SHIFT HAPPENS | SEASON 1 • EPISODE 4
Vili Hickey: From Acting to Spiritual Womb Healing
SHIFT HAPPENS is a Global Take on Women’s Turning Points and Pivotal Moments
In this episode, Vili Hickey reflects on her journey after leaving her acting career in Austria, moving to the States, and starting a family. After a difficult delivery experience with her first child, she discovered electrical mass stimulation workouts, other methods of biohacking, womb healing, and spirituality.
About Our Guest
As a multifaceted Austrian actress, fitness expert, and empowerment coach, Vili Hickey is on a mission to guide individuals back to their inner wellspring of strength and self-belief.
Her journey has taken her from the theater stage to the fitness studio, and into the transformative realm of energy work. With a unique blend of artistic expression, physical training, and spiritual healing, Vili offers a holistic approach to personal growth and well-being.
Infused with infectious enthusiasm, unfiltered honesty, and a profound love for the art of healing, Vili’s methods are anything but conventional. Her insatiable curiosity drives her to continuously explore new avenues for personal and collective healing, making each session a deeply personalized experience. Whether it’s through one-on-one consultations, guided meditations, or immersive workshops, Vili is committed to helping each individual reclaim their agency, awaken their sensual expression, and ignite their creative purpose. She believes that everyone has the power to transform their lives, and she’s here to show you how.
About Your Host
Claudia Mahler is a creative activist, with more than a decade of experience curating meaningful conversations for women in business, art and education in Europe and the United States.
She designs events for women’s empowerment that emphasize organic connection and conversation to complement existing professional development training in a variety of work environments.
She has 20+ years of experience in communications and PR in Europe and the East Coast of the United States.
Vili Hickey: From Acting to Spiritual Womb Healing
Claudia: Hello, and welcome to Shift Happens. My name is Claudia Mahler and I am curious about how women made it through turning points in their lives and how they reflect back on them.
Too often, women just get on with it. The everyday, the duties, the expectations—too often, life-altering events are being swept under the rug as life must go on.
With Shift Happens, I want to create a space for women to pause for a moment and to share, to listen, and to feel heard. A space where we connect and talk about life and its pivotal moments—about the highs and lows, the challenges and the joys, about what has been gained and about how enriching change can be. Some things we hear are heavy, some are funny. They all put me in awe as they are honest and raw testimonies of life. This podcast is a little window into the world.
I invited women from all walks of life and various counties, countries and continents. I am in conversation with authors, business owners, artists, life coaches and change makers. All these women have their individual life story and much wisdom to share.
Today I am in conversation with Vili Hickey.
Vili is an entrepreneur, mother, and womb healer. She was born and raised in Austria. Vili is an artist, and the CEO of Vili Fit, a women empowerment movement through biohacking and womb healing.
Vili, at the moment, lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jason and their two kids Charlotte and Anton, and I am really excited to speak to Vili today, as I met her when she had just arrived to New York City ten years ago after she said goodbye to a stellar career in acting in Europe and decided that she wants to explore more and in new ways.
Since those ten years, I’ve followed her a little bit, and I’m just astonished how some people really can pivot, and pivot, and pivot again and have a lot of energy themselves—and a lot of energy to give.
So tune in and meet Vili Hickey.
Vili, welcome to Shift Happens.
Claudia: I’m super excited to see you again. We should actually have champagne and celebrate since it’s your tenth anniversary tomorrow, correct? Of being in the US?
Vili: Yes, yes. Yeah, Claudia, thank you so much for having me.
Claudia: You came from Austria?
Vili: Mm-hmm, yeah.
Claudia: You left a stellar career in stage acting behind. Why?
Vili: I felt the pull in my heart. It was from one day to the other where I just knew I have to move, I have to study again. Everyone at that time was telling me it’s a wrong decision. I just had brought out a movie cinema. So I was on screen for the first time, which was a big goal at that time.
My intuition was telling me, “No, you have to go right now. You have to move to New York City. You have to leave everything behind.” And so I did that, yeah.
Claudia: And then you arrived with your suitcases, and you joined the William Esper Institute for acting, yes? And then you fell into the arms and in love with Jason.
