Ali Milner – When Calls The Heart
By: Ruth Hill
This season’s “When Calls the Heart” has been a pageant of new faces and storylines while still tackling real world issues with a family-friendly theme. One such story unreservedly enthralled me when the character of Edith admitted that her husband, Roy, had deserted her. As the woman who has infused the character of Edith with such credibility, thus engendering much sympathy, Ali Milner has a multi-faceted career in addition to this cherished role. Recently, Ali took a break from her hectic schedule in order to chat with me about her character on the popular Hallmark show and so much more.
What inspired you to pursue a career in acting?
Whenever I would watch a television show or movie, I just couldn’t sit there and watch it without imagining what it would be like for me to be in it. I determined that one day I would try to do just that – be an actress. As an adult, my acting preparation consisted of six weeks of training in a private classroom. Some people will try to say that there is one right way to become an actor, but in my opinion (and experience) I would say there is never one route to becoming an actor.
Tell us about your experience on “When Calls The Heart” and your thoughts about your character, Edith.
I auditioned for the role of Edith, and originally, she was only supposed to be in one episode. But the writers kept handing me more scripts and so my character stuck around. Edith is around twenty years old and she is poor and very young to have a child. She is unsure about how her husband will receive the news of her being pregnant, but he leaves before she can tell him. We honestly have no idea how many couples went through such an experience back in the day.
The cast was fantastic. I have never been on such a welcoming, fun and open set as “When Calls The Heart.” I didn’t get to interact with Erin [Krakow] that much, but she was so delightful whenever I saw her. Lori [Loughlin] was so professional and supportive. She has so much experience under her belt and she was very welcoming to me.
Everyone on the set was very professional, including the baby. Little Oliver is actually played by a baby girl named Charlie. She is the daughter of the extras casting director and this baby was amazing. Every time she was supposed to cry, she cried and when she was supposed to be asleep, she was asleep. Except for one time when she kept crying for a very long time and it was cute to see all the men on the set have to cater to and wait for this little one to stop crying.
As for Madison [Smith] who plays Roy, I can’t really say too much about his character or whether Edith and he interact. You will have to keep watching. But I will say I think very highly of Madison and he and I did work on an episode of “Supernatural” together. He is honestly one of my favorite people.
I understand you are a singer as well. Can you tell us about your music career?
I love to sing and I was a musician before I was an actor. I’m also a voice actor. While I have released a couple of singles, my first official album will release on May 6. As a musician, I go by the name Willa (that’s my middle name) and the name of my album is Criminals + Dreamers. The album is dark synth-pop, akin to Lorde, Robyn or Halsey.
Do you think we’ll ever get to hear you sing a duet with Daniel Lissing?
Daniel is so supportive. We sang together on the set and he was nice enough to come to one of my live shows. I would love to record with him, but we’ll just have to see if that ever happens. Daniel is one of those people who is a totally supportive human who lives in the now. I would describe him as a magnetic person.
In addition to your album and work on “When Calls The Heart,” do you have any other upcoming works you can mention?
Well, I will be promoting my album. It is also pilot season and I did a lot of auditioning so you never know. However, I do have a show that has been on the Family Channel here in Canada called “Lost & Found Music Studios,” which will be coming to American Netflix soon (if it’s not already there). It is a music program where I play a mentor to incredibly talented young musicians.
After chatting with this busy young lady, I found myself quite impressed with her talent and the way she keeps up with the various aspects of her career. She seems like one who is organized, pragmatic and willing to examine every possibility in line with her dreams. She is not one who waits for the opportunity to present itself. Instead, she pursues her dreams and, as a result, she is doing what she loves. Long may she have success in everything and here’s hoping all Hearties (and Hearties-to-be) tune in to the Hallmark Network on Sunday, March 27 to see her portray the lovely but forlorn Edith. Additionally, be sure to follow her journey at the following links: