[0:00] I interview people,
all the time they interview extremely successful race car drivers and builders you know celebrities and if you really start digging beyond what the Wikipedia says there's always down years sometimes it's like,
one movie that flopped or One race that went bad sometimes it's like four years of never winning a race and the people who become Champions are the people who stay in it and the people who look at okay,
this approach isn't working so what's another approach.
[0:35] You're listening to Femcanic garage the podcast that features women in the automotive and motorsports Industries,
a community that elevates and powers and evolves by smashing stereotypes and breaking down barriers for women I'm your host Jayme Blasiman.
[0:52] Buckle up for the ride Femcanics
[1:05] Femcanics I want to hear from you and get your feedback text me what your favorite episode is how I could improve the podcast.
[1:15] Products would you like to see but most importantly I just want to connect with you.
Text me at six one four nine five three six three eight zero again that's 614.
953 6380 I receive each message directly and I'm excited to hear from you.
Go on press pause and save my number six one four nine five three six three eight zero.
[1:49] Elana Scherr in the driver's seat today.
She's an automotive journalist columnist at Car and Driver former editor at Hot Rod and Road.
She does new car reviews for Edmonds and contribute features and short stories to sports car market rodent rack.
Other Automotive magazines and websites the automotive industry isn't just a career for her but a personal passion.
Elana and her husband have YouTube channel called challenge her which covers their project cards and garage were.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Hello Femcanics this is Jayme B coming to you and I have a lana share in the hot seat in the driver's seat today how are you doing today Elana.
I'm doing great and you called it a hot seat it sure is that's pretty hot I'm in California and it's been over a hundred degrees but you know I abstain cool in the air conditioning just working on car stuff I love the idea of car stuff.
I always give the listeners a little background how I find people and I stumbled across you.
Four bogeys Wednesday night have a drink with bogey if you haven't listened to it go check it out it's a lot of fun.
And I'm like wow this is a badass chick I don't want to get her in my hot seat and get to know your story a little more and dig in and I reached out to you.
[3:16] I asked would you be interested in being on the show and you graciously accepted my invitation so thank you.
Oh it's my pleasure it's a lot of fun to do these kinds of podcasts and
that's the whole point of bogeys show right is to get us all to know of each other because luckily there are now so many rad women doing car stuff that
it's not possible to know them all you know I know and there's so many aspects of the automotive industry as well and I like getting kind of the plethora on here of it's not just mechanics it's not just painters its.
[3:50] It's everywhere so,
let's back up and even though the listeners got kind of a quick synopsis of your background what and how did you get into the automotive industry well it's sort of a long and complicated story I didn't,
start out with that as a goal I didn't even start out thinking of myself as a car person I didn't grow up in a car family I didn't even learn how to drive until I was 21,
when I did finally buy a car and learn how to drive it was kind of like an accelerated College course you know when you take those summer classes where it's like a whole semester in like two months oh yeah,
it was basically like that except with cars you know I bought a car about an older car immediately a broke and I had to learn how to fix it and as I was meeting people who could help me with that stuff.
It occurred to me that I really liked it and I wanted to do more of it and I was reading a lot of car magazines and I was like this seems like a great job I would love to do this job so it didn't happen all at once I mean I think I first applied for.
[4:54] I'm sorry if you can hear the dog barking in the background what's his name there's two puppies Jerry and Stan and I think,
they're working outside the door where I am wrestling that's awesome what kind of dogs are they,
dachshunds oh those are awesome breeds so.
Yeah I was reading these car magazines I thought that would be a great job I would love to do that but it wasn't like that happened all at once I mean it was still pretty mysterious to me as to how you even got involved in writing for a car magazine and,
[5:31] it was before Instagram so.
Didn't really know any way of getting a hold of anyone other than just reading the magazines and occasionally they would be a notice that they were hiring and so I applied over and over again like never even got an answer I think there were probably ten years of,
applying a car magazines and never,
never having anybody respond to it before I sort of went the other direction I went into PR and from the pr side of it I met a lot of people who worked at the magazines.
[6:00] And once you know once I knew people and they knew me it sort of was easier to to be considered for a job and that was when David Freiburger who was the editor-in-chief at Hot Rod they had an open position I asked him if I could apply for it and he's like yeah that would be great.
[6:14] As if it was like just like no big deal yeah of course why wouldn't you apply it was like well cuz there's like I can only name like two other women who are doing this kind of stuff you'd like
and bother me so it took awhile and men like that helps kind of kick open the door for women yeah absolutely
it'll be great,
once we get to a point where there are so many women in the industry that it's not even a weird thing to be considered for a job but until that happens
the kind of men who do hire women and who do recognize that women have talents in this industry
they're in a special place like they deserve a blessing or two because they really make a huge difference for people no Lana how long have you been in your career
specifically for automotive have you always been in automotive or did you venture outside of Automotive at any point oh gosh.