Claudia: Moved to California. Just this little bit yeah already proves that change is the constant of life, right? There, you became an EMS Master Trainer—you will have to fill us in a little bit more what that means later—had two children, and then came another move that brought you to Austin, Texas, and another career which you will also tell us later.
But first, before we jump in, I wanted to ask you a few short questions with a few short answers. Flat or sparkling?
Claudia: Dogs or cats?
Claudia: Apples or oranges?
Claudia: You’re alone on a deserted island, and you’re only allowed to take one thing. What would it be?
Vili: One thing… it would be… can it be people in my family?
Vili: Okay or if I have to bring one thing, I think it will be a guitar.
Claudia: Nice if you were reborn who would you want to be?
Vili: I’m reborn, that’s a good question. I would want to be the next version of me.
Claudia: What’s your most treasured possession?
Vili: I have my grandmother’s amulet, like a necklace.
Claudia: So now that we know you a little bit better, we are diving deeper into your story. Tell us your pivotal moment, or tell us more about your pivotal moments.
Vili: Yeah, thank you. You already gave me such a good summary, and it’s wild to hear it back, like, over the past years what happened. So moving to the States, definitely was a big change for me.
Like you said, I left my career behind, my family, and my friends. Then having the student life again, working in jobs. I babysat your beautiful children. At that time, it was also a small ego death for me. I never had to work anything else as an actress, and then there I was babysitting and doing other jobs rather than acting.
All the moves, every city brought a new challenge, brought a new version of me, brought up new fears, brought up new strengths in me, and made me grow and made me into the woman that I am today.
Having my children definitely changed me. That was for sure the biggest shift in my life, for sure.
Claudia: It says that in California you had your children, and you also became an EMS Master Trainer. I only remember the pictures and your Instagram reels, where you’re like in full black gear. And I was like, what’s she up to now?
Vili: [Laughs] Yeah. It’s so interesting because people see me over Instagram and see new adventures—I’m not scared of trying new things. Sometimes I think from the outside, it can also be like, “what is she doing now?” It’s confusing.
In LA, I started diving into electrical mass stimulation workouts. It’s a kind of workout that’s very popular in Europe—not very known in the States. It’s a 20 minute workout that tones and strengthens your body. There’s a lot of science behind it. I don’t know if you want to go into a lot of depth in it, but basically, it enhances every movement you do with the suit on, because the suit contracts your muscles.
I’m very goal-oriented and very driven. Once I knew what I wanted, then I went for it. The main factor, why I was so into EMS training, was because I had a very hard traumatizing delivery with my first child, with Charlotte, my daughter, and my pelvic floor muscles were destroyed.
I was 30 years old and I was very active always, and I’m like, “is this the end of running and jumping for me? Will I be incontinent for my whole life now?”
So then with the EMS training, I was able to heal and fully restore my muscles and get into almost like, I think, the best shape of my life at that time. Then I also became so passionate about helping other moms and women postpartum with that great technology and workouts.
Claudia: That’s so interesting because it’s been such a taboo, right? That this can happen to women, and that it really has an unbelievable impact on lives. It has never really been… I mean, you know, in Europe or everywhere, you get like a few weeks of, I don’t know, the English word of Rückbildungsgymnastik, sorry, sorry, every English speaker.
Vili: It’s like postpartum recovery.
Claudia: Recovery exercises, yeah, but how long it takes… and for some women, as you just described, what it can do to the body is so scary, and it’s really under, completely under-communicated,
Vili: It was really shocking to me. At the six week doctor’s appointment, he basically checked my pelvic floor, checked, you know, my vagina, and then basically gave like an eye wink to Jason, “she’s good to go.”
It was so heartbreaking and terrible. Because of that comment, and because of not getting any further education, or telling me I have to go to pelvic floor PT or telling me that it’s completely normal to have pain for the first year or six months.
It was really a hard toll on our relationship. Jason is very understanding, but after, you know, seven, eight months, he’s like, “I think it’s in your head.”
