Hannah Lucy Williams is a force of nature in her own right. Though defined by multiple jobs and different career paths in everything from athletics to dancing to modeling, Williams is a go-getter looking to share her non-traditional life with the world to help inspire others.
After falling in love with running at a young age, Williams has gone on to make a name for herself in the world of athletics. Winning international bronze medals in the 400m European junior championships in 2017 and at the world indoor championships a year later, the professional athlete proved herself more than capable in the races. However, when she’s off the tracks, she’s usually in front of a camera, modeling for sports and athletic brands that align with her goals of an active and spirit-fueled lifestyle.
Though always working and constantly busy, Williams still finds time for travel, passion, relaxation, and music. In her spare time, she’s even started her own sustainable clothing brand called HW Studio that features clothing made from upcycled materials that she’s designed and made herself. In addition to being a highly-acclaimed Team GB Athlete, talented model, creative mind, and eco-advocate, she also remains a role model for young girls on the search to begin their careers in, basically, anything they want.
Williams opened up about her life journey, learning to trust herself in times of isolation, and the significance of allowing oneself to simply fall in love with whatever touches upon your curiosity.
How are you? How have you been finding ways to keep your love for activity alive while at home? Whilst being at home and during lockdown earlier this year I did initially struggle to keep motivated with training and keep the love for it alive. I found that sticking to a routine really helped, I would usually go out and train first thing in the morning which put me in a great mood and set a really good tone for the day.
Tell us the story of how you began running. Has it been an escape, a challenge, a form of therapy for you? At the age of 8 or 9, my sister Jodie was already competing at a high level within athletics so I decided that I would give it a try, I started to take it seriously when I was about 15 – when I set my sights on qualifying for the World Youth Championships. For me, athletics used to be my hobby and an escape from school work and college but now I am a professional athlete, I find training more of a challenge as there is much more pressure to perform as it is my job.
What prompted you to begin modeling? When I was 17, I got scouted by a model agency, from then on I really grew to love modeling and now I’ve recently signed with Select London.
Was running or modeling your first love? My first love would definitely be athletics, as it has been part of my life since a young age and it really has changed my life.
Do you view dancing and modeling as an art form? Do you have a different mindset when you’re running versus when you’re dancing or modeling? Yes, I definitely think dancing and modeling are both forms of art, as you are able to express ideas and tell a story through the human body and its movements. I think athletics defiantly fits into the category of art, as it’s an expression of yourself and the hard work you have put, athletics training has so many elements in it which you need to perfect and a race is like a performance of the work you have put it.
What are your 3 favorite songs when training? I’m always changing the songs I listen to at training but at the moment it’s: • Lil Mosey – Bankroll • A Boogie Wit da Hoodie – Just Like Me • Pop Smoke – Enjoy Yourself
Has it been challenging to navigate quarantine on your own, as opposed to working with trainers or teams to help you towards your next goal? It has been very challenging at times, I really struggled at the beginning of quarantine as I have never trained by myself. It was also hard not having access to a track and a gym, however, I began to get used to it and really enjoy it. I learned and understood a lot more about athletics as I had to correct myself and my technique during training and not always rely on my coach. And I think for me having that understanding myself has helped my training a lot and has been invaluable.
Where do you turn to when you’re in search of motivation? I turn to myself for motivation, I think at the end of the day you can’t rely on external sources to motivate you, you need to find it within yourself. When I need motivation I think about all the things I want to achieve and how hard I need to work to achieve my goals.
One of my favorite things about your Instagram is your highlighted stories and how you include memories of all the places you’ve traveled. Which one was your favorite place to visit and why? I’m so glad you like the highlights, I really love traveling and exploring new places and new cultures. My favorite place I’ve visited would have to be Thailand. I spent a few days in Ko Tao which was the most beautiful island I’ve seen. I spent a day snorkeling around the island in the crystal clear water. It was amazing! Also, everyone I met was so friendly and the food was amazing. I would 100% go back.
Some people know what they want to be when they grow up and some people find it along the way. Was becoming a GB athlete always your dream, or was it something that just came along to you? For me, when I was younger I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, I still don’t really know now. I almost fell into athletics. It wasn’t always the aim. I was torn between architecture, computer science, graphic design, dancing or athletics. So I really had no clue what I wanted to do.
I started making junior and youth GB teams and then just carried on making teams and then eventually became a professional athlete when I got sponsored by Puma in 2017. I think athletics was the right path for me, I really do love it. Although, on the side, I have also set up my own sustainable clothing brand this year called the HW studio where I up-cycle old clothes.
Do you have a favorite place to run? Why is it so special to you? My favorite place to run would have to be my childhood track right near where I live. It has so many memories there and it’s where I’ve put the majority of my hard work in to get to where I am now.
Though you are always working and staying active, we all need off days! What does a lazy day look like for you? Agree! Days off are super important. For me a day off would consist of having a really big lie in, watching a few films, and catching up with my friends!
What’s your mission when you’re out running, modeling, or dancing? Many times, these actions are done in front of an audience that’s watching you, who look up to you, and are inspired by you. What do you hope they take away from you and your performances? I hope that I inspire younger girls to be confident and do whatever makes them happy in life. I didn’t take the traditional route in life, I decided not to go to university and decided to pursue what I loved instead. Everyone around me had gone to university so I did at times feel like the odd one out and judged by that, but I’m happy with my decision, so I hope I can show that following what you love, whatever it may be is always the best thing to do.