my daughter is older, she’ll come with me. We have gotten to go to Brazil… to Vietnam, and this year she’ll get to go with me to London, Ireland and Scotland. I’ve been invited to China. I opened up a film school in Vietnam, and possibly even one in Thailand, which I never even thought about going to and I’m so excited.
“That part of it I love. When I became an actor, part of what I was excited to do was to travel and do movies.
I don’t think I ever left LA to do a film, except San Diego to do [the movie] Killer Tomatoes. It wasn’t working out but this is working out for all three things that I really desire in life – family, travel, and my creative acting bug to get fed.”
Keeping Up With Pals
Carson has managed to keep up with a few of her former co-stars, including her former love interests. “Wally Kurth [Ned] has been a great friend to me when I needed him. He housed my parents when they came to town on Christmas.
I needed extra space,” she shared. “Gerald Hopkins [ex-A.J. Quartermaine] and I love to get into political battles and try to find common ground,” she laughed. What about her former onscreen sister? “Vanessa [Marcil, ex-Brenda], I haven’t seen her in a while. She’s very busy, and I’m very busy, but every once in a while we’ll have a phone call.”
So what would Julia be doing today? Carson muses, “She’d be wheeling and dealing and screwing up her love relationship. She just has no idea she has such bad Daddy issues. She has no idea how to find the right man, she always chooses someone who will hurt her so I think she’s still doing the same thing and trying to find love through power, which really doesn’t work.” Would she return to the show if asked? “Absolutely.”