Your home for everything artistic

After her recent appearance on the new version of “The Gong Show” I reached out to this talented young lady who is widely recognized as one of the major talents in hooping today.

Q: Where you always a performer or did hooping start this for you?

A: I wasn’t always a performer, in fact quite the opposite! I was painfully shy in middle school on up into my high school years, I was just one of those kids that took a long time to emerge from my shell. I never did gymnastics or dance or cheerleading or any kind of performance, really. Hooping has definitely done wonders for my self-confidence and my ability to be comfortable in front of a crowd.

Q: Before getting involved with hooping what did you want to do as a career?

A: I have always had a passion for art so from a young age I knew I wanted to be involved in the arts somehow. I taught elementary art for several years before leaving to hula hoop full-time. Now I work for a non-profit art museum in Little Rock managing the gift shop. I get work with local artists and buy their work for the store which I absolutely love.

Katie Sunshine of The Gong Show

Q: How much does it help with fitness and health? 

A: As far as I’m concerned, hooping is the best exercise there is! Hula hooping great for toning core muscles and burning calories. Plus, it doesn’t feel like a workout so you’re more likely to stick with it longer and not burn out. Lastly, hooping is a great stress reliever. It’s easy to forget how important managing stress is to leading a healthy lifestyle and because hooping is fun and challenging at the same time, it’s great a great way to let off some steam.

Q: What type of songs are your favorite for doing your performance?

A: I’m a music lover and I can hoop to just about anything! I prefer songs with a faster beat because it’s more inspiring to get the hoop moving faster.

Q: You are a business woman too. What has that been like for you?

A: The business aspect of my hooping has been a huge learning experience. I’ve learned the importance of networking and nurturing the contacts you make as a business owner. The hula hoop community is a growing one and there are lots of opportunities to work with other performers if you’re willing and able to put yourself in the position to meet new people.

Katie Sunshine hoops on stairs

Q: Can you give me an example of a unique or interesting experience you had during one of your shows?

A: Every show I do is a unique experience for sure but I definitely have some moments that stand out. One of my first ever performances for a live audience happened in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park. I was going to hula hoop with the Philly Phanatic on top of the Phillies dugout during the 7th inning stretch. The weather had been misting rain all evening and right before I walked out to perform, one of the employees of the park said “the top of the dugout gets really slippery in the rain, that’s not a problem, right?” But before I could even answer I had to go out! I was terrified the entire performance of slipping and falling off the dugout! Fortunately I didn’t fall, the Phanatic was a great hooping partner, and it was the biggest adrenaline rush I had from a performance!

Q: What other creative pursuits are you interested in or considering giving a try?

A: I have so many creative interests I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day! As I mentioned above I love art and painting has been a passion of mine even before hula hooping. I love to paint, although I don’t always get the time to, and I also love ceramics. I’m still a beginner with a pottery wheel but I’m definitely hooked! I also play the drums and want to learn how to do tricks on roller skates

Q: You make your own hoops – how did you get started doing this?

A: I started making my own hoops to try to save money on all the hoops I was buying! Designing hoop tape patterns and colors is definitely another creative outlet for me.

Q: How did you start working with flames and where you scared of getting injured?

A: My first experience with fire hooping came about when a hoop-friend of mine brought her fire hoop to a gathering. I had seen fire hoops on Youtube and was interested to try. I had hooped for long enough at that point that I was very comfortable with my hooping ability so I felt I was ready to go for it. I was absolutely terrified of getting burned! However, with some encouragement and a tutorial from my friend I felt confident enough to try. And I get more and more comfortable hooping with fire every time I do it. Of course, safety is always first priority and I always make sure to take all the necessary precautions.

Katie Sunshine

Check out Katie’s official website at www.katiesunshinehoops.com

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