Being soft really is what makes us truly unstoppable. Like a blade of grass, we learn to blow in the wind so that we are not broken by it.
I lift up and encourage others to discover their best.
What is your purpose?
My heart defines my purpose and I express my heart in all that I do.
What is at the core of your being?
Tenacity - dare I say relentless tenacity!
What does society say about what it means to be feminine?
Ya know, I have learned to not pay attention to anything society says. It does not matter what society says - what matters is what I say to myself. It is fun to look at this question and know that I have so trained myself to think this way, I have no flipping idea what society says.
How have societal messages about femininity changed in your lifetime?
I think we are actually expected to do more now then less. Not only are we expected to be the kind of woman we were raised to be: caretakers, mothers, manager of the home, nurturers of the world, but we are also expected to earn half, or more of the expenses, if we are partnered and all if we are not. Femininity has not changed all that much really when we are honest about it. I feel we have to be stronger and softer than ever before.
How do you define femininity?
Gentleness, empathy, humility, and sensitivity supercharged with sexuality and intelligence.
Is femininity part of your identity?
100%. I am all girl and proud of it. I walk unapologetically in my skin all day long.
Describe a time when you felt feminine and were not conforming to societal messages?
I am lots of things that maybe are out of the norm for women: A biker, gym rat, modern artist, entrepreneur, and a maverick loner. These roles are not always associated with traditional femininity. When I was younger, I was more of a minority. As I age, I see that every year I am less alone in the places where I used to be the only woman there. It is interesting to watch and also comical to observe the hardness of my young female counterparts. Much to my surprise I see that time has made me softer not harder. I have that thing now that comes with time - a quiet self assuredness that knows.
Talk about a way in which you choose to influence the world around you for the better.
In all that that I do my mission is to lift up and encourage others to discover their best.
Talk about a way that the "world" has influenced you for the better.
All of it - every little thing - has influenced me. The daily effort has been the biggest influence. I used to be merely fearless. Time and experience has made me full on relentless. Relentlessness is not what I thought - it is much more malleable than one would expect it to be. I suspect that time will continue to soften me. Being soft really is what makes us truly unstoppable. Like a blade of grass, we learn to blow in the wind so that we are not broken by it.
Describe a time when you felt totally badass.
Every day we can put our feet on the floor and try again we are bad asses. It is not the stuff that looks bad ass like riding my Harley across country or stepping on to a stage at 52 in a bikini for a competition. The real bad asses of life just keep coming - no matter what they just keep getting back up with and without tears in their eyes.
Who has/does inspire you?
My Father has inspired me my whole life because he is the original bad ass in my life. That is how I now what a bad ass really looks like. As he fights cancer he continues to be my greatest inspiration of humanity.
Note: Michelle's father passed away after this interview was completed. She was there at his side. Michelle's entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity is certainly a testament to her father. From his obituary: "Frank was a well-respected leader in the bicycle industry and was featured on the cover of Bicycling Magazine several times. He was respectfully deemed “The Wizard” within the bicycling industry and was invited to be the mechanic for the United States Olympic team which he ultimately declined because he preferred to remain with his family. He invented and patented a ground-breaking tool that is used by bicycle racing mechanics around the world. His work ethic and integrity has been continually held in high regard well into his retirement."
What is your "superpower"?
My energy level.
At the heart of a strong beautiful woman is: Relentlessness
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