I think I started at hot rod in 2012 maybe so like 8 years and Automotive journalism
but then before that I did probably six years in automotive and Motorsports PR so I feel like that sort of
half in the career that I wanted but I would say eight years as a writer for a magazine and websites.
Wow in there there's something just in listening to you share your story.
[7:38] That I always try to point out because sometimes we we hear it but it doesn't necessarily register.
[7:46] Is that you were pursuing this for a decade.
You know this isn't you woke up you graduated college and boom you had you know you you tried multiple Avenues,
in writing in and you just didn't give up you were Relentless in your Pursuit and sometimes when I talk to some of the younger women.
[8:08] Coming out of college or their trade school they get frustrated and they want to walk away and give up.
In what I keep telling him is stay at it you just got to keep showing up and you did that,
yeah and I mean I I agree with that a hundred percent I think we do everyone a disservice by kind of having this mindset that,
you come out of college immediately start working in the career that is going to be your career for the rest of your life and everything from there is like,
a journey upwards you know I mean I interview people all the time they interview extremely successful,
race car drivers and Builders you know celebrities,
and if you really start digging beyond what what the Wikipedia says there's always down years sometimes it's like.
[9:02] One movie that flopped or One race that went bad sometimes it's like
four years of never winning a race and the people who become Champions are the people who stay in it and the people who look at okay,
this approach isn't working so what's another approach because I mean I was trying to get the magazine work for 10 years,
but it wasn't like I just kept,
applying the same way over and over again and then being like I don't know they are jerks they don't want to hire me you know,
I read magazines the whole time so I was like well maybe I'm not good enough maybe I need to get better that's the first impulse but at a certain point you're like,
no I am good enough that's not what it is so okay what something I can do that similar to this maybe I just don't have the right connections,
and that's really what it ended up being is you know and just I needed better connections and I found them by going sort of sideways through PR
so you've done PR and journalism do you have a preference which one you like better oh my God journalism Pierre is so hard like,
it's so hard PR people get a super bad rep and they don't deserve it at all they make things so much easier for everybody else they work really really hard and they do not get appreciated I am,
very Pro PR people.
[10:21] But I don't want to do the job for me that's like waitresses I never want to do the job but I have such admiration respect for what they do so.
You better believe I'm going to tip well so it's a similar concept so wow.
You spent about six years in PR in your first role was really with Hot Rod Magazine.
[10:46] What is that like because I mean I'm sitting back and I'm looking.
[10:51] Everything that you've done and the people you've been able to interview probably the experience in travel that you've been able to do.
And you know for the quote-unquote average person sitting on the outside looking at that.
You just sit there like wow anyone who has an interest in the automotive industry to have that opportunity.
Granite you've earned it you've pursued it it wasn't handed to you.
What was that like when you when he said yeah go ahead and apply what was the interview like for you oh I think the interview was.
David pulling up vintage race cars on his computer and being like.
[11:30] Who's that who's that and honestly I don't think I did all that well at it because I've never really been a trivia type person you know there's a lot of memorization and kind of trivia knowledge in.
In car stuff you know like what how much horsepower does this car have or what you know what car was the first one to have an automatic transmission and,
that hasn't ever really been my focus I mean I like the stuff when I learn it and certainly if I'm writing a story I'll research it
but I did it doesn't stick in my head so I don't think I actually did all that well in the
in the interview but then he had me write send in writing samples and I think he really likes those so you send in the writing samples and then eventually he just called you and said you got the job yeah and it was a long time too because those big corporations they don't move very quickly so
I think I'd pretty much given up hearing back from him and you called on a Friday I still remember that he called on a Friday and I was outside in the backyard.
[12:27] And he said hey you still interested in that job and I think yes
did you start doing like a happy dance in your backyard I think I was just too stunned you know yeah my my general response to good news is to kind of just be like wait what,
did that just happen yeah very much wow so what was your experience like at Hot Rod Magazine,
I loved working at Hot Rod it was so fun I mean you always hear stories what the magazine industry was like and and I got into it too late for the like really insane stuff you know I was already past the
the time where you could get away with anything and go on all kinds of boondoggle trips and you know get all kinds of free parts and people did cocaine in the elevators whatever you know like none of that happened around me.
But it was still before the the budgets had gotten really slashed so we were it was still a big team and we were able to really work together and,
you know as somebody who who like studied history and English and enjoyed writing and grammar and that kind of stuff it was super fun to be working with other people who were writing and you know every month we had have,
you know we have a meeting in the beginning to be like what's going in the magazine and then.
[13:46] You know at the end we'd be looking at these layouts of the stories that we'd written with the photos that we take in.
And like checking them for each other and I really enjoyed that where did you go after hot rod then okay so so I was at hot rod for a,
I think three or four years I can't remember and then in that time Freiburger had left and still the same company but he had left the editor-in-chief position at Hot Rod,
to expand this new idea of roadkill I don't know if you're familiar with the show roadkill but oh yeah very popular kind of,
fun with cars YouTube channel that eventually became a Motor Trend show.
