Hannah Mouton is a Moving Image Major at UL, she graduated from high school in May as Salutatorian when she was only 15. She’s smart, passionate and cool and knows exactly who she is. At 16 Hannah has had a tougher life than many people (read her answers) but is a straight ‘A’ student with drive and a personality that draws people in immediately. She has a wisdom way beyond her years that I think will take her wherever she wants to go. She wants to help make the world more compassionate, both to people and the environment we live in. I’m sure this is just one of many interviews that will feature Hannah in her life, I can’t wait to see what she achieves. I’m completely in awe.
What was your first job?
I’ve yet to have one.
Describe a typical day in your life.
On a typical school day, I wake up at 7:18 (Why not 7:15 or 7:20 you ask? Because I’m weird and I feel responsible when I only allow myself two minutes to lie in bed and do nothing), then I do my usual morning routine; get dressed, throw my hair up into something decent or tug on a beanie, ask myself, “To eat or not to eat? That is the question,” and if I decide my tummy isn’t feeling that French Toast Crunch in the cabinet, I’ll stuff my schoolbag with food for later. Then I get the unpleasant morning taste out of my mouth and wait for my aunt to finish whatever she’s doing. Once my aunt’s son is dropped off at daycare and I get to UL, I attend my classes and hang out with my three awesome guy friends during whatever break I can get. The rest of the day is usually unplanned, but before bed, I always try to squeeze in an episode of whatever show I’m currently watching.
On weekends, I get any schoolwork out of the way as soon as I can, take a few photos for my aunt’s company, watch her son if needed, and play some Legend of Zelda. Or I go back to Parks to visit my family and take Copper, my lively thirteen-year-old Brittany Spaniel who thinks he’s still a puppy, on a nice long walk.
What advice would you give the younger you?
It’s okay to be different; embrace who you are and never let anyone change it. Also, a “B” is just a letter. I promise it isn’t going to kill you.
What event in your life most shaped who you are now?
When I was nine, my mother passed away of stage four breast cancer and my father took up alcoholism. I was also put in public school for the first time at the age of ten (my mother home-schooled my three siblings and me), and I was bullied quite a lot by my fellow 6th grade classmates, especially people who I considered to be my friends. Since my siblings were my only friends for the longest time, I didn’t really know any better and thought that’s just what friends were supposed to do to you.
To go through that all at once at such a young age, to have your mother die, your father drunk on a daily basis, and people constantly verbally abusing you and telling you you’re unwanted because you’re different is really damaging. And you especially feel lost without a stable parental figure to guide you. I went through that same cycle for nearly four years of my life, just letting people walk all over me as I tried to make myself more like them. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I had enough, and I truly broke free of caring about insignificant things and trying to conform into something I wasn’t. I began to unapologetically be myself, and I didn’t care about who didn’t like it. I embraced my weirdness and creativity and intelligence and determination, and I focused less on the thoughts and opinions of the people around me and more on my goal: graduating top of my class. And I graduated as salutatorian at the age of fifteen. Today, I’ve totally, 100% Pokémon evolved into the real Hannah. I’m more me than I ever was, and I’m freaking proud of it.
What values do you live by?
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Learn to find the humor in things. Honesty is the best policy. Drama is pointless.
What do you most appreciate?
The little things. It could be a simple handwritten “Good morning!” note left on my door, my three-year-old cousin bringing me a flower, exchanging looks with a friend and immediately cracking up, someone joining in on my random dancing, late-night talks about the most random things with someone I love, a high-five from a stranger, anything. It all just makes my day.
What is your favorite journey?
Though I’ve only had a few months’ worth of experience so far, college has really been a marvelous adventure for me. I’ve met so many incredible people, learned so many extraordinary things, I seriously cannot get enough of it. I’m getting excited just talking about it.
Where is your favorite place to be alone?
On the roof looking up at the night sky, or on a trek through the cane fields with music playing from my phone in my pocket.
What living figure most inspires you?
