We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Hilary Opheim a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Hilary, thanks for joining us today. What did your parents do right and how has that impacted you in your life and career?
I grew up in the 1970s with the Dad who went off to work and the Mom who stayed home for the kids. It was idyllic and I know how lucky I am to have grown up during that time and especially watching my Dad in his job and my Mom who was always there and supportive and showed what a strong, caring woman was like. She loved what she did with us kids and let us know that we could do or be anything we wanted to.
My Dad’s work was his passion, he loved every moment of it and it showed. I wanted that for myself and so I naturally I started trying to figure that out at a very young age. Journalist, photographer, singer, actor, painter, novelist the list went on!
My parents let me follow my path whatever it was and instilled that no matter what I did to be happy. My Dad would tell me that he went off to college thinking he was going to do one thing and then another door opened and he found what he really loved.
I went off to college thinking I was going after one thing and just like my Dad stumbled into something else. Pilates. I already loved fitness and was working in the fitness industry and it was fun but, it wasn’t what I thought I would do forever. Then the first time I stepped into my friend’s Pilates studio and got on her apparatus that was it! I had found my passion.
It took a long time to get to teaching Pilates and then teaching others but, my parents are beyond happy and proud that I love what I do. I realize now that finding your passion is not something everyone gets in life. My husband reminds me of that a lot. He says most people just do their job, go home and it pays the bills.
I grew up never thinking like that. My parents never put a thought of you cant find or do what you love. It is out there for you.
I have both my Mom and Dad in me every day when I teach. My Mom with her strength, her bright outlook, her love of others and taking care of them. My Dad and his passion for work, wanting to know more, explore his work deeper and keep learning to keep that love of the work in you.
What my parents did right was give the gift to a little girl in the 1970’s when women stayed at home and didn’t have opportunities that men had in the world. They showed me that I could go out in the world and do whatever I really wanted to do. That I could find that passion and to not give up. Once it was found to nurture it and appreciate it every day!
Hilary, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I have been teaching Pilates for over 25 years now and moved my studio to Los Angeles from Houston January 2020. I teach privates as well as virtual classes and privates and also run a Teacher Training Program for those wanting to teach Pilates and follow their passion.
Teaching Pilates is all about helping keep people healthy, mobile and injury free and I love watching my clients realize how strong they have become and to be able to do things they never imagined they could.
My teaching is known for having a positive and supportive style with clients and students and I love hearing those that come into my studio or take virtual from me how they always know they will feel better after seeing me.
The thing I love most about teaching is the relationship not only with the clients but, with the clients and their Pilates. To guide them in the practice and as the years go by to see different ways to get them where they need and want to be.
If you could go back, would you choose the same profession, specialty, etc.?
Without a doubt, I would! I only wish I could have found it sooner. To be exposed to it as a young teenager or when I was doing sports would have been a gift for sure. I realize that I am lucky to have found this profession and can’t imagine doing anything else. Even when the pandemic hit, I know some teachers left to go back to do jobs they had before they became teachers. That thought never entered my mind, even in the darkest moments.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
The biggest moment in my career was right after I moved my studio to Los Angeles. I had my studio in Houston for 15 years and landed in LA opening here on January 6, 2020. A few weeks into March everything shut down. I had only a few clients at the time and rent to pay on my studio. I had a Teacher Training class going as well out of state and suddenly I couldn’t fly to teach them either.
I admit there was a panic for a bit when I realized this was going to be longer than a few weeks so, I worked on my website and started a virtual platform for privates, and started classes. Most Pilates studio’s were doing this but, with only a few clients I didn’t have a huge pool of clients to fill my days/weeks and classes.
I reached out to my old clients in Houston just as they shut down and they jumped into the virtual with me joining for privates or classes. The few clients I had here in Los Angeles did as well and the Teacher training students dived into virtual learning until we could meet up in person again.
In reality, I was shut down for around a year and the fact that now my week is full with clients and at this point 3 different Teacher Training classes are going on is something I am still unable to comprehend sometimes. It was a scary year but, I know I am much stronger and it made me realize what I truly want in my teaching and studio.
- Website: www.hilaryopheim.com
- Instagram: @hilaryopheim
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hilaryopheimpilates
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hopheim/
- Twitter: @hopheim
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/HilaryOpheim
- Other: https://www.patreon.com/hilaryopheimpilates
Scott Opheim, Dana Harris, Jyl Thompson