[14:27] At the time they thought maybe that they could start a magazine as well,
and so he asked me if I'd like to come over and head up the the magazine the website and their social media which I thought sounded really fun and it was really fun you know it was a chance to kind of be a boss even if I didn't have a staff of my own like,
you know I was I didn't have to really answer to anybody else and to put together a whole magazine was really exciting and we were able to do,
a lot of things both on social media and the website and in the magazine that I kind of wanted to test out in terms of telling different kinds of stories.
Hiring more people who were women and people of color that I knew were in the industry but I never saw getting work at other magazines so like that was like
like I tried to make sure that I was never the only woman on the Masthead I tried to make sure that if you flip through the pages you wouldn't only see white faces in there
and it worked like people really you know nobody ever wrote in and said this sucks were mad that you're doing this but people people did right in and say hey I noticed,
this thing that you did and it's cool so thank you for doing that you know so so it was great it was short-lived just because.
[15:38] At that time the company was kind of making a transition away from print magazines and So eventually the whole position was was no longer required and that was a little rough I would say that was.
You know I was talking earlier about how you never talked to anybody who has a pure upward trajectory and.
I'll admit to you that at the time I was like okay I was staff editor and hot rod was editor-in-chief at roadkill clearly the next job for me is going to be editor-in-chief at some bigger magazine maybe have a staff you know something.
And then no actually the next step for me was to not have a job at all also wow that was rough that was like a rough moment.
It wasn't anybody's fault you know it's just.
How it works is how big companies work it's just how things work at least in contemporary jobs technically at that time you weren't freelancing it is that correct right at that time I was staff and so once.
I was laid off I had to make a decision do I try and find another staff position somewhere do I go back to PR.
Or do I try and make it as a freelancer and I chose the third one.
Wow wouldn't I mean that's the equivalent when we say freelancer that's the equivalent of.
[16:59] You know the mechanical opening up their own shop so to speak what was that like.
It was terrifying oh my God it was so scary and I was so insecure it was like.
All of the confidence that I had felt like I'd built up all of my.
Like sense of like even my sense of identity was so tied up in being connected to a bigger brand.
[17:27] I don't think I realized how much.
You know how much ability I had to do things even with my own name but I did have some good friends again in the industry it really is it's about having connections to people,
and not in like a oh you need to figure out who's important and and like glom onto them way but in the.
You know because I had had a job where I was hiring people,
some of those people went on to get jobs and so then when I didn't have a job that made a big difference you know they remembered that I'd given them work or they remembered that they liked my work and so,
in the beginning it was like very Scrabble e like I would I would take on any job I would like write a story for two hundred bucks like,
which honestly is not it's not very much money for somebody who has any experience you know and I just did anything any job that somebody offered me any writing job I would just take it,
what was your biggest Lessons Learned like when you went out that everyone has this like.
[18:27] Preconceived notion of okay this is what it takes to start something this is what it takes to become a freelancer this is what it takes to open up a shop.
What was I guess your biggest misconception going into it meaning.
I thought this was the most important thing in looking back on it I realize now it was this well I don't know if I really would say that it was a misconception but I missed one big deadline.
As a freelancer like I really biffed it I mean I just I just didn't do it and.
[19:03] And it affected things you know like it lost me a relationship you know business relationship and,
and it affected the way that I felt about myself for many months afterwards it was hard to get rolling again I was I was embarrassed about it and it,
I was worried that it was going to,
damage my reputation more and so I've been very very careful since then to never let that happen again and everyone I've talked to who freelances.
[19:33] Or who you know has done their own shop thing or whatever they all have a story like that like like I could tell you don't Biff anything but that's not going to happen you are going to miss something,
don't be if something twice learn from it yeah now I looked on here and I was just trying to put together a timeline and thinking through this because you are your you've been a columnist for car and drivers as well.
[19:56] Now is that part of your freelance work.
Yes and that's new that's new for 2020 so there's at least one nice thing about the congratulations thank you yeah thank you very much and that is an example of.
A woman being in charge there's a woman who is the editor-in-chief at chromedriver and I think that she likes my work as well and it is possible that,
you know that a man editor-in-chief might have also sought me out for a column but I believe that she came on she had a bunch of open spots and I believe that she wanted to have some more women as regular contributors so
I am very appreciative to Sharon for that and I hope everybody checks out car driver because I think they're doing some really interesting things it's something that my dad,
got it regularly in growing up I would always to read it I've always loved cars it's always fascinated me but I'm curious Elana.
You have exclusively been in the automotive industry and I've asked women who are mechanics I've asked women who are painters.
From a journalist standpoint.
[21:03] What do you think the main contribution are positive of having a woman's voice in these columns and in the automotive industry from a journalist's perspective what do you what do you feel like the main differences are,
or do you think that there's no difference really well I think that this applies to the idea of diversity.
