Kahley Schiller is doing major things in a major way.
Not only is the 1998 Lee’s Summit High School graduate gracing the current cover of Pilates Style magazine, but the reigning Ms. Kansas United States is also preparing for a trip later this summer to Washington D.C. to compete for the title of Ms. United States.
Not to be overlooked is Schiller’s day-to-day operation: owner of Pilates by Kahley, an Overland Park Kan. business that has evolved from a one-person shop to a center with more than 400 clients and 10 instructors in just eight years.
“This year has been crazy,” Schiller said May 3, just days before the release of the May/June issue of the nationally-distributed Pilates Style magazine. “I’ve been super busy; from traveling to Japan, to shooting a DVD, to getting the cover of the magazine, to winning Ms. Kansas.”
The 33-year-old Schiller said becoming cover girl for the bi-monthly magazine wasn’t her intent. In fact, she said she was flown to Las Vegas last November for a photo shoot and the publication asked her to talk about a few personal accomplishments. She chose to speak on her training expertise and a recently completed Pilates DVD, which was shot on location at her studio in Overland Park.
“I’m a Missouri girl,” Schiller said, “but my heart’s in Kansas.”
Although producing a DVD is a feat, it is Schiller’s back story that she chooses to tell that intrigues. In her words, Pilates has helped this one-time Lee’s Summit girl, who was once a member of Stepping Out-The Studio, as an adult overcome a frightful battle against herself.
“As a young adolescent, I struggled with the ongoing battle of wanting to be thin,” Schiller bravely shared. “I was a dancer, constantly having to look at myself in the mirror, unhappy with the reflection looking back at me. My negative self-image followed me into my late teens and then into my mid-20s.
“I realized that the battle was a mental challenge, one that could be conquered each day in the choices I make. I can either choose to give in or run from the temptation that seems to know me. In my experience, God always has provided me with a way out and it is up to me to take that path. To gain this strength, I had to fill myself up with faith, positive words, and determination.
“I had one big dream in mind and I knew, to achieve it, I was going to have to fight my battle. I decided to move all alone, not knowing one soul, to Las Vegas, Nev. There, I would attend school (at University of Nevada- Las Vegas) and pursue my dream to dance. Unfortunately, my body disagreed with my plans. I suffered from chronic knee pain and was advised to have surgery on both knees. It was then that I discovered Pilates. I began rehabilitating my knees through this method and fell in love with the theory. The results that Pilates gave me were absolutely amazing; I had no more pain.”
Schiller’s transformation from young adult to full-grown woman was hardly a surprise to Laura Clark, nee Eilers, a 1997 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School, the 2011 Ms. United States and Schiller’s long-time friend.
“I’ve known Kahley for quite some time since high school and she’s always been very independent and driven,” Clark said. “I think as a female business owner that’s very important. Kahley is very passionate about her Pilates business. She’s had quite a few acclaimed clients in the (Kansas City) area – a few professional football players and their wives. I was (once) a Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader and I attended some of her classes and worked with her when I was in the area. Her studio is beautiful.”
Also important to Schiller is a motto in which she lives – and she swears by it.
“Everything in life belongs to the conversation of your heart,” Schiller said. “When you truly choose to listen, it can’t steer you wrong. I stand behind that 100 percent. (It’s) truly challenging but in the end more rewarding than you will ever imagine.”