We had the good fortune of connecting with Hillary Marie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hillary, how do you think about risk?
I believe taking risks is one of the most beautiful parts about life. Majority of people look at taking risks as a negative thing because they overpower their thoughts with fear but I believe it’s beautiful because no matter the outcome, a lesson is taught in some type of way and learning lessons is apart of life. Learning lessons shapes us and molds up into the people we are today. I started dancing at the age of 18 years old. I thought because I wasn’t technically trained and because I started at an older age than most, that I wouldn’t be able to flourish how others were; BUT if I would’ve never took a risk and betted on myself and believed in myself, I wouldn’t be the choreographer and self made dancer that I am today. It’s not up for the people of the world to tell you when it’s your time to shine, it’s up to you, your passion and drive to tell yourself when it’s your time to shine and go after everything you want. That’s when you take the beautiful risk of believing in yourself without seeking validation from anyone.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I want people to look at my story and know that nothing was given to me. Everything was earned. Which makes my testimony in my career even more personal. I came into this dance industry as a 18 year old, newly graduated from high school, filled with talent that I knew I wanted the world to see someway, somehow. I knew I had a God-given gift inside of me that I refused to let be hidden. I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom when it comes to dancing. When I first started out, I had a very few that believed in me. I can count on one hand how many people truly believed that I would get somewhere. Over these past 2 years, I’ve heard people say some of the most rudest things about me, my talent and classes. “She’s not technically trained” , “What does she have to offer, we’ve never heard of her” “How can she teach others but haven’t been taught herself”, I’ve heard it all. Those are now the people who are constantly supporting me. It’s funny how everything comes full circle and that’s why it pays to be nice because you never know who someone can turn out to be. I say that to say, if I would’ve let those people get to me, the world wouldn’t know who I am today. This chapter in my story would still be in a lock box all because of others opinions. I’m proud to say I’m anointed and strong minded that I didn’t let that take over my story. I have heart and heart is something everyone needs to learn how to have. This is why my story is still being imperfectly and beautifully written.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a big foodie and I‘m proud to say so this will mainly be about food places. Anytime I’m in Atlanta, it’s a must I visit Fins & Feathers. I would most definitely recommend anyone from out of town who just needs a chill vibe, to visit Fins & Feathers. Live music, good food and dessert and they also have hookah for anyone who enjoys doing that. Another spot that I really enjoy going is Mary Mac Tea Room. Nothing but the best soul food in town. Food that will put you to sleep on the drive home and what tops it off about going there is the warm feeling it gives you by having nothing but soul music playing while you eat comfort soul food. It’s an experience that I recommend anyone to go try if you haven’t.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without God, I wouldn’t be where I am today. As many entrepreneurs know (especially dancers) this is a very hard industry. There’s been sleepless nights, crying non-stop nights and nights where I’ve honestly felt like giving up. God has pulled me out of these dark moments so many times and has showed me signs to reassure me that my gift is special and that I’m on the right track. One of the hardest things about this entire journey to success is having patience. It pays to be patient and I honestly feel like if the opportunities I’ve been granted and blessed with this year were presented to me a few years back, I wouldn’t have been ready for them. So I thank God for always showing up and showing out for me when he knows I’m mentally and physically prepared to handle it. Also, thank you to everyone who has believed in me since day 1 when I didn’t know where this career path would take me. Thank you to anyone who has ever donated to my brand, given me a ride to my classes and even the people who watch from a distance. Everything counts and it means a lot from the bottom of my heart.

Instagram: @dimehills

Youtube: Heels With Hills

Image Credits
Cre8tive Visuals LLC Instagram: (@_cre8tivevisuals_)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.