We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Kirkland and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Natalie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Naturally, I’m a risk averse person. I enjoy being prepared for everything, be it a dance performance (I’ll always be the dancer with extra costume pieces, safety pins, and earrings), a hiking trip (I got you on snacks), or an emergency situation (extra water, batteries and hand warmers on deck). Living this “prepped” lifestyle helps ease situations when I can’t be so ready, or when there are elements out of my control.

All that being said, and as ready for anything as one can be, we also know life doesn’t line up perfectly sometimes and we inevitably have to “risk it for the biscuit” in one instance or another. This creates the concept of *calculated* risk-taking; analyzing options and outcomes, and optimizing your life to maximize the odds in your favor. I’ll walk myself through where I’ll be mentally, financially, and morally with taking the risk, and without. If I find the risk is worth the reward, then I work on locking in the outcome to be in my favor.

I’ve had a few life and career changing moments where I had to make such calculated risks: auditioning for professional cheer teams and risking failure; quitting a job that was soul sucking with nothing lined up in the pipeline; and packing up my life from a city I adored to move to Los Angeles to pursue dance dreams. If I never auditioned, never quit with my dignity, and never moved, my life would be so unbelievably different that I can’t even imagine what I’d be doing. What’s the common thread between those three situations: each was calculated meticulously, I left as little up to chance as possible (remember – I like to be prepped to maximize results), and of course, I believed in my success.

My process may not be any different than a lot of people, or perhaps it is overkill, but I just operate best (also read as: my anxiety is lowest) when I am as methodical as I can be. Details are in the details, my friends.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a former NFL cheerleader, video vixen (heh), and commercial hip hop dancer rolled into one. When not taking class and training myself, I choreograph for professional cheer teams, the collegiate dance team circuit, and training camps for pro cheer hopefuls. I specialize in a style I call “pop hop” which encompasses high energy, big movement and hair whips while straddling the line between jazz funk and hip hop. I am fortunate that I found a passion so early on in life, and even more fortunate that I found avenues to continue my craft as an adult.

There is no sacred space like a dance studio, no one feels emotion like an artist, and no one will “work a room” like a pro cheerleader. The entertainment industry has something for everyone, and I encourage my community to find out what that is. Sign up for that beginner heels class that you keep seeing your friends take, buy a ticket to see a professional ballet company perform Swan Lake, stay in your seat and watch the cheerleaders perform their routine during half time (then get your hot dog). I have engulfed my life in dance, the arts, and entertainment and I’m here to say there is so much fulfillment being both a performer and a spectator.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

The beauty of LA is there is always more than enough to do and see. I’d definitely take the homie to Hollywood Blvd where’d we’d probably grab drinks and grub at Secret Bar & Grill before strolling up and down the street. We’d have to hit up a rooftop bar at some point, probably the tried and true Mama Shelter. Of course, what LA visit would be complete without a hike on Runyon in the Hollywood Hills or a drive to Santa Monica to lounge on the beach. If there’s a sports game we’re trying to watch, bet on us visiting Jalapeno Pete’s or The Woodman in the Valley. Then there is 40 Love – always a good time. The Americana in Glendale for dinner one night would be a cute move. Let’s not forget about taking some dance classes at Playground LA before shopping on Melrose. 

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give a shout out to those who encouraged me to aim higher. Family, close friends, coaches, teammates – so many influential people who were role models and who pushed me to excel.

Website: www.NatalieAnnKirkland.com
Instagram: @NatalieAnnKirkland

Image Credits
KG Visuals

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