The star of the Sundance hit 'Roxanne Roxanne' talked to ESSENCE at the 10th annual Black Women in Hollywood event and revealed how she landed the breakout role.

Feb, 23, 2017

Chanté Adams is a name you'll be hearing a lot more of very soon.

The actress landed a stellar breakout role in the Pharrell Williams and Forest Whitaker-produced Sundance hit Roxanne Roxanne, which brings Queen's MC Roxanne Shanté's story to the big screen.

Adams stars in the film with Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali and Love Jones' Nia Long, but it was her performance that had agents clamoring to work with her.

Here are seven things you need to know about Adams, a star on the rise.

The Carnegie Mellon drama school grad's first role was Roxanne Roxanne:

Adams revealed on the Black Women in Hollywood red carpet that it was the first role she'd auditioned for after graduating and she was pretty surprised when she landed the role.

Adams was awarded the 2017 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Performance:

Critics loved her turn as Queen's MC Roxanne Shanté, with agents clamoring to sign her after seeing the performance. Adams eventually signed with WME. 

She wore prosthetic braces in the film:

Adams revealed to WWD that one of the most interesting things to happen while filming was learning to rap, speak, and act with prosthetic braces, which arrived shortly before she was set to start filming. "They were supposed to get to me five days before we started filming, but they did not get to me until I was already on set for about 30 minutes. So I had to learn to rap, act and speak in prosthetic braces 15 minutes before we filmed our first scene. I had them on the entire six weeks we filmed."

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Roxanne Shanté helped her with a few scenes, a tricky one in particular:

"There’s a scene where she’s stealing from a department store," she told KTAR News, "I did the scene how I imagined you would steal from a department store, because I don’t know. She was there and we were about to wrap and she told Michael “we need to do it again because she’s not stealing right.” She basically came over to me and taught me the correct way to steal clothes. She was like “No, you can’t look at the clothes, you can’t look at the bag, just grab it, keep your eyes up, you can’t make it look suspicious.” So she taught me the proper way to steal clothes from a department store."

She played Dussie Mae in August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom:

The show ran on Broadway in 2016 from September through October. 

Her list of inspiring actresses includes amazing Black women:

Adams lists Ava DuVernay, Angela Bassett, Regina Hall, and Phylicia Rashad as inspirations. 

She has some quality advice for aspiring actresses:

She told Broadway World, "Just because you start accomplishing your goals doesn't mean you stop reaching. Keep striving, keep believing, keep dreaming, in fact- dream bigger!"