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Avery Pohl: Resident mean girl of “General Hospital"

Second year student Avery Pohl pursues her business degree while working as a full-time actress on ABC’s daytime soap opera “General Hospital.”

By Natalie Metcalf, Staff Writer

Avery Kristen Pohl is an actress and second-year business major at Los Angeles Valley College who stars in the long-running television soap opera General Hospital as Esme Prince. (Jeremy Ruiz / The Valley Star)

Avery Pohl’s arms are crossed and her piercing blue eyes narrow into a camera everyday, as she balances being a full-time actress and part-time student at Valley College.

The 20-year-old actress attends Valley as a business major, while also filming and starring on ABC’s daytime soap opera “General Hospital.” Since the summer of 2021, Pohl has filmed 61 episodes of the long-standing soap opera as “Esme Prince.” The business major manages her time between a rigorous filming schedule and taking business law and sociology of human sexualities.

“I’ve sat in the makeup chair doing school before. I’ve been in Zoom lectures, [while] reading lines,” said Pohl, in reference to finishing school work while on set.

With “General Hospital” being on television since 1963, the actress says working on a show that has aired for 59 years is unlike other set experiences. Cast and crew members are closer, as they have worked on the show for most of their life. The daytime soap opera produces a new episode every night, requiring an abundance of filming and long hours. Last week, Pohl filmed 10 episodes, which she didn’t even know was possible.

“We shoot 100 [or more] pages everyday,” said Pohl. Whereas shows that stream on Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+ only shoot 10 to 12 pages a day. “A soap opera is a very different filming environment from [other] film and television just because of the sheer quantity of work that we have to get done.”

Pohl has learned to “put in her work” before she goes to set. The part-time student admits there are some challenging days when balancing school and acting full-time.

“I think it’s just all about time management,” said Pohl. “I have a pretty sporadic schedule. Sometimes you work those 14 hour days, go home, and take some quizzes.”

The actress was a full-time student at Valley, before booking the role of Esme Prince. After being cast, she decided to take her time receiving her associates degree. Pohl’s favorite class is her sociology course, because she enjoys viewing topics from a societal point of view. With her business degree, the actress would eventually like to start a nonprofit.

Growing up as a child model, Pohl acted in her first commercial when she was five years old. Then at eight-years-old, the actress booked her first film called “Sound of My Voice” (2011). After only working on the set for two days, she knew that acting was something she wanted to pursue.

Pohl sent in a self tape when she first auditioned for “General Hospital.” A couple weeks later, the part-time student received a callback and was cast in the role less than 24 hours later. Before going in to shoot, she only received a one line description of her character.

“I just sort of took the scripts I was given and tried to do my best with them,” said Pohl. “I work with an [acting] coach named Holly and she was super helpful in helping me build the character from the ground up.”

As the actress familiarized herself with her character, she was able to decipher who Esme was.

Pohl recently received backstory on her character. The young actress was glad that she “filled in the blanks” for Esme and presented continuity to the role she has been working on for eight months. Pohl’s character brings teen audiences to the soap opera, as well as making plots more dramatic by having a talent for trouble. In recent episodes, Esme is in a love triangle with Spencer Cassadine (Nicholas Chavez) and Trina Robinson (Sydney Mikayla).

“Esme’s a handful, she is very charming at first and then you sort of realize that she’s maybe not super stable,” said the soap opera star. “She has a lot of tendencies to stir the pot and make sure that everyone is kept on their toes.”


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