Sunday, April 15, 2012

Internet Celeb of the Month: Katie the Hula Hoop Girl




A few weeks ago, I was messing around on fark.com when someone posted the video linked below.  I watched it (a few times) and was struck by a couple of things:

1. This girl is incredibly attractive
2. I didn't know hula hooping could be this cool or awe inspiring.

Take a look for yourself:





Despite being a male, my unabashed fascination with this video was not solely due to how attractive the girl was; I was also totally blown away by the incredible tricks and stunts she was able to pull off with a hula hoop, which to me only represented the bane of my elementary school gym experience.

The next morning, I was talking on the phone to my good friend Jeff before I headed into work.  Jeff was having a terrible day, so I thought I'd try to cheer him up.

"Jeff, I'm going to send you a video that I guarantee will make your day better," I earnestly told him.  Jeff didn't believe me, but 10 minutes after I sent the video, I began receiving text messages and voicemails from him proclaiming it to be the greatest thing to ever grace the internet.

Next, I decided to brave the possible swift kick to the nuts I might receive and show the video to my wife. "Why show a video of a beautiful girl I watched repeatedly to your wife?" you may ask.  Because the skill and artistry was just too impressive not to...and for another reason.

Once the video was done, my wife looked at me and said: "Wow, she really is good.  I guess I need to go out and get a hula hoop now."




The youtube user who uploaded the video (and others of her hula hooping) went by the handle of 4638katie.  While her individual channel began blowing up, the video also became even more popular on sites like reddit, thechive, and barstool sports.

But aside from a few youtube comments by her and a couple of internet search results, no one seemed to know much about this girl from Arkansas that had hooped her way into our hearts.  So I decided to go out on a limb and try to contact her.  I figured she would rather do an interview with a bigger website (and one with less typos), but it was worth a shot.

After a few weeks, I was surprised to find this response from Katie herself in my youtube inbox:

"I'd love to!  I'm so flattered you thought I might not want to because I would only do "bigger" interviews.  You make me feel like a diva!  In a good way, like I said, totally flattered.  Ok, so here are my answers:"




Turns out she didn't respond to facebook messages due to some of the more unsavory folks on the internet sending her creepy messages, but she was more than happy to give an interview to RamblingBeachCat.com (and overlook my dorkiness).

After exchanging a few messages, I finally got to know a lot more about "that girl from the hula hooping videos," otherwise known as Katie Sunshine.


RBCOkay Katie, myself and the general populace of the internet have lots of questions for you, but first things first: What is the deal with the boots? 



KatieThat's so funny that's your first question! They definitely get noticed, people either love them or hate them, but there's no real in-between. 

I don't really know what to say, they make me happy. I feel sexy wearing them. I love dressing up and wearing costumes and so they are a quick and easy costume fix. And believe it or not, they are practical as well. They are extremely warm, so when I'm hooping outside and it gets a little chilly, those things can keep me warm for hours! 


RBC: But a lot of people have begun looking at more hula hooping videos since yours took off (I may be a part of that group) and have noticed that other girls wear them as well.  Are the fuzzy boots some sort of universal costume for hula hoopers?




KatieI don't think that the furry boots are a universal hooper thing as much as they are a universal festival/rave thing, at which hooping is really popular.  I also have a theory that it's not only a look the festival-goers are going for but it's also a texture thing. Sort of a "pet the furry boots" kinda thing. That is, like I said, only a theory; not necessarily speaking from experience!



RBCLet's get this out of the way for all the male readers so that they can move on with their lives: You are married, correct? 



KatieYes, that is correct. Just celebrated my first anniversary in March, in fact. 



RBC: When did you start hula hooping? 



KatieI started hooping about three years ago. I had been hooping about a year and a half when I made the Hoop Dance to Goldfish video. 



RBC: For someone as uncoordinated as I am, the hula hoop would just seem to make the act of dancing 10X harder, but you seem to make the two flow together perfectly. What made you decide to start (and stick with) hula hooping as opposed to just dancing? 



KatieWell, I first saw some hula hooping girls at an outdoor music festival three years ago and I was just completely mesmerized by these girls! That was my first exposure to hoop dancing. As I watched them, I figured that hooping was one of those things that with enough practice, anyone could do it as opposed to requiring natural born skill.

I already loved to dance, so adding the hoop was just an extra challenge. Right after that festival, I bought my first hoop and started practicing! Once I started, I became completely obsessed with it; I fell in love! So sticking with it was no challenge at all. :) 



RBC: How often/how much do you hula hoop these days?



KatieI hoop as often as I can, usually 3 or 4 times a week. I hula hoop to stay in shape and also if I've had a really tiring day at work that day, I hoop to unwind and relieve stress. It's a very powerful stress reliever! 



RBC: Besides your backyard, where else do you get a chance to hula hoop to music? 



