By: Ashmere Prasad
If you didn’t catch our Instagram Live, Marisa Cali and I attended the ESPNW Summit in Orange County in October. Along with the inspiring panels we heard and connections we made, we had the pleasure of interviewing a few young women from the ‘Voices of the Future’ panel: NASCAR drivers Hailie Deegan and Brittney Zamora, and professional skateboarder Jordyn Barratt.
This southern California native comes from a fast-paced lifestyle. Her father, Brian Deegan, is a professional motocross rider, off-road racer, and former X Games, competitor. Hailie’s interest in non-conventional sports stemmed simply because she was exposed to racing daily. “My family was always in the racing world, and as a little girl, it was all I knew. So I started racing when I was eight I never turned back.” Deegan didn’t have a circle of girls who stuck with racing as she did when she was younger, yet she carried on. She enjoys posting on social media as any 18-year-old would, but she utilizes it to build a brand as well. She connects with fans, tells her story and showcases her adventurous day-to-day life. Her family also has a YouTube channel that provides viewers with a first-hand invitation into her practices, travel, crew discussions, the list goes on.
Brittney Zamora’s past is closely similar to Deegan’s because she too grew up on the racetrack. “My parents have taken me to the track ever since I was four days old, and I loved it ever since.” Zamora’s father, Mike Zamora raced super late models for 20 years. He left his racing days in the past once Brittney expressed her interest in the sport and now mentors his daughter as her crew chief. Zamora was simultaneously racing and participating in competitive dance for over 15 years, until it came to the point where she had to choose one. “I chose racing because it’s my true passion, and it’s what I want to have as my career.” Zamora currently juggles college coursework and racing in her day-to-day. “If I’m not on the track or traveling for a race, I’m usually doing homework. I’m barely home and always on the road.”
The two young ladies are a part of the Toyota Racing Development team and represent Toyota in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2019.
Skateboarding will make its debut appearance in the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The Hawaii native Jordyn Barratt is one of the females competing in this category. Barratt learned to swim and surf before she could walk. When she moved to California Barratt was always within arms reach of a skateboard. It wasn’t until she was 11-years-old when she went to her first skate park and it was, “love at first sight.” Usually, she was the person, let alone girl, at the skatepark at some points, but she refused to stop skating. Outsiders would question her mother for letting her ride around and spend her time at a skate park, and her mom would simply reply, “it makes her happy and she loves it.” Barratt recently injured her shoulder and eventually required surgery. She’s nearly finished with her rehab and is anxious to get back on her board. When I asked about her preparation for the Olympics, she said it’ll come but she’s excited to start skating again. “I want to keep skating my main focus. Skating is what I do for fun and what I love the most.”
Each athlete represents something bigger than themselves; they are women breaking barriers in a male-dominated environment, and they are here to stay. Deegan, Zamora, and Barratt utilize social media as a way to connect to the younger generations and provide them with a role model they can resonate with, which is huge. “I enjoy social media as a platform to show other girls that skateboard to push through it out there because it is a male-dominated sport. Anything any woman has done for us in the past is giant for us – now it’s [skateboarding] in the Olympics, and with equal pay. It’s a great platform to show other people who can’t come out and see us live, which is huge” (Jordyn Barratt.)
We wish Barratt luck in the Olympics and hope Deegan and Zamora do well in their careers!