I’m like, “no, I know it’s not in my head, it’s a deep pain.” So I became so passionate about it. The next doctor I had—obviously I left that doctor, because yeah—
Vili: But then again, I had no idea, it took me really several years to find out there’s other health providers and it is not normal.
What he said was, “Oh, just talk to your mom and grandma, they all have pelvic floor issues,” which doesn’t have to be. Then really diving into pelvic floor health after everything that happened to me, it says that almost 90% of women have stress incontinence, which happens when you sneeze or laugh, then you release a little bit of urine, and it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be. They just tell you, “do a couple of kegels,” but it’s much deeper than that.
That’s why I dove really into EMS training and helped many women with it, and with diastasis recti, which is when the abs are not fully closed after being stretched through pregnancy. Again, doctors just tell you, “That’s what it is. You just have to live with it.” But there are tools out there that can be helping. I also got the great pleasure of meeting many celebrities through the training.
You know, I’m from Austria, so Schwarzenegger was always on my list. Once, I helped Patrick, his son, with his shoulder recovery, and many models and actors. Really high net worth clients that really made me grow and find my voice and find my strength outside of acting and outside of being a mother.
Claudia: Fabulous. So that was your first business really, that you started?
Vili: Yeah, that was my first. Yeah.
Claudia: And then you left that behind?
Vili: Mhm, yep. The pandemic was helpful in that sense, because it shifted many things.
I don’t know if I would have been that courageous in that moment, because it was very thriving. But again, I’m not scared to shift, and I’m not scared to make changes. I’m not scared to leave things behind and start again new. I always know that I will be successful in the things.
It might sound arrogant to some people, but it’s more like an inner knowing that everything will be okay, and everything will always work out.
Claudia: That’s wonderful.
Vili: And I truly deeply believe that.
Claudia: So, and then the state of choice was Texas.
Vili: Yeah, the state of choice was Texas. Jason and I are funny in that way. We have—I don’t know if we share the same intuition or something, but Austin came on the table and we came to see it for a couple of days and we’re like, “Yep, that’s it. We’re coming here, we’re moving, we’re doing this.” We purchased our first home, which was exciting. It has been such a great shift for our children. It’s more like how I grew up in Austria, like kids can still run outside on the streets. You can leave the garage door open and nothing’s being stolen. It’s a very suburban life, but very safe and such a great community. We found really amazing friends and families already.
Claudia: And your next step now, where are you now and what’s ahead for you?
Vili: Austin really opened my eyes in the spiritual world more. It was also because it was the first time that I’ve been fully home with my children. They started school now, that’s why it’s so quiet in the house.
Again, it pushed me to look into… like there was nothing that fed my ego. That’s something I realized over the years—that it’s a big thing for me, like being an actress on stage. I’m getting the ego, I’m being seen, I’m being heard, then being on the celebrity train, I’m being seen and heard, I’m being important, and suddenly I’m home with my children and all this has been taken away.
There’s no one that’s cheering me on, or seeing me and giving me that ego push. I had to really dive deep into me, and look at my shadows, and look at the things that are still dormant in me and that needed some light and needed some love.
I dove into womb healing, and the spiritual world—the spiritual world of healing and energy healing and trauma work.
Also, my pleasure again. The past one and a half years has been such a big shift in my body to feel my pleasure again, and to make it a priority, and to start that flame, that orgasmic joy inside my body again.
So now, I got a certification to become a womb healer and “womb priestess,” if you want to call it that way. I’m also holding women’s circles, because sisterhood and women gathering has been the biggest gift I found in my life. I have my oldest longest friends forever, my best friend I have had since I was one years old, but being in sisterhood and being in that circle is such a different container of love that’s unmatched. So I’m providing these spaces and healing modalities again for women.
Claudia: So how can I, I mean, it sounds wonderful. So tell me, what is it about womb healing and how do women respond? I could imagine that there’s an enormous need. And it somehow builds on the EMS training, where you already focused on women and their needs.
How’s the womb healing connected to spirituality, and how do women in general experience positive pivots through this?
