The Lady Behind ‘Lady Driven’: Interview with Rachel Mills
When Rachel Mills looked online a few years ago, she noticed many platforms were sharing a false narrative of women in the automotive scene.
Being an enthusiast and personally knowing influential car girls who help change the community, Rachel decided to do something about setting the record straight. She decided to create Lady Driven.
Lady Driven is a platform promoting gender balance and inclusivity in automotive and other typically male-dominated spaces.
Beauty & Keys had a chance to catch up with Rachel and get to know the lady who is driven to support other women.
Beauty and Keys: We have loved watching Lady Driven grow so much over the years! Seeing your brand support females in the car scene is super encouraging. What inspired you to create Lady Driven?
Rachel Mills: I wanted to provide a platform within the industry for women to be heard and celebrated. When I started Lady Driven, there was a lot of the “either/or” sentiment towards women in automotive: either you’re a girl who likes cars just to hang around dudes, or you’re weird and masculine for being interested in “boy stuff”.
All of the women I knew in the automotive space didn’t fit that narrative; they were unique and valuable to the industry in their own ways, and I wanted to showcase that.
That is awesome! And we agree; women bring a lot more to the races than just pretty faces. What is your goal with your brand?
I want to remove gender as a barrier to entry for women in the automotive world through exposure, education, support, and representation.
Have you always been a car enthusiast?
Definitely. I grew up on stories of my mother and very German grandfather racing through the twisty roads of Rancho Santa Fe. Grandpa had a humble Porsche collection so my mother’s first car was a manual 911. I remember driving through those same roads with her as a passenger when I was little. She taught me how to apex and that “sometimes you have to go slow to be fast”.
When it was my turn to learn how to drive, my mother made me learn on a manual RS4. She told me, “This is easy… if I learned on an old Porsche, you can learn on this. Hill-assist didn’t exist in my day.”
A manual RS4?! That would be quite a car to start off with. What kind of car(s) do you daily drive?
I currently daily my Miata, but once that is fully built for track days it will no longer be street worthy. My dream car is Grandpa’s black on black 930 Turbo.
‘What do you think women bring to the car industry?’
Whatever they want! Talent, passion, and hard f*cking work come to mind. -Rachel Mills
Living in Cali we feel a Mazda Miata would be a must in our garage! We noticed that you definitely represent California: innovative platform, sporty car… and you like to surf, right?
I’m so “California” it’s almost embarrassing… My typical weekday starts with a morning surf with my sister, Steffenie, at La Jolla Shores before heading to work in downtown San Diego (I do digital marketing for a tech startup called Philter Labs to fund my surfing and motorsport habits).
On weekends I am either at San Diego BMWCCA autocross with my NC Miata, in Mexico hunting waves, or eating tacos and drinking tequila with friends and family… preferably all of the above!
Sounds like a BLAST! We are getting tequila shot with you next time we are in your area.
With Lady Driven, we are sure you have encountered good -and bad- experiences with a platform aimed at inspiring change.
You are a female in a male dominated industry. Have you ever been treated different because you are a woman?
More than I’d like to admit, in both negative and beneficial ways. I once had a guy say that I was being negligent for going to a track day because, according to him, I wasn’t ready. Not only had he never been to an actual track day himself at the time, I was frequently putting down faster laps than him at autocross. So a lot of that kind of know-it-all attitude and giving unsolicited and unhelpful “advice” goes on because most of the time, men automatically think they know more than you.
However, I will say that the overwhelming majority of men I have encountered have not only encouraged me to participate, but have helped me get to where I am. Special shoutout to Connor Bloum, Nick Owen, Brandon Watson, Chris Keefer, Neema Mahzari and the rest of my #LadyDriven ride-or-die boys who ACTIVELY support the movement.
Love that shoutout! We have our share of amazing, supportive gentlemen as well with Beauty & Keys.
What do you think women bring to the car industry?
Whatever they want! Talent, passion, and hard f*cking work come to mind. The industry and culture would be half of what it is today without women like Aimee Shackelford or Amber Blonigan. I will gladly fight anyone who says otherwise.
Both are so inspiring! Check out their interviews on our channel!
Last question before you race off to the track or beach: what is your favorite quote or mantra?
“If you can’t go fast with 90 horsepower, 900 horsepower won’t help you.” – Bob Hall