Sexism&Sponsors in Racing
with Julia Landauer
22 Nov, 2022 · Race Car Driving
Julia Landauer, Champion Race Car Driver in a sport where men and women compete against each other, and VIS League Mentor, speaks about her journey with sexism in racing, sponsorships and dealing with bad races!
[00:00:00] Stef: Today, we are so excited to welcome Julia Landauer to the Voice and Sport Podcast. Julia is an incredibly accomplished competitor in a sport where women and men compete against each other, race, car driving. She is also a new VIS mentor at Voice and Sport. She is the first and youngest woman to win the Skip Barber Racing Series at 14 years old and was the only woman to be invited to the 2016 NASCAR Next program.
Julia is currently racing in the Xfinity series for Alpha Prime Racing and was the only woman at her debut race in July, 2022. We are so excited to talk about her navigating a male dominated sport and advocating for herself in sponsorship deals.
Today Julia speaks about how race car drivers train their physiology for a four hour maximum focused race.
[00:00:50] Julia: The only thing we are in control of is our actions and our reactions, and so that is what we need to focus.
[00:00:56] Stef: She shares the sexism she faced racing against men and how she has overcome it along the way.
[00:01:02] Julia: a lot of little girls watch racing and they don't see any women, so they just assume that that's not for them.
[00:01:08] Stef: And finally, she shares an amazing story about how she boldly brought a sponsorship proposal to a New York designer's office at age.
[00:01:16] Julia: So I printed out a proposal packet where I had a cover letter where I wrote why I was approaching her and you know, kind of how I could be valuable. And I printed it out. I walked down to her headquarters, her showroom floor in New York. And I asked the receptionist if Betsy was in
[00:01:32] Stef: Before we get started, if you love our podcast, please leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcast and Spotify. Thanks so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Julia, welcome to the Voice and Sport Podcast.
[00:01:46] Julia: I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
[00:01:50] Stef: Well, you're an incredible inspiration to so many women and men. And we wanna start with just how you got started in race car driving at the young age of 13. I mean, that's pretty young, so you don't even get your license by then. So I'm really interested to know about, you know, when you reflect back, like how did you actually start you know, finding interest in the sport, What was your initial journey into race car driving?
[00:02:14] Julia: Well, I got started in Go-karting actually when I was 10 years old. So that was my introduction to the world of motor sports and my my parents, they were looking for an activity where me and my siblings could all do something together, but they also really liked that racing was co-ed. And so girls were competing against boys to the highest levels and so they loved that.
And I liked it right away. I loved being this little skinny kid that was maneuvering a machine. I loved being able to win and that was like the most addicting feeling ever. I liked working with adults and so I told my parents that I really wanted to figure out how to do it professionally and that's when I jumped into racing cars at 13 and that was through research learning what type of racing series were out there.
I race in something called the Skip Barber Racing series, which is kind of like a racing school. We had a lot of coaching, a lot of instructors and it was something that Marco Andretti did. Danica Patrick did. So it was very established sport and I was tall enough and had proven myself in go-karts enough to have the credibility to move up.
[00:03:21] Stef: I love that. So how do you like prove yourself in go-karting? Like if a young girl out there wants to get involved in racing, like what is first step to get into like the go-karting circuit, I guess.
[00:03:32] Julia: That's a great question. And you know, there are a lot of different types of go-karting. I got started in kind of the two cylinder road course style go-karts. So on, on asphalt. And you know, I know that my parents, they bought go-karts for us and then, you know, they pay the entry fee and we'd practice, we got to learn how to, how to handle the go-kart.
But I had my parents pretty heavily involved and I think that's, that's one of the downsides about motorsports is that it is so expensive and you need to either have that technical and mechanical understanding or work with people who do. So there is a bit of a barrier to entry. But if you're there and if you're able to go to a go-kart race, if you're able to find a local go-kart track getting some practice, getting some seat time, getting used to the feeling because it is, it's a lot of machine for a little kid to handle.
And proving myself in go-karts meant that I could win races on the national level. Like most sports, there are local levels, regional levels national level. So I was winning at the national level, racing in a few different types of go-kart series. It was a lot of fun. Go-karting is kind of the purest form of motor sports, I think.
[00:04:43] Stef: Oh, why is that? Why would you say purist?
[00:04:47] Julia: I think because there's, there's minimal extra stuff. There is this, the chassis which you serve as the suspension. There are tires, there is a motor. It's just the, it's the kind of most paired down in terms of what elements go into it. And so it really is like people maneuvering these machines. You don't quite have you know, the data the same way.
You don't have all the suspension parts, you don't have all the different kind of motor parts. There's, I wasn't a type that didn't have any shifting, so it's just the one speed. So you're just all out trying to make it. And it is just, there's so many good go-karts and it's the kind of least expensive way to go racing.
And so you just have so much talent there. And so, yeah, I think that's why I would call it the purest forms. And a lot of people feel that it's kind of the most authentic type of racing.
[00:05:40] Stef: How interesting. I mean, you know, there's Formula One and NASCAR that you're in, and then you, you think from the perspective that you're at now, to still think that that's a pure and like authentic style is pretty cool also really cool for all the young girls out
[00:05:55] Julia: Yeah, and you also have, like, at that point especially, maybe it's also because I was a kid when I was doing it, but you don't have the politics the same way. It's still a lot of merit based advancement, obviously it's still, you know, there's a financial component. But I think that that also plays a part in it.
And so maybe if I was an adult racing go-karts, it wouldn't necessarily feel the same way. But as a kid that's what I.
[00:06:20] Stef: Amazing. Okay. Well, what did your training look like at age 13? Because you got really good, really quickly. You won the Skip Barber Racing series just a year later at age 14. So what, what did your training look like and what was it like to have so much success so early?
[00:06:38] Julia: The interesting thing about racing is that unlike other sports where you can practice the competition, you can practice the game or whatever it might be, in racing, the only way to practice is to go racing because if you're practicing, people aren't gonna risk crashing their cars or their go cars.
They're gonna try to go as much to the max as possible, but it's to make the car as perfect as possible. And the big thing is just crashing. The way to practice racecraft is to go racing. So in our practices, we work on, you know, can we do a really fast lap for qualifying?
We work on making a bunch of changes to the car, one at a time, go out for a lap or two, see if it makes a difference just to optimize the performance of the car. And then I was also training off the track with things like I would go running. By the time I was 12 or 13, I was starting to do pushups and some stuff.
Nothing major, but starting to get that basic core strength, basic upper body strength and cardio, all of which are necessary for racing.
[00:07:39] Stef: It's so interesting because, I mean, there's this really incredible series called Drive out there on f1 F1 series. That's when I started really getting into race, car driving. Just hearing the incredible stories of the. People behind the scenes right, of Formula One, but there is so much athleticism that goes into being an incredibly great skilled driver.
What would you say are like the most important components that you train in terms of your body physically, in order to be a great driver when you get on the track?
[00:08:09] Julia: The biggest physical components, and I think this would be the case for whether it's. Formula cars like Formula One or stock cars like NASCAR or sports cars? There are a couple of parts. One is the endurance. You know, NASCAR races are two to four hours depending on what your series is. So there's the endurance and the cardio.
There is the upper body strength, and that's everything from neck to shoulders to arms. I think that's really important that that's a, plays a bigger part in the formula. Cars core is really important, being in the seat. But then also heat tolerance. Heat tolerance is really, really important, especially in a stock car because the motor's up front and then, you know, you're just in the car, there's no air conditioning and you know, it just, it can be 150 degrees in the car.
