INTERVIEW: Shanola Hampton Shares Her Journey as Veronica on ‘Shameless,’ Directing, Her Love For Fans, Using Her Voice, and Self-Love
Shameless star Shanola Hampton is saying goodbye to the ending of the award-winning series. Hampton starred as the Gallagher family’s sassy neighbor, “Veronica ‘V’ Ball,” formally Fisher, since season one and opposite costars William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, Noel Fisher as Mickey Milkovich, Steve Howey as Kevin Ball, Cameron Monaghan as Ian Gallagher, Emma Kenney as Debbie Gallagher, and Christian Isaiah as Liam Gallagher. After a fantastic journey of acting and directing, she sends her farewell to her longtime friends and now “family” that she’s worked with along the way as the Showtime drama ends after 11 seasons.
Outside of Shanola’s electric role in Shameless, she has also been seen in You Again and Suburban Gothic. Her TV work has included Miami Medical, Criminal Minds, Stalker, Related, Scrubs, Strong Medicine, and Reba. Hampton has also starred in multiple independent feature films, including They Die By Dawn with Rosario Dawson, Idris Elba, and Erykah Badu as well as Things Never Said starring Dorian Missick, Omari Hardwick, and Michael Beach.
We chatted with Shanola on Shameless coming to an end, what the journey has been like for her, acting as well as directing, the show’s amazing fans, working during a pandemic, as well as women in Hollywood and her definition of self-love. Find out all about Shanola and what’s next for this incredible actress below.
GLITTER: After 11 seasons, Shameless is coming to an end. What has the journey been like for you?
SHANOLA: It has truly been life-changing! Not only was I afforded the opportunity to play a great character on an amazing show for over a decade, but I also met some of my best friends and now family.
GLITTER: Shameless fans are so supportive. Do you have any memorable moments that you can share?
SHANOLA: So many! It’s humbling to hear the stories from people who have experienced family members with addictions. So many people relate to the Gallaghers.
GLITTER: What has been your favorite part of playing Veronica as she’s evolved over the years?
SHANOLA: Yes she has!! It’s been incredible to play that evolution, but also to witness it. She started out not wanting children, then really wanting children, then not knowing what to do once she had children, to being the best mama bear. My favorite part is her lack of filter; she says what she means with no apologies.
GLITTER: Do you have any similarities to Veronica, and did you ever have a shared real-life experience that mimicked the series?
SHANOLA: V and I are both loyal and love who we love with our entire self. As the universe would have it, when V was trying to get pregnant, my husband and I were trying and having a hard time too. Then we finally got pregnant, and so did Veronica! People thought they wrote the pregnancy in the script because I was pregnant in real life, but the true story is, Veronica was already written to be pregnant with triplets, and then one would be eaten in the womb! It was truly one of those art imitating life moments!
GLITTER: If you had to describe the final season as a whole with one Shameless quote, what would it be?
SHANOLA: “We lived, we fought, we got out with a blaze!”
GLITTER: The series finale has wrapped; what is one memory that will always bring a smile to your face?
SHANOLA: The full cast days! We laugh so hard my face hurts!
GLITTER: What made you want to direct an episode of Shameless during the final season, and do you want to do more in the future?
SHANOLA: I HAVE to direct more! I’m ignited! It was a gift to have the opportunity to put my thumbprint on this final season. I knew after I had my second child that I was being called to do more creatively; directing was the natural progression for me.
GLITTER: What has filming been like for you during the pandemic?
SHANOLA: We came back as one of the first shows, it was weird at first, but really you get used to it. I’m so proud of the cast and crew for making the sacrifices to stay safe while filming.
GLITTER: Is there anything from the series you would like to take with you when the show ends?
SHANOLA: The last outfit V wears. So much about Veronica was her wardrobe, so I’d like to have a little piece with me.
GLITTER: Many women are coming forward in the media and standing up for their rights as women. How important is this issue to you?
SHANOLA: Very important. We have been speaking, but now with the social media platforms, voices are being heard loudly. People are starting to listen and make steps toward change.
GLITTER: Glitter has a celebrity #SelfLoveCampaign. What does self-love mean to you?
SHANOLA: Self-love means allowing yourself to be selfish. Sometimes you have to not try and do it all; you have to stop and breathe, take a nap!
GLITTER: Any projects you can tell us about that you’re working on next?
SHANOLA: I have several irons in the fire. Producing new projects, working with NBC/Universal to find that perfect next show, and of course directing.
GLITTER: Where can fans follow you on social media?