The following feature appears in the May 2017 issue of NYLON. Every year, we round up the brightest rising stars in film for our Young Hollywood Issue. Get to know the actors and actresses who are set to take over the industry. To read more, click here.
Every actor wants to make it look effortless, but 22-year-old Chanté Adams is the real deal. First, she landed the lead role in Roxanne Roxanne, the biopic of Queens rapper Roxanne Shanté, six weeks after graduating from Carnegie Mellon. Then, in a display of unquestionable realness, Adams left the Sundance Film Festival a day before awards were announced. She learned she had won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance while draped across her friend’s couch, eating pizza and watching Bad Girls Club. “My phone started blowing up with people saying congratulations,” she says. “I was just like, ‘What?’” And the shell-shocked deadpan of humility she brings to the word “what” is too perfect to be acting.
Humble Beginnings: Acting was never Adams’s childhood dream, but when she first caught the drama bug, it stuck. “It was my first day of high school. I had one friend, and she said she was going to audition for the play. I went with her and said I’d wait outside, but they said I couldn’t wait if I didn’t audition. I had plans to be a professional cheerleader, so I was like, ‘Please.’ But I did it anyway, got the part, and I fell for it fast.”