We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Hamilton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, what inspires you?
I am inspired by the lives I touch through my work as a performing artist and a health coach. For instance, when an audience member approaches me after watching me perform something comical and tells me how much they needed a good laugh or when a yoga student tells me how much my class helped them relieve stress and feel peaceful, I am inspired to keep pursuing my passions. When parents of a child I’ve been teaching tells me their child has been able to focus better in school since taking my kids yoga classes, I feel deeply inspired. Recently a friend of mine from high school watched a film I wrote and produced called “Unmasked Voice” and told me it inspired her to start writing poetry. Seeing my yoga students make progress and overcome problems is naturally very inspiring. I feel elated when I hear that one of my clients booked an acting job after I helped coach them in yogic breathing to calm their nerves before their audition. What inspires me the most is hearing feedback about how my work as an artist and a yoga teacher has impacted lives in meaningful ways.
My other source of inspiration comes from my personal struggles. For example, coping with body image issues as an adolescent inspired me to write and produce a dramedy about a couple who overcomes body image dysphoria in a comical way. Another instance occured when one of my yoga clients asked me for help rehabilitating after a shoulder injury. Having dislocated my shoulder multiple times, I felt well equipped to help her, not only because of my professional training, but also in light of my personal experience. The most challenging times in my life have inspired me to help others overcome similar challenges through my performance art and my work as a holistic health coach.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My journey as a performing artist began when I started dance classes at the age of three. Growing up as a severe asthmatic and being hospitalized throughout childhood was not easy as a dancer, but my struggles with asthma gave me a strong appreciation for the mind/body connection and especially breath control. As an adolescent, I was extremely shy, but performing on stage felt freeing to me. As a young dancer, I was very self-conscious about my body and like many dancers felt too much pressure to look skinny in a leotard. Around the age of 12, I struggled with an eating disorder and low self-esteem, so I decided to take a break from dancing and focus more on acting. When I started taking acting classes, I began to stop worrying so much about what I looked like in a dance leotard, developed healthy eating habits, and gained more confidence. Essentially, my interest in acting helped me to focus more on my inner growth and less on my appearance. Changing my focus in the way, I believe, led me to acknowledge that my self worth and inner strength is based on what lies within. This discovery eventually led me to exploring the path of yoga as a way to access inner peace.
Throughout high school, as I learned more about the history of theatre and performed in high school plays, I developed a strong appreciation for the art of storytelling and how stories can profoundly influence lives. My passion for touching lives through theatre and film deepened when I attended college and graduated from Kennesaw State University with a BFA in Theatre and Performance Studies. In college, I initially had mixed feelings about joining a sorority, but decided to join Delta Phil Epsilon because of their philanthropic work with The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). During my time at KSU, I was active in many community service organizations, so I suppose that is why I won the title of Kennesaw State’s Homecoming Queen 2006.
By the time I graduated from college, my asthma issues had lessened to a degree so I only had to rely on a maintenance inhaler and occasionally a rescue inhaler. I was taking good care of my health, but felt worried that an acting career would not provide financial stability, so I decided to put my acting career on hold and try out the corporate world for a while. I began working for a home improvement company as an events marketer and quickly worked my way up the corporate ladder to marketing manager. After a year of managing the entire company, being responsible for hiring, training and firing employees, and working over time, the stressful job started taking a toll on my health. Managing the company, working very hard to make a sales quota was stressing me so much that I developed shingles and triggered an asthma flare up. However, I was determined to get my asthma issues under control so I would not have to rely on unnatural steroid inhalers my entire life. After doing extensive research on the correlation between asthma and diet, I experimented with weaning myself off the inhalers by simply eating an anti-inflammatory diet, getting more sunlight and vitamin D, and prioritizing sleep and soon my shingles disappeared, my asthma symptoms vanished, and I no longer needed to rely on steroid inhalers to breathe normally.
I am grateful for my learning experience in the corporate sales field because this time in my life taught me how much stress, diet and sleep can profoundly affect one’s health. This chapter in my life is one pivotal experience that motivated me to become a yoga instructor and to pursue my art despite how financially unstable an artist’s lifestyle can be. Experiencing the corporate lifestyle helped me realize how draining the sales environment felt and how deeply unfulfilled I felt abandoning my love for performing arts in an effort to live a “practical” lifestyle. Eventually I left my corporate job and continued to pursue acting with more vigor than before while pursuing my career in the health and wellness field.
Today I teach yoga to a variety of age groups through corporate companies such as Kaiser Permanente and Excellence and Exercise. I also have years of experience teaching at various yoga studios around Atlanta. In addition to group classes, I mentor private clients with varying backgrounds. Many of my clients are performing artists like me who have struggled with body image issues or eating disorders. It is my mission to empower people to feel confident and beautiful moving to the rhythm of their breath no matter what their body shape may look like. It brings me great joy to teach performing artists yoga techniques to warm up before a performance or unwind after a performance. It also elates me to teach kids, seniors and help all walks of life become of the best version of themselves by nourishing the mind and body through yoga, nutrition, meditation, and mindfulness.
