My Winthrop Experience

Name: Shanola Hampton '98
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Degree: Theatre
Occupation: Actress

Shanola Hampton '98 will be the first to admit that the quote "patience is the greatest of all virtues" has proven true throughout her acting career. Having known since the age of four that she wanted to be an actress, Hampton has tirelessly worked to make a name for herself in a field that's proven tough to break into.

Born in Long Island, N.Y., and raised in Summerville, S.C., Hampton earned her undergraduate degree in theatre from Winthrop before receiving her master's degree in fine arts from the University of Illinois. She moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and began appearing in commercials. Hampton worked for nine years on several shows, such as "Scrubs" and "Reba," and movies, including "You Again," "The Mostly Unfabulous Life of Ethan Greene" and "The Hanged Man," until landing an ongoing role on the medical drama "Miami Medical." This led to her most current role as Veronica Fisher on Showtime's hit series "Shameless," a show revolving around the dysfunctional Gallagher family starring William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum and Joan Cusack.

Hampton appreciates her role and enjoys working on a show that's outside the box. "The great thing about being on cable TV is that you are able to take these risks, which you don't get to do a lot of on network TV because there is sort of a formula for everything. ˜Shameless' has no formula; it hadn't been done," said Hampton.

In addition to her work on "Shameless," Hampton played the leading role in "Things Never Said," appeared in the Lifetime movie "Christmas in the City,"starred in the independent short "They Die by Dawn" and in the independent feature "Forever."

Hampton has held her own against seasoned actors — many household names — and credits her success with the training she received in Winthrop's theatre program. "My older sister went to Winthrop and I always looked up to her. Winthrop has one of the best theatre programs in the world in my opinion. I still use the training I received at Winthrop to this day.

"I use more of what I learned at Winthrop than what I learned in my graduate study. Also, the family atmosphere within the department was very supportive. The Winthrop program was not about putting you in a box; it was about defining who you were as an actress/actor, embracing that and then learning how to grow at what you do," said Hampton.