Her parents perform regularly at a Baptist church in Lubbock, her father on drums and her mother on flute. Her older brother has played in a band, and Hatchett took voice lessons in high school.
“I loved singing and I thought that was what I wanted to do,” Hatchett said. “I didn’t think I’d make a good actor.”
Even being named Best Actor for her title role in “Persephone” at a high school one-act play contest failed to persuade the Lubbock native to pursue acting. Instead, she enrolled at South Plains College in Levelland and earned an associate degree in music performance.
She also did some more acting at SPC, though, including landing the lead role of Helena in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Others saw her acting potential, but she still hesitated.
“I was invited to be part of an improv troupe, but at the time I was very shy, uncomfortable with who I was,” Hatchett said. “I felt like I was just not good at that. I thought improv is what acting majors do. Ironically, I’m in an improv troupe now, and I’m more comfortable with it and actually decent at it.”
Finally, Hatchett decided to take a chance and auditioned for several university theatre programs through the Texas Educational Theatre Association.
“ASU was one of my call backs,” she said. “Auditions were held the first week of school, so I was nervous. After I’d done my monologue, so many people came up to me to tell me how good I did. It was shocking. It showed me how familial the ASU theatre program is.”
“A lot of the reason I chose Angelo State came down to auditions and the opportunities to actually make it into shows,” Hatchett added. “The stage experience helps me to grow more than just the classroom where you do scenes or monologues. Also, I wanted to play various types of characters. I was warned that at larger schools there might be a tendency to typecast an actor.”
After enrolling as a junior theatre major in 2013, Hatchett was immediately cast in the lead role of Queen Eleanor for “The Lion in Winter” directed by Dr. William Doll, professor of theatre and director of ASU’s University Theatre program.
“Janae has held several leading roles in University Theatre productions since coming to ASU,” Doll said, “acting, singing and dancing along the way. She is a very talented and flexible performer.”
Hatchett’s talent also earned her an Irene Ryan Acting Award and selection for the five-state regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Shreveport, La., this past spring.
“I just know that theatre makes me happy,” Hatchett said. “It’s a release of all those emotions, the adrenaline of knowing that you have to portray this other person. It’s just fun to do that.”
She has also made the Dean’s List every semester and is a member of the Alpha Psi Omega national theater honor society, the Tau Sigma national transfer student honor society, and the Phi Kappa Phi national honor society.
“Janae Hatchett is a premier student in her classwork and certainly a scholar to be admired,” Doll said. “She is an outstanding example of the academic and artistic talent that so often comes with transfer students. We are extremely happy that she did, indeed, choose ASU.”