Katie Sunshine is a YouTube sensation with over 2 million views on her channel of hooping videos. Katie discusses what it's like having so many eyes on her, how she found her flow, and how she reacts to negative comments online. (That's right, even Katie receives her share of them!)Name: Katie Sunshine Hooping Hometown: Arkansas Years Hooping: Almost Five Who introduced you to hooping? I saw a girl hoop dancing at a festival once. I was totally mesmerized by her, and I wanted to do the things she could do with that hoop. After that festival, I bought my first hoop and started practicing. What was the biggest challenge for you? Learning how to hoop with multiple hoops on my body. When I first started practicing, I thought it would be no problem. I could hula hoop with one hoop anywhere on my body so just adding a second one would be no big deal. I quickly found out otherwise! Hooping with two hoops on the body is totally different. I can hoop on my knees and chest, and on my waist and chest, but I'm still practicing more. How long did it take for you to find your "flow" in hooping? Finding my flow took several months. I had to get to a point where I could control the hoop well enough to hoop to the beat of the music. I also had to get to the point where I could easily hoop on my hips (as opposed to my waist). Hooping on my hips helped me find my flow because I could move my hips to the music as I would if I were dancing without the hoop so I could learn to incorporate my own movements that I was already comfortable doing and already felt good. What do you consider to be your signature move? I have a lot of hoopers ask me about wiggling the hoop from the knees back up to the waist so I would say that I my signature move. (MORE: Watch Katie's Tutorial of this move) What has been, in your opinion, your biggest achievement as a hooper? Although I feel luck had everything to do with it, I would have to say my YouTube videos going viral. I had so many other wonderful opportunities that have come from people coming across my videos. I also get so many inspiring messages from people who watch my videos. I enjoy the feedback I get from viewers and fans just as much as I enjoy the hooping itself! What is the weirdest place you have ever hooped? I hooped on top of the Phillies dugout with the Phillie Phanatic. That was the biggest rush! There were around 45,000 people at that ball field with their eyes on me! I was so nervous, but it was so much fun. Do you have any practical advice for hoopers who want to make their videos go viral/gain an online following? I can't say that I do have any advice because I really feel my videos going viral was purely a stroke of unbelievably good luck! The first video that went viral was on YouTube for two years before it took off. The best thing I can think of is to encourage hoopers to use songs that they love hooping to and maybe somebody out there in the world will love that song too, love your hoop dancing, and share it everywhere. What does it feel like to have such an expansive online audience? It's an absolutely amazing feeling. I love reading all the positive and inspiring comments I get on my videos and messages I get on Facebook (and I do read them all)! It's definitely a huge motivation to keep making more videos. Sometimes hoopers receive negative comments on their videos, do you ever get any negative comments, and how do you react to them? Unfortunately, I do get negative comments on my videos. Sometimes, I realize it's just a viewer trying to get a rise out of other viewers or out of me in which case it's easy to ignore. When it's another hooper commenting negatively, I have to admit it stings a little bit. I know that I have my own boundaries when it comes to what I'm comfortable doing and wearing and conversely what I'm not comfortable with. I also recognize that other people may have a different set of boundaries. I reconcile the negative comments with the thought that it's simply a different person with a different set of boundaries giving his or her opinion. As long as I'm comfortable with myself and know my own boundaries, it doesn't matter what other people think. What is your hooping dream? To travel around the world and give hoops to kids (and adults) and hula hoop with them. Spread the hooping love, you could say. Changing the world with hula hoops! What is your hooping confession? I will confess this because it really helped me and it might help other new hoopers too: I learned a lot of my moves by straight up copying other hoopers I saw on Youtube. In doing so, I found that some thing were really comfortable to perform and others didn't come to me quite so naturally so I altered them to fit my own movements and thus eventually found my own flow.
Check out Katie's other videos and content here: www.katiesunshinehoops.com
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