[21:22] Anywhere there's a couple of things that happen when you diversify the contributors to your business to your company to your school to your magazine to your website,
to the TV show that you're making you get ideas that are coming from different places you know and it's not that everyone is the same
just because they have the same background but if you have a team that is mostly made up of men you know from like 25 to 65
who are primarily from the same area in Michigan and went to the same five schools there's only so much,
that you can expect them to look at outside of where they came from same for anything else right like if you have a women's magazine and it's all white girls from New York.
Again you're missing stuff you're not you know you're missing ideas you're missing cultural things that could be very interesting for your readers and could make,
your product better you're missing mindsets that might solve problems in an interesting way like if you have a shop and you're also missing the ability to reach an audience that.
[22:35] Wants to see themselves represented so I don't know if it's his the case for everyone but if I walk into a party and that party is,
all men it's not a party I'm going to want to hang out at you know it's just like it's going to have a different vibe but if I walk into a party and there's men and there's women
okay cool party you walk into a party and it's like men women maybe children some old people you're like okay this is going to have a different vibe again like
this is going to be even more mellow right right and I think it's the same for for a work environment if you walk into a workplace,
different faces different ages different races different genders you're just going to be like there's someone here who's I'm going to be able to communicate with it might not even be the person who looks the most like you but just the fact that there is someone in there who looks like you
you know that there's the possibility of being understood and being listened to that's so beautifully put I think you know it is it's just.
It's seeing yourself in other people through that woman or.
[23:44] Person of color shining their light it gives them the permission to do the same and it's such a beautiful thing and it's so simple right,
yeah I mean it's simple and it's complicated because I have some sympathy for people who don't understand why it matters you know I think even.
You know even some of us.
You know what like I'll stick with women because I can I can speak confidently about there but like you know I'll meet women who'll say.
[24:13] You know I'm in an all-male environment and it's fine it's all great I don't have any problems but if you keep talking.
[24:21] There always are problems they might not be.
[24:25] The truly horrific problems in fact I hope that they are but there's always sort of like oh well you've been here 10 years and that guy's only been here for years but.
[24:38] He's getting like better jobs than you are better assignments than you or,
you're not being offered a position above the position that you've been in or when there's a company meeting you're the only one who ever thinks to make sure that there's coffee in the coffee maker maybe you don't mind,
but you know you shouldn't be the only one who has to do that and I think that that sort of thing is,
it's hard to recognize because a lot of times as a coping mechanism we tell ourselves this is fine I like this this is fine I doing this because I want to I'm doing this because it's easier.
I mean I would be very surprised if amongst your listeners there's somebody who hasn't at least once pretended not to know,
the solution to something or been soft about presenting it,
because they just didn't want to make a dude feel bad I've heard that a lot so they like hint around it and So eventually the dude comes up with it and then you're like yeah that's so smart but you could have just done it like half an hour,
no it's like and you just it's just because it's easier right sounds exhausting.
[25:49] I think you sort of build it into you build it into your life so it's not exhausting it's like exercise right the build up the muscles to do it but,
you shouldn't have to because you think about well what could you have done with that half hour of your life,
if you could have just said actually dude this way would be smarter why don't we do it that way in fact we are doing it that way and then you could have just moved on done something else.
[26:13] I'm chuckling just because yes many women have talked about exactly what you explained and I guess kind of staying with the female topic,
I've found your response really cool when I asked what message do you hope to convey through your story.
And I'm going to show you a response you said I just want people men and women.
To not be scared of their cars or if saying they are car people and that intrigued me I pause there I'm like what do you mean by that Elana.
This next answer answered my question.
There's no wrong way to be interested in cars and there's a lot of joy to be found in pursuing a career or a hobby in Automotive.
And it got me thinking a lot of like.
[27:04] There's a lot of I don't know judgment around how to be a car person.
[27:12] And I never honestly thought about until you wrote this and I started reflecting and thinking about him like there really is I mean amongst women.
[27:22] There's the whole sexualizing women around cars and some women want to do that and then there's a whole Camp of.
No don't demean the women we've worked too hard we want to be taken seriously and there's kind of this back and forth.
Around that and then there's just the overall hey there's not many women in the industry there are is no wrong way.
[27:46] To enjoy automotive and I think that's beautifully said but often not reflected on we have our own way of hey I'm a car person because of this and this means you're a car person and then have a definition around it.
Yeah well I mean like I said I've been in the industry now in multiple different positions for quite a while and I can't tell you how many people have apologized to me for what they like men and women but mostly women you know.
And it'll be like someone who's doing something really rad you know like I'll be talking to someone who's a salesperson at a classic car place and I'll be like oh what are you driving and then they'll be like oh well.
BMW like SUV or something like that and they'll be like yeah sorry not very cool and like like that it is cool that's a good car and you know like you don't have to.
You don't have to like prove yourself with every single,
movement and motion in your life that you're like a legitimate car person I know people feel like they do and certainly women feel like they do I used to feel like I did.
[28:50] You know and even now they'll be times where I'm like a crap I don't you know.
