"I wonder what she'll be like?" I had spoken
to her several times over the phone and she seemed nice enough,
but she is a model so I prepare myself for anything. She's
twenty minutes late for our appointment (not her fault - bad
directions) and now we're face to face. She enters my office,
offers a handshake and hears my parrot say, "Hello". Her eyes
light up, a bright smile emerges and I can tell she loves
parrots. I know at that moment that everything will be okay.
immediately visit with my Amazon parrot. The ice has been
broken. She is thinking of buying a parrot so I sing the
praises of my chattering pet, show her a great parrot video,
and then we settle down to business.
When Hilary Rowland got her Power Mac computer at 14 years
old, and then hooked up to the web, she didn't know then
that she had equipped herself with the tools she would need
to win first place in the 1999 national YTV Achievement
Awards for Excellence in Business. (press
Hilary accepts the 1999 YTV award for Business
began when Hilary decided she wanted some extra pocket money.
She had an interest in modeling and the fashion scene, access
to the web, wanted to be her own boss and was 15 years old.
New Faces Talent was born. It is an online service for models
and actors to display their photos and information on the
Web so agents and directors can discover them for assignments.
Hilary believes, "It became successful very quickly because
it was the first site of its kind." It gets about 2 ½ million
hits a month.
such success, Hilary started three other websites: Hilary
Interactive, Hilary Magazine, and The Insiders Guide to
Supermodels and Modeling. Hmm, a lot of this stuff seems
to be about modeling. Well, like I said, she is a model.
working for the Ford Modeling Agency, she had the opportunity
to travel to Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and says, "In the
beginning it was fun, but eventually I found modeling to
be unsatisfying, so that's when I got serious about Web
A couple of the numerous modelling projects that took
Hilary around the world
I started doing Web design in 1995, courses on Web design
didn't exist. I started designing Web sites before hardly
anyone knew what the Internet was - let alone a Web site
or e-mail. I learned the tricks of the trade over time."
In order to help her business grow, Hilary did a lot of
research, went to seminars, and is still planning to go
on to university.
Her role model is her mom who was the head of the graphics
department at a prominent company. She says that her parents
have always been supportive of her and offer advice that
is always seriously considered. After all, "They obviously
have more experience in business than I do." But advice
seems to be where the business support ends as Hilary explains,
"Designing Web sites doesn't require a lot of start-up money
(capital) other than a computer and software, so I thankfully
haven't had to get any financial help or loans."
Interactive, is where she directs most of her energy now.
This on-line company specializes in Web site design and Internet
marketing. Her prices have ranged from $1,500.00 to $17,000.00
depending on the amount of work necessary.
bad for some extra pocket money!
Hilary says that this money does not come easily, "I work
about 60-70 hours a week!" (That means if you started work
at 9am you would still be working at 10pm!) But she loves
the fact that she's an entrepreneur and explains what she
has learned. "Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of skills.
You have to have vision and goals, a good business sense and
know how to deal with people. You also need to be willing
to work very hard and be creative in thinking. Finally, you
have to have a passion for what you do so that it's fun and
you enjoy it, like I do."
Hilary-designed sites are popping up everywhere!
this point, Hilary is very comfortable and accepts my earlier
offer of a drink - Coke, Ginger Ale or Cranberry Juice.
Without much thought she chooses Coke and I'm impressed
she didn't ask, "Do you have any diet drinks?" Good thing,
because I didn't.
figure Hilary must have been Miss Popularity in high school
and so we begin to talk about her school life just outside
of Toronto. "I'm the first to admit that if anyone hated highschool,
it was me. Most of the time I didn't fit in and I absolutely
hated not being treated like an adult. But I paid attention
and worked hard anyway - and I guess that it's paid off already." I
keep thinking, model.intelligent.she must have been something
special in school. But she says, "No. I was always a little
different, and the ones who are different don't seem to have
a lot of friends but often turn out to be the most interesting
people." She feels that not being popular can make a person
stronger, "Not being part of the 'In' crowd, forces you to
know yourself. Looking back now, I'm happy I wasn't popular
because I learned to rely on myself and not my friends."
Now 20, high school behind her and a great career ahead, Hilary
has some valuable advise to share. "Don't worry if you're
not sure what you want to do as a career yet. That's normal.
Concentrating on learning as much as possible about a variety
of things should help you figure out what you enjoy doing.
Read the newspaper, (or magazines like Faze Teen), that help
you keep up with what's going on in the world and where the
job market is going."
really wasn't surprised when Hilary suggested that technology
and Internet related careers would be a good path to investigate.
"I can only see the demand in these fields increasing in
the future as more Internet companies start up to handle
the huge demand. Any skill that is in high demand can be
a gold mine, provided you are good at what you do."
is very serious when she says, "I believe you can achieve
anything you want. All it takes is hard work. Hard work may
not seem too appealing, I know, but if you choose to pursue
a career doing something that you enjoy, then it doesn't really
end up feeling like work. That, in essence, is the key to
happiness and success. If you work at what you love, then
you will want to work and you will put in that extra effort
that makes all the difference in the world."As
our interview is almost over now, Hilary ends with, "The best
advise I ever heard was simply: work at what you love - love
like you've never been hurt - and dance like nobody's watching!"
out some of Hilary's many sites:
EClick Interactive (formerly Hilary Interactive)
Faces Talent-Online Talent Portfolios