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Rising Stars: Meet Hollis Morrissette

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hollis Morrissette.

Hi Hollis, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’m just a boy from Lansing, MI with big dreams that just keep growing. At the age of five years old, I made the decision that I’d move to Los Angeles, California. At that time, and even currently, I knew exactly where I was going to live, who I was going to be and what I would do in life. Although I knew where I’d reside in my new forever home, I knew it would be after college graduation. At the age of eight years old, I began acting and started out in theatre. I started out doing skits, scene study work and theatre in school and in summer camps every year, which furthered my passion for acting. When it comes to singing, I’ve always done so my entire life because I come from a musical family, so it just became natural. Singing in front of people in terms of an audience came about when I was in the fourth grade. I remember joining the choir and we would put on these holiday performances. The choir director began holding auditions for lead singers. To some degree, I was a bit shy, so I decided not to audition. It wasn’t until the next day I was sitting in my counselors’ office, and I remember verbatim her question to me. “Are you a singer”? I responded, “yes, how did you know”? She said to me she could hear it in my voice. By the end of the day just before school let out, I remember being escorted to the gym. I didn’t understand why because I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I just knew for a fact that I was not in any trouble. When I arrived to the gym, I was greeted by the choir director and in that moment I knew exactly what had happened. My counselor basically told the choir director about my gift which sort of turned into a forced audition. Looking back on the situation, I’m glad that I was forced to do so because in that moment, she’d found two out of three lead singers, I was her third. As rehearsals progressed, I went from third picked lead singer to centerstage lead singer. It was a joyous time and I looked forward to every performance for the remainder of elementary school as we toured the city.

By the time I reached high school, I naturally not sure why took a break from singing and acting. *Side note, this caused me to lose my sense of confidence in regards to my real singing abilities. I’m still struggling to get my voice back however, I’m working hard on it. I played the violin for over eight years and discovered my gift for leadership in which, awarded me the opportunity to be class vice president. By the time I was 16, I discovered my passion for modeling. I began modeling for the clothing store Hollister & Co. Although I did this short term, it helped me realize I’d somewhat fallen off as an artist but, modeling helped me gain back my passion and confidence. There were several other occasions as well that helped me realize I was falling off as an artist. Although I played the violin and was in that form, still musically encompassed, I remember sitting and watching choir performances and stage plays in high school. It was very devastating to me because I felt I was throwing away myself as a whole. I knew I had to get back on track so, I started meeting with talent agents at the age of 16. As I transition my story into college, I picked back up acting and continued modeling however, for boutique clothing stores. After doing that for about a year, I really began to fall out of love with that particular section of modeling and understood my real love for print modeling. So, altogether I put modeling on the back burner. This was completely fine, only because I began to put acting, which is my true love and passion as my main concern. Shortly, I began booking almost every single theatre audition and was able to build a close relationship with my theatre director. I worked my way into doing very, very small PSA commercials for the University of JCSU, which is where I attended school in Charlotte, NC. By the age of 20, I signed with my mother agency, and my very first audition I ended up getting my start on television. Which is where I’ve always wanted to be. I booked my first guest starring role for a show that was called Vice Principals which at the time premiered on HBO. As college began to end and graduation day approached, it was time for me to make my move to Los Angeles. Although prior to my move, I’ve been to Los Angeles several times, I did so to scout the area(s) and make sure the five years old me wasn’t crazy.

