For Chanel Young, a call granting her the role of a lifetime was more than a dream come true. It was her years of preparation and hard work met with a divine opportunity.
Catching the eye of an executive producer at an extras casting call is unheard of. Being hand selected for a speaking role in the year’s most highly anticipated biopic, without an agent, is nearly impossible. For Atlanta-based actress Chanel Young, the aforementioned circumstances weren’t myths.
Chanel Young realized her passion for theatre as a freshman at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Since her first stage role in Black Nativity at NCA&T, Young has transitioned to acting for television and film, most recently in the Tupac Shakur biopic, “All Eyez On Me”.
Blossom: What is your dream job?
Chanel Young: To work on the show “Underground”, a very powerful show with an amazing storyline! I would like to carry a whole film as the lead actress. I’ve done several supporting roles but I would like to challenge myself to become a lead.
Blossom: How do you balance motherhood and artistry?
Chanel Young: Balancing being a mother to my 14-year-old daughter and continuing to work towards my dreams has not been an easy task. I don’t know where I’d be without my family and close friends, they have been my backbone and support system throughout my journey and I love them so much for not giving up on me.
Blossom: The Tupac biopic! How historic. Tell us about the audition process and how it was on set.
Chanel Young: I actually saw a casting online from WSA casting. They were looking for extras and we needed to dress in 70s, 80s and 90s clothing. I came in a 70s outfit with my afro, corduroy skirt and high boots. I ended up sitting in the front row in front of the executive producer, L.T. Hutton. I [later] received a phone call to come back and read for the role of Aunt Linda. [At the audition], there were several Aunt Linda’s. I may have been the only one there that didn’t have an agent. Weeks passed and I still hadn’t heard anything until an email came across that said, “Congratulations, you have been selected for the role of Aunt Linda”. I cried! I had to pull over and call my mom, who’s name happens to be Linda as well. I just started thanking God! He places me at the right place at the right time.
Blossom: In addition to your recent role as Aunt Linda, you have taken on a theatrical role. Tell us about “Mama’s Girls”.
Chanel Young: “Mama’s Girls” is about 5 sisters that overcoming different obstacles. “Mama’s Girls” is a touring play written and directed by Garrett Davis. The first four years “Mama’s Girls” focused on care giving for the elderly and now we are bringing awareness across the country about diabetes [while] working alongside the American Diabetes Association to get the message out. My character is KeKe. She is that one sister, friend, cousin that just can’t get it together! She always has a lot going on and she has her many issues with men. She’s the sexy sister, a very different role than [my role in] “All Eyez on Me”.
Blossom: It has been said that to be a star, an actor must have the “it” factor. What do you think the “it” factor is?
Chanel Young: The “it” factor for me is a person’s hunger and drive. Sometimes your grind is IT. You have to be a go-getter in this industry. Nothing is handed to you.
Blossom: What’s next for you?
Chanel Young: Touring with Mama’s Girls, I’m always working. We travel about once or twice a month to different states. Next stop is Birmingham July 8 and then off to Kansas in August. I’ve gotten several offers to be apart of different projects since [“All Eyez On Me”] premiered.
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Lauren is an actor, multimedia journalist, recovering tomboy and media junkie. She is an advocate of social justice, to-do lists and kind people with big dreams.