So you think that you're racing in a sauna for several hours while muscling around 3,400 pounds of machine while having to be super focused. Cuz the mental aspect is super important because you have to take in all of these tiny little inputs like tire degradation, going through gas the people around you, what your spotters are saying to you, what the crew chief is saying to you, if the sun is setting in a different way and that's affecting the temperature of the racetrack.
You know, all like hundreds of little factors that you have to think about all while going 180, 200 miles an hour. So it's a big mental and physical endurance and strength and skill sport.
[00:09:38] Stef: I love that. And we're gonna talk about that later in the episode. Just like, how do you really face fear? Or if you make a bad lap, how do you keep yourself in the game mentally? But before we go there, I wanna kind of dive a little deeper into just like your upbringing in this sport because, you know, here at VIS we're really trying to encourage young girls to stay with sport or even try a new sport.
But it can be really hard when you're in a sport that's like predominantly male and you are actually competing against men in all of these races. And in a way that's so cool cuz it puts like men and women on the same playing field, but it also means that you are pretty lonely.
16 out of the 2,900 or so drivers were women. And I think the last woman to drive a NASCAR cup brace was Danica Patrick in 2018 at the Daytona 500. So that was, you know, that, that means you're like at 0.5% women in nascar. So when you were starting off, and also from like, so kind of age 14 to like where you are now you were one of the only girls at the race, so how did that affect your feeling of belonging and, and how did you stick with it?
[00:10:51] Julia: Great question. And yeah, when you brought that stat to my attention that of the, almost like almost 3000 drivers who have, who have raced in a NASCAR Cup series, which is the top level of nascar, that only 16 of them were women. That was a pretty rough stat to know. Like I knew that it was bad in terms of representation, but I didn't realize it was that bad.
And so back to your question, you know, it was interesting cuz people always ask what's it like to be a girl in racing? And when I was, you know, a teenager when I was a girl, it felt normal, right? That's all I was used to. I don't know what it's like to be a boy in racing. And on the one hand I think, you know, socially it was a little weird when I was a young teenager cause I feel like, you know, girls have cooties or boys have cooties or like they're in the driver's meeting in terms of just comradery.
I felt like I was a little bit of an other, if you will quote other, and, but as I got older luckily, I had proven myself as a racer and people knew I could win, and so I was respected for the most part in that sense. But there were little things like people would make sexist jokes, which I've always been uncomfortable with.
I think it's not cool to do that to any, any minority group. Right. So there's some of that I learned from my parents that you know, some go-karting teams didn't wanna work with a 12 or 13 year old girl. So we ended up building our own team, a former world carding champion saw my talent and kind of worked with us and we did a makeshift team.
And we were really successful. And then I think sometimes, and this is hit or miss with the drivers, there are some drivers who race me really clean and hard and it's very fair competitive racing. But there are definitely some guy drivers who do not wanna get beat by the girl or do not wanna get beat by the woman.
And whether it's conscious or subconscious, it's there. And I think people like coaches who pay attention, they can see, Oh, this guy is racing her a lot harder, or he's blocking her on track more so she can't pass as easily. So there was definitely some of that which was hard and. There's not a great way to tackle that because you can't like have a conversation with people while you're on track, suited up going fast in vehicles, but you learn to be really tough.
And so the way I look at it is that basically every pass that I've ever made in my career was probably that much more impressive because they were probably trying extra hard to keep me behind them. So it might not be fully true like that, but I give myself that confidence boost. but yeah, it's been an interesting journey and I think the one last thing that's in interesting double edged sword, is that I get a lot more exposure which is great for the victories, but it also means that if you have a bad day or if you have a bad race, you also get kind of put back in that box of, Oh, she's a woman, she can't drive well, it just really quickly kind of switches to that. So definitely a double edged sword. But it's been an evolving experience.
[00:13:53] Stef: Well, what advice do you have to the young girls out there that might be in a sport that is predominantly male driven and they might not feel like they belong and maybe they haven't yet, you know, seen the results that they want to, you know, to get to in order to earn that respect, like you said. What advice would you have to those girls in terms of like, their mentality?
[00:14:12] Julia: My big piece of advice for that whole scenario would be to focus on what you can control. Focus on your training, focus on your practicing, focus on, I say hitting your marks, just like doing the things you have to do. So for me, on a lap, on a track, it's entering the first corner in the right spot, breaking at the right time, you know, hitting the gas at the right time, turning at the right time, hitting all those marks, and really building up and trying to get better.
And then also just not not really listening to the negativity. I think we have to, it's. Easy to kind of let the noise come in. But it's not helpful. And so I think being your own, kind of trying to be your own coach as much as you can, be your own harshest critic, and try to push yourself harder and learn from your mistakes.
And there will be mistakes. And think about what you can do better next time and what you did really well this time and the only thing we are in control of is our actions and our reactions, and so that is what we need to focus.
[00:15:13] Stef: Yeah. You said something that interesting about you felt like you started to gain your confidence there in this male dominated sport when you, you had some wins under your belt or you quote unquote earned their respect. And it's so interesting because I found myself in the same sort of, Scenario on the, the sport executive side in the sports industry, which is also male dominated.
And I, I remember being interviewed for a, for a book that's coming out and they specifically asked me like, Well, how did you kind of get that respect? And I was telling the story about how I earned the respect in some of these moments by like showcasing my skill sets in sports. So whether it was like picking up a ball and like juggling it, you know, in front of Maldini or some of these like, you know, male professional athletes that I was working with to create soccer product for Nike.
And then I like reflected on what I said and I'm like, Man, you know, I just can't wait until there's a moment where girls don't feel they have to do that, right? They don't have to prove or get a certain amount of respect to get the respect right away when they walk in the door. And we're not quite there yet.
But I found myself doing the same exact thing. So for, for nascar, do you feel like it's there, like the respect is there automatically, whether you're a man or a woman, or you still feel like you have to like, come in, earn it, earn your spot, and then the respect comes?
[00:16:36] Julia: I think that's a great point that you mentioned, and also I think in racing in general, I think whether you're a male or female, there's an element of wanting to earn respect. I don't think that's necessarily just exclusive to women, but I think what is different is like, you know, I think because there are so few examples of women who have won in the various levels of racing, I don't think it's the expectation that a woman who joins a team will be able to win.
Whereas I think, you know, when a guy joins a. Might think, they might think, Oh, right, let's go try to win. Whereas with the woman, depending on who the team is, depending on what the people are, what their preconceived notions are, I could always feel the difference when the team expected me to be able to win and when they didn't.
And I use the example in 2015, I won a second championship and my team owner knew that he had great equipment. He knew that the, you know, the, the race car, all of the parts, all of that was top notch. He knew that the motor was great. He knew that the people he had working on the car were great. And so knowing a little bit about me, he said, Okay, well, if you're a good enough driver, you will come in and you will win.
And that's just what we expect. And so there's that vote of confidence in a sense that, All right, they expect me to win now, let me just go run with that. Whereas there are other teams later on. , you know, they didn't expect me to win and I could feel that. And you can just feel that, like, that extra little 5% effort might not be going in or you know, that, you know, they're just going there to show up at the race track, not to actively go try to win.
