Half-Puerto Rican, half-Peruvian actress Daniella Alonso burst onto the scene in her memorable portrayal of the character Anna Taggaro on the beloved CW prime-time soap One Tree Hill back in its second season. Now in its ninth and final season, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m. (EST), OTH's story lines are coming a close. Alonso spoke to Latina.com exclusively to reflect on her fond memories from the show, her favorite thing about playing Anna, and how her recurring role kick-started her career.
How do you feel being part of the legacy of One Tree Hill?
That was a really special time for me just being on the show. It’s so funny because I’m in LA right now and all my neighbors and people randomly watch the show. They’re like “Hey! You’re Anna from One Tree Hill.” It’s like, “Wow.” That was in 2004. And even to this day, it’s got a really strong fan base. It’s really cool.
What was your favorite part about playing Anna Taggaro?
For me, personally it was just meeting people and making connections especially with Michael Copon, who played my brother. And also being given the opportunity to play a character who was dealing with issues that real kids deal with like coming out of the closet and how does she do that and coming to terms with her sexuality. I totally remember when the creator Mark Schwahn brought me into his office because they didn’t tell me she was gay or anything. They kind of figured it out halfway through and I remember him telling me in his office. I was just like, ‘Whoa. That’s awesome. That’s such a great opportunity.’
What was it like hanging out with the cast?
It was great. You know, it was the second season, so everyone was still kind of new. I remember we went out all the time. Again, we were in a little town. We were in Wilmington, North Carolina. It was just very small, which was great because I come from New York City, so that was a major change. Everyone knew each other. Everyone hung out. We went to eat lunch and breakfast. It’s great being in a small town, you know? Everyone knows each other and everyone’s friendly.
How has the show impacted your career?
I think that was a big platform for me. I actually moved out to L.A. right after it. It just helped me with casting directors and people knew who I was and so you could get in on those auditions. It was also the first time I was on a show that was my show, so you kind of get more comfortable on a set. It just made the transition to working on other people’s shows a lot easier. So when I worked on Friday Night Lights or My Generation, it all just stemmed from there. It was the first big job I had gotten. It was a nice way to ease into it. It was a great experience.
Watch the final season premiere of One Tree Hill on The CW tonight at 8 p.m. (EST).