Announcing This Is My Brave Des Moines

We're thrilled to announce our third city on the 2017 This Is My Brave season of shows: DES MOINES, Iowa!

Meet our dynamic duo - Hilary and Nathan - a husband and wife team who will be producing our Des Moines show.

 Hilary and Nathan Leek

Hilary and Nathan Leek

Hilary and Nathan are honored, humbled, and delighted for the opportunity to be a part of bringing this much-needed, important event to Des Moines.

When Hilary first learned of This Is My Brave and its mission to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, she felt called to bring it to Des Moines. Not only is she, as a survivor of depression, anxiety, and multiple suicide attempts, very familiar with this particular form of shame and stigma, but she also possesses what she once thought of as useless event planning and organizing skills. Co-producing This Is My Brave-Des Moines is a perfect opportunity for her to utilize these skills to contribute to her community in a meaningful way.

And, Nathan, seeing – possibly for the first time – a true spark of inspiration in his wife, eagerly offered to use his sales and event planning talents, and to bring his direct and indirect experiences with mental illness and his keen sense of humor to make the Des Moines show a reality.


  Who rescued who?   Hilary   Hippen-Leek with Norah, one of   Hilary   and Nathan's five rescued fur babies.   Hilary   credits Norah with rescuing her from a third suicide attempt.

Who rescued who? Hilary Hippen-Leek with Norah, one of Hilary and Nathan's five rescued fur babies. Hilary credits Norah with rescuing her from a third suicide attempt.

Hilary Hippen-Leek has suffered from depression and anxiety for most of her life. As a result of being raised in a home in which silence was the norm and the expression of emotion was not welcome, she kept her mental illness hidden behind a carefully-crafted mask of perfection: stellar student, successful attorney, community leader, supportive wife. Eventually, the mask slipped and Hilary found that the energy she had spent hiding could now be used to heal and to inspire others to do the same. She is eternally grateful to her family (especially her fur babies), friends, doctors, counselors, massage therapists, yoga instructors, and, of course, Nathan for helping her find hope and overcome her struggle with mental illness.

Nathan Leek has suffered from ADHD all of his life, but wasn't diagnosed until his 30s. He has also suffered from depression periodically throughout his adulthood.  For a time, Nathan self-medicated his quick and aggressive thoughts with alcohol. During the period of Hilary’s deepest despair, Nathan was very close to giving-up on their marriage because he knew how difficult it was for her to see how much pain she was causing him and other loved ones. He planned on helping return Hilary to a self-sustainable person able to participate in society, but found that once she had recovered he needed and wanted her more than ever.

His words in this poem to Hilary describe it best: 

 No matter which way I stray off the beaten path, or fall from the reality of life                        You’ve always been there as my guiding light, I’m so proud to call you my friend, my wife

And for those who don’t take the time or are too blind to see what I have all along               There’s no need to explain to them that you are my rock and the one who’s so strong

So next time you look in the mirror and see your beautiful face and glistening eyes                   Just remember that I need you by my side even more than you think or can recognize


Audition signups are now open! If you're local to the Des Moines area, we want to hear your Brave! Click the button below to schedule your audition. 

Auditions on Sunday, January 8th and Tuesday, January 10th will be held at the Central Library

Auditions Saturday, January 14th will be held at the Franklin Avenue Library