And that has a negative effect on the athlete, right? Especially if this is the team that's supposed to be working with you and supporting you to go be the best that you can be. That's where I felt like I've sometimes had to work a little harder to get that respect. But then once I get that, once the guys do buy into me and they do see, oh she's serious.
Oh, she's talented, Oh, she has hurdles that she's dealing with that guys don't necessarily deal with. It's almost like this, like die hard support where they're very loyal and they see the differences that I experience and they want to help me overcome them cuz then we become a family. So it's, it's nice once you get to that point, but I do think that maybe that's a little less of the inherent or the innate action that people take when it comes to women.
So, Small sample size. Right. But, but my, my impression.
[00:18:55] Stef: Well, I wonder if there's been any studies of these 16 women, you know, to see if, like, is there performance, like outperforming the men in general? Bec, I mean, I'm just so curious to know We have so few examples here to look at, but I love that the sport is like, it's, it's an equal playing field in the sense of like, men and women are competing against each other.
Certainly when you don't feel like you belong or you don't feel like you see people like you in the sport you're in, it can be really hard to stick with it. So I wanna dive into those biases within motor sports, because, you know, I, I'm sure they exist. What do you feel like those biases are and how do we break them down? You know because it, it, we definitely wanna bring more women into the sport. We'd love to see more women following your path, but what should we know about the biases that are just existing today?
[00:19:49] Julia: Yeah. That's a great question. I think it will be a little different woman to woman. You know, and I think part of it's personalities, which is unfortunate that it's such a specific and nitpicking experience, but kind of in addition to maybe not having the initial buy-in or respect from the team. And that, that it varies, right?
But there might be some of that I think, you know, You do see a lot of culturally, a lot of the people in the industry's background is a little more like gendered and you know, in a traditional stereotypical gender roles. So there just are so few examples of women going out to the track or women being the more competitive one or all that.
I mean, only now are we starting to see umbrella girls go away, Right? Or trophy girls go away. And you know, I would say, Hey, get some trophy boys, get some umbrella boys too. Show that anyone can do any job. I. Yeah. But I would say you know, I think it changes from the grassroots level to the higher levels.
As I've been in the higher levels of racing, I have found that some of those stereotypes have gone away. I think that, and I have a long enough racing experience that people, you know, for me personally, kind of know that I can be a good racer and know that I work hard. And I don't think I'm viewed as a woman in racing, rather just a racer.
But I think on the grassroots levels where it's hard, where you're breaking more of the cultural stereotypes I think, you know, I still hear sexist jokes. They're a little comments like if, when we're getting fitted in our seats, right? The seat is so important in the race car. They're custom molded.
They're with like hot expanding foam that goes around your body. And the positioning in the seat is so important and in the car, because that's our anchor, that's how we control the vehicle. And if it's too much of a stretch, we're not gonna be able to do it if it's, if we're too close, you know. So there'll be times when.
I'll be making my seat and then, you know, I'll ask for a change or I'll ask for an adjustment. And then there's some comment about like, women being high maintenance. And know, it's a joke. It's an attempt to be fun and funny, but. It like, I don't know, it's not all the time. So it's just like those little tiny things.
But I think the big thing is still just, there are so few examples of women who win, and I think it's largely because we don't get the chance, and I know we're gonna talk about the sponsorship side a little more later, racing is a unique sport in the sense that it is so financially dependent.
So you can be the best racer and if you don't have the sponsorship or don't have the personal funding, you might not make it. And you know, you can have some funding that gets you on an okay team, but not enough funding to be on the best team. And so if, you know, a lot of women aren't able to get the funding because they're just so much fewer dollars put to women in sports you know, they're less likely to be on great teams that have a chance of winning.
So it's a kind of vicious cycle.
[00:22:38] Stef: I think you know, it comes down to also having the opportunity. So what do you think are those big barriers when you just take a step back, what are some of the barriers to entry into a sport like race, car driving and is it different for men and women?
[00:22:53] Julia: I think that if you go back to like the go-kart level or that really entry level racing for kids in any kind of vehicle, I mean, because it is a little expensive, I think that families, if they look at their resources, it's like, okay, we can get one kid into this. And just culturally, like people, you know, our media and our society pushes boys to like cars and boys to like action and boys to like activity.
And so that might be more of who would want in the family to do it. And because primarily only men are represented in motor sports, I truly believe in the saying, if she can see it, she can be it. And so a lot of little girls watch racing and they don't see any women, so they just assume that that's not for them.
That's a very powerful message to be sending right, In a negative way. So I think that's part of it. Just the kind of, you know, the limited resources, the cultural bits and it is a challenging industry and it's just, it's challenging to not have people who look like you. And I had a sponsor come to a race once and she is an entrepreneur.
And, you know, entrepreneurship is still male dominated. And she said, Julia, I have worked in a male dominated industry my whole life and it is so much better than the garage at a racetrack because there may be one or two female officials, there may be one or two female mechanics or engineers on the team.
There are some more women in the PR side, but it's, it's a lot of guys. And so just, feeling like an outsider is a very real part of that. And it's takes a tough personality to figure out how to kind of carve your own world within that male dominated world where you're comfortable.
[00:24:38] Zosia: Thank you for listening to the Voice and Support podcast. My name is Sasha Hawk, a junior at the University of Houston, running Track and cross country, and the producer of this week's episode, as well as the lead producer of the VIS podcast. If you enjoy hearing from Julia Landauer and would like to get the chance to talk to her and athletes and experts like her, go to voice and support.com/join to sign up for a free membership and gain access to exclusive episodes, mentorship sessions, and other weekly.
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[00:25:23] Stef: Absolutely. Well, I mean, you hit one on the head, like, finding funding can be really hard for women entrepreneurs in another male dominated industry. So let's kind of pivot towards that. As, as we know, financials and sponsorships are really critical for athletes in order to have a successful, you know, year ahead of you so you have the right resources.
For your training for the people, your support system, all of that stuff. And you know, across the industry, women athletes receive 1% of sponsorship dollars. So it's really bad. Kind of similar to the funding scenario in entrepreneurship. So for you, I wanna kind of double click into like how you landed your first sponsor and you know, how did you do it?
Did you do it by yourself? ? Were you working with an agent? Because we have a lot of young girls in college right now who now can actually leverage as our name, image, and likeness, and they can start to consider deals. So walk us through that first experience.
[00:26:19] Julia: Yeah. So I do wanna preface by saying that sponsorship, how most racers view it in motor sports is a little different than I think other sports, because like, I would assume that obviously there's entry fees for like running, let's say there's entry fees, there's your, your shoes, there's the equipment, but you can do the event right with, with those dollar amounts. For racing you can't even get on the track unless we're talking extremely high dollar amounts, you know, like tens of thousands of dollars in go-karting, multiples of that for racing cars. So sponsorship for to be on track is big dollar numbers, which is really hard for the individual athlete to do by themselves.
But that being said, you know, just with funding in general, I don't come from a family of business people, so this was a learning process for me and my family. But they encouraged me to, early on, pay attention to what kind of products I liked, what kind of activities I enjoyed doing. And I made my first pitch and I will give this story.
Terribly unsuccessful. But my first pitch, cuz they wanted me to go through the, the experience was when I was in high school, I really liked the designer Betsy Johnson. And she, you know, was this woman who designed really colorful dresses. I was like, Oh my goodness. Like I'm a 15 year old champion race car driver from New York.
