Kelly Ripa has a lot of good things to say about her time on All My Children. The actor-turned-talk-show host was first cast as Hayley Vaughan on the long-running soap opera back in 1990. She and her husband/former co-star Mark Consuelos joined roughly 30 other cast members for a virtual reunion as part of Entertainment Weekly's #UnitedAtHome series. In the first episode, which was previewed by PEOPLE, Ripa spoke about how the job changed her life for the better.
"I wasn't like everybody else on this panel," Ripa explained. "Everybody else had jobs and careers and they were professional actors. I truly moved to New York and I was working at the Toy Fair and I auditioned sort of on a whim. I was originally dropping off other people's headshots, because [that was] my side hustle."
"I got like, six callbacks and two screen tests, 'cause they were really sure they wanted me," Ripa continued. "And I wound up getting the job. But it was really... I mean, talk about happy accidents. It really was a happy accident. It changed my life. It changed my entire life. Not just my acting life, but changed the whole trajectory of my life."
Elsewhere in the interview, Ripa also revealed a little bit of trivia about her character's name. "Her original name was Hayley Wells and then they said, 'The character sounds too much like Hayley Mills, so we're changing her name to Hayley Vaughan,'" she explained. "I was like, 'I don't know who anybody is you just mentioned, so I'll go with it."
In 2002, after a 12-year run on All My Children, Ripa excited the series, though she did return in 2010 for a pair of episodes in celebration of the soap's 40th anniversary. Consuelos, who's been in the Caribbean quarantining with Ripa and their children, also spoke highly of his time on the soap playing Mateo Santos. He admitted that he'd "never worked as an actor before, so that was very exciting, to get a job." He added that the show was "one of my first auditions" and like his future wife, he "had to re-screen test a few times as well."
The All My Children reunion will run Tuesday, June 1 through Friday, June 5. New live episodes will be available every day at 10 a.m. ET, with the final two dropping on Friday. The reunions will be available to stream on both EW.com and PeopleTV.com.