Leah Hawkins embraces everything that life throws at her from the good to the bad. Every situation she finds herself in is a lesson to be learned and an experience to gain. She opened up with us at VULKAN on her vices, her past, and the challenges she overcame when on “Flirty Dancin.” It’s safe to say she is a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman who is dancing her way to the top.
Can you tell us your story and what brought you to this specific career path?
I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Acting, dancing, and singing my whole life. I’ve been performing every since I could walk. I could never imagine doing anything else. It’s always been a passion of mine to perform.
What is one advice you received that has stuck with you throughout your journey?
“Do the sh***y stuff.” You can learn something from any experience as long as you go into to things with an open heart/mind. And don’t ever compare yourself to others.
What was the casting process for “Flirty Dancing?” / Were you allowed to see your date before performing together?
I filled out a questionnaire I saw mindlessly scrolling through social media one day and filled it out. Went through a few interviews and a dance audition. Then I found out I got picked! I wasn’t allowed to see him until Dance Day. I wasn’t even allowed to talk to him unless he decided to choose me on Date Day.
What were some of the challenges you faced on the show? / How did you overcome them?
It had been quite a bit of time since I had danced last. I’m a perfectionist and I was super anxious that I was going to mess something up and he would think I was an idiot. So I had to REALLY focus on letting go, having fun, and relying on muscle memory to remember the routine.
Share with us your top 3 funniest moments while filming.
When I first met Ashley and Allison I told them I could do the worm, and I actually got on the floor and did the INCH worm. I’m kind of relieved that part didn’t make it into the episode!
When I was rehearsing the lift I kept getting really excited (maybe nervous) and would aggressively JUMP, so we had to go over it a few times before I calmed down. That was pretty funny and quite a learning experience for me.
Little fact about me, I get irrationally calm when I’m super nervous. Everyone on the crew was used to me being super bubbly and happy but on Dance Day they were so worried about me. They didn’t think I was okay because I was so quiet. I had to keep letting them know I was just internally screaming but I was totally okay!
What do you think people remember the most about you when they first meet you?
I would assume what a goofball I am! I love to joke around and I have a pretty quick/dry sense of humor.
Who is someone you would love to work alongside and why?
Helena Bonham Carter. I think she is so talented and versatile, I would learn so much.
What steps are you taking day to day in order to improve yourself?
Little things like journal, read, stretch, really long showers. Keeping my mind clear and healthy is super important to me. Especially being in the entertainment industry.
What are your vices?
I need the volume in multiples of 3.
I watch rewatch The Vampire Diaries if I’m sad.
Is there anyone in particular that helped you get to where you are today?
My parents, hands down. They’ve always been so supportive and loved me for the wannabe star that I was born as. When I told them I was moving to LA they didn’t even question it. They packed up car and waved goodbye. I’m forever grateful and fortunate for that.
How has dancing changed your life?
It’s such a huge release for me. There’s no other feeling like being on stage with eyeliner that makes you look like a raccoon while wearing 3 pairs of tights for quick change. That rush is simply something that if you know, you know.
If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, whom would you choose and why?
Walt Disney. He’s a fellow Missouri guy and I would love to hear all the secrets (possibly drama) and inspiration for how he went through life and created his world.
By Alexandra Bonnet
Photographer TOMMY FLANAGAN @tommy_flanagan
Stylist TANYA NAZARIAN
Hair MIKA FOWLER @mikahairstylist
Makeup ERIK TORPPE @eriktorppe
Production Asstiant JUSTINE DUCLAUX @justine_duclaux
Production @BELLOMediaGroup x @MaisonPriveepr_LA x @bonnetalex18