You, you know, I'm sure she sees the synergies. So I put together, like, I printed out a proposal packet where I had a cover letter where I wrote why I was approaching her and you know, kind of how I could be valuable. And I printed it out. I walked down to her headquarters, her showroom floor in New York.
And I asked the receptionist if Betsy was in, and he was like, No, she's not. And I was like, Okay, well can you give her this package for me? And he did. And I walked out so confidently that she was gonna call me back and you know, wanna sponsor me and she didn't. So
[00:28:13] Stef: I love that story. I love that story. Oh my gosh. You just were like, I'm doing
[00:28:18] Julia: I'm doing this. No shame. . No, no room for any shame in anything in life. But learning that that was not the right way to do it I started working on kind of thinking about who I knew. I started thinking about what my network was and how I could grow my network as a late teenager. And started thinking about, okay, how do I quantify where my value is?
What is my story? So I started thinking about all that branding stuff. And so I, I would encourage all young athletes who think that they want to pursue this, and I think anyone in general, but think about who you know, think about other types of people you might wanna know. How can you put yourself in those positions?
For me, one element of going to college was to build out a network and build out, you know, people that I could meet in industries, I could be introduced. And you know, learning how to articulate your roi, where, where you differentiate in terms of value. Maybe that's social media. Maybe you have a huge following.
Maybe it's something else. Like I do a lot of keynote speaking and that's a big anchor of where some of my value lies. Maybe it's the exposure that your sport gets. Maybe it's hospitality. You just never know. And the big thing I would say with sponsorship is you are going to get so many nos before you get any yeses.
Or for every yes you get, you're gonna have insert large number of nos here. Right? And so I think the whole thing around sponsorship is being really good at recovery from rejection being really consistent and enthusiastic about what it is that you're selling and. Not giving up and remembering that it's not a personal thing.
I think not getting a sponsorship is not necessarily a reflection of you. It's the decision maker. It's what a company's objectives are. It's, you know, what their budgets are. So taking a more objective approach like that.
[00:30:10] Stef: Absolutely. It's also the timing of your ask, right? It's it, it can be so many things. So how do you not take it personally though? You know, if you're getting all these nos. Which I think a lot of girls are, are getting nos out there right now to maybe the brands they want. And maybe they're getting yeses from brands they really don't wanna represent.
You know, how do you balance one, like having the right mindset through all of the nos. And two, how do you stick true to who you are and stick to your values And don't go representing brands that are gonna dish you a bunch of money, but might not be the right value alignment?
[00:30:46] Julia: Great questions. So my agent might disagree with me now, and I, I kind of worked on my own until 2020. And I, now I'm represented by Octagon and it's great and we work together. But before that, you know, when I would reach out for a while, whether it was for my keynote speaking or for sponsorship, wherever I was pitching myself, if people said no, and either if it was via email or on the phone, I would ask, you know, if I felt comfortable, I would just ask.
Okay, can you share maybe why? Or is there a specific reason? It would be helpful for my development to know what's up. And sometimes you get really helpful feedback. Sometimes they're just like, No, it's not the right time. But in terms of maintaining your confidence when you say no and not taking it personally I think I just, I always believed in myself and I knew that I had a cool product and I knew that I was a cool brand and I just, I guess I just, I don't have a great concrete bit of advice here because I just, I never gave up and I, I knew that I would not be able to do the thing I loved if I didn't keep going.
So my feelings about it weren't very important at that point. It was, how do I keep, keep going.
[00:31:52] Stef: I think it's, there's a lot of like watch outs. I feel like we need to share with young girls out there. If it's too good to be true, whatever it is that they're offering you, probably is another watch out is like, look at the contract, read the contracts, send it to a friend or somebody who knows contract law to read the contract.
Would there be any other like little practical pieces of advice that you would offer to, to young women out.
[00:32:13] Julia: Yeah, so definitely 100% read the contract. And even if you don't understand legal ease, as we say like legal language, if you read it slowly and you think about what they're asking, what they're trying to take from you that's really, really important. Most deals are willing to negotiate, so think about that.
You're not doing them a favor, it's a two-way street. And you know, you're providing value to them, so they also need to provide value to you. The other thing that I would think about is kind of. You know, are you getting your value? And you know, there are different things where you know, an influencer with a lot of followers might be able to have more value than others.
But I think that, I like to quote Taylor Swift here, where if you're providing value to someone, you should be compensated for your work. And. Believe that there's always a time and place to volunteer. There's always a time and place to do things for free. Especially if you're just getting off the ground.
But there quickly has to come an understanding that if someone wants you enough to think that you're providing value to them, you deserve to be compensated. And women and girls are not taught to, you know, think about money in that way or to be open about finances, but we all have bills to pay and there's no reason that we should not expect to get our worth.
And like one example is like with keynote speaking, right? Like in the beginning I didn't have a track record. I didn't know how good I would be. And so I definitely volunteered to speak at non-profit events or, you know, certain high profile events where I might get exposure. But once I knew, I could tell a story on stage.
Like if I'm there to inspire and entertain a lot of people and it's worth, and the event coordinator thinks it's worth their time and my time, then I deserve to be compensated. And I think you have to be comfortable walking away from a deal if it does not meet your standards for your value for yourself, which can be hard, right?
We all want something, but you have to think about long term building to where you know you can be
[00:34:26] Stef: Yeah, I think it the idea of like, you know, it's not. One dimensional, right? It's multidimensional. And every person's in a, every person's in a different stage in their own brand development, if you will, of themselves. And so understanding where you're at and being realistic about where you're at is also important.
I love what you said about, you know, you'll still do some things for free if you feel like you're gonna get something out of it too, right? There should always be like this balance. And you know, I struggle a little bit with that as well. I do a lot of things for free and I need to do a better job myself being like, No, but it's hard. Yeah, it's hard for sure,
[00:35:04] Julia: Women in general are taught to be giving and to are taught to be kind of self-sacrificing for others. And I think in a lot of times that's great, but not when it comes to your business and not when it comes to your profession. Like you're in business to build your skills and make money.
That is, that's what you're there to do at the core, I think. And so I think just keeping that in mind and remembering that everyone else is in the same boat it's not you being greedy. It's, you know, that's, this is how you live your life and this is how you pay your bills.
[00:35:38] Stef: Well, let's talk about the concept of value, because obviously like when you're in business and you're working on a business model, like kind of a known product type or whatever, you can really easily calculate your value using different formulas and your roi. There's industry standards, all these things, but when it comes to like people, and athletes and different sports and different parts of your career, you know, what are the, I guess, components that you feel like should be included when you're valuing an athlete today that these young girls should consider as like different components to the formula that likely brands are using to calculate the value of them.
[00:36:21] Julia: That's a really good question, and I don't know that I have like a super, like steadfast. You know, answer that. But when I think about value, I think about one, what industry standard is like what you said, right? I look at myself in a couple of different buckets. There's my speaking bucket, there's racing sponsorship bucket.
There's endorsement bucket, if you will, for speaking. Like I know, I know kind of what people who are not super famous can make my agent works with me. But I got to a place on my own where it's like I had an idea and then I just, when I was quoting myself, I would just keep pushing a little bit. So I think it's always good to push.
And once you secure one level of funding, you know, if you for the same thing next time, maybe try a little more. You never know. For sponsorship, there are the hard costs to go racing. So there are some kind of non-negotiables there, but we can add more in if it comes to like different production days, you know, what is a, what is four hours of your time worth?