Vili: When you’re menstruating, that’s a natural wound clearing every month. What I’ve learned over the past year is that so many women have issues with their period, or have missing periods or have very painful periods or have endometriosis or… there are symptoms that we don’t talk about. The same way no one talks about your pelvic floor health after delivering your child. It’s also not talked about—your menstrual cycle—and that you can actually, with the color of your blood, see the health of your womb and your cycle in general.
There’s already a big need for education and for women to get together and share information and share their knowledge and wisdom.
With womb healings, there are different modalities. There are some somatic trauma release techniques that I’m using during the sessions, but also I’m fully becoming a channel. That has been very, I don’t want to say “freaky,” but it has been interesting in my growth, because I never thought that I would be able to receive knowledge without getting the knowledge.
In the sessions, I am receiving—from “source,” “universe, “spirit,” however you want to call it—I’m receiving messages that can be…
Like in one of my latest sessions, I saw a mandala.The whole time I’m like, “there’s a mandala.” We did an inner child healing in that session, and I asked her if that’s resonating with her. And she’s like, “yeah,” her father that passed away the year before would draw them for her and she would color them in. That’s information that I just can’t know, or I know exactly in inner child healings what age we have to look at—when things happened. It’s very hard to describe what happens in the healing sessions because it’s very individual.
I try to prepare because I’m a Capricorn, I’m Austrian, I want to prepare, and I want to be ready for the session. There’s really nothing that I can prepare, because I’m fully guided.
It can look like just doing a meditation to tap into your body and to connect with your womb and with your ovaries. You will receive messages, I will receive messages, and together we will clear them. That can be through rage rituals. We store a lot of anger and rage, again, that we’re not talking about.
Claudia: Which is often held down in our reproductive system, right?
Vili: Yes. Yeah, exactly. Sexual encounters that we didn’t want or abuse and rape, it’s all been stored. And it’s also stored generationally, which was also a concept for me that I had to stretch my mind to. There are things in our DNA that we receive when we’re born that are being imprinted in us.
Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be from this lifetime, the trauma that you’re holding, it can be from your mother while she was carrying you in your womb, it can be from your grandmother. It’s very fascinating.
Claudia: How did you discover the womb healing? I mean, which part of your spiritual journey brought you there, or which experience?
Vili: I think again, like always when a big healing or growth happens, it comes out of need or pain. I was truly searching for the answers—why I’m feeling so much rage being a mother. I never heard the word like “rage mom” or “raging mother,” but I became one because I had no outlet for myself to release it.
I put so much shame on myself for feeling the feelings that I’m feeling. It came out of a need to see that it’s not me. It’s part of me, but it’s not who I am. I have a full spectrum of feelings.
I was looking into things, I’ve been doing women’s circles and sisterhood for several years. I already started in LA to join the women’s circles. Then I found my mentor, Ali McPhee, and I resonated with her and I did her course. I decided to go full in, and do the retreat and the certification. It has been life changing.
Claudia: That’s fantastic. So what is ahead for you with this?
Vili: I’m planning on launching my online business in a couple of months. I will create an online program for womb healing, but also I’ve noticed a talent or a gift from me is like, I’m able to get you out of your comfort zone. That’s why I’m an actress. I do things that are maybe bigger or like I can spread energy.
Vili: That’s why I became a trainer, because I’m getting it out of you. Even if you don’t want to repeat anymore, I will make you do it. Now with the womb healing, I’m doing it in a little bit more feminine way, but I will get you out of your comfort zone. I want to help you, so you’re fully centered in yourself again, and you connect with your pleasure and with your joy and with who you are if you put away all the boxes that you put over yourself. That will be an online program I’m creating.
Also I’m working on doing in-person retreats because I want to bring EMS to women, so it will be in the retreats. There will be a chance to do the EMS training and to work out. If you’re local in Austin, I do a full package of the training and the womb healing, so like a full mind-body work.
Claudia: Well, you’re on a roll. I have one more question. You are writing that you are using biohacking for women’s advancement, empowerment, and womb healing. Just explain a little bit what that is.
Vili: EMS is already part of biohacking, but I’m also wearing an aura ring. If you come in my home, it’s very much biohacking. I have EMS blockers everywhere in my home. I do cold plunges, which is considered biohacking. I have a portable infrared sauna, which is also biohacking. And just drinking warm water with lemon in the morning can be considered biohacking.
