Connect
To Top

Conversations with the Inspiring Kate Hill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Hill.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My life thus far has been one giant circular journey. I was born and raised in San Diego, CA, and from there, I moved to New Hampshire, Texas, NYC, and then back to Texas, back to New Hampshire, and finally to where I am now- Los Angeles. I have lived all over this country, and have seen and experienced all kinds of people, cultures, and mindsets. It was a tremendously eye-opening way of living in which I learned so much, but it wasn’t easy. I lost my dad suddenly when I was 13. He passed due to a heart aneurism. Things at home were also difficult. I was always provided for monetarily, but emotionally I felt alone, angry, and deeply depressed. I couldn’t understand why my father had to go when he did- but he did, and so I had to find a way to accept it and to understand myself and my own emotions.

I come from a family of musicians. My father was a concert violinist who studied at Columbia and Juilliard. My mother is also a concert violist who studied at SMU, was accepted at Yale, and was principal chair with the San Diego Opera. My half brother is also an accomplished jazz pianist. I grew up singing, drawing, listening to all kinds of music, and going to see plays and movies. It seemed natural that I would go into the arts as well, but that inclination didn’t show up quite as intensely until I lost my father. I’ve always been a bit of a philosopher even from when I was a child, but with his loss, and the knowledge I had accumulated up until that point, my need to understand people and why things happen the way they do become an absolute necessity. I became an observer. I watched how people reacted in various situations. I studied their body language. I read Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and any great writer who seemed to have it all figured out. I studied psychology, the law of attraction, etc. All this amounted to a profession in which you can not only express yourself, but also study humankind, and that profession was acting.

I went off to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC and was given their highest awarded scholarship. Since then I have performed in a number of Shakespeare’s plays (my favorite), I’ve worked on television shows as well as feature films including Sully with Tom Hanks, and John Wick with Keanu Reeves. I performed Off-Broadway as Queen Zelda in The Video Games for almost a year. I’ve performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, as well as in a few web series and music videos. It’s an extremely difficult industry in which everyone would cut your throat to get ahead, but I’ve got faith in myself.

A lot has happened since I was that grieving kid in New Hampshire. My desire to understand the world has led me to some truly wonderful, and also heartbreaking things, but that’s the nature of life. You cannot have the good without the bad, just like we cannot have a day without night. We all have light and dark sides. Acting gives me an amazing avenue to express everything I repressed as a kid, and a way to learn as much I can about living as possible.

Along the way, I have also found ways of keeping my dad’s memory alive. A number of my hobbies I have now, I owe to him. One of them is archery. When I was 11, he and I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods in Kittery, Maine, and purchased two bows, one for him and one for me, as well as the necessary equipment, and a target. We set up a range in the basement of our home and would go down there all the time to shoot arrows. I recently visited that home, and there are still arrow marks on the walls. Archery makes me feel strong. That I can take on anything. It’s my favorite thing to do when I am not working. I post about archery regularly on my Instagram (itskatehill) if you’d like to see more.

As for where I am today- overall, I feel very blessed, and I owe much of where I am to my mother and my stepdad. They have both been tremendously supportive of my dreams and have helped me to strive to achieve them. I live in a beautiful apartment, have a stable job, and I have the means to pursue acting, drawing, singing- whatever I set my mind to. There is no guarantee that I will achieve everything I’ve envisioned since I was a teenager, but I’ve got endless hope and drive to at least try. I also have faith that the universe will send some happy surprises along the way. I would not wish some of the things I have experienced on anyone, however, I see now how they were necessary. I would not be the strong, intelligent, wise woman I am today without those experiences. My hope for anyone reading this would be for you to not give up. We all weather storms in our life, but storms pass, and you will be stronger for having survived them. I would also wish for you to follow whatever dreams you have. We all have this life only, (that we know of), and it is incredibly important to honor yourself, and your dreams. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Women have always had something to fight against in order to have basic rights. At the moment our basic right to bodily autonomy is being attacked. This isn’t a new phenomenon, however. The same things were being regulated and enforced as early as the 1300s. There are too many people still who are ignorant to the female body, and the things women have to go through to get ahead, and, honestly, just to live basic day to day life.

I was almost a victim of what I believe was human trafficking. When I was 20, I was emailed by a man named John Smith (really? that’s the name he picked?) who claimed he owned a top modeling agency in Paris, France. He had come across my Backstage (a popular resource for casting agents and actors), needed models to shoot their summer catalog, and he absolutely loved my look. He said I would be paid $1,000 a shoot, and everything would be taken care of including my airfare, hotel, and meals. He also said something odd about my passport. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but it was something along the lines of how I wouldn’t need it, or they would keep it for me once I arrived. All I needed to do, he said, was show up at JFK. I was so naive that nothing seemed fishy about it. My mother kept saying that I needed to look into it more. I was annoyed because I just wanted to finally do something amazing, and this seemed like it would be an opportunity of a lifetime. I gave in to what my mom said, and began researching the modeling agency. It was a legitimate agency in Paris, and it was considered one of the best. I emailed them and told them what I had been offered, and asked if this “John Smith” was the owner of the agency. When they replied, I felt sick. They said we do not know who this man is, he is not the owner, please do not accept. I am beyond grateful that I listened to my mom. I honestly believe that if I had shown up, I would not be writing for this article today.

