Community//

Chelsie Hill: “Failure is part of the process”

We kind of joke at Rollettes that disability is ‘trending’ right now and we should take advantage of it but it’s true! It’s the idea that you can’t be what you can’t see. We can’t change people’s minds about those with disabilities unless we show them and film and television have the power to share […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

We kind of joke at Rollettes that disability is ‘trending’ right now and we should take advantage of it but it’s true! It’s the idea that you can’t be what you can’t see. We can’t change people’s minds about those with disabilities unless we show them and film and television have the power to share different stories. We need to change the narrative. People with disabilities are independent, strong, smart and powerful. We own businesses and have partners and families. Representation in film and television is the gateway into changing the prospective of us in society.


As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chelsie Hill.

The Rollettes dance team was founded in 2012, when its founder, Chelsie Hill sustained a spinal cord injury months before her high school graduation. Hill, a dancer since the age of two, wanted to meet other women wheelchair users her age. She reached out to seven women and invited them to come dance in her hometown in Monterey, CA. The Rollettes wheelchair dance team continues to empower women with disabilities to live boundlessly and shift perspectives through dance. Since its launch, the team has gained visibility with appearances on Today Show, Home and Family, Access Daily and KTLA to name a few. For more information on the Rollettes, please visit rollettesdance.com.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/51978898e51efbde7121ec80d5a38eee


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a small town in Northern California called Pacific Grove. It’s right near the beach and has a lot of charm. I started dancing there at the age of 3 so I’d say I grew of kind of small and simply. It was nice.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started competing in dance at a pretty young age and it was just something I was good at. It became such a passion and something I really felt I could succeed in. I felt most myself when I was dancing.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Probably performing on The Ellen Show. It was such a surreal career moment. Who doesn’t dream of performing on Ellen? It was so fun.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m really thankful that my dad was there right after my injury to tell me that I could still dance. I was still in the hospital when he showed me videos of people dancing in wheelchairs on YouTube. I wasn’t ready to even think about that. In my mind I wanted to dance again the way I did before, but I’m glad he was there to show me a new way of dancing right at the beginning.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Failure is part of the process. It’s not if failure will happen, it’s when. Since it’s going to happen, you can’t prepare yourself for the failure, you have to prepare yourself for the recovery and how you’re doing to get yourself back up. No one gets it right all the time. But if you want something you have to keep going for it.

What drives you to get up everyday and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?

I think at first it was my own passion for what I wanted for myself and my career and now as time has gone on and my purpose has grown to something so much bigger, representation for my community is really what pushes me into new spaces and pushes me to get up and try new things. I know it matters to myself and so many people and that really encourages me to keep going. I get messages on social media a lot talking about how someone is now trying out for their local dance team or posting their own dance videos because they saw me do it and it was always their dream and that’s so amazing. It feels so much bigger than just me now.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

I’m excited to work with different home and lifestyle brands actually. I’ve been expanding my YouTube and sharing a lot more of my day to day life and as I plan my wedding and move into the next chapter of my life I look forward to sharing more of that with my followers. Also, Rollettes Experience which is our big annual women’s empowerment weekend at Rollettes has been growing like crazy. We are looking at new ways to expand that as well so that is really what I’m looking forward to in the next year.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

We kind of joke at Rollettes that disability is ‘trending’ right now and we should take advantage of it but it’s true! It’s the idea that you can’t be what you can’t see. We can’t change people’s minds about those with disabilities unless we show them and film and television have the power to share different stories. We need to change the narrative. People with disabilities are independent, strong, smart and powerful. We own businesses and have partners and families. Representation in film and television is the gateway into changing the prospective of us in society.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

Oh yes. I love self-care and think it’s so important. First thing is I make my black tea every morning and I take a few minutes to sip it with my essential oil diffuser going. It’s the perfect way to slowly start my morning and wake up my brain. I take a few minutes to stretch every day and I make it a point to get a massage each month. Having a spinal cord injury really takes its toll on the body so getting a massage is really important for my blood flow. I also make sure I take dance class a few times a month with my favorite choreographers. Even if I’ve had the longest day and I’m dead tired I go because I know when it’s over, I’ll feel rejuvenated and powerful.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my favorite quotes is “A woman who knows what she brings to the table is not afraid to eat a lone.” The author is unknown, but I love it. I feel like sometimes you have to trust what you have inside of you and what you have to offer. Don’t be afraid to do it alone. The right people will come to your table.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

If I could start a big movement of acceptance I would. I’m not sure what that looks like or if maybe Rollettes Experience has already done that a little bit but when people find acceptance, they find more of themselves and when people find themselves, the world heals. The world needs healing more than ever, I think. Or maybe we can just see that it does more because of our access to social media but that’s why I like using social media. Because through it, maybe I can help create some self-acceptance within people. A spinal cord injury can happen to anyone at anytime, anywhere. So no one is exempt from the possibility. It’s a humbling thing to remember. I hope my movement legacy from all this is that people felt more accepted because of the work Rollettes does.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

You know these questions has always been so hard for me to answer but now I think I know. We have the honor of having disability icon Judith Heumann speak at Rollettes Experience 2020 Virtual coming up on October 11th. She has paved the way for disability rights and the ADA laws we know and enjoy today and although she will be speaking, I won’t get the chance to actually meet her so one day, I would love to sit down and have lunch with her and really thank her for being a trailblazer and advocate for our community.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

Yes! I’m on Instagram primarily and also on Youtube!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chelsiehill/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC053Zw032Zq5gEiKFz-25ZA

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Rollettes Dance Team Founder Chelsie Hill: “Dance Is Dance Whether You’re Walking Or Rolling”

    by Bianca L. Rodriguez, Ed.M, LMFT
    Community//

    Unstoppable: “Disability is caused by the way society is structured, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference” with actor, filmmaker and double hand amputee, John Lawson

    by Yitzi Weiner at Authority Magazine

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.