I don't know this reference or I didn't know that bit of F1 history or something like that now I have to feel dumb for.
Five minutes but at least I only feel dumb for 5 minutes now whereas I used to like feel dumb for like two weeks you know I'd be like
beating myself up over it for two weeks like I can't believe it at know that I don't belong here whatever it's not true and I've met people who I'll be like are you car person and I'll be like no no.
You know I have a I have a vintage Citroen that that I've been restoring but I'm not a car person like why aren't you a car person they'll be like because I don't do that engines
I only like the design of it so you know I'm paying someone else to do all the work well but liking the design of the car is,
is being a car person keeping car history alive is being a car person just.
Bothering to have a car you know and maintain it is is being a car person you know there.
There's different levels of it for sure you know I mean I don't want to take anything away from somebody who is,
you know super skilled and like can do every single element and remember every single part of every car but not everyone has to be that in order to claim some car some car personhood I'm fine with.
Going to a car show and talking to somebody who's like I actually bought this card just because it has a cool interior and that's really all I know about it I feel like that's all right it isn't plenty right exactly.
[30:20] Since we're talking about car person you clearly are a car woman and not just by being a journalist.
Even if you didn't have the cars that you have.
Like you said there's different ways to love and be in the automotive industry do you care sharing your cars that you have.
[30:41] Sure I mean it'll take forever to go through them all but so between my husband and I now we have more than a dozen different cars
my daily drivers will recently I've been doing a lot of new car reviews so I've been cycling through new cars which kind of makes me feel like a cheater but I am enjoying the air condition but
you know up until that point the only cars I own are all the cars I don't have anything that has fuel injection or air conditioning so I have a 71 Opel GT 69 Dodge polara 70 Challenger.
A 69 satellite wagon that's a project.
What else have we got a 69 Charger R/T a 71 Cuda 93 Cummins turbo diesel.
78 Dodge crew cab Dooley and then two big ramp trucks a 68 and a 71.
And a 64 Ford wrecker and an 81 turbo trim oh my gosh there's probably some more honestly I mean it's not just muscle card so what Drew you to is there something it's just like you see it and you're like that's really cool.
[31:52] Are you like dedicated to something specific well I started out with.
I started out with Mopar Muscle Cars just because my first car was a duster so I learned the most about them and kind of the most into them and
and even having expanded out of that I still have a great affection for Chryslers muscle cars I just I really like the design of them I like the history of them like the performance of them.
A neighbor had an Opel GT like I think they bought it to flip it and I saw it and was just what is that I need that looks like a teeny tiny Corvette,
and so I look for one for several years and before I actually pulled the trigger and bought one,
and I love it it's fantastic and and it kind of gave me an entry into smaller cars and two cars that have four cylinders you know European cars.
[32:44] And then the truck stuff that's really more my husband's deal I mean I'm not against the trucks I drive them all the time and they're Rad but.
He's really into trucks so that's where a lot of those came from and speaking of your husband
you guys have a YouTube channel together right we do we do although we have been lazy because it's been too hot to record anything but it is challenged her which is the same as all of my other social media.
And and it's Drive our own cars we drive some of our friends Cars sometimes we'll we'll do some mechanic stuff show people how we're fixing things are working on stuff.
That's so much fun I interviewed an Emily Reeves and she talked a lot about just having that experience around.
Like doing these Restorations and being in the garage with her husband and how it actually brings them closer and I think it's such a cool concept where you know.
Previous generations is the man is in the garage and the woman's in the house and there's this kind of division you know the man cave but like.
Blending the lines around that and really.
[33:55] Morphing it together and doing it together have what have you noticed with your experience in doing that with your husband.
Well I mean we met doing that I mean we met because I needed to build an engine and had.
Started it on my own and sort of reached a point where I was like I know this is much harder than I thought it would be and that was what he did professionally and he came over and helped me out and we started dating soon after that so it's sort of,
always been our relationship together.
And we you know we go back and forth sometimes he'll be more in the mood to work than I am and I'll be like fine you work on it I don't feel like it but Emily is great by the way and her husband Aaron is really fun.
But she's right it it it's fun to work together it's fun to have a project together I mean and I think any any marriage where,
people do work on a project together whether that's how stuff or gardening or you know I don't know children you know you get some of that experience it is fun to watch something come together
because the two of you have put effort into it yeah it's a beautiful thing now I'm curious what.
[35:06] Is your proudest moment in your crew and you shared with me your proudest moment but I'm curious if there's a particular article that you wrote.
[35:15] That just really either touched you or really sticks out to you oh gosh I mean.
I am pretty pleased with almost all of the Articles I've written,
and they all were important to me in one way or another at least you know I mean that the big ones
I love every every time I've had a chance to feature somebody has been really great I like doing the interviews I like spending time with people I did a story about Bobby Allison for Automobile Magazine where,
you know we had a little we had a little cry together remembering his wife who had passed on and that was pretty intense but I mean.