I bring this up not to scare other women. I bring it up to say that we are more often preyed upon sexually than men are. We have to be smart, and we have to be careful. Always always always do your research, and if something doesn’t feel right, listen. Your intuition is the most prized tool you have. The more you develop your intuition the better a compass it becomes. And this comes from knowing yourself. I am a firm believer that in order to be able to understand others, yourself, and to be prosperous (in all ways, not just financially) you must know yourself inside and out. You must not be afraid to delve into the emotions you try to never feel and express them- safely of course and without hurting others. Never let anyone try to take away your sense of self-worth. Those people are not worth your time or energy. You have every right to own your gifts, talents, and yourself. If it helps try to imagine yourself a great warrior Queen traversing through a vast desert wrought with obstacles and trials everywhere- but you will get through it because you are strong, you are a goddess, and you are not to be f*cked with. Maybe imagine ‘Reign’ from the Game of Thrones season 6 soundtrack playing in the background. I don’t know! Do whatever makes you feel strong. It works for me!

Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
When I am not trying to understand the world, pursuing acting, or becoming a badass archer, I work as a bartender. It pays the bills, and I do genuinely enjoy it. It makes me feel like I’m an alchemist, or as if I’m in Professor Snape’s Potion class. (Harry Potter for those of you who somehow don’t know that reference).

Pursuing acting is in all honesty mostly tedious busy work. I should probably call myself an auditioner and not an actor because really that’s what the majority of what this job looks like. You’ve got to submit yourself to hundreds of casting calls, some of which are for projects you don’t care about, aren’t that good, some you won’t get paid for, or occasionally for castings that sound genuinely interesting and you hope and pray you will be cast in. Part of acting also includes trying to land a great agent or manager because they will know about the better tier of casting calls than some of the casting websites to have available. You should also go to acting class, practice monologues, work out your body, mind, and voice as often as possible, and network. The majority of things I’ve been cast in have come through knowing the right people. I think getting anywhere in acting is a combination of luck and who you know. I believe that the more you put into life the more you get out of it. Hopefully, eventually, all the time and effort I have put into this avenue will align and bring me to the goals I’ve set for myself. I have achieved some greats in my career thus far, but I believe the best is yet to come. Fingers crossed!

My Instagram is mostly a place for me to have fun with photography, and archery, which are the two things I post the most about. I’ve started the #sheispower hashtag in the hopes that other women will post their stories of what makes them powerful.

I know that what will take me far in my life is the years I have taken to cultivate my mind. I have a strong grasp on who I am, what I stand for, where I want to go, and faith in myself. I can only hope to inspire other women to feel the same.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Oooh, we’ve gotten to one of my favorite topics.

So far this year, I have read four books that have really impacted me. The first on the list is ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson. He speaks on how to narrow down the things we should allow ourselves to care about, and how to pick what we value. I consider myself to be an empathic person, and I almost always feel the emotions of whoever I’m around. I used to care about all manner of things that I wished I could change, but I know I can’t. There are so many disheartening things going on in this country and the world, in general, but I can’t fix any of it, and getting upset doesn’t help either. I would get anxious and stress myself out over these things constantly. After reading Mark’s book, I learned how to let a lot of that strife go. I highly recommend his book.

I’ve also read two books by the amazing Paulo Coehlo- ‘The Alchemist,’ and ‘Brida.’ Both books about owning your own power, and having the courage to explore your spirituality and to go after your dreams.

Lastly, I read an amazing book called ‘Witches, Sluts, Feminists’ by Kristen J. Sollee. I’m sure the title will rub some people the wrong way, but it’s an amazing account of the history of how those words have been used to suppress, repress, and control women, and how the tides are turning now by women reclaiming those words and using them as symbols of personal freedom, wisdom, and power.

My favorite TV shows are easily The Office (I’m pretty sure I’ve watched it through at least 15 times), Game of Thrones, and The Haunting of Hill House. Favorite artists at the moment are Ashe, Bea Miller, The Black Keys, Fleetwood Mac, Wax Idols, and Anna Wise.

Contact Info:

  • Email: katyhillus@gmail.com
  • Instagram: itskatehill

Image Credit:
Photos by Nicoletta Hanssen, Jesse Baldridge, and Joni Rudak

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Margaret Walker

    June 16, 2019 at 03:37

    Loved this article, Kate. Your Father was a talented man, and I’m glad to have known him. Hang in there; I, too, have sought the answers to “why” questions since my own mother died in 1950 when I was 3. My digging for answers that DO answer as to “why?” has given me confidence, but you’re right: us women must be careful not to be stupid, gullible, without losing our femininity and always practice kindness, as a rule.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in