Today we’d like to introduce you to Harrisen Haslem.
Harrisen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been a creative person from a young age; from the typical kid things of putting on one woman shows for family to finally getting started in theatre around 8-9 years old. There was no turning back for me at that point. No “plan b”, no exit strategy if it didn’t go the way I had wanted. I wanted to be a professional actress. I kept myself super involved through school theatre programs and when the time came, focused solely on fine arts conservatories. I finally chose A.M.D.A (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) College and Conservatory for Performing Arts, graduates high school May 20th and was in New York City getting ready for my first day of classes June 6th. After going through A.M.D.A’s conservatory program in N.Y I felt like I needed more and so after taking a semester off, I transferred to their full bachelor’s degree program and moved out here to L.A, wherein the spring on 2018, I graduated with my bachelors of fine arts. Since then, I’ve stayed here in L.A where I continue to expand with my creative outlets; auditions and self-tapes, working on music and stretching my abilities as a singer/songwriter and taking opportunities with modeling.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This question is hard because by no means do I view myself as a victim of any sort, but my journey definitely wasn’t an easy one either. Without getting into all the small details of it all, between my experience of dirty politics and outdated mentalities through high school and college, I was very burnt out and was at a real low point in my self-confidence. I just didn’t feel like I was good enough of an artist in any field to be trying anymore, and I was exhausted of consistently coming up short to everyone’s expectations. Leaving school, I had decided to leave acting and focus on myself as musician and for a brief time had formed the makings of a band. However, that soon fell apart as well, and after that point, I decided it was in my best interest for my emotional and mental well being to take a break from the acting and music industries.
My journey really has been rediscovering myself and the reason why I fell in love with acting and music and all of the creative outlets that come with it. A huge part of it is also the amount of support and encouragement I’ve received from friends, family, and most importantly my boyfriend, Shaun. Without them, I wouldn’t be in the place I am now and they are a huge part of my journey and my success.
They’re the ones who’ve really helped me to remember that there is no set way of how to be an artist and that what I have to creatively offer is enough. That I’m enough, and that I’m still at the beginning of my journey. Although during today’s climate with COVID-19 hasn’t made it easy, I’m really proud of myself to say that I’ve dipped my toes back into acting with a small handful of commercial auditions, as well as continuing to play with music and songwriting, as well as getting into modeling and really just working out creating opportunities for myself.
I know since this is meant to be apart of the Inspiring Stories segment of Voyage, the best way I can sum up my story and the challenges I’ve faced is to remember your worth and having the confidence to take your path the way your choose to, not the way everyone wants you to.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As of right now, I’m still building myself out and enjoying the process of figuring out what it is about myself and my creative abilities that I want to advance with and put in front of others. The time I took away from myself as a brand and as a creative I view as a clean slate to make myself the way I want, and because of that I’d say I’m most proud of that resilience and honesty with myself to know when I needed to step back but know that I am far from being done with what I have to offer.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment for myself in my career so far was my first audition coming out of my self proclaimed hiatus.
I am very fortunate to have my boyfriend, who is also an actor, and he has been both my biggest supporter and greatest resource back into the acting industry.
Due to COVID-19, casting agencies recently asked that auditions be held with people that actors have been in quarantine with, which is how my opportunity for the audition presented itself.
We were both brought into Dan Bell Casting for a couple of commercials, and the excitement I felt walking out of the studio was the greatest feeling I had felt when it came to acting in a long time. I was proud of myself for just getting through the audition and getting through it well since I had walked in with so much anxiety and trepidation so I was just proud of myself for doing and enjoying the audition process and experience.
- Instagram: @jett_haslem
Photos taken by myself and Nicole Caudillo @xo.nicoleelizabeth