[35:56] You know one thing for me and you know maybe it's something I should work on with therapist but is that a lot of times,
I just move forward I don't
even really like to read stuff once it's like I like to read it once once it's in print just to make sure that nothing got horribly messed up and then I don't really look back at things like
even on social media like I don't really like to do flashback Fridays or Throwback Thursdays and I was reading an interview with a cartoonist named Lisa hanawalt,
who said that she feels sort of similar like
the work that she does is something that she wants to get out and then once it's out is she's like all right it lives in the world now on to the next thing and that's sort of how I feel as well you know I,
I don't think one thing stands out to me is like the proudest story they've all been they've all had challenges and they've all been very rewarding have you ever been in a situation where you were just Starstruck.
I mean I'm thinking from a journalist standpoint you'd have to just be kind of used to that.
[37:02] It's something else actually I think it's not that I'm used to it it's more like because I'm actually.
Very socially awkward really like I feel like I'm very socially awkward but.
For work whether that was for PR or for writing a story there's a kind of.
[37:24] I mean it's invisible but there's a kind of armor of the job like I have a job to do and that job is to talk to this person and find out more about them.
[37:33] And so there's not really.
Space for being Star Struck or for being jaded it's like it's just like a very laser-focused idea on this person like I have researched this person I am prepared to talk to this person and you know.
Fingers crossed they're not going to make it too difficult on me and and I really only had,
one or two times where somebody I was working with was so difficult that I didn't come away with a solid interview what is that look like,
I am just curious because it's you know from my perspective I sit and talk to all these women in they don't make it difficult.
[38:13] What is I guess I'm selfishly asking for my own curiosity here and being in a position of interviewing people.
[38:23] What is that like like do they just not answer questions or.
[38:27] I mean I'm lucky because I haven't ever really dealt with somebody who was like truly antagonistic I think people who work with more mainstream celebrities occasionally deal with somebody who's like
really doesn't want to be there and they're only there because their publicist is making them be there and they're you know very unpleasant that has never been my experience I've dealt with Engineers who are either so shy or just so bored that they,
they don't really give you much you know like I've dealt with some race car drivers who are so used to kind of playing it close to the vest that they don't.
There's a lot of like yes and no answers from people when you're dealing with somebody who like really doesn't want to
give you a whole lot and that can be difficult I'm sitting here laughing I can imagine you asking an open-ended question is I'm just saying yes or no like it's like that doesn't even fit here
yeah I mean it happens occasionally it doesn't happen super often I mean.
[39:26] The worst is like if you haven't if you end up doing an interview that you're not prepared for which again is not something that I try to let happen these days but.
You know it's always possible especially like during the like if you're doing event coverage and you end up with an opportunity to interview somebody but like you didn't have time to do research or really prepare and so you're sort of.
You're sort of trying to get them to talk about themselves enough that you can ask follow-up questions without giving away the fact that you don't know who they are so like that stuff is challenging but but I have been lucky that I've never really had somebody who was like an enemy,
right right well I think maybe we've left the listeners hanging long enough what is your proudest career.
What did I say I hope it was yes yes the book okay good yes so I just finished a book my very first book.
[40:25] It's sort of it's not really a ghost writing because I it's like an established partnership but it is an autobiography with Don Prudhomme so it's Don Prudhomme the racer
because I Themis drag racer from the 60s 70s 80s 90s 2000s and he did not a biography and I wrote it for him so that was a series of interviews and then,
organizing all the interviews and putting it all together into a book and we finished it this year it was very difficult and very fun.
Is comes out in October and I'm pretty stoked about it I hope people really like it you said it comes out this October that's right yeah October 20,
you got to be like chomping at the bit this is like a big year for you Alana you have the car and driver and then the release of this book.
I know it's I mean it's like everyone else is like 20 20 is the worst year ever and I'm like okay yeah mostly that's true except also a couple of good things and it's pretty awesome too.
[41:25] Oh my goodness in there kind of leads me you can tell you're a writer you get such,
pointed information in like two sentences and I'm like oh my God that's great and I'm going to share this too because it's amazing the question I ask is what themes are advice would you like to share with the Femcanic audience.
And how you answered this I'm like damn that's that's really good and but it's so pointed so this is what you said in it.
[41:57] You don't have to do things exactly how the famous men do it or even how the famous women do it.
There are so many ways of being a part of the automotive culture there is absolutely room for your way.
And I like I paused it's like you have these like deep thoughts like these one-liners where I'm like woo yeah and I wanted to read these because I'm like.
We should all think about this and particularly the men and women who are like you know I want to do that.
Who's people who come up to me they're like hey I'm thinking about doing a podcast and I went interview women similar to what I'm doing I'm like yes do it.
Do it because the reality is is one person even if there's multiple people in the same space doing the same thing cannot do all of it.
