Beginning of his career Eric Winter Tale

SOD-January 28, 2003

Written by Stephanie Sloane

Eric Winter(Rex, Days Of Our Lives) was your average college student majoring in pre-med when a passing remark from his then-girlfriend changed the course of his life. “She was like, ‘Why aren’t you modeling? Why aren’t you doing something like that?'” recalls the actor. “My thought was, ‘Because everybody in this town does that.'” But the gal, who was pursuing an acting career herself, set him up with her manager and within a week, Winter secured a print agent and was modeling professionally. Over the next six years, he traveled through Europe doing print campaigns and commercials and met future soap hunks Matt Cedeno(DAYS, Brandon) and Josh Duhamel(ex-Leo, ALL MY CHILDREN) along the way.
Successful, yes, but it took some time for his mother to adjust to his new career. “My mom was not happy at first,” recalls the actor. “It’s like, ‘My son’s going to be a doctor, it’s so great.’ Then, ‘What? You’re going to be a model?’ She was very supportive, but a little shocked. I got really fortunate because in my first six months I booked Tommy Hilfiger.” Winter then went on to do some guest roles on CHARMED and MTV’s UNDRESSED and got his psychology degree. And the girlfriend? They split, but Winter is forever grateful to her. “I’m saying thank you now. My life has changed because of her comment.”
For better, of course, now that he’s playing Rex, the math-whiz “alien” twin on NBC’s No. 1 soap. When he was auditioning, Winter was in the dark about the curious nature of the part. “When I was reading for it, they said, ‘Just have fun with it, take it for what it is.’ I was like, ‘Okay, this guy doesn’t know what goosebump is? What is he, a freak?'” says the actor. “After I got the role, I was told, ‘Oh, you’re going to be playing an alien.’ It was a shocker but cool becaue it’s so different from any other soap role. It wasn’t typical, so I was game.”
Game enough to go along with the rather skimpy wardrobe that Rex wore in the beginning. “A tinfoil skirt?” he laughs. “Let me tell you, not easy to pull off. Never in my life have I thought I’d be wearing a tinfoil skirt on TV. It was so bad.” At least the ice had already been broken with co-star Alexis Thorpe(Cassie). “We met three years ago and didn’t see each other much since,” he explains. “I went to high school with her roommate in L.A. One night, a bunch of buddies got together, and Alexis and I met again. We saw each other at an audition a year-and-a-half later and it was, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re Roger’s friend, nice to see you again.’ Then, we tested on the same day here, didn’t recognize each other and then it dawned on her when she heard my name. It made us really comfortable with each other right away.”
As he was with vets Deidre Hall(Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn(John). “Deidre has guided me along,” praises Winter. “We’ve had dinner at the commissary, just talking about where I’m headed in my career, and the show and how to always look out for myself. She laid it right down for me: She said, ‘If you ever need anything, let me know.’ That was so nice coming form her. Same with Drake. He’s such a down-to-earth guy. Loves to talk; loves to tell stories. They made me feel right at home.”
Home, though, is with his wife, Allison, a model whom Winter met in his former career. “We met doing a modeling job together about four-and-a-half years ago.” he says. “We were forced to kiss all day on the job; it was instant sparks. We had some other things going on in our lives at the time that we were sort of drifting out of. We dated for a while, did a long engagement and have been married for more than a year.”
As for the future, “I’ve tired to keep myself from thinking too far ahead and am kind of enjoying it for what it is now.” Winter reflects, “I really love the lifestyle on the show; it’s pretty tough to pass up. The money’s great, the people are great, and it’s like having a nine-to-five job.”


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