What is eight hours of your time worth? I think also thinking about how will this partner use the content that you're creating in the future? Is it a one time thing that they get their, their one exposure or one activation point? Or is it a lot of different things? Is it gonna be living on and providing value to them for a while?
I think that's important. And I think that, you know, it, it comes down to individuals and, you know, maybe how many deals they do, but like, are you trying to do one or two really big deals or are you trying to do a bunch of small ones? So it, it kind of comes down to personal preference, but so much of it is experimentation and seeing what works.
And I remember the first time where I was super nervous to quote myself for a certain rate, and it was accepted right away. And that told me that if they accept it right away, then it wasn't very high. I thought it was high, but it wasn't high for them. So again, it's all about experimentation, trying things, and assessing and, and figuring out how you can quantify your value.
And then also the, the more abstract, the more qualitative things that you have that maybe you're the only athlete that kind of checks all of these boxes. And so if they want someone, they gotta go with you. Like knowing that kind of those distinguishing factors can be really valuable as well. Yeah.
[00:38:31] Stef: I just love how you did not mention social media, the number of followers you have.
[00:38:36] Julia: I'm not great. I don't have a super high social media following, so that's not something that I lean on a lot.
[00:38:43] Stef: Well, no, I love that. I, I love that for so many reasons, because I just think that so many young girls, especially with the n ni stuff so far in this first year, it's all about, it seems to be so hyper focused on your social media following, and then there's like a formula that's like number of followers equals number of dollars, and it's like, wait a minute, that is too like one dimensional in how you think about yourself as a person, as a human, and definitely as a brand.
We don't want young women thinking that way. It also is the reason why we've built the voice and sport platform and we have sessions on confidence and all of these things because of social media and the bad things it can do for young girls, body image, et cetera. So I just really appreciate actually that you didn't mention it.
Not to say it, it doesn't matter cuz it is one. Yeah, it does. It's one of those things we're, we're not gonna ignore it, but it's not the only thing. To any of the girls that are listening right now, we do do sessions on the platform about branding , with some of our pro athletes and I think it would be really good for the girls listening to also just write down what are those unique things that they have that uniquely makes them them.
And that's a great place to start when you're trying to think about your value. And I loved at the end of the day, you're right, brands are trying to check boxes and you know, you need to understand you as a holistic person, everything that you bring. And that is like where you grew up, your socioeconomic status of how you grew up, your race, your geographic location, the, the things you've studied at school, Like there's so many things that you can pull from to figure out your
[00:40:21] Julia: Yeah, and I think you said it perfectly, like, you know, kind of identifying what other areas of value you can bring to the table beyond social media. And just thinking about what you can offer, like what do you have as an individual that you can offer. You have your time, you have any other skills you might have.
You know, it's about thinking outside the box and not necessarily just following one formulaic idea of how to.
[00:40:46] Stef: Okay, so you told this really funny story at the beginning and so just to wrap up this section on sponsorship, you went to a brand very boldly and was like, Here you go. This is why you need to, sponsor me, which I still love, by the way. And I still feel like is something that a girl should, consider cuz as a founder of a company, I would still appreciate that.
So I think just understanding like the, the size of the business and thinking through it as an option. I just wanna say putting it out there as an option I think is still great. But now from your 15 year old self to like all representing yourself for many years and then having an agent now with one of the best firms out there, what do you feel like is the right approach here for, for women athletes?
Should they seek out the sponsors or let them come to.
[00:41:30] Julia: Well, I think if you're an athlete that has a lot of people coming to you, then that's a pretty, you know, you're in a good position where that works. I think if you're not having that, I, I'm a big believer in going out after it. Again, I know my agent will disagree with me on some things, but I think it's not a one size fits all. So like for example, you know, I know that having an agent is really great for me because they have relationships that I don't have. And so being able to work together, I can say, Hey, I have an idea. Do you have a contact here? But then there's also personal relationships that I have built, and maybe that's, you know, on social media, in dms with brands, or maybe it's meeting people at events where because it is a more personal relationship, it's better for me to pitch.
And so I think it really does depend. I don't know what the process for getting an agent is like in other sports. It's, it's challenging I think for most people. But you know, doing research on what the different agency kind of feels are, and thinking where could you be a good fit based on what your goals are, what your personality is.
But then, I mean, again, I don't think it's one size fits all. And if you have a package to propose, like if it's a very clear cut, like this is a sponsorship that we're looking for, for lacrosse, let's say. And you know that for X amount of dollars, a sponsor will get y in return and you can do that.
But then there are other things, like for me, with racing sponsorship, one of my sponsor or the sponsors I had to make my debut in the NASCAR Xfinity series were relationships that I had made through my interest in web three and NFTs and Crypto. So a completely unrelated just, you know, personal curiosity that I followed I kept my motorsports lens on.
I kept, you know, my, always thinking about could this be a partner? And was able to just pitch the idea and it happened to work out. But again, it was quantifying All right. This is the exposure that the Xfinity Series gets. This is the other stuff that I can offer you in a sponsorship package. And then I worked with my agent to finalize the deal.
So I don't know if that answers your question, but Yes. I mean, I think an agent's great. I think, I think what I've learned also is that sometimes being able to separate the talent from the financial business aspect can be good. And I think that, you know, that's been hit or miss sometimes people are totally fine with me handling it, but for the tough decisions, sometimes it can be good to have that other person helping you out.
[00:44:01] Stef: Absolutely. Well, you, you mentioned your debut on the new Xfinity series back in July of 2022, which is such an amazing accomplishment. So I wanted to talk a little bit about that experience of how you got there. And then when you got there, you had a crash during the race where a 13 year veteran guy hit your car and ended your race.
And there was some negative media attention over the accident with some of the commentators you know, almost trying to blame you for the accident. And I think this is so common, like it's something that we're really trying to advocate for change is also the diversity in media. The people who are commentating on events are again, or writing about sports, are again, predominantly men.
So what was the experience like of getting there and then, you know, having that, that crash and then some of that, that negative media attention because you were a woman? Like how did you work through that?
[00:44:55] Julia: Yeah, so getting to the getting there was really interesting. You know, I think you get to a certain point within racing, like I made it to the high levels of the minor leagues where I was approved to race in the Xfinity series on the smaller race tracks. So I knew that I could get on a few of the specific race tracks was able to convince or, you know, to sell sponsorship and have these partners come on board got to the track.
20 minutes of practice, one qualifying lap after three years since I had been on an oval a year and a half since I had been in a stock car. So it was, I, it was very, very challenging. And then, you know, I knew that we weren't gonna be competing for the win. Just wanted to run all the laps. And yeah, I was on the straightaway and got tapped by one of the leaders who's lapping me unfortunately.
But he, he went on to win the race and apologized in Victory Lane. So I guess we made it to Victory Lane in a sense. in the wrong sense, but in a sense. But yeah, so what what happened was, you know, it was kind of a racing incident. I was in a straight line. He was coming out of the corner behind me.
He was a one passing me. So it's his responsibility to do it cleanly. And he was going too fast and, and crash into me and sent me into the wall. He was able to keep going from some of the camera angles, like I can see how the commentators thought that I turned down on him. But if you watch the aerial view, which is kind of the most objective, you see that.
