They say the first thing women make before eye-to-eye contact is eye-to-shoe contact, which probably explains why the first thing we notice about our interviewee is the unmistakable red soles of her sky scraping black patent Louboutins. That or perhaps the fact it’s not what you’d expect to see one of the UK’s hottest shooting athletes wearing.

It’s a nice surprise and we’re excited to find out more about our guest, who is none other than 2013 BBC Young Sports Personality of the year Amber Hill.

Winning her first International Gold medal at only 15 years old, Amber who recently turned 18, talks fashion, the Olympics and what drives her in the sport she is so deeply passionate about.

So Amber, where did it all begin? “The very first clay I shot was down at my local club, Bisley. I was just 10 years old but thought it would be awesome to try a new sport. I was very sporty and always open to new opportunities. I went along with my Grandad and from my very first shot it gave me such a buzz, I instantly wanted to go again.”

You’ve experienced so much at such a young age and no doubt there’s lots more to come. In your career so far, tell us about the one shot you’ll never forget? “The most memorable shot of my life has got to be my first International gold medal at the ISSF World cup in Acapulco, Mexico.

QuoteIt was my first experience of competing for my country and was very unexpected. I went there purely to gain experience as I was only 15 years old but of course I wanted to do the best I could. It was at that moment that I truly realised what I was capable of! Nothing can compare to the moment I first experienced standing on the podium whilst the National Anthem played.”

We regularly see you in the shooting magazines, being interviewed fresh from your latest international win, but what’s the one big achievement you’re most proud of so far? “Being named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year back in 2013! That really was an incredible year for me as not only was I beginning to get noticed within the sport; I was also recognised nationally for my achievements – That felt even more special! It was the most amazing experience, getting to talk in front of millions live on television and meeting some big name sports personalities. But also the opportunity to promote shooting in general and women in sport was very important to me.”

Kate+Middleton+Amber+Hill+Kate+Middleton+SportsAid+2uCEyo6BNEMlThe Duchess of Cambridge with Amber Hill at the 2013 Sports Personality of the Year Awards in 2013

In terms of achievements, what’s next on Amber Hill’s ‘To Do’ list? “The one goal I’m the most determined to win is an Olympic gold medal. It has been my dream after watching London 2012 and since then everything I do is in preparation to hopefully one day achieving that goal.”

Who’s your heroine? “The woman I’m most inspired by is Jessica Ennis-Hill. I watched her compete at London 2012 and feel she is a very good role model for girls in sport and has dedicated a lot to achieve her goals.”

jessicaennis-364996Inspiring Amber’s Olympic Dream, Jessica Ennis-Hill

Newcomers to the sport often find that other shooters are enthusiastic about offering advice. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? “The best piece of shooting advice ever given to me was to believe in myself and it will come when you least expect it.”

Have you managed to take that advice on board and implement it in to your life? “At the beginning of this year I was going through a tough time, shooting very well in training, but my scores would fall dramatically on the day of the competition. It was hard to stay positive all the time, but I trained through the tough times and my coach was right – it came when I least expected; Winning gold at Baku European Games. I built a lot of trust and confidence through this.”

Your coach sounds like a genius! Who else do you have in your corner, supporting and encouraging you? “I might not have achieved everything I have in the sport if it wasn’t for the support of my family. My Grandad in particular has been so supportive over they years and always believed I could achieve any goal that I set myself. I am very thankful he encouraged me to try the sport as it has changed my life dramatically and given me a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“My family and boyfriend are all equally as supportive of my shooting and means a lot to me. I have also been very fortunate to have so many passionate sponsors that believed in me at a young age. I would like to thank Perazzi, Eley Cartridges, Pilla Glasses, Altamura and Christopher Ward for everything they have done for me in the previous years.”

Not only do we admire Amber for her shooting achievements, but we adore her style too. Like most typical eighteen year old women, it’s clear that fashion pays a big part in her life. We follow Amber’s Instagram account @amberjohill and although she’s most photographed in her sports gear, she has impeccable style off the range.

We noticed that you always have perfectly polished nails when you’re shooting in major championships. Does your shoot day preparation always include a manicure? “I love fashion and make-up. It’s something I really enjoy. What girl doesn’t love being pampered? I love getting my nails done before competitions and events. For me if I feel good and feel confident in myself I shoot well. In general I am very girly and like to incorporate my personality into my shooting for example my gorgeous pink ‘Amber By Eley’ ammunition.”

When being interviewed, champion shooters are usually asked about their chosen equipment or sports clothing, but we’d like to know if there’s one particular piece in your off-range wardrobe that you love the most? “I couldn’t live without is my Louboutin heels. I only wear them on special occasions but are by far my favourite.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 12.18.18 Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 12.12.33 Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 12.12.41 
Images taken from Amber’s Instagram @amberjohill

Here at Femmes Fatales, we’re passionate about inspiring other women to try clay shooting. What would you say to any girls out there, reading this, who have been thinking about trying clay shooting but are yet to take the plunge? “I’d say just go for it! There so many grounds across the UK and you can find out the closest to you by visiting the British Shooting website. I never imagined I would have liked the sport but I couldn’t have been more wrong! Shooting has made such a difference to my life. I get to travel the world, represent my country and get so much life experience at a young age. Plus I have met some amazing people along the way.”

In recent years we’ve seen a definite increase in the number of women taking up the sport for fun. What do you think could be done to encourage more women and girls to take up shooting competitively? “I feel keeping the sport current and accessible is key to encouraging girls to take up shooting. Shooting is a very male dominated sport but don’t see why this could not change in the future. I believe getting the sport more publicity is very important and in my personal experience many women do not know much about the sport. We can educate and explain how wonderful the sport really is through Social Media, TV etc.”

It takes a huge amount of training and dedication to reach the level you’re at now – We’d like to know more about that. What’s a typical week like in the life of Amber Hill? “A typical week for me involves shooting three times a week, generally 250 cartridges per session. This can vary depending on coach time and upcoming competitions. I also train in the gym three times a week. I usually do weights and toning exercises. It’s important to me to be healthy and physically fit going into competitions. I feel that it gives me a mental advantage over competitors.

“I generally compete in international competitions at least once every month in season. I normally am away for an average of 5 days when competing abroad.”

You’ve told us all about ‘pro-shooter Amber Hill’ – Now we’d like to know more about the young woman behind the shotgun. What do you get up to in your spare time? “When I’m not shooting I like to spend time with my boyfriend, friends and family. Spending time with them is my relaxation time.

Any guilty pleasures? “My guilty pleasure is definitely food! I love to go out for dinner to my favourite restaurant, Bluegrass, with my boyfriend. They have the best pulled pork burgers in the world!”

If your Grandad hadn’t taken you shooting on that fateful day eight years ago, and you hadn’t gone on to become one of the world’s top female shots – What would you be doing now? 
”If I hadn’t become a clay shooting champion, I’d think I’d have a career working with animals. I am a big animal person and would love to work with them! I have lots of pets – Three hamsters, a bunny and a dog, aptly named ‘Skeet!”

What a fab insight in to the life of Amber Hill. We’re certain we’ll all be hearing much more about her in 2016 and wish her the very best of luck in achieving her Olympic goal in Rio. We’ll be watching Amber in action, representing her country in front of a global audience and we’d love nothing more than to see her back on the podium while the National Anthem plays!

You can follow Amber on Twitter @amberjohill and keep up with all of her news on her Facebook page.

Want to try clay shooting at one of our nationwide events? See our full diary here.

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