How Chante Adams Got a Big Movie Role Right Out of College

While most recent theater grads are happy to book a commercial or a TV pilot, Chante Adams booked a movie with Nia Long and Mahershala Ali less than a year after graduating.

The film, produced by Pharrell Williams and Forest Whitaker, is called “Roxanne, Roxanne” and it’s about an 80s hip-hop legend, who Chante plays. Chante is being called a breakout star and won the “Special Jury Award” at Sundance. If you’ve ever had dreams of being an actress or want to learn all about this rising star, check out our Q+A.

How did you get your start acting?

Freshman year of high school, my friend wanted to audition for a play and I tagged along. I wasn’t interested at the time, but in order to stay with her I had to audition for a role in the play. So I went ahead with it never looked back.

What is your dream role?

I definitely think I got my dream role with my current role and [it] has pushed me as an actress to go harder. My character has an emotional rollercoaster which is every actor’s dream and I definitely feel like I got that with this role. I would love to play a superhero though, that would be awesome.

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What has been the best part of your newfound success?

Wow, this is such a good question. I feel like the people under me now think this is possible because of me. Being an inspiration to people and them telling me that following my dreams makes them want to follow theirs makes me feel good.

Tell us about your upcoming role in the film “Roxanne, Roxanne”?

Roxxane, Roxanne” is about the 80’s female hip hop legend and her rise to fame while dealing with issues in her home life. She had an alcoholic mother, raised her three sisters, and was involved [in] an abusive relationship with a man 18 years her senior, played by Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali. I play the star Roxxane Shante, who is 14-18 years old while all this is going on.

What have you learned from working with Nia Long and Mahershala Ali?

I pretty much learned everything from them, since this is my first role coming out of school and being from a theatre background. Just watching them on set everyday and seeing how they interact with the camera and the directors taught me a lot. Also, seeing how humble and gracious they are [even though they are] so famous made me realize I definitely want to be like them as I continue with my career.

Give us three tips aspiring actresses need to land a gig.

1. Don’t hold back in the audition room, because you will regret it later.
2. Don’t be afraid of criticism, it will only make you better.
3. Always remain humble and grateful because it can be taken away at any moment.

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Who motivates you to never give up during challenging times?

Honestly, all of the little black girls coming up under me that I know that I’m helping pave the way for.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

I would love for my student loans to be paid off.

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Which celebrity’s career do you admire?

I love Gugu Mbatha-Raw. I love the fact that she’s a person that does it all, like her roles bring forward voices that we haven’t heard yet. I also admire the greats that helped me fall in love with acting just by watching them; like Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, and Kerry Washington. My absolute favorite actress is Octavia Spencer because she always plays characters that we love and can always root for.

What’s your biggest accomplishment so far?

That I won the “Special Jury Award” for breakthrough performance at the Sundance Film Festival this year. And I’m super excited about it because I get a trophy, well really my mom [get’s a trophy] because she won’t let me have it.

What do you want your supporters to take from this interview?

I just want them to know that they can do anything and the sky is the limit. I just graduated school a few months ago and I just wanted to book a commercial or something small, but when you shoot for the stars anything is seriously possible.

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