Crashed right into me and. While I was disappointed to hear the commentators like try to say it was my fault because at the end of the day I had rookie stripes on like it's his responsibility. You know, as a veteran driver, when you're around new drivers, you always give a little extra space cuz you just wanna be a little careful.
So it was his fault. But much to my surprise, actually majority of the social media discussions around it were, how can you say that's her fault? He clearly went into her and I had a lot of people have my back, which. It was such a nice surprise. Cause again, you, I heard what the broadcast was on TV and I thought that was unfair.
But then to have all these fans who were watching saying like, Hey, sh this was not her fault. Like, how can you take that from the video that we're seeing? And so it was really cool to kind of have that it was a really positive experience in that sense. But , as I was kind of reading all of it and being like, Yeah, that's right.
It wasn't my fault. Like all this stuff. I realized that I also probably shouldn't get as involved in all of the chatter cuz this time it was in my favor, right? Like all of the, you know, fans, all of the random people watching it was in my favor. But that same energy can be against you. And so for me it was interesting to kind of think of, you know, right now since it's good, that's great, but is this a healthy way to spend my time reading a bunch of comments and Yeah, so it's, it's a little tough, but I think I was, I was really happy with the fans.
I felt like they had my back. And I do think it was a little unfair, the commentators, but you know, we're all learning. I think people are getting used to new faces in, in the sport, and if we can take it as a learning experience, that will be good.
[00:48:01] Stef: I love that. I think it's great advice too, like just making sure that you don't, you, you know, you hang. Of ways we know a lot of pro athletes actually just don't even comment, period. They don't even look at social media. They have somebody else actually managing their account because they don't want that distracting them, and especially kind of affecting their mental health going into like, you know, a game or in your case, like a high speed race.
So I wanna pivot to kind of that focus on mental health for, for being a, a driver. You know, you're, you're in a pretty intense like environment and you're under a lot of pressure and like you said, you're doing it in a sauna, basically . So what, how have you approached like your mental health? Like we talked a little bit at the beginning about your physical health and, and how important it is to also incredibly focus on your core and then certain key parts of your body physically to be a great driver.
But what is the mental side of being a driver really like for you? And what have you done to really like train your mind to be ready for the race.
[00:49:08] Julia: Yeah, so I think that's kind of a two part question. I think there's the mental health side and then there's also like the mental acuity and recovery and all that side. So more on that like. physiological side. That's something that I work with with my trainer. I work with a gym called Pit Fit.
And we specifically do motor sports related stuff. So we will do things like neurological training with different apps or, you know, working on peripheral vision, like all this stuff. But a big thing is recovery. And so like, if we're doing something where, like an example that I posted on my social media recently was I did a 500 meter sprint on the rowing machine.
So I was very fatigued after two minutes and my trainer threw balls that like lit up at me and whatever color they lit up, I had to put that ball in the corresponding bucket that he had laid out. And it was very, very fast paced. And if you miss one, you know, part of what we're training for is how do you recover from that and keep focusing on what's ahead of you, right? Like even if you miss one, even if you make a mistake, you have to immediately jump back in and focus on moving forward. And so that's super important in racing. Cuz you know, you might spin, you might maybe not if you, if you hard crash, you're probably done for the day. But if you spin, if you kind of try to pass someone and it doesn't work and you fall back a little bit, being able to quickly, quickly get back in the zone is super important and.
With my debut race and the Xfinity series, I had never qualified that car. It's very fast car, faster than any car I had driven. And I went too fast into the first corner and I missed my marks. And I luckily was like, Julia, this is your one chance, keep going and recovered very quickly. But if I hadn't, I probably wouldn't have made the race.
So it's it's a really important thing to do that. And that I think practicing recovery, there's so many ways to do it and there's a lot of literature online that I encourage people to just research and see what could work and work with your trainers on it. But then on more of the mental health this is such an interesting journey for so many people.
And I think, you know, what I was able to handle really well as a 15, 16 year old is different than what I was able to handle really well as a 22 year old, which is different than now as a 30 year old. And so I think you constantly have to reassess, but for me what's really important is having very strong and open relationships. I mean, like vulnerable relationships with my close circle. So my parents, my boyfriend, my agent, my coaches, that stuff. I also, like, my me time is very important and so, you know, I wouldn't say I'm the most social person on the planet. And to me, being able to come back and, you know, just be by myself, think about it, focus on myself is really important.
Proper, you know, physical maintenance in terms of diet, in terms of you know, exercise and sleep, really important. But I also, I really, I, I focus a lot on kind of looking back on any event or any race or anything and seeing, okay, what, what am I proud? What do I feel like I could work on? What could I have done differently, even if not better, just differently.
Think about that and then give myself some grace and if I messed up, like, you know, address the problem, but move forward and then focus on preparation for the next one. So that would be, those would be some key things that I would suggest.
[00:52:29] Stef: Well, we all have those moments, right? Whether it's, in your case it was an accident but other athletes, right, they're facing injuries or a poor performance in a race. And obviously it's kind of hard then to kind of come back from that, especially when you get into then the next race and like you, you know, what happened in the last race.
And so it's really important to be able to like shift your mindset in those moments when you're moving on from like maybe a not so great performance to what you hope to really overcome in the next one. So what advice would you have to young girls about just sort of managing that fear or that anxiety of coming off of a bad race and then going into a new race with like the right mindset?
[00:53:10] Julia: Something that we say in racing is that is like eyes up and look where you wanna go. So if you're coming out of a corner and you're looking at the wall, you're probably gonna go to the wall. Whereas if you look up at the track down the road, you're more likely to go there. So I think, I think there's a very physical application of that, but I think there's also a mental application.
You know, focus on what you're trying to do, even if it's things like how you talk to yourself. Like I could say to myself, Don't crash the car. But that's still saying, like, it's still bringing attention to the crashing part, right? And so instead, I would say, All right, stay on my line and keep going down the straightaway, or focus on hitting my marks.
. Think about the positives and focus your attention on where you want to go. Again, I think it's really important to be self-critical and to know where, what was the root of the mistake you made last time? Or what was the root of the failure? Think about what you could have done differently. And then focus on the changes you're trying to make.
And it's, you have to be very disciplined, right? You have to be super disciplined with yourself to do that. But that positive self-talk and that more optimistic perspective, focus on where you wanna be and then you'll have a better chance of getting there.
[00:54:21] Stef: Okay, so then what really makes a great driver at the end of the day when you reflect back on like, what makes an incredible driver and you're, you're thinking about all these young girls out here that are listening to you and thinking, Hmm, maybe I wanna get into race, car driving.
When you take a step back with all your experience what would you say are the qualities that make a great driver?
[00:54:41] Julia: There are a handful of things that go into being a great driver and, and, and a great racer too, cuz the craft of racing is a specific skill as well. So first I think you have to be able to quickly take in and process a lot of different inputs. As I mentioned earlier, there's the tire degradation, the fuel, the people around you.
There's just so much going on. So being able to sift through it very quickly, react very quickly. I think there's natural competitiveness, like are you trying to beat everyone? Are you trying to win? You need to have the strength, you need to be able to piece together the puzzle. You need to be able to communicate well with your crew chief cuz they'll make the physical changes to the car to make it better to your driving style.
And then there's that little like, you know, that x factor, where are you gonna push it that extra little bit to fit in a spot that may or may not be big enough for the car. Like, are you gonna make the space? Are you gonna go for that pass? Are you going to you know, be able to outlast the, the car that you're side by side with for a long time?