KatieAnytime I go to music festivals (Wakarusa, Yonder Mountain Music Fest) I always take my hoops because now I'm one of "those hula hoop girls!" I also have hula hooped at little girls' birthday parties, adult birthday parties, and weddings, but all as favors to friends. I'm not exactly a proessional hooper in the sense that I'm getting paid to do all those events. But I don't mind, I love to do it! 



RBC: What made you decide to upload your hula hoop videos onto youtube? 



KatieOnce I had learned a few tricks with the hula hoops and felt pretty proud of what I had mastered I just wanted to share it with my friends and whoever else cared to see. So I uploaded videos then posted them to facebook for friends to see, mainly. Believe me, I was really surprised when the Goldfish hoop video really took off! (Hoop Dance to Goldfish was uploaded December 24, 2010)



RBC: Is the music you have dubbed in to your videos the same stuff you are listening to while making the video? 



KatieMost of the time, yes. Sometimes I'm dancing to different music just because I don't want to listen to the same song over and over while I'm hooping but if I'm dancing to something different, it will at least have a similar beat. 



RBC: What other types of music do you like (and once again, thank you for introducing me to Goldfish) 



KatieYou're welcome! Well, for hooping I love techno and dance music because the beat is really conducive to hooping. I also really like to hoop to disco music (kind of a guilty pleasure!) 

When I'm not hooping, I love listening to the blues; I've been a long time lover of blues music. I like jam bands, bluegrass, loooove classic rock, and even some pop music. 



RBCWhat was your reaction to a video you made over a year ago suddenly blow up?



Katie: I was totally stunned! It really seemed like it all happened overnight. 

Over the past year I would occasionally get an email notifying me that someone had subscribed to me on Youtube; maybe 1 or 2 a week. Then one day I checked my email and I had probably 50 or more unread emails all from Youtube, all subscription notifications and I couldn't even fathom what had happened! I really didn't know what was going on. But, overall, I have really enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame! 



RBC: I'm guessing you've had some pretty odd admirers come out of the woodwork (hence one reason we're not printing your name on here). What's the strangest comment/contact you've had through this experience? 



KatieHmmmm...well, several marriage proposals, several proposals for other things much more lewd...I did have one person offer to send me costumes to hoop in which I was really excited about, but then I thought it might just be a scam to get my address, so I played it safe. 



RBC: Does your husband get mad/jealous about all the guys making declarations of love in your video's comments section? 



KatieHaha! No, he's very level-headed, he knows they're just silly comments. In fact, I think he even gets a good laugh out of some of them! 



RBC: Are you going to keep making hula hoop videos? 



Katie: Yes, in fact, I just posted a new one! (embedded at the end of the article)

I do all the shooting and editing myself, and the truth is that I'm just not very adept with technical stuff like that.  So it takes me sooooo long to create a video. For that reason, I don't make very many. They might be few and far between but they will still keep coming! 


RBC: When you're not hooping and breaking hearts on youtube, what else do you do? 



KatieI work as an Art teacher at a local charter school, which I love, and I also love to paint.

I love camping, of course I love going to music festivals, I love to travel, and I love playing with my two puppy dogs, JJ and Molly. 



RBC: Any samples of your artwork you'd like to share 



KatieCertainly! I would love for you to post some of my paintings! 




Danae 
(Oil on canvas)




Self-Portrait in Mirror
(Oil on canvas)



Telephone Wires
(Cloth on canvas)


Feet Sketch
(Charcoal on newsprint)



Back Porch
(Oil on canvas)


RBC: Is RamblingBeachCat the first site to reach out to you for an interview? 



KatieYou're close! hooping.org was the first website to ask for an interview; you are second (You can find that interview here). 



RBC: Eh, that's a much higher place than we finish on a lot of other lists, so we'll take it.  Any plans to turn this hula hooping thing into something more marketable, like endorsements, work out vids, etc.? 



KatieYes, definitely. The problem is that I'm very right-brained and simply don't have the business mind-set to really market myself. My husband has some good ideas, though.  I guess you could say he's my unofficial manager. We're just having fun tossing ideas around right now, so we'll see what it turns into. 



RBC: Any final thoughts or anything you would like to promote before we let you go back to hooping? 



KatieI just wanted to say that I love all the complimentary comments and messages I've been getting. I may not respond immediately because I just don't check my Youtube that often (again, right-brained), but I will try to respond if I can! 

Thank you to everyone who watches, and those of you who send me those wonderful messages. They really lift my spirits and put a smile on my face! 



RBC: And thank you, Katie.  I now need to go take my wife out for an expensive dinner in return for her being cool with me contacting and interviewing you.

Be sure to subscribe to Katie's youtube channel, 4638Katie, if you want to see more of her mad hooping skills.  If you want to personally tell Katie how awesome she is, go to her new hula hooping page on facebook.

We shall leave you with Katie's latest hooping video, also set to a great tune by The Goldfish.