By this time, I hadn’t decided how I was going to move. Not sure if it was going to be by plane, road trip, train or any form of transportation. So, I did what most may feel was the unthinkable. I packed up my car with my bags and left Charlotte, NC in the middle of the night. I remember looking at the university campus in my rearview mirror happily for the last time. No one knows how eager I was to start my life and make the five years old me happy, but also GET OUT OF CHARLOTTE. It’s a cute city but wasn’t for me. In which I’d already known that prior to starting college. You live and you learn (*laughs). Once I moved to Los Angeles as a resident, my encounter within the entertainment business and with people in general was a lot different than the several other times that I’ve visited. I’m not sure if people could sense a visitor versus a new resident, or whatever the case may be. I just know my encounters after moving were less pleasant. Fast forward to today, I’ve now been living in LA for almost seven years and I’ve had the opportunity to do more theatre, a couple of short films, voiceover work, etc. While working my way through Hollywood. It hasn’t and still is not a walk in the park. I’ve struggled with trustworthy agents, managers and just people in and out of the business in general. That’s a story for another time so I’ll put a stamp there temporarily and come back another time for the interested folks (*laughs again). Let me just say this, a visitor in LA can be sensitive or not, in my opinion. As a resident, oh no no no, you have to have thick skin, personality and more with the mindset that you can be whomever and whatever you want to be. I view myself as someone who has those things and is able to offer so much.

However, so do thousands and thousands of others in this city. That’s why I work hard every single day, every chance I get to make sure I not only remain a growing artist with many talents but also just stand out. From the moment I could speak, that’s all I’ve ever wanted was to stand out, not be the same as everyone else. I can only be me, happily. Which is why I hold so many titles. In addition to the titles of actor, singer/songwriter (released singles and an independently recording artist), and model. I also hold titles such as a male pageant titleholder with the Mr. United States organization, blogger and author. I like to get my hands on any and everything I can that I’m good at (and also what I don’t know I’m good at). I don’t limit myself one bit. Do I know where I’m going in the business of Hollywood? In general, as a whole, yes. Has the struggle been very real and even far beyond what the viewers are reading in my story? Yes. But, I’m happy with making a home and name for myself in a city where I’ve dreamed of living since the age of five. A place where I’ll raise my future family. However, don’t get me wrong because everyone in their careers no matter what fields, needs help. So, the question maybe, if I feel/know I need help with my career? Absolutely! I’d be foolish not to ask for and accept such help from those who see my potential and can help me grow. I cannot do it ALL alone. Thank you for engaging with part of my story. Remember, I’m Hollis Morrissette and I’m just a boy from Lansing, MI with big dreams that just keep growing.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Once I moved to Los Angeles as and resident, my encounter within the entertainment business and with people in general was a lot different than the several other times that I’ve visited. I’m not sure if people could sense a visitor versus a new resident, or whatever the case may be. I just know my encounters after moving were less pleasant. Fast forward to today, I’ve now been living in LA for almost seven years and I’ve had the opportunity to do more theatre, a couple of short films, voiceover work, etc. While working my way through Hollywood. It hasn’t and still is not a walk in the park. I’ve struggled with trustworthy agents, managers and just people in and out of the business in general. I’ve had to work regular jobs in the past while auditioning which became harder while navigating my career. It messed with my mood, my passion, my drive and so much more. That’s a HUGE no for me. Nothing will stand in the way of me making my dreams come true. Nothing. I’ve had good auditions and not so good ones, just like a lot of artists. But, the obstacles of working while auditioning and creating on top of not meeting the right people was getting to me heavily. So, I had to make major changes because as an artist, I come first. Lastly, I will say that I will ALWAYS respect anyone’s job in whatever field they’ve chosen. This just happens to be mine.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I work hard every single day, every chance I get to make sure I not only remain a growing artist with many talents but also just stand out. From the moment I could speak, that’s all I’ve ever wanted was to stand out, not be the same as everyone else. I can only be me, happily. Which is why I hold so many titles. In addition to the titles of actor, singer/songwriter (released singles and an independently recording artist), and model. I also hold titles such as a male pageant titleholder with the Mr. United States organization, blogger entrepreneur and author. As of right now, I’d say I’m most proud of an exciting project that will soon be released. I cannot speak on it just yet however, for now, it’ll be my best work yet.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
Something I’d say surprising about me would be how well I can cook. It inspired me to write my own cookbook.

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