So that's, that, that competition X factor I think is part of it. But then also like drivers who are really consistent are good. Like there are different styles to driving, but I think those are kind of big things that you've gotta, you've gotta have. And I consider racing, like putting together this very complex 3D puzzle where, you know, there's so many different pieces that can go together in different ways and hopefully it works out
[00:56:07] Stef: Yeah. Well, I love the qualities that you mentioned. They exist both in men and women, so. You know, inspiring other young women to get into the sport. You're doing that every day by competing and getting out there and, and doing your, your great work. But you talked about communication, you talked about competitiveness.
There's a lot of really amazing communicators that are women, strong competitors that are women. And, and then that ability to kind of take, would you say risk taking? You didn't mention risk taking, but as you were talking about that x factor, is that how you would describe it? Like the ability to, or the willingness to kind of like push yourself on the limits?
[00:56:48] Julia: And I think that's slightly different than risks taking in a sense, if we're getting very granular about it. I think, yeah, you need to be able to put it all out on the very edge and you know, you don't know your limits until you pass them. So like you have to be comfortable really pushing that. And I think risk taking is important, but I think, you know, calculated risks, right?
Like someone who just bonds eyes the car into a corner on the inside of people. That's a risk, but it's not like a good risk to take. And usually doesn't work out. But yeah, I think it's that like, pushing yourself so hard mentally and physically to get absolutely everything out of the vehicle, absolutely everything out of yourself.
And, and operating on that very, very high level and to want to work that hard. I think also with racing, unlike other sports, you know, there's one winner and anywhere from like 20 to 39 losers. And so your actual win rate as a race car driver is very low. I think I did the math. I think Jeff Gordon in his cup career cup racing series career, he's like one of the best, right? He has like a 15% win rate. Like we are losers much more of the time and you just learn to. Not think of it in that way. It's like you're trying to get number one, there's obviously benefits to 2, 3, 4, 5, like when you get points, but you get really good at not being a winner and therefore being hungry to push again because the joy and thrill and like intoxication of winning is so high, but then you're only as good as the last race, right?
The next race, the next week someone else might win. And so that hunger to get back to being on top is there as well.
[00:58:21] Stef: I love that, like the kind of, you know, double meeting of drive, right? Like kind of what you gotta
[00:58:27] Julia: We love a racing pun. Yes. Love a racing pun.
[00:58:33] Stef: Okay. Well, to kind of wrap, our conversation up here, I, I just want to talk a little bit about male allies because in these sports that are dominated by men, it is so important to build allyship and having both like men and women advocating for equality and for change. It's a big thing about how we're doing the work here at Voice and Sport on the work we're doing at Title nine.
We need the men, we need the male athletes to get involved. Male politicians. One of our lead sponsors of our current bill right now is Senator Murphy from Connecticut. So, you know, there's such an important role, for allyship when it comes to creating a more diverse experience for a sport.
So what advice would you have for other young women out there based on your own experience within racing to build that allyship within their sport to help move progress along?
[00:59:27] Julia: Totally, and I think that male allies play two crucial roles. One is like the public language and publicly advocating and all of that. And then the other is kind of the more private way that they interact with people. So for me, especially in a male dominated space, my strongest male allies have been, the ones who pay attention enough to see how I'm treated differently and then also telling the rest of the team.
Right? One of my spotters one year saw that the guys raced me hard as someone that they had seen race for a while. You know, he saw that it was so much more competitive with me and then he told the whole team and then they could keep an eye on it and they say, Ah, yes, this is something that's going on.
And I fear that, you know, sometimes if I say that, if I say that the guys are racing me harder, if I say that, you know, treatment's different, it might quickly be seen as whining. Which is a balance that we all have to strike. Unfortunately but sometimes that male voice carries more weight or is taken more seriously.
And I hope that's not always the case, but while it is in some situations, like let's use it, and so, , having that advocacy inside. And for me personally, what I do is I, you know, I try to gauge the people I'm working with, get a sense of what their personalities are. And if I can see that there's a little more empathy, if I can see that, you know, they're trying to see, trying to help us all be the best as a team, then I'll be more vocal about some of the things that I'm experienced.
Or I'll ask them questions like, Can you keep an eye on this? Does this seem like an unfair way to treat me? Do you see this different stuff on track? And then asking if they can, just asking for help. Can they help tell the team? Can they, you know, share that with other people so that they know. And that's how it starts.
And speaking up and you know, publicly supporting, publicly speaking up publicly, spreading the message that I'm a good racer, that I'm good to work with, like all this stuff. Setting that good vibe, if you will towards the women that you're working with. But yeah, it's a, I I have found that I need to.
Kind of see who's empathetic, who's open to me talking about more challenging subjects, right? Like gender disparities and d different treatment based on your sex is, is a tough topic for a lot of people. So, who's open to those kind of discussions? And then when you find 'em latch on and like run with them and like, try, try to make them stay with you cuz it also takes a certain personality from the guys to step up and go against the grain and speak about what's right, but not always comfortable. .
[01:01:51] Stef: So you mentioned some of the qualities that you've, that you have found in good male allyship. What would you say to all the dads brothers boyfriends listening out there to women athletes? What would you want to whisper to them or shout about how to become an ally for other women athletes out there?
[01:02:09] Julia: I think a big thing is when, when, especially when women athletes or girl athletes talk about certain treatments or talk about certain things, like don't brush anything off. Think about everything and like, okay, is this because of talent? Is this because she's being treated differently? Like, have her back on that.
Listen to her and try to get to the root of the issue with her. I think another thing is to recognize that there may be obstacles that are invisible to you. As a guy you're not gonna pick up on all of the differences. And it's nothing against you as a guy, it's just that if you're not living it, it's a lot harder to fully understand what's going on or even pick up on some of the nuances.
And so trusting . And, and expecting that there are things that you're not gonna see, but that she is still going through and still dealing with asking questions giving the benefit of the doubt. I think it kind of changes the mental perspective. And the other thing is that, and this something that I'm really grateful my parents did, is that, you know, biologically men and women are different.
There are little things. And so, you know, also looking at culturally how we're raised or what media says and kind of seeing the different expectations for men and women. I feel like by my parents looking really closely at those different norms, they were able to help me and my sister fight those norms.
And they would see maybe patterns that we might fall into that are stereotypically, you know, more women leaning and they'd be like, Hey, this, this is what's going on. This is what we're seeing. Maybe we can try to fight this. Maybe we can try to work against this cuz it's not helping you right now. And so, being realistic about differences and different cultural and societal expectations.
Can be a really powerful tool in combating the gendered roles that we might fall into.
[01:03:55] Stef: Oh, I love that. I think that is so important. It's like anything, right? Is understanding the context in which you're operating in, and you kind of wanna go in with that like view of like, okay, what, where, where am I operating? , What's the system in which I am operating and, and understanding that system doesn't mean that that system is right or fair , but it's under important to know what that system is.
And same with male allies, right? Like they might not know how it feels to be in that system that wasn't built for them. And so helping to shed a light on that and understanding that they might not see it right away. But that the ability to have empathy and listen and then I think use your voice a big reason why we called our company Voice and Sport.
But like the male allies that I really appreciate are ones who don't just do it behind the scene. They're actually getting out in front and speaking up on behalf of women.
