Shanola Hampton has been playing the character Veronica Fisher in Showtime’s comedy “Shameless” for six seasons. Here, she gives us the scoop on what still surprises her about being V, her love of traveling and what date nights mean to her. She also explains one of her mantras: “I don’t do mean.”
Composure Magazine: You grew up with four sisters. What was that like? How is your relationship with them now and what do you cherish the most about them?
Shanola Hampton: Growing up with sisters was awesome, except the bathroom situation: four girls, one bathroom! Also, when we were growing up, we didn’t have cell phones, so we all had to share one phone and hope that the sister would answer the beep when someone was on the other line. Many fights happened over not answering that beep!!
My sisters are such wonderful and inspiring people. We remain close and supportive of one another. Two are school principals, and I’m just amazed at how much they put into their students. One of my sisters gave me a magnet this Christmas that read, “Who needs a therapist when you have sisters?” I guess that’s what I cherish the most about having them.
CM: Your character in “Shameless,” Veronica Fisher, is sharp, sexy and edgy — a jack of all trades. How do you get into Veronica’s head? How is Veronica similar or different than you?
SH: At this point I’ve played Veronica for so long, I don’t even think about her head-space. I just know her. I’ve always said that V and I have a similar spirit, but a very different hustle and background. I’m a southern suburban girl and she is very street.
CM: Having played Veronica for so long, are there still some aspects of Veronica’s character that surprises you?
SH: I was surprised by her reaction to having twins in Season 5, but once I thought about it I could sympathize with her. So many people struggle when they are first-time moms, but are afraid to speak out about it for fear of being judged. V lived in her truth, no matter the criticism.
CM: Speaking from experience, what do you think are the keys to longevity as an actor in Hollywood?
SH: My plan is to try and choose roles that show range and to remain humble, grateful, and kind — and hope the Heavens smile down on me!
CM: Any beauty/fitness routines that you’d like to share with us?
SH: I’m all about working out! Find what fits your body type the best and commit to doing it multiple times a week.
CM: Date night with your husband, Daren Dukes. Describe.
SH: Date night with the hubby: we put the baby down at 6:30pm, climb into bed with cupcakes and binge watch something on TV. It’s a dream!
CM: What gives you passion nowadays?
SH: My passion was given to me when I was a young girl by God, spirit — whatever one believes. For me it’s God. I knew and know there is a plan for my life. My heart is full from doing what God put me here to do.
CM: How do you balance being a mom, wife, and actor? You also have a little one on the way.
SH: You just do it. Having a 50/50 partner like my husband makes it so much easier. He’s quite amazing and I’m so blessed we chose each other to be on this journey. Pregnancy has been good. I believe so much is mind over matter, so if I would feel a little yucky in the first trimester, I would tell him, “Look, I don’t have time for sick, so let’s keep it moving,” and it worked pretty well. Staying fit while being pregnant is also very helpful.
CM: You love to travel. Where do you want to go for your next vacation?
SH: I love to travel, yes. My husband and I always choose where we will go. Last year was Japan, and the year before we spent three weeks in Europe. We’ve been to Greece, Fiji — all over. This year we are doing Australia! Then on the flight back we’ll discuss our next adventure.
CM: One of your mantras is “I don’t do mean.” Explain.
SH: “I don’t do mean” is exactly what it says. Some have really used social media to say hurtful, nasty things, and people really get hurt by what has been said. I choose to use my block button — even the hint of something negative will get one blocked. It’s easy to be nice, and if you can’t be, I don’t have to fall victim to your ugly. I don’t do mean! Not even a little bit!
Watch “Shameless” on Showtime, Sundays at 9/8c