Whether in film, or television more teenagers are getting interested in the arts. We're talking with young actors exploring the business side of the industry starting with 12-year old Los Angles actress Nikki Hahn, who hit the national stage on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
I found it interesting that you started out in modeling at the age of 3-years old. How did Nikki get started in the business?
I was the type of child who loved playing dress up. I would actually put on a gown just to go to the grocery store. One day we met a young lady who suggested to my mom that she submit my picture to an agency. She thought I’d be perfect for print and commercials so my mom took a photo of me and submitted it to a few agencies. A couple of days later we received a call from LA Talent/LA Models asking to meet me. My mom took me to LA from North County San Diego and next thing you know, I have a contract for representation. My first print job was at age 3 for Disney Easter’s Best Nationwide Campaign and my first commercial booking was also for Disney. I played Cinderella and I was hooked!
We always hear if you want to pursue a career in acting move to L.A. Can you give us some real world advice on how to book network TV roles?
I believe that eventually it would be in your best interest to move to LA or NY but if you have a great agent in another state that submits your resume/headshot for network TV roles you will definitely have an opportunity to be seen via self-taped auditions. However, travel is a must if you are called in for a producer’s sessions.
Actors tend to get overwhelmed when seeking out representation. How did you find the right agent?
One step at a time. I think actors should work on building up their resumes before seeking theatrical representation. I was represented by the same agency for 4 years before seeking to add a theatrical agent to my team. At LA Talent/LA Models I built my resume by landing several Co-Star roles; CSI-Miami, NCIS-LA and iCarly. This helped to get me interviews with several top theatrical agencies at age 7. We chose Abrams Artists and a couple of years later my agents moved to Paradigm Agency to create a youth theatrical department and that is now my current representation.
You hit the national stage after playing Tom Hanks daughter Sophie on Jimmy Kimmel Live. What was that whole experience like?
I was thrilled throughout the entire process. I was excited to audition for it, to see my pageant dress, and especially to meet Tom Hanks. It was an amazing experience. However, I did not know that Toddlers & Tiaras with Tom Hanks, which was posted on YouTube by Jimmy Kimmel Live Productions would go viral that night, nor that Oprah would be showing it to her audience during an interview with Tom Hanks. To this day, people on YouTube are still discussing whether this is an actual event or just a skit and whether I’m actually Tom’s real daughter or not. So yeah, it’s an unforgettable experience.
A large part of the audition process is rejection. How do you personally handle rejection?
I don’t look at it as rejection. You either fit the role or you don’t. All you can do is have fun, do your best interpretation of the role and move on to the next. I’ve actually learned a great deal just by auditioning so I’ve never had to take an audition class. When I’m given feedback by casting, I use that as a learning experience for the next reading. I also don’t go audition for everything that comes my way. I like to select my auditions based on interesting roles that I can either connect with or if I’m interested in the challenge of developing a particular character. I never want to be bored. I want to keep learning, and create unforgettable characters and amazing stories. So by doing this, I think we’ve created a good balance. As for waiting around for the phone to ring…..I don’t. I’m a very active girl who loves to dance, take karate, sing and just a kid who loves hanging out and shopping with her friends.
Having a teenager working professionally in the industry is a full-time job for parents? To what extent is mom involved with your career?
100%! There really should be a parent who is committed to all the demands of this business and a parent with a job who will take care of the household needs. My mom is as busy as I am. Even though I am homeschooled and have an assigned teacher that I meet with every month, my mom is my learning coach at home. She also drives me to castings, photo shoots, traveling with me on film locations, and loves to cook homemade meals. My father is a web developer at a bank and has a degree in music; classical guitar and composition. So on weekends my dad and I like to work on music and any Science experiments that I may need for school. I have a great balanced home.
You did an excellent job playing Mia in the short film The Hero Pose. Do you share anything in common?
Mia is a precocious and optimistic child who wants to do anything but hang out and sell a car with her father but by having no choice in the matter she and her father find the time they needed to bond and create special relationship between them. In reality I have a lot in common with Mia because I am that optimistic child who will find the good in most situations.
Is there anybody in the industry you would love to work with someday?
There are so many amazing actors that I look up to and admire but right now, I would love to work with Jennifer Lawrence and all the cast from X-MEN…who wouldn’t
How can people keep-up with Nikki Hahn?
Follow Nikki Hahn on Twitter at twitter.com/missnikkihahn, Instagram at instagram.com/nikkihahnactress, and visit her official website: nikkihahn.com