My aunt. She manages to incredulously stay positive as she balance multiple jobs, her marriage, and a rowdy toddler, all while dealing with sleep deprivation and unknown health issues that cause her to be unable to eat. How doesn’t rip her hair out is beyond me.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
My dad once told me, “There’s a possibility of everything.” I find myself repeating that a lot.
What book would you tell everyone to read?
Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Read any one of them. Or, better yet, all of them. You get so attached to nearly every character, and it’s just such a great and imaginative story that keeps you on your toes, making you want to find out what happens on the next page.
What is the best thing about where you live?
(I’m sure the majority of your other interviewees have said this, but) The food, most definitely. I have yet to find a food in Louisiana that I dislike. Now, if we’re talking neighborhood-wise, Copper Meadows’ holiday game is on point. During Halloween, I swear the entire neighborhood dresses up and goes trick-or-treating, and Christmastime is just a wonderland of lights and weird Christmassy things thrown in the front yard. It’s pretty darn amazing.
How do you “let the good times roll”?
I love playing video games with people. Whether it’s a simple Mario Kart race, a LittleBigPlanet level, or an entire Super Smash Bros. tournament, you can count me in. If video games aren’t involved, I usually find a way to make the most of the moment by being my usual weird and entertaining self. So if you’re around me and you don’t see a video game going on, you’d better expect the unexpected.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
For years I wanted to be a veterinarian, but when my brothers started getting into comic books, I really wanted to do the artwork for them. Being in a rock band was always a fantasy of mine, as well.
What is your motto?
If you don’t do it, you’re just going to wonder what might’ve happened if you did.
How would you like to be remembered?
As the woman who made a difference in peoples’ lives.
What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?
“Just go for it. Failure is nothing but a learning experience.”
What three things are vital to BEing YOU?
Triforce necklace, a pen for spontaneous doodling, and witty, sarcastic comments.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I ask, “Why?” way too much. I can’t help it, though, I always want to satisfy my curiosity and know the reasoning behind things.
What is your favorite word?
Flow. The word even flows out of your mouth.
What do you collect?
I don’t collect one specific thing. It’s more of an enormous cluster of things that I like. So I guess you could say I collect Star Wars, Nintendo, and superhero stuff. My room is full of movies, plushes, bobbleheads, masks and capes, piggybanks, soundtracks, apparel, blankets, video games, and not to mention the myriad of posters and drawings I have stored away until I can put them on the walls.
What food could you live on for a month?
Pasta. If I can live on it for a week (which I have done that before), I can live on it for a month. It’s just so darn delicious.
What would you change about yourself?
I tend to over-think. I need to learn to just shut the noggin off sometimes and save myself the nonsense and worry.
What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?
I find I identify with Hermione Granger. She’s a very brave, independent, and intelligent girl who doesn’t give in to peer pressure, cherishes her guy friends, is undeniably loyal, stands up for others, isn’t afraid to be girly once in a while, has an answer for everything, and is prepared to take on whatever the world throws at her.
Describe yourself in five words.
Humorous. Creative. Adventurous. Dorky. Determined.
What is your idea of happiness?
Hiking up a mountain on a crisp, rainy day without a care in the world, and just taking in the beauty of nature that surrounds me.
What is your favorite movie?
Being a film major, I have many, many movies that I adore. However, a few that make the top of my list would have to be Fight Club, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Star Wars series, the Harry Potter series, Pulp Fiction, classic Forrest Gump, Big Fish, Airplane!, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Weekend at Bernie’s, and pretty much any superhero movie.
What music defines who you are?
Sheesh, my music taste delves into literally every genre, so it’s quite difficult to pick one. But, now that I just said that, I guess that’s what defines who I am; not settling for just one genre, and being open to whatever artist I come across because I feel like every genre is its own form of art. And I think that that expresses my open-mindedness and sense of discovery, which are both huge parts of my personality.
What do you most regret?
Not being there the day my mom died. Though I’m always told there was nothing I could have done, it still haunts me that I don’t even remember telling her “good-bye” or “I love you” before I left the house that day.
What question do you wish I’d asked?
“Surely, you can’t be serious?
What would the answer be?
“I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”