When you work with me, I’m trying to give you all the knowledge that I’ve collected over the past, let’s say, 10 years. If you tell me you have issues sleeping, I will probably recommend the aura ring for you because it tracks your sleep and it also helps you track your periods. Then we can look at your menstrual cycle and that can help you work with that. Or if you tell me you have, I don’t know, I will recommend blue-light-blocker glasses or all these biohacking tools that are helping me, I will help you find them for yourself.
Claudia: So you’re not there yet, but how about women in menopause and womb healing? I mean, how does that work?
Vili: Yeah, it works the exact same way. Women in menopause are still… it’s called the chrome age. Which is like the elderly, the wisdom, which actually like in the spiritual world, you’re like the highest of all, because you’ve lived through it.
It still works the same way, so we can still work on womb clearings. It’s very important still that you connect to your womb space. It doesn’t matter if you don’t bleed anymore.
Claudia: Yeah, I really find it fascinating that finally, there is movement and transparency and language starting to be implemented around women and women’s bodies. It’s still, you know, very, how can I say, almost a little bit irritating. I find that also sometimes in my salons, which are not necessarily only focused on women’s topics, but it’s all women that are coming, and it’s interesting that certain topics that are about the female body and pleasure and sexuality are still a little bit, you know, kept outside the door on the doorstep. So I applaud you for moving us all forward with this.
Just quickly, what is your advice to your younger self?
Vili: That’s a good question. I think my advice would be that I’m a “super attractor,” or I would tell her, “you are a super attractor, and you can manifest anything you want in your life and you have the power inside of you. Don’t try to get validation from outside, just listen to your own intuition.”
Claudia: To your older self?
Vili: Take time to rest and relax. It will come to you without pressure.
To my older self, that means it already happened. Wait, let me think about this. My older self, I would say “thank you. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for bringing me here. Thank you for pushing me forward when I didn’t want to move.”
Claudia: What energizes you?
Vili: What energizes me is my friends having conversations like the ones we have right now, where you just get to reflect and think about who you are. These conversations just make me energized.
Claudia: Me too.
Vili: Cold plunges in the morning energize me too.
Claudia: I think that’s too much for me, but cold shower. I do cold shower.
Vili: That’s good already.
Claudia: And how do you calm your mind?
Vili: The most I calm my mind by walking in nature. It sounds very generic, but I need nature to ground and that calms my mind the most.
Claudia: Yeah, we all do. So we can find out all the news about you on your website, Vili Fit. That’s a cool name.
Vili: Yeah, there will be more updates coming, but yeah, thank you.
Claudia: Well, good luck to you. Thank you. And I’m really intrigued. Still a bit shy, me personally, but intrigued about your journey and about your focus on women and their needs. Yeah, it’s so needed.
Vili: Yeah, thank you. So all the best to you. And yeah, thank you so much.
Vili: Yeah, thank you, Claudia, for having me. It was such a good reflection for me of what happened over the past 10 years and to go back in time and to see my growth. Thank you for having me today. I felt very honored.
Claudia: Thank you. All the best to you.
Ooh, cold plunges. I don’t know.
Well, thank you, Vili, for inspiring everyone else, but me, with this, I know it’s healthy and it’s good and it’s the ultimate biohack, but I think I’m sticking to cold showers, that’s enough freezing shock for me in the mornings.
That was a peek into a very active change, inviting life, and it shows curiosity. And it shows that curiosity does not kill the cat. It actually gives you wings.
So, this was my fourth podcast. And I was wondering if you all could give me feedback. I think on my website, claudiamahler.com/podcast, there’s a field where you can leave a comment and I really would appreciate so much to hear from you what you like about Shift Happens, what you think could be improved, and maybe even something that you would be curious to learn more about.
Thank you so much for listening to Shift Happens.
Shift Happens has been created and is hosted by me, Claudia Mahler.
Editing, Andy Boreson.
Communications and Marketing, Amy Jacobus and Jessica Pearson from Amy Jacobus Marketing.
I hope you felt connected and heard while listening to Shift Happens.
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