Without motorsport, I wouldn’t be a journalist.
In 2018, I started casually following Formula 1, an open-wheel racing series similar to IndyCar, through Instagram and any YouTube clips I could get my hands on. It wasn’t until the end of the 2020 season that I started watching the races live.
Almost every Saturday and Sunday, I wake up between 4 and 7 a.m. to watch the qualifying sessions and races that are happening in Europe with a major time difference.
I met some of my best friends on the internet through our shared love of Formula 1. We ended up starting a motorsport publication titled Along the Racing Line where I became the Editor in Chief.
When I got the opportunity to cover the Long Beach Grand Prix for the Daily Forty-Niner, I was ecstatic. I was going to have a chance to experience my dream job.
The moment I first got my hands on that press badge, I never wanted to let it go.
I walked into the photographer meeting on Friday morning and was shocked. In a room of well over 60 people, I only saw two women other than myself and Leila Nunez, the Multimedia Managing Editor at the Daily Forty-Niner.
Motorsport is a male-dominated industry. The hit Netflix show about F1, Drive to Survive, featured women speaking on motorsport for 40 minutes throughout its four seasons; only one of these women was a journalist.
Similarly, in IndyCar, NBC‘s six-person commentary team doesn’t feature any women.
I knew this discrepancy going into the weekend and knew that I would have to prove that I deserved to be there. I sat next to two writers from local papers in the press conference room. During the race, they asked me to explain who was in what position, the rules of IndyCar, and clarify anything they didn’t understand.
That moment felt so ironic to me. Here I am in a room full of men who have been in the journalism industry for years, yet they were asking me for help. I realized that I knew what I was doing, and I didn’t need to prove to anyone that I deserved to be there because I knew I did.
I didn’t let my fear of not being taken seriously change me. I wore dresses and did my makeup without worrying if I would look out of place among the men in khakis and polo shirts. I frantically took notes during the sessions, worked on three stories, and tried to tweet real-time updates simultaneously.
I had finally done it. For one blissful weekend, I was a real motorsport journalist.
I could picture myself doing this every weekend. Traveling around the country, or the world, living my life track to track, and writing about what I love. I got a taste of what my life could be, and I got hooked.
The fire that was already burning me grew into a full-fledged inferno. Seeing the lack of women didn’t scare me anymore but instead made me want to work harder to find opportunities. I finally knew that when it came down to it, I am capable.
I can’t thank the Daily Forty-Niner enough for giving me this opportunity. Covering the Grand Prix meant everything to me, and I can’t wait to go again next year.