When she’s on the checkout line at the Pathmark in the Tower Shopping Mall on Park Avenue, there are times that Anne Sayre finds herself wanting to tell the person behind her in line that she’s the one featured on the cover of the soap opera publications in the magazine rack.
“It’s a little strange, but I still have the desire to turn to the person behind me and say, ‘Hey, that’s me,’ ” said Sayre, who has lived in Weehawken since 1991 and has been on the popular CBS soap opera “As the World Turns,” for the last three and a half years. “My mother and grandmother live in Connecticut and they do it all the time, pointing to my picture and saying, ‘Look, that’s my daughter. Look here.’ So it’s still a thrill for me and my family.”
Sayre has been in the role of Mitzi Matters on the show, a character that, ironically, is from New Jersey. Mitzi works in a hair salon and is trying these days to purchase the salon.
“But people don’t take her seriously enough,” Sayre explains. “I don’t see her as being ditzy. I think she’s just naïve and innocent. She’s a lovely, honest and sweet person.”
The character is definitely different from the cutthroat, backstabbing world of soap opera characters, a world that Sayre now totally adores.
“It’s a great job,” Sayre said. “I love it. Every day, I have to remind myself that I could always be not working. In a field that has a 90 percent unemployment rate, you have to appreciate steady work.”
Sayre will share her experiences at a presentation, organized by the Women’s Club of North Hudson, at their regularly scheduled meeting Monday night at the Weehawken Senior Nutritional Center on Highwood Avenue, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
“My neighbor and good friend, Ruth Elsasser, asked me to come and speak,” Sayre said. “I think it’s going to be a nice thing for the Women’s Club. I’ve lived in Weehawken so long and I totally love Weehawken so much. I’ve spoken to groups before, like at colleges and high schools, to acting students, telling them about what I do and how to become an actress. Speaking like this isn’t a problem for me. I have the whole spiel down pat.”
Sayre will speak about her daily routine, which includes waking every morning at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to head to the ATWT’s studios in Brooklyn.
“We generally shoot one episode per day,” Sayre said. “I only go in on days when I’m scheduled to be in a scene, but I’m never there and not working. But when I’m there, it tends to be a pretty long day.”
Sayre said that when she meets people for the first time and tells them what she does, she is always asked the same questions.
“Everyone wants to know what it’s like to work on a soap, so that’s what I’ll talk about,” Sayre said.
Sayre was raised in Sayville, Long Island, but went to high school in Reading, Pennsylvania and received her degree in theater arts at nearby Kutztown University. After graduating from college, she studied acting at the T. Schriber Studio in New York with legendary Broadway performer Betty Buckley. She first had roles in “Another World” and “All My Children,” before settling in with “As the World Turns” three years ago.
Sayre has also appeared in comedy sketches on “Late Night” with Conan O’Brien and has been featured in several films, including the 1993 release “It Runs In the Family,” which was a sequel to the popular Jean Shepherd holiday classic, “A Christmas Story.”
Sayre just completed work on an upcoming film release, titled “Late Watch,” but her outside work is limited due to the work on the soap opera.
“The job doesn’t give me much time to look for other work,” Sayre said. “But I’m constantly auditioning and always looking, because you never know in this business. Working on a soap opera has many rewards, one of which is having steady work.”
It also helps to be recognized as a popular character.
“It doesn’t happen a lot in the tri-state area,” Sayre said. “The people in Weehawken either don’t watch soap operas or they’re too cool to say they do. Sometimes, I get spotted in the Pathmark, but that’s because those people knew me before the soap. I do get recognized in other areas, like going further West or South.”
However, Sayre did get spotted recently in a New York subway.
“My friends now call me ‘Mitz’ as a joke,” Sayre said. “Well, this one day, I hear ‘Mitzi’ and when I turned around, there was an Indian woman whose eyes bugged out of her head, saying, ‘God bless my eyes for they see Mitzi.’ It was really funny.”
Sayre said that she loves living in Weehawken with her husband, Tony, so she’s all for anything she could do to help her hometown, like Monday night’s speaking engagement.
“I think it’s going to be a fun night,” Sayre said.