The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?
Hillary Hickam: I think I was born performing. I sang along with the radio when I was 2 years old and learned every song my Daddy played on his stereo. I began playing the piano at around 4 or 5 years old and loved the performance and competitive aspects of that. I loved singing in Sunday school and church, and then I did my first play in kindergarten and fell in love with acting!
TDQ: Who was your favorite actor/actress growing up?
HH: Pierce Brosnan and Bruce Willis. Yes, I had crushes on both of them but I also appreciated their acting styles and absolute freedom in front of the camera. I also adored Tim Curry, who I got to see on stage a few times as a kid. My favorite actress was Glenn Close; I saw her in “Dangerous Liaisons” and I don’t think I’ve ever been the same since.TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?
HH: “ANNIE.” My sweet grandmother took me to see it in the theatre 13 times one summer! I loved it so much. I think I had the entire thing memorized by the second viewing and sang along and spoke all the words from then on. (Luckily I was in a small town in Oklahoma so I don’t think there were very many other people in the movie theatre!) I wanted to be Aileen Quinn more than anything!
TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
HH: Pray, and pray specifically, all the time.
TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?
HH: “Play it safe.” Nobody who played it safe ever achieved anything worthwhile! I’m a risk- taker and sometimes that means I fall flat on my face, but I get back up and risk failing again!TDQ: Who are your influences?
HH: I would like to think I am influenced a bit by Glenn Close, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Montgomery, Stephanie Zimbalist, Melissa Gilbert, and Audrey Hepburn. They are all certainly my models and kept me mesmerized growing up. Today, I look up to actresses such as Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Julie Bowen, Melissa George, and the entire cast of “Desperate Housewives,” (not because I thought it was the greatest show, but because the ensemble work in the cast was exceptional and each of those actresses was just amazing.) Television influences me a great deal these days because it is drawing some of the finest actors we have to it and there is so much to learn from them. Shows like “House of Cards,” “Homeland,” “Downtown Abbey,” and “Modern Family” to name a few, have these fantastic ensemble casts including huge Broadway legends like Mandy Patinkin! I mean, that is inspiring.
TDQ: Tell us about your upcoming horror film, “TiF”
HH: It’s a thriller that centers on my character who has built an entire empire based on solving other people’s phobias. She has a wildly successful television show and is somewhat of a celebrity. The movie seems to be following “a day in her life” as she helps someone with his phobia and then it kind of has a dark, M. Night Shyamalan twist to it. I was so blessed to work with a really great cast and an incredibly talented, hard-working crew. I miss them!TDQ: You lived previously for some time in Jacksonville, Florida. Aside from possible earthquakes, what’s been the biggest adjustment moving to Hollywood? What do you miss most about Jacksonville?
HH: I think I am a big city girl,having grown up in Texas, so the real adjustment was living in Jacksonville and adjusting to the slow pace and ease of no traffic! Loved it! The thing I miss most about Jacksonville is the ocean. Our home is right on the beach in Atlantic Beach, and I miss my morning walk by the ocean every single day. I fly home as often as possible to look at my ocean.
TDQ: If you are allowed to say, what is the next project you’ll be working on?
HH: I don’t have the permission to say just yet, but it will be exciting!
TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?
HH: I hope I have the luxury to live in Jacksonville again and just “commute” to work in LA or NY or wherever the next acting job takes me. At the very least, I am looking forward to being in the same city as my dogs and their daddy at the same time. It’s tough on a family to be bi-coastal!