We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Piliouras and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, what role has risk played in your life or career?
To me, what matters most is: does the risk in question have the potential for me to really level up and better my life more so than if I didn’t take the risk? If so, I allow myself to just sit with it for a while– no pressure attached. Risks can be really scary; they typically put us out of our comfort zone. So I allow myself to go through the motions of it; how it makes me feel, why I feel that way, and then seeing if I can think through all that and ultimately decide the risk is worthwhile and for my best interest. Sometimes we need those positive, calculated risks to help us grow and get us to where we want to go. Although we can’t plan for everything in life — and the year 2020 was certainly a reminder to all of us on that — it’s important when we’ve decided to take a risk to prepare ourselves to the best of our ability before leaping. Risks are scary because we are afraid we will fail. So, if I have decided to leap, I am going to make sure every part of my being is prepared to do it, so that I have the highest chance of success. Olympic athletes don’t just show up to the race one day; they spend years training physically and mentally so that they are ready to win that huge challenge. And that’s exactly how we need to prepare for those big risks. I’ve had several situations in my life and career where I needed to decide to take a risk or not. I’m a big fan of calculated risk. I think the reason why I have made it to where I am is because I have thought through and taken a lot of those risks. I always had a dream of living in Los Angeles. I grew up in Michigan and went to college there. My first job out of college was also in Michigan. I had no family or anyone I knew in LA. But I knew I was going to do it. I had plenty of nay-sayers along the way but I just reminded myself that that was their path and this is mine. I wanted to only take the leap when I knew I had all the tools to make it work there so that any setbacks I may encounter wouldn’t force me to have to leave LA. So patience played a huge factor. I wanted to be in LA so bad, but I knew I needed more time to prepare financially and with building my resume. So I resigned my first job in Michigan to go to Chicago. 4 years later I resigned from my Chicago job and moved to LA– only knowing a handful of people and no job lined up. That was a major risk. But I knew I had prepared myself to the best of my ability with saving money for years, building my resume so I could land a job — it was time to leap. I’m now here 3 years later, working in entertainment both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. I just had a baby with my fiance and I look back and am so happy I took that leap. But had I lept too soon or too late it may not have turned out this way. You have to prepare yourself as much as possible and then let faith take over that it will all come together, because you can’t plan everything. I always think of this quote as it applies to my life and it couldn’t be more true: “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but on her own wings.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an Actress, Comedian and an Executive Assistant in the Entertainment Industry. I think what sets me apart from others is that I have such a passion and joy for life. I don’t see “work” as “work.” I see it as added fulfillment to my life that provides me with income to afford my life, take care of those I love and ultimately gives me the freedom to continue doing what I love. I wouldn’t say my path was easy — it definitely came with many challenges personally and professionally — but I also think that is part of life and it shapes you. I try to not focus on the “bad” and instead focus on how many things I can be grateful for in my life. Why would I want to spend my time focusing on feeling bad? I’d rather spend my time being happy. That doesn’t mean I ignore my problems. I definitely allow myself to feel them top to bottom but then I pick myself back up and push forward. Everyone has “bad” in their life but there is also so much we can be thankful for. I feel very blessed to have my daughter, fiance, parents, siblings and friends. They make me so happy and my joy for life translates into my work because I show up happy and seeking out the opportunities. Lessons I have learned along the way are to not let your confidence in yourself and ability turn into unhealthy competition with others. There are a ton of very talented people in the world. Clap for those people and your time will come. Be authentic and truly connect with people and be happy for their wins. When you’re happy and focused on yourself you won’t feel the need to compare your journey to anyone else’s. What I want people to know about my brand is that I am a jack of all trades and want to bring my best self forward when working on a project. I had many internships in college that I walked into not knowing much about and left with a lot of new skills. I am grateful those people gave me a shot and let me have the chance to learn. I had no idea how to video edit when I took on a production internship and I left knowing the program from top to bottom which then helped in my next internship at a news station where I cut footage for the nightly news and helped write scripts. I am very adaptable and a quick learner. I took a job right after college recruiting individuals in the manufacturing business. I had never ever been inside a factory. But by the time I left I had been promoted to recruiting professionals in skilled trades and could hold a conversation with a machinist about coding. Anytime I have needed to tackle something in my personal or professional life I study it from top to bottom and become a pseudo-expert on it so that I can show up to my best ability. I’m very creative and love diving into new ventures. I have a joy for life and it keeps me going. As a result my creative brain is more able to quick-fire on projects because I’m excited about the work versus wondering how to make myself stand out.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh wow, that’s a lot to unpack here! I actually have a loose agenda in mind — I don’t like to overly plan anything since it depends on how we’re feeling — from when family and friends have come 🙂 I love the outdoors so I would definitely take them on several really scenic hikes. There’s some exceptional views out in Malibu and the Santa Monica areas. It’s always fun to check out Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills so I would take a drive there and then stop at the Original Farmers Market. I’d also drive by the Hollywood sign and stop in front to take pictures. We would definitely take a walk along the beach and grab some food and drinks at one of the restaurants along that area. If there was time taking a little road trip to Big Bear would be awesome. I’ve heard it’s amazing but never been. Downtown Hollywood is also a must-do for tourists. It’s so fun and there’s such an energy there. I’ve also heard great things about Catalina Island so if it was warm enough kayaking out there would be awesome! And because I’m in the entertainment business — doing a studio tour would absolutely be a must! Movie making magic is so cool and really exciting to be a part of. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a major thank you to my parents. Without their love and support I firmly believe I wouldn’t be the individual I am today and I am forever grateful to be blessed with them in my life.
Dropout Photography, Eluciano Photography