[42:50] And I just thought that was beautifully written,
well thank you and yeah I mean it and like you said about encouraging other women to do a podcast it is true it's like
it's so important to realize that there's space for
all these different ways of doing it and that everybody's going to have their own take on it and like that's fine you know I mean how many people do you know who listen to multiple different podcasts about true crime or multiple but different podcasts about cars
you know it's not like people only have space for one thing and their life and that and like if you don't do it exactly the right way than you're not going to be their thing
and if you're not there think there's somebody else who you are going to be their thing yes exactly and it goes back to the simple principle of just show up,
just dive in and do something that you love doing.
[43:39] Honestly when I started this podcast because I wanted to learn from other women and I couldn't find it anywhere it was for me and.
I really didn't expect anyone else to listen and lo and behold it's like oh crap that's a lot of downloads who and then it's this fear sets in I don't know if you experience this like.
When you had your first published article in Hot Rod or maybe Car and Driver or any of those where it's like okay your heads down you get it done and then you put it out there and then you pause in your life.
Oh shit people are going to listen to that people are going to read that what if they don't like it what if oh my gosh like did you ever experience that when you were a publishing.
[44:22] Every time like I think maybe for some people it goes away but again talking to so many people doing so many interviews.
[44:32] It doesn't go away you just get better at sort of recognizing it and not letting it slow you down as long.
So yes I'll still get like a little stomach ache.
When I hit send on something and it goes in and I'm like alright well can't call back now but.
Again like that used to be something that would paralyze me for a lot longer or keep me from pushing for another thing right away or,
here's an example I used to not send my invoices until a story was published because I would be like well there's still time that they're not gonna like it they're still in time that they're not going to like it but now.
All right I don't always do this because but it's mostly just because I hate writing invoices but now like I feel totally comfortable sending an invoice along with the story which is the professional way to do it you have done the work you've turned it in.
It's time for them to put into the process of paying if for it and.
[45:31] You know for me it's just it was like a mindset thing to be like even if I have to make changes that doesn't mean I didn't do the work.
And so it's you know it's kind of like all right I'm fine like I've done this a million times,
and I still feel a little bit nervous and I'll get over that nervousness and I'll do it again a million and one times and keep going I love it this is setting me up for,
what I call the red line around which five rapid-fire questions there's no right or wrong answer to it whatever pops into your heads the right answer,
are you ready to give it a go okay yeah I'm ready all right Alana who or what has been your inspiration throughout your journey in the industry,
there was a journalist named Martha Gellhorn who has nothing to do with cars she did like travel where iding and War riding and stuff but she was just a complete badass and she
was always in the right place to tell the story and she always told that story from her own
Viewpoint not not like anybody else did it and I think of her when I need to channel some bravery Wow have you ever had an opportunity to meet her no she died,
gosh she died a long time ago it is maybe but like she dated Hemingway and you know like it's just
old school work I like you know she like drove across Africa like in the 20s or something like that like I said nothing scared so clearly I didn't know who she was it's really the inspiration and pulling from her work.
[47:00] How did you stumble upon her work I think maybe I read an article maybe in like.
[47:07] Maybe somebody had done like a history article that had mentioned her or me there might have been a new.
I think maybe they had published a book of her essays and there was a review of it and like one of the book review like New York Times book review or something and.
I feel like I find a lot of stuff when a book comes out about it I think that's pretty normal but you don't need to feel bad about not knowing about it because honestly I forgot her name all the time like you don't.
Like if you are like a journalism student she's not very famous I wasn't a journalism student but her books are really good and her life story is really it's crazy you said review and I'm like oh,
you review cars for Edmonds to it's like this this is only a 45 minute to an hour podcast how do I fit all this stuff in Elana my gosh.
[47:55] Thank you,
number 2 where do you go or what resources do you use when you want to learn something new or you get stuck on the job or your story.
[48:07] Wow okay well I am a big like I like to talk to another person so if
if I can find someone who is an expert on that thing who's willing to talk to me it's like a little bit scary to make a phone call but that's usually
like the easiest way to immediately get your answer because you can be like do I understand it yet and they'll be like no not yet and be like okay explain it again do I understand again they'll be like yeah that's right
but aside from from just calling people which I realized isn't
necessarily an option for everybody YouTube is full of amazing videos there's also very bad videos but you know you can
you can kind of tell pretty quickly by reading comments and looking at the connections of that video whether that's something that where other people are like yeah this is this person knows what they're talking about or maybe not.
So YouTube videos are really good I mean I'm very lucky to you know to live with another car person I am a huge book reader like.
I can't even describe to you what our house looks like right now in terms of like how many books are everywhere so
if I have enough time and I know I'm going to be researching something I'll buy a book or two about it you know sometimes I'll buy ten books about it so you're old school book not Kinder online I mean I'll do all of those things but the thing is with.
[49:25] I mean there are mistakes that make their way into books absolutely I know I've written a book but but books have more of a process of checking then online does and.
And so depending on what it is that you're looking for if you can go back to a more original source.
You might get a better solution I mean it really depends what you're looking for right like you know I do a lot of history stuff so if I can.
