Anyone looking for the streaming equivalent of comfort food should consider feasting on Virgin River. The Netflix series, starring Alexandra Breckenridge, debuted last year and is described by one critic as “a charming slice of small-town drama.” It’s just the kind of escape viewers need from a real-world weighed down by political chaos and coronavirus.
Part of the show’s success can be attributed to the well-acted characters. Breckenridge plays the protagonist Melinda “Mel” Monroe. If she seems familiar, it could be that you recognize her from one of the many smaller parts she’s had on film and TV. If not, she’s still one to watch. Find out more about the actress, who returns for the second season on November 27.
Who Is Alexandra Breckenridge?
Alexandra Breckenridge is an American actress best known for her role as Melinda “Mel” Monroe in the Netflix series Virgin River. The 38-year-old was born May 15, 1982, and raised in Connecticut. Breckenridge moved to California with her mother at age 10 and settled in Los Angeles at 15 to pursue her acting career.
Her earliest gigs include small parts on a lengthy list of hit TV shows, including Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Breckenridge is also a wife and mother to two children. She currently lives with her family outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
What Is ‘Virgin River’?
Virgin River is a romance drama television series. It’s adapted from a collection of 21 modern Harlequin novels by Robyn Carr. The series debuted on Netflix on December 6, 2019, and was renewed for a 10-episode second season, which is set to premiere on November 27, 2020.
The show stars Breckenridge as Mel, a nurse practitioner and midwife who leaves a tragic life in Los Angeles to find a fresh start. She lands in the quaint town of Virgin River, but quickly learns that the charming community is full of its own complications.
The plot is only loosely based on the original book, but that’s okay. Fans are still thrilled with how the idyllic scenery translate from page to screen. And romance novel fans have deemed Breckenridge a talented, approachable actress that does justice to the book’s version of Mel.
Without spoiling the series, expect the characters to face a hodgepodge of struggles: grief, postpartum depression, PTSD, marital betrayals. (Who says rural life can’t be messy?)
What Else Has She Starred In?
While may not be an A-list name (yet), Alexandra Breckenridge certainly has an impressive resume. Her earliest film roles were in 2000-era comedies like Big Fat Liar and She’s the Man (both starring Amanda Bynes.)
Recent small screen parts include recurring roles on American Horror Story and The Walking Dead. Breckenridge also appeared as the nurse/soulmate/ex-wife of Kevin Pearson on four seasons of the NBC hit This is Us. She received the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for her part in the series.
If her face doesn’t ring a bell, maybe her voice does. Breckenridge is a frequent guest on Seth MacFarlane’s animated shows. She has contributed voice roles on American Dad!, Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, and 64 episodes of Family Guy.
“I don’t know why but [Seth] really likes the sound of my voice, Breckenridge said in a 2010 FHM interview. “I’ll never understand that. He just liked me and they call me back all the time to do different things.”
Who Is Alexandra’s Husband?
In 2015, Alexandra Breckenridge married professional musician Casey Hooper. Hooper, 34, is best known as the lead guitarist for pop star Katy Perry. Breckenridge met her future husband at a Grammys after-party while both were living in California. Their wedding was a gorgeous affair in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado.
A year later, she gave birth to their first child, a son named Jack. Their second-born, daughter Billie, entered the world in December 2017.
Because of Breckenridge’s roles in American Horror Story and The Walking Dead, both of which are shot in Georgia, the couple decided to put down roots just outside of Atlanta.
“The rural areas of Georgia have an amazing sense of community we were lacking in L.A.,” Breckenridge explained in a 2019 interview with Atlanta magazine. “We wanted our children to grow up in a place where they could play and ride their bikes that didn’t feel like a big city.”
It turns out acting talent is embedded in the family tree. Alexandra Breckenridge is the niece of NCIS star Michael Weatherly. And while she’s never had a chance to work alongside her uncle, she is well acquainted with crime dramas. The actress has made appearances on JAG (an NCIS spin-off), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Breckenridge says horror remains her favorite genre, but perhaps having children nudged her into taking on family-friendly roles. Now that’s proven her range, we expect she’ll be a draw for whatever project she tackles next.
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