Shanola Hampton has been a regular on our television screens for some time now, having starred in hit series such as Reba, Scrubs, Criminal Minds, and Miami Medical.
Most recently, Shanola has been playing the role of sexy, charismatic (and slightly kleptomaniac) Veronica Fisher on the Showtime dramedy Shameless, placing her sassy stamp on the show for its now five-season run. Last month, the actress also teamed up with the “Saving Our Daughters” foundation to mentorship to young acting hopefuls.
VIBE Vixen caught up with Shanola to get her take on everything from natural hair to the importance of empowering young women. – Samantha Callendar
You’re known to bring the energy to the set of ‘Shameless’. Are there any ways in which you and your character Veronica are similar?
Veronica and I are similar in spirit, but different in hustle. We both have a passion for life and love fiercely. We are also tell-it-like-it-is friends, but always from a place of genuine love.
Love the locs! What’s your hair journey been like? Any encouraging words for women embarking on their hair journey (natural or otherwise)?
Thanks! I’ve been on the locs journey for over 15 years. I must say I’ve enjoyed my hair short, but really love it long because I can experiment with so many different styles. I would say to anyone choosing to embark on something new with their hair- just do it, it’s just hair! Have fun and sometimes it works, sometimes it won’t.
What was your experience growing up in the South, then transitioning into Hollywood?
Growing up in the South we say “yes Ma’am” and “no Ma’am.” Here in Hollywood, people get offended. When I first moved, I would say hello to everyone and people would look at me like I was crazy. In the South everyone speaks, if you know each other or not. I’m raising my daughter more Southern, like how her father and I were raised.
What women in the industry inspire you to do what you do on a daily basis?
I am inspired by many, any woman I see not afraid to take risks and to hustle past adversity. Oprah inspires me, as does Angela Basset, Cicely Tyson, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, I could go on and on.
How has your involvement with “Saving Our Cinderellas” impacted you, and what do you hope others get from the initiative?
I am so excited about being a part of “Saving Our Cinderellas.” I’m hoping when I am speaking with the young women they will see, I’m just a little country girl, from a small town who dared to dream, who worked and educated herself to make those dreams a reality. I want them to know and understand that when you follow your passion, no matter what it is, you will reap great benefits! I hope to evoke a confidence, to further fuel whatever fire has been ignited in them.
What’s your favorite?
Food: Food is Lasagna, Pizza, anything Italian! OH and CUPCAKES! I live to eat!
Hobby: Hobby is clearing off my dvr! I love television. Binge watching is also one of my favorite things.
Book: Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. I have a 13 month old!
What you do you see and hope for yourself in the future?
In the future I hope to continue acting on television and movies, but I’m really looking forward to the day I open a Performing Arts school.
Photo Credit: Ben Miller