Interview: Kalani Hilliker Talks Dance Moms, Fashion, & Her Future – Exclusive
With the Dance Moms season 6 finale coming up fast, Pop City Life spoke with Kalani Hilliker about what to expect from the emotional episode. We also found out more about Kalani’s passion for dance, her interest in acting, her dancewear line, and more!
It sounds like there are a couple of really intense Dance Moms episodes coming up! Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect?
Kalani Hilliker: Yes, these next episodes are really intense because some of our team members are leaving, so it’s really sad. Of course we’re happy that they’re moving on and everything, but we’re obviously sad, so lots of tears and crying. We started filming the next part of the season – what’s airing right now is season 6, and 6.5 is what we’re filming right now – and they aren’t with us, but we are doing pretty well! We’re getting through it. Obviously it’s sad to not have the girls here with us, but we’re doing good with it.
What do you miss most about Maddie and Mackenzie?
They’re just like our sisters, so it’s hard to not have our sisters on the team, you know? It’s weird without them, but it’s good that they’re moving on.
Dance Moms acts as kind of a springboard in terms of publicity and the cool things you get to do as a result of being on the show. What does the future look like for you? Are you working on anything else aside from Dance Moms?
I’m auditioning and really trying to get into the acting thing! It’s something that I really want to get into. I just recently started my own YouTube channel, so I’m going to start making YouTube videos. I’m going to try to post weekly, because it sounds like something fun to do, and why not?! And then I have a dancewear line, so I’m having some new stuff come out – a new dance top and dance shorts are coming out pretty soon, and then hopefully I have some more stuff coming out during the summer!
You’ve been dancing almost your whole life. What inspired you to stick with dance and to really get serious about it?
When I was younger, I was just dancing for the fun of it. I did a ton of different sports – I was an ice skater, I danced, I played golf, I did soccer and softball, I really did a lot of things. I almost did choose soccer over dance because I really like to play soccer, but luckily I chose dance. I think I just really found a passion for [dance] and I was always dancing with the older kids and felt like I was excelling at it. You always want to do something where you excel, and you never want to do anything you’re not good at, so I felt like I was having a lot of fun and I made a lot of friends doing it. I got a dance agent when I was like 8 or 9, and I started going out to auditions and I got a few [jobs], so then I was like, “I really think this is what I want to do.” I’ve just stuck with it ever since and I just fell in love with dancing!
Do you prefer acting over dancing, or do you like them both the same?
I love both of them the same. Acting is just newer to me. It’s the same as dance – I didn’t just wake up one day and become an amazing dancer, I had to work for it. So I’m doing the same with my acting; I’m starting from the beginning and I have to work really hard to get to where I want to be! I’m focusing on both acting and dancing right now because dancing is my passion and I’ve always loved it and I always will love it, but I want to get into acting because it seems like something that I would really enjoy doing. You’ve always got to have a bunch of things under your arm!
What are some of the challenges of being on Dance Moms, and what are your favorite parts of the experience?
Dance Moms has taught me a ton of things. We learn our dances super fast … in like two days, plus there’s drama happening with producers wanting to cause drama and the moms fighting and Abby getting upset with the moms and them coming into our rehearsals. There’s a lot of things that are happening, and I feel like it’s really taught us to stay focused because it’s not easy to learn your dance in two days! And sometimes you have to learn two dances in two days, and sometimes we’re finishing them right before we go onstage or we haven’t practiced in our costumes yet, so it’s really taught us to stay focused and to just keep going and keep moving. It’s been a great experience and it’s taught us to be very smart and dedicated and we can’t do anything half; we have to do everything full-out. It’s taught us discipline, I’d say, because you have to make yourself go over your dance when you get home at night so that you don’t forget it when you go onstage. It’s just been amazing, and being out in LA for as long as we are helps us get opportunities. I want to become an actress – that’s like my main goal. I would love to be an actress and a dancer, and that’s what I’m aspiring to be right now, so just being able to be out in LA and have the amazing opportunities that we have is just incredible.
It sounds like a lot of fun! Is it more stressful or more fun?
It’s both! It really depends on the week. Sometimes it’s super stressful because you have to learn so many dances, but it’s also really fun.
Did you have certain ideas about Dance Moms before you were on the show and then realized it was different to what you thought, or was it pretty much what you expected?
I never really watched the show before I was on it, so I never really expected it to be any way, I just kind of ended up doing it! It wasn’t totally what I expected, but I didn’t expect much going into it.
The ALDC competition team uses a lot of different styles of dance. Do you have a favorite style, and are there any you don’t like?
I for sure do love every style of dance! It’s so nice to be able to do every style. Every dancer wants to be able to do every style. I love to do ballet and be technical and have pretty feet and pretty legs and pretty turns and all that, but I also like to do hip-hop because it’s super fun and upbeat and just a good time! I work really hard to be good at every style.
You mentioned your clothing line – what inspired you to kick that off?
I love fashion – anything fashion and clothes and all of that, I’m really into! And obviously I live in dance clothes, so I was just like, “I should start a dancewear line considering how much I wear dance clothes!” A lot of people would say, “I love what you’re wearing on the show,” so people seemed to like my style, so I said why don’t I just start my own? It’s really cool because not a lot of 15-year-olds get to have their own dancewear line, and there are also leggings and other things for people who aren’t dancers but still want to wear the type of leggings that I wear. It’s with Purple Pixies, so it’s the Purple Pixies Kalani Collection. It’s super awesome and super comfortable, and I for sure wear it all the time! You can catch me wearing all my outfits on Dance Moms.
It’s cool that you get to do something you love as a result of something else that you love!
Yes, I’m such a girl and I love fashion and makeup and all that stuff, so it’s really cool to be able to do something so amazing.