[01:04:46] Julia: Totally, totally agree, And that's just such an interesting point too cuz like when I was first answering that question I was like, there are a lot of people doing that. We need more on the inside. But I think it's just an industry thing, right? Because like I am surrounded by dozens of men on the team and so the speaking internally has a big impact on me as the team.
You know, hopefully when I'm fully retired from racing and you know, there are other women coming in the sport, more teams will have experience working with women and that really hands on experience that they can work with. But yeah, both are totally needed and making it like a normal thing to advocate for women and not just like a, you know, like a niche thing is very important,
[01:05:27] Stef: I agree. Okay. Well to, to wrap up this incredible conversation, cuz I feel like we could talk forever. We would definitely wanna have you back on , the Voice of Sport podcast to go deeper about your experience. But, you know, when you think about the future of sports for women and, and this is all sports, like, what do you hope is something that you will see changed for the future of women's sports?
[01:05:49] Julia: A couple things I hope that I know and there's a big push right now, but I hope there will be better media coverage, representation, promotion of women in sports as mainstream. I mean, we saw that with the US Open with Serena's final game, like it was the most watched game. It's not like people do not wanna watch women's sports.
And I think part of that is also, you know, giving women the same resources so they can do the same good jobs. You know, during the pandemic there was that, that photo that circulated of the men's locker room for basketball versus the women's. And it's like, well if you do not give the same tools, how are you expecting them to compete on the same level?
So I think that's a big part of it. I think, you know, as someone who's a big advocate for financial independence and knowing your value and worth, like being compensated fairly empowering girls and women to take ownership of the, you know, business and financial value that they have and making that a regular conversation.
I really, I really hope to see that too.
[01:06:48] Stef: I love that. And I think it's so critical. So as we, as we think about the kind of younger versions of ourselves you're in your thirties, but I'm, I have left that number behind. So if you can think back to your younger self and just the advice that you would tell your younger self in sport and maybe specifically to girls who don't see them reflected in their specific sport, what advice would you wanna give them?
[01:07:15] Julia: I would wanna tell them to be very intentional about who you receive feedback from. And I say that both, you know. First as like as a girl who was racing, I had a, like, I was kind of a pioneer at that time. There weren't a lot of us. I got a lot of unsolicited feedback as a 14 year old, 15 year old, 16 year old from people who, because they were older, I thought they were authority figures, but I don't know what their intentions were.
I don't know what their experience was. I don't, like, they didn't know who I was. And so I was getting advice on how to be an athlete from them without them knowing anything about me. But because there were adults, I took it to heart. And so I wish that I had been more selective and more intentional about who I listened to.
So my coaches, my parents different team members. But really zooming in on those people who, you know, have your interest at heart and really trying. You know, drown out the extra noise and you can't stop people from talking to you, but you can be, you can put a guard up and not let it, you know, get to, you, get underneath your skin.
And I think, I think that's a big thing that I, I, I wish I had a little more confidence to not care about other people's feedback as much.
[01:08:37] Stef: So important. I mean, it's so critical also because you know, you might be in a scenario where maybe you do have a really unhealthy relationship that you're in, or a really unhealthy system that you're in. So if you're in a bad environment and the feedback you're getting in that environment is not making you feel good, I think the best thing you can do is like listen to yourself and listen to your gut, but then also surround yourself with other people who you know have your best, like authentic interest at heart. And, and that's why like community building and like what we're doing at VIS like, it's so important to do. So you have like a trusted group of people you can go back to. Cause often, especially when you're younger, it is hard to know, well, who do you listen to and who do you don't? And we have seen time and time again, unfortunately for young women in sport is that even sometimes the coach might not be the right person to listen to, especially when it comes to getting advice about mental health.
Go seek a sports psychologist, a clinical clinical dietician for your nutrition needs. Right? So I think like just again, stepping back and saying, Okay, who is it that I'm listening to within my circle? What are their qualifications? And, and, and just kind of understanding the context.
[01:09:49] Julia: And, and you bring up a really good point. If you're already in a not great situation, I think yes, you should always look at someone's credentials. Cuz even people who really, really mean well, if they're going off of just their experience versus science or versus proven stuff, it's not necessarily gonna help you.
And I, and I've experienced that too. But yeah, looking at people's credentials, not taking, you know, advice from people who do not have those credentials. But then also I think when you, when you're assessing the people who are around you and having all that time with you and that impact on you. You have to learn, no matter how young you are, old you are, you know, are those people helping you be their best?
Are they helping you feel the best about yourself? Are they helping you be the most critical on yourself so that you are taking ownership of that? You know, are they, do they want to see you succeed or are they constantly putting you down? And I think that's a really hard one to navigate. But that's for whether it's coaches, that's your friendships, that's your romantic partners.
Like the people you surround yourself with the most should always be lifting you up. They should always be making you feel good about yourself. They should be helping you be your best, even when that's challenging. And if you're not getting that from your people, I think it's really important to try to kind of recognize the bad things quickly to move away.
And it can be hard, but everyone deserves surrounded to be closest with people who are making them their best and having that standard even if it's not what we've been taught by media, if it's not what we've been taught by even our families. Having that standard that you deserve to feel great about yourself when you're around, the people closest to you will help you so much growing up.
[01:11:30] Stef: Absolutely. Oh, well that is where we will end because absolutely amazing advice and just incredible to see what you've accomplished already in this sport. And we're really excited to, you know, to continue to watch you rise, whether that is, you know, on the track or in your speaking engagements. You're an incredible inspiration for so many young women out there today.
[01:11:51] Julia: Thank you so much for having me and good luck to everyone listening. I mean, life is hard, adulting is hard. Being a teenager is hard. But doing the reading and putting in the work to try to figure out how you can operate your best is so worth it.
It's worth that hard work, and I'm sending good vibes to everyone and good luck to everyone.
[01:12:12] Stef: Amazing. Thank you so much, Julia.
[01:12:14] Julia: Thank you.
[01:12:15] Stef: This week's episode was produced and edited by Vis creator Zoia Hawk, a track and cross-country athlete from the University of Houston. Julia teaches us to know our own value and know our own worth as competitors in a traditionally male dominated sport, and as business women when negotiating a deal, Julia's journey is incredible because it shows how her persistence and passion for driving helped her shatter the status quo and the stereotypes of what women can and cannot do in the car.
Finally, Julia reminds us that even when we are our harshest critics, we also just need to be proud of what we've accomplished and focus on where we wanna go next.
We're so grateful to have Julia on the podcast and excited to have her as a VIS mentor on the Voice and Sport platform. If you liked our conversation with Julia, please leave us a rating and review. And Spotify. Just scroll down to the bottom of the Voice and Sport podcast page on the Apple Podcast app and click on Leave a Review.
Please click on the share button in this episode and send it to another athlete that you think might enjoy the conversation. You can follow Julia on Instagram at Julia Landau
If you're logged into voice and sport, head over to the feed and check out our article about how to set realistic goals in sport. Take a look at the sessions page and search for Julia or sign up for one of our free or paid mentoring sessions with our 200 plus VIS League mentors and 80 plus vis experts.
If you're interested in other women athletes who have broken barriers, check out episode number 94 where you can hear Blake Bolden and I talking about breaking down racial barriers in ice hockey. See you next week on the Voice and Sport Podcast.
Julia Landauer, Champion Race Car Driver in a sport where men and women compete against each other, and VIS League Mentor, speaks about her journey with sexism in racing, sponsorships and dealing with bad races!