Award winning actress Chanté Bowser is making a name for herself, while following her passion. She’s educated, accomplished and already a successful attorney, but the Virginia Beach native is still making incredible gains towards her true passion of acting and performing.
You may recognize the talented actress from her roles on ‘Under The Dome’, ‘Star’, ‘Lethal Weapon’, ‘Born Again Virgin’ or Lifetime’s Faith Under Fire as Toni Braxton’s daughter.
Most recently, Chanté Bowser landed a role on CBS’ ‘Criminal Minds’. Additionally, she will star alongside Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell in the upcoming film, Best of Enemies.
We had an opportunity to talk to the actress about her transition from Indie films, her aspirations, her Virginia Beach upbringing and much more. Read our full interview below.
Parlé Mag: Talk to me about growing up in Virginia Beach.
Chanté Bowser: I had a great childhood! I grew up in one of the neighborhoods where the kids would be riding their bike for hours, I ran track in high school. I could pretty much do whatever I wanted [without worry], it was a great a childhood, I had a great childhood! The area of Los Angeles that I am in now gives me the balance between city life & classic Americana.
Parlé Mag: What was it about performing, even at a young age that kept you on that path?
Chanté Bowser: I am an introvert, I really like being by myself. But when I am performing, it’s a switch that comes on, much how Beyoncé describers her Sasha Fierce personality. I don’t have a name for my second personality, but there’s something about being able to put on a show to move and entertain people. I got such a kick out of singing and dancing as a child. I tried to suppress it but I can’t imagine doing anything else. It makes me happy, whether I’m taking a class or helping someone with an audition, I truly love performing!
Parlé Mag: How do you nourish or cultivate your gift?
Chanté Bowser: I don’t drink, I don’t smoke… I’m kind of boring so to speak. So when people ask what my addiction is, acting is my answer. If I am not preparing for a role, I am in taking a class. Acting is like a muscle, so it needs to be “worked-out”. There is always something that I, as a performer can improve in. If there’s a class, I’m in it!
Parlé Mag: Can you pinpoint the moment when it became your passion?
Chanté Bowser: I would do this for free! Don’t get me wrong, I get paid to act and I hope to continuing getting paid; but I see myself at 70 years old in somebody’s theater teaching classes. I know that I will never leave this profession.
Parlé Mag: Is there a particular reason you decided to study law instead of going straight into performing arts/acting in college?
Chanté Bowser: Mostly, the pay and that’s just the bottom line! It takes a long time to make money in this industry. It can be very up and down, you can spend a lot of time in between jobs. My mom told me that if I get my law degree, that I would always have work. And she was right! I knew after law school that I wanted to be in L.A. I knew that I wanted to be acting. I knew that I wanted to be in front of the camera. I think, now, looking back, it was all orchestrated and lead to this moment.
Parlé Mag: How do you balance the two, careers? Because both of them can be rather demanding?
Chanté Bowser: I have a wonderful job, that allows me to jump out when I need to. That’s one of the benefits of being an attorney, no one is looking over my shoulder. I can’t speak for those who are in the service industry, but for those that I know in that realm, employers aren’t as accommodating of an actor’s schedule. Some weeks, there’s nothing whereas others it’s a lot. I legit prayed for this kind of flexibility. Every year, at the end of the year, I write down in my bible all the things I want to manifest for the following year. I prayed for it and God made it happen. I thought it would be a problem, but it turned out not to be.
Parlé Mag: With that being said, how do you prepare for an audition?
Chanté Bowser: I just put in a lot of work on my end, utilizing practical aesthetics and other methods that I have learned from the classes I have taken. No matter how big or small my role is, I put in the same amount of effort. I am completely immersed in studying my character, their mannerisms and the [why] behind their actions. Everyone knows, when it’s that time, don’t call me, don’t text me, I will talk to you when I come up for air! It helps me stay consistent in being the best I can be in every role.
Parlé Mag: Speaking of roles, what has been your favorite role thus far?
Chanté Bowser: Oh man. I would say the role that I just did on ‘Criminal Minds’. Not only was it an awesome scene but everything was facial, I had to convey so much that the audience can see and feel without using a lot of words.
Parlé Mag: You’ve been a part of several true story/bio films, what draws you to those kind of projects?
Chanté Bowser: Those are really special because you have an opportunity to tell someone else’s story. You’re able to allow their voices to be heard and highlight phenomenal people.
Parlé Mag: While we’re on the topic of true stories, Best of Enemies is getting ready to hit theaters! What can you tell us about your role in that film?
Chanté Bowser: My character is the head nurse administrator at the mental institution where Sam’s ch—I think I can say this, I think it’s already known! At the time, when things were still pretty segregated, here is this woman, this BLACK woman in charge at a mental institution. That alone, was monumental to be someone in a position of power. My character, and Taraji’s character (Ann Atwater) were friends. Ann shows up to the hospital and asked my character to do her a favor. That’s all I can say!
Parlé Mag: So you’re building on to the anticipation! As you shared and as we have seen from the trailer, this movie is set in a period of our history where segregation was still legal and prevalent. What message are you hoping the audience takes away from the film?
Chanté Bowser: We drive change. Here was a man that was head of the Durham County Ku Klux Klan and he changed, he and Ann became the best of friends. That is quintessential to how racism is learned and not inherent; we all can change.
Parlé Mag: And what a very timely message, given the current climate of our society. And hopefully that message will be well received.
Chanté Bowser: Yes, amen to that!
Parlé Mag: Is there anyone in the industry that you aspire to work with?
Chanté Bowser: Oh my God, yes! Octavia Spencer. Of course, Viola Davis! I am a firm believer in threes, and I have encountered Viola twice now so I am praying the third time will be on set.
Parlé Mag: They both are dynamic women in their own rights. What are your other aspirations in the film industry?
Chanté Bowser: Actually, I do write. I have a series that’s been submitted to Sundance Film festival and on YouTube. I want to take it beyond a web series. I don’t always want to be in front of the camera; I want to write, direct, produce… but my ultimate goal is to create a show as a showrunner.
Parlé Mag: You have an extensive background in indie films and shows. Was that a hard transition into mainstream?
Chanté Bowser: Not hard, but it is different. There’s a lot more pressure with network productions because a simple mistake, wastes thousands of dollars. Whereas, in indie, the creative energy is there, everyone is working as hard as possible to make the project as successful as possible. Others are the same, in terms of wanting to be successful but the stakes are higher.
Parlé Mag: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to break into the industry?
Chanté Bowser: Study your craft! Whether you are acting, writing, directing, or producing; study your craft and meet as many people as you can on your chosen track. Align yourself with people who are ahead of you and on the same level as you. Be mindful of how you talk to people as well. It takes a long time to become successful in this industry, so make sure this is truly what you want to do. Coming in, no one knows who you are but people will need to trust you. If you’re a writer, can you be trusted to convey their message? If you’re a producer, can you be trusted with their money? It’s all about building credibility, and how you follow through with people. It’s about three degrees of separation out here. When you do good work, people will find out about you and they’ll want you.
Parlé Mag: What’s next for you?
Chanté Bowser: Um, it’s going to be a very busy year! God is good!
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