Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
HELLO! I am Hassan Chammout, 21, based in Livonia, Michigan! I am a full-time student at the University of Ann Arbor as a Biology and Theatre Major! I recently started directing and acting in my own short films, which has given me a whole new vision of my life. I absolutely love to sing and act, and have ever since I was 4 years old. Being on stage or behind a camera lens is when my true colors start to shoot from every corner. There’s just something so powerful and beautiful about being able to express my emotions and feelings in a different way, that makes me so overjoyed and thankful to be doing what I was destined to do since day 1. Singing is truly one of my escapes from reality, and helps me transform to a reality where a story is being told through a new and glowing lens. Through persistence and confidence, I was able to excel in my passion for singing, and if I’m being quite honest…I sing from sunrise to sunset. And I don’t feel guilty about it either, and never will. Acting was something I discovered to be apart of me every since the Disney Channel Era.
I would always mimic performances done on tv, and add my own twist to every part of it. I fell in love with it all, the drama, the action, the reaction that was expressed from the actors face and body, through my screen and into my soul. I want people to know that my self-confidence was not always strong. I’ve been through endless obstacles that challenged what I knew about my path and my meaning in life. But, once I started realizing that every one of those obstacles was a lesson to be learned, I truly started to grow and shape as a person. Till this day, I still encounter new and difficult obstacles, but looking back at them, I smile. Why? Because I know I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today if it wasn’t for those falls and injuries. Pushing for your life goals and dreams will transform you as a person, physically and mentally.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
Qualities that make me different and unique from everyone else in the industry, is that I look at obstacles in every possible perspective that I know. It helps me see them through a new standpoint, and brings out the true gift from within. Another quality that makes me unique and different is my ability to truly connect with others on a deep level, and being able to empathize with them.
This skill improves every aspect of my life, and helps me portray emotion, loss, happiness, grief, joy, loneliness on different levels. Everyone is unique and we all experience emotions differently. One may express their feelings through silence, whereas someone else would react through physical actions. If I’m ever preparing for a character, I always give them a thorough backstory, based on the dialogue and information I’ve extracted from their life. This helps me become that character, and truly place myself in their shoes, to execute it in a way I only know how. We interpret events in multiple forms, and it’s important for me to exercise every form of emotion and action available, so that I know deep down that I’m recreating this character in a way no one else can.
A quality I’m proud to call my own is being able to perform voices. I love imitating Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Gaston, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Tigger, Goofy, to name a few. People also get a kick out of my Pennywise The Clown impression. Overall, my own unique experiences and encounters with life have made me different from everyone else out there, and have gifted me with many special qualities that I am able to share with the world.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
I was sitting in my math class in high school, when I heard an announcement: “Hello Students. This is just a reminder that today is the last day to audition for our fall play, which will be in the performing arts center. We hope to see you there.” I thought to myself: “Eh, I wouldn’t stand a chance against the other, more experienced actors.” But as the day dwindled down, I struck the courage to walk into the performing arts center, and sit in the very back row. I was not planning on auditioning, especially after seeing how talented the other students were. Every performance was better than the last, and before I was able to stand up and leave, I was noticed by the director, and he asked me if I was going to audition. My face turned as red as a fresh tomato, and he called me over quietly.
He handed me a paper and said, “Read and react.” I anxiously grabbed the paper, and walked up onstage. I took a few, very long deep breaths, and then finally released what was itching inside. I maneuvered around the stage with every line I said, and tried my best not to lose confidence. I performed the last line, and lowered the paper to my stomach, hugging it for dear life. The audience was quiet, and I was near breaking down, but then, something phenomenal happened. A roar of applause took place and people emerged from their seats. This event flooded the audience with screams and yells, and filled me with a burst of energy. Looking over at the director, he winked, and put on a smile that covered more than half his face. It’s in this moment, that everything was in slow motion and I came to realize that I had found my life’s meaning. It was truly magical, and thinking back to this moment still gives me chills.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had to go though was denial. A type of denial that made me break down to the deepest depths of darkness. I had an agency that I signed with, and they refused to submit me for any casting calls. I was confused and upset. I was doing everything they told me to do, which included taking an acting class and being engaged in theatre at my high school. I reached out multiple times to my agent, but received no response. A few weeks later, I was preparing for a stage production, when I received a call from the agency. I contemplated answering at first, since I was about to walk out on stage. I laid against a wall, and picked up the phone. After a quick hello, I went into asking why I wasn’t being asked to audition for anything since I signed with them 2 years ago. I mean, I get not being casted in anything, but not a single audition? I knew something was wrong. The words that came out of my agents mouth sent chills down my spine, as I slid down the wall in defeat. “Hassan, you’re not talented and we as an agency don’t think you will succeed in this industry. You look “different” than our other talent, and we like to have similar looks for our agency.” I froze, didn’t know how to respond. My agent then said, “I didn’t mean that, Hassan I didn’t mean that.” I shut the phone, and felt as if someone stabbed me in the heart.
But before I had a chance to truly make out what happened, the curtain rose on stage, and it was showtime. Holding in those words that my agent told me throughout a 2 hour performance was the hardest challenge I’ve ever had to do. After the curtain closed, I remember rushing into the bathroom and crying my eyes out, staring at the mirror. I felt defeated and useless. I wanted to quit, and started to lose sight of my dreams. For 2 years, that phone call haunted me, and my self-confidence was falling apart. Beginning of 2021, I decided to try again, and submit for a new agency. I was afraid I didn’t get accepted after not hearing back. I decided that this was the end. I grabbed everything I had in my room that related to acting (scripts, books, figurines, etc) and was heading to the garbage, when my phone vibrated. It was an unknown number, so I didn’t answer. I received the voicemail a few moments later, and pressed play. It was the agency I submitted for, they said they’re interested in my look and all that I had to offer. When I heard the words “you have a great look and a great smile,” emerge from the voicemail, I collapsed. My confidence started to regrow and heal. I kept close contact with them, and after many calls and acting sessions with their coaches, I signed with them! This was a huge turning point in my life, and looking back at that phone call from my agent in 2019, I laughed. I realized how much I’ve grown from that challenge, the denial. I came to understand that falling is what teaches us the lessons to continue moving forward, and never give up. I transformed not only as an actor, but as a person. Today, my confidence level is through the roof and is reaching for the depths of the sky.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Ariana Grande, because she is a worldwide icon, and I’ve idolized her since I was 10. I feel she could give me tips and tricks when it comes to singing, and she would help me excel in my career. Jason Blum, because he is a phenomenal film and television producer, and I would love to work in one of his productions. I truly want to show him what I’m capable of, and how I’m different than everyone else in a unique way. Lastly, Riz Ahmed, because we both come from a similar background. He inspires me as a Muslim to never give up and always do my best to achieve my dreams. I would love to work alongside him and meet him so he could help my career as an actor.
Drop your social media links.
Facebook: Hassan Chammout