By Matt Schantz (@Schantzman87)
Nikki Hahn has done more in her professional career than most actors twice her age. From going viral on a Jimmy Kimmel skit with Tom Hanks to TV commercials with Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. She’s played a villain on American Horror Story, and most recently can be found in “Adventures in Babysitting” — Disney Channel’s 100th original movie. We got lucky enough to catch up with Hahn in-between her super busy schedule.
Congratulations on starring in the 100th Disney Channel Original Movie! That must be exhilarating! Did you grow up on the Disney Channel movies?
Thank you! I grew up working for Disney on various projects. My first job at age three was a worldwide Disney print campaign for Easter’s best, and my first commercial was also for Disney and I got to play Cinderella at age four. I later guest-starred on Jessie as Lindsay, the karate pageant girl in the episode Beauty and the Beasts. And actually, my first DCOM was Wizards of Waverly Place: Alex vs Alex, and I played Selena Gomez’s cousin.
Tell us a little bit about that milestone movie, “Adventures in Babysitting”.
I can’t wait for everyone to see it. I am so proud to be part of an amazing cast in Disney’s 100th DCOM, also the first Disney movie shot entirely at night and I get to play a cool Emo character with green hair!!
You have been all over the place! In commercials for State Farm with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, in prime time tv shows (Criminal Minds, CSI-Miami, NCIS-LA, The Closer) and many other campaigns. Did those roles and situations provide experience for you?
Absolutely!! I’ve been blessed to work in so many different genres and its helped me to develop versatility as an actress. Plus I’ve been able to learn so much from every actor that I’ve worked with.
What was it like going viral alongside Tom Hanks in Jimmy Kimmel’s spoof of “Toddlers and Tiaras”? Did you have any idea that clip would take off like it did?
First of all I didn’t know what “viral” meant when I first read for the role of Sophie Hanks. I do remember the writers for Jimmy Kimmel telling me stuff like “this is going to be big, Nikki” or “Nikki, this is gold” but I didn’t know it was going to be that big! The project was a satire for Toddlers & Tiaras that was to be released as a Special after the Academy Awards so we weren’t allowed to share any information before it aired, not even to our family. All we said to them was, “you have to watch JKL tonight!!” I watched it at home with my parents and we thought it was really hilarious but it wasn’t until the next morning when we began to get calls from friends, family and agents telling us that it had gone viral. My mom was also tagged on Facebook countless times when people found out about it and everyone shared it over and over. It went viral on YouTube and a viewer even posted that the skit had been presented in a college class as a perfect example of a satire. A week later, we were still being contacted by newspaper reporters wanting to interview me, and the radio stations were talking about it. My skit was being mentioned by media outlets around the world, even Oprah Winfrey featured it on her show during her interview with Tom Hanks. After seeing all the buzz that was going, I realized what they meant by “Big”.
Do you think more conventional platforms (TV, film, stage) are starting to take YouTube and other online media more serious now that videos can go crazy viral in just hours?
Yes, I definitely see that happening often. People are also making their own web series and videos in hopes to get a following or maybe even going viral. I don’t know enough about it though to have an opinion, but I myself view acting for TV/film/stage as an art form that requires study and dedication.
You played a villain in 2012 for “American Horror Story: Asylum”. Was it fun to step out of the norm play a sociopath killer?
Very much so! I always tend to gravitate towards roles that challenge me as an actor, so when I landed the role of sociopath child, Jenny Reynolds, I was beyond thrilled! I learned a lot and had a lot of fun.
I know you are super passionate about music. What musicians or genres inspire your love of music?
Yes, I’m Swiftie. Taylor Swift has been a great inspiration for me in music because she a very talented artist. I also love, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Kelly Clarkson, and Queen just to name a few. The different type of genres that I listen to include: Pop, pop rock, Indie pop, rock, classic rock, classical music and musical theater.