Since leaving the corporate world, I have performed in various professional theatre shows, films, commercials and audio books. I have also dabbled in writing and producing theatre and films around Atlanta. People often recognize me for my comedy sketches that have gone viral on youtube, but one achievement I am most proud of is producing and performing the play, “Constellations” by Nick Payne. “Constellations” is a play about many themes such as hope, love, and science and explores darker themes like morality and cancer. My co-producer and acting partner, Michael Howell, and I were able to use a portion of ticket sales to donate to the American Cancer Society which felt quite fulfilling.
During the pandemic, I co-wrote and co-produced a film called “Unmasked Voice”, a story about finding creative ways to connect with others and overcome feelings of isolation that many people felt while quarantined. I recently received an acting award from the Southern Shorts film festival for my role in “Unmasked Voice” and was delighted when our film got accepted into The Broad Street Film festival. In the past year, I also had the privilege to act in an independent Atlanta film called “Sunset In Winter”, which aims to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Sunset in Winter has been accepted into many film festivals around the world and so far six film festivals have granted me the award of “best actress” in their festival this year. While I feel honored to receive recognition and awards for my work, what prides me the most is that these stories aim to inspire and enlighten people in varying ways. Inspiring stories such as these fulfill me the most as an artist. My primary artistic goal is to work on many more projects that touch lives in a positive way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite parts of Atlanta are spots where you can enjoy spending time in nature and places where you can see live performances. I would take my friend hiking on the East Palisades Trail, Kennesaw Mountain, Red Top Mountain, Piedmont Park and explore all the trails along the Chattahoochee river. We would eat at my favorite farm to table healthy restaurants such as True Food Kitchen, Flower Child, Sprig, and Upbeet. I would definitely go see live performances around the city. Supporting live theatre in Atlanta is one of my favorite things to do in my free time. I would go see my friends perform an outdoor comedy show with my comedy sketch team, Mighty Shorts Comedy. I would love to take my friend to see a show at the Fox and the Alliance Theater. If any artistic friends of mine were performing live music or live theatre, I would make sure to go see their shows. We would surely do some yoga outdoors and take a class at Sunny Street Yoga, where I currently teach. I would introduce my friend to my good friends, Long and Suzie Tran, who own Peachy Corners Cafe and have a cup of their healthy tea. If there were any arts festivals going on, I’d be sure to attend. I might also take my friend to the GA Aquarium and the High Museum of Arts. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I received my 200 hr yoga teacher training through Peachtree Yoga and my nutrition specialist certification through ACE education. I graduated Kennesaw State University with a BFA in Theatre and Performance Studies. I furthered my acting training by studying with many great Atlanta based acting teachers such as Rob Mello, Rob Pralgo, Kate Brown and Tim Phillips. I feel exceptionally grateful to have supportive friends in the entertainment industry and an encouraging family. I’d like to give an additional shout out to the Robert Mello Studio for providing a fun space for me to teach a donation based class “Yoga For Actors” for two years. Although “Yoga For Actors” at RMS was not very profitable, it was very rewarding to hear feedback from actors about how my teachings helped improve their craft. It is an honor to currently be teaching yoga for Kaiser Permanente, Excellence in Exercise, Sunny Street Yoga, Oodazu Child Care, Galaxy Music & Arts Academy, and Mixdeity Media Studios. My comedy sketch team, Mighty Shorts Comedy deserves credit for giving me opportunities to perform live comedy shows and touch lives with laughter. I’d like to give a shout out to Some Bodies Theatre Company, for inviting me to perform live socially distant theatre during the pandemic. I’d like to thank voice over actor, Bob Carter, for being a great vocal coach and co-narrating our professional audio book, “Her Thin Blue Life line.” I certainly need to give credit to my awesome talent agency, Kathleen Schultz Associates, who consistently sends me fantastic auditions. I deeply appreciate the opportunities I have received through KSA Talent. Here’s a shout out to my good friend and fellow teacher Briana Randall for designing my website, Yogaflowwithkim.online. I’d like to thank yoga instructor, Natalie Clark, for inspiring me as a student and a teacher. And last but not least, all my wonderful recurring yoga clients I’ve had the privilege of mentoring in the last 5 years have taught me as many valuable lessons as I’ve taught them.
Other: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3323237/ http://kimberlyhamiltonactor.info/performance https://www.facebook.com/yogaflowwithkim https://www.instagram.com/yogaflowwithkim/ https://www.youtube.com/user/kimberlyhamilton22 https://www.patreon.com/yogaflowwithkim
Nate Dorn, Rachel Lamb, Naomi Smith, Briana Randall