[49:53] If I find a book about Buick that was written in.
60 it's probably more accurate to what was happening to Buick in 1960 than if I look at a website from from today but it really depends it's a great Point Ilana what excites you most about what you do,
oh gosh I mean.
[50:12] Before this year I would have said probably the traveling I mean I love I was on the road almost all the time but this year I've been having to do work
without doing much traveling and it's still been really exciting so I think it's I think it's probably the people that I get to talk to,
you know getting to be a part of what they're doing just worked on a story about speed demon which is the.
The land speed racing team that just set a record four hundred and seventy mile an hour record at the Bonneville Salt Flats which is so fast you can't even process it you know I saw that and I'm like holy crap it's pretty wild
and you know and getting to talk to all the people on that team and like learn where they came from and what it feels like to work on a car that goes that fast and then to get to feel like hey I was a little bit of part of this you know like I didn't make it happen but I made it possible for other people to know that it happened and that's a good feeling
yeah to feel part of it,
what is a personal habit or practice that has helped you significantly in this industry when you feel stuck or discouraged a personal,
going somewhere new and looking at something new,
a lot of times it's just going for a drive on a road I haven't been on before I get a lot of ideas when I'm driving by myself so it'll leaving the desk that's your meditation.
[51:30] Yeah exactly I've heard that from a lot of people and I tend to agree.
Driving now for me I would love racing something like.
[51:41] Going faster everywhere that I think sometimes it's cruising I think it depends on the car though.
[51:49] What is your parting advice to other Femcanics finding their way in the automotive industry.
[51:56] I would say that it's very easy to feel like you have to,
choose a side through the automotive industry when you're a woman that you have to either sort of be only associated with other women and have everything that you do be about your Womanhood,
or to sort of deny being a woman and try and basically be like
just like a woman shape man and have all of your friends and all of your connections be men and I feel that neither of those is a journey for long-term success.
[52:28] When I meet a woman who's like yeah I'm not friends with other women I just don't get along with other women I'm like red flag you know like you need to figure out how to get along with with some other women
and when I meet a woman who's like you know all the men in this industry are predators they're always insulting me like I can't work with them again I'm like you need to figure out,
you know what is going on there that you're so tender.
You know are you in a bad group it's not that it's impossible is like but if you're in a bad group you need to get out of that shop you need to get out of that team because that's not the way that most men behave.
But there's also the possibility of being so eager to look for anger at someone that you don't let anybody have any forgiveness and sometimes people are just dumb they're not meaning to be.
They're not meaning to be cruel to you they're not meaning to hurt your feelings and they're definitely not meaning to make you feel bad they just don't know what to do with you being unexpected so for me it's very important to.
You know to absorb strength to have strength internally to support the other women that I meet in this to not
let them intimidate me by being prettier or more talented or younger which I see a lot and with the men the same thing to not let them intimidate me by being more confident or,
aggressive or faster drivers or whatever it is it's like they're going to be people that you meet that are better than you.
[53:58] They're going to be people that you meet who you can help and if you just try and treat everybody as worthy of your time where they have your energy,
but not worthy of all of it and then you can kind of move forward and hopefully have like a more balanced interaction who I really like that,
that's great advice and a lot of wear and how can people connect with you.
[54:23] The best way to kind of figure out what I'm doing and to get ahold of me is through Instagram which is challenge her so that's CH all Eng
eh ER and the same on Twitter and the same on YouTube,
there is a Facebook page I don't check it very often it's not a great way to get a hold of me so those are those are the places you can subscribe to car driver you can write letters to Car and Driver and they'll send them up to me
you can watch videos on the Edmonds YouTube channel,
you can read Road and track you can look up old hot rod articles and you can look for the Don Prudhomme book coming out in October is way exciting I can't wait.
That's super exciting and I wanna thank you so much for being in the driver's seat today.
I really enjoyed learning and understanding your perspective and your journey from a completely different angle in the automotive industry.
Blows the doors wide open and often times I think we assume men right all those things all those articles so this this is awesome.
Yeah well you wouldn't have been wrong for a lot of beers that were only a few women but nowadays there's quite a lot of us and.
Hopefully it'll be even more so I think it's great that you're that you're talking to women I'm really flattered that you included the honor has been mine truly.
[55:52] My name is Elana Scherr I'm an automotive journalist and I'm a Femcanic.
Toni Avery is in the driver's seat next,
she's the owner of girls drive fast to.com which covers new car reviews vintage car reviews racing schools track days and other industry events,
she is also a pro driving instructor be sure to tune in until next time Femcanics.
[56:26] Thanks for listening to the Femcanic Garage podcast you can find us on Instagram Facebook and Twitter at Femcanic Garage,
check out our website Femcanic Garage.com for swag in the transcribes for each episode.
[56:42] If you want to help grow this community do me a favor and subscribe rate review and most importantly share this.
[56:52] Spread the word this is Jayme B signing off. ARE YOU A FEMCANIC?