F1XX during Hot Laps during the F1 Miami Grand Prix on Saturday, May 6, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Cassie Florido/F1 Miami GP)
Podium Life caught up with Mikaela from SheLovesF1 to chat turning your passion into a business, advice for others and what race she’d love to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m Mikaela, a real estate professional + author + entrepreneur based in Scottsdale, AZ. I’m also the face and creative voice behind SheLovesF1, a motorsport fangirl-focused corner of the internet that celebrates all things motorsport, pop culture, fashion, astrology, and just about everything in between.
What inspired you to start SheLovesF1?
I grew up watching Nascar and IndyCar, thanks to my dad, Chip, who is the world’s biggest Dale Earnhardt Sr. fan (so much so he had a framed photo of him in my parent’s bedroom for three decades). Growing up, I didn’t have any girlfriends who knew about motorsport, or had an interest in it. It was (and – sadly – still is in many ways) very much of a “men’s sport,” which subconsciously affected me wanting to talk about it more openly. After returning from the United States Grand Prix in 2021, I was more frustrated than ever before. From the moment I stepped off the plane until the moment I returned home, I had to constantly “prove” myself as a fan – an experience women know all too well. So, I decided to make a TikTok account in hopes of creating a Formula One fan community where ALL fans would feel welcomed and empowered to celebrate the greatest sport in the world. The goal of SheLovesF1 has always been to create a wickedly fun, hilariously sassy, and powerfully badass community where everyone is welcome, people feel comfortable being themselves and having opinions. It’s a community that won’t undermine or ridicule you if you think someone is good-looking, where you’re empowered to be fascinated by the ever-changing innovation and technology, and a place where it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been watching or why you’re watching.
How did you establish this as a career?
I have treated SheLovesF1 like a full-time job from day 1 when I had zero followers, brand partnerships, or income coming in. I’ve shown up every single day for two years to create content, engage with my incredible followers all over the world, and produce free downloadable guides to aid people in their own motorsport learning journey. I’ve invested a lot of my own money and treated my platform like a business, whether it be for expenses like website hosting or items for a giveaway, or buying tickets to races and all of the associated travel costs. I think when you are truly passionate about something, like I am about SLF1, it helps to carry you through the inevitable hard times where you don’t feel like showing up or giving it your all. I genuinely feel so grateful to have built a platform where people feel safe to show up exactly how they are in a motorsports space that has often felt very “gatekeepy” and judgmental, especially towards young women.
What advice do you have for others trying to break into motorsports?
My biggest piece of advice as it relates to content creation is to start now! I always tell myself, “done is better than perfect” which is important to remember! I know what it’s like to get stuck on worrying about what others will think and sitting on a video or a post until it feels perfect. But the truth is: you might be waiting forever! You will learn as you go and you’ll get better and feel more confident as time goes on.
In terms of working in the motorsport space, I think networking is incredibly invaluable. Utilize social media and networking websites like LinkedIn and say “yes” to every opportunity you get, even if it scares you! Relationship building is an invaluable skill for any career.
There is a lot more focus on supporting more diversity in motorsports, including women across all roles. How do you see this and are you involved in any way?
Motorsport has often been referred to as a “man’s sport” and in many ways that has been the case. I hope we are on the precipice of real change within the sport, seeing more women, people of color, and those from more diverse backgrounds participating at every level. Being able to see someone who looks like you in the role you want to have is wildly important. The world we live in is incredibly diverse, and an international sport should reflect that.
While I’m not personally involved with the series or teams, I do my best to amplify and celebrate women in motorsports, as well as make the space feel safe for female fans who have often been ostracized and criticized in the past.
As an avid reader, it is almost impossible for me to pick a single favorite! I enjoy reading both non-fiction (mostly personal development and business) and fiction (mostly romance and fantasy). I love recommending The Alchemist to people, as it’s a fictional story but has themes that can truly change your life if you apply them to your own life. I believe your mind is your most valuable weapon in life and we all have the power within ourselves to create a reality that is wilder than our wildest dreams! I’m currently reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, which is a poignant and nostalgic story of love, loss, grief, and coping.
What is your experience with mentors or mentoring?
If I’m being honest, I’ve never had a mentor and I wish I had that opportunity. I am really enjoying meeting fellow creators within this space who I can share frustrations, challenges, goals, wins, and losses with. It feels very empowering to be around people who not only motivate you through their own successes, but offer advice and an understanding ear when you might be going through a low point.
I try to always be available in my DMs for my followers who are looking for some motivation or general advice, and would love to be a mentor for young women who are looking to build confidence both in their professional and personal lives!
Best thing about your job? Most frustrating thing?
The best thing about creating content is definitely all of the incredible people I’ve met in this journey! I can’t believe I get to talk to people all over the globe about my favorite thing in the world – motorsport! I feel so lucky to have met the most creative, supportive, uplifting, kind, and like minded group of people. Through this, I’ve met people who I know will be my friends for life, and that is truly so amazing!
The most frustrating thing is the vitriol and hate online. It can be very hard reading the comments and messages I receive, but I have to remind myself of two things: first, they don’t know me and therefore their opinion of me is irrelevant to me, and secondly, their hateful words say a lot more about them than anything else. It isn’t worth spending time or energy on it, but it definitely can wear on a person.
Favorite race track?
I have to pick a single one?! I would have to go with the track I have the most memories at – Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Not only is it a wonderful track that has produced exciting races, but the vibes on-track are always immaculate. The energy is electric, and I can’t help but smile the entire time I am there.
I have so many circuits on my bucket list like Suzuka in Japan, Interlagos in Brazil, Monaco and Silverstone (to name a few!)
If you could win the Indy 500, 24 Hours of Le Man or Monaco GP, what would you pick and why?
I think this is the most difficult question I’ve ever been asked because winning any of those races would be a huge accomplishment! I also have an Aries stellium, which means I am incredibly competitive, so I’d want to win all three.
If I had to choose, I would win the Indy 500. I’ve been watching IndyCar for as long as I can remember, and the Indianapolis 500 is one of the greatest spectacles in competitive racing – it’s unpredictable, intense, and full of long-standing traditions. I’d also love to have a framed photo of myself pouring milk all over my face!
Dream driver pairing and why?
I want to see more men and women duos like we see in Extreme E. For example, imagine a powerhouse duo like Lewis Hamilton driving alongside Jessica Hawkins and the strides they would make on-track and off-track. I think it would be incredibly inspiring for so many reasons, especially if they were sponsored by Fenty Beauty!
What’s next for you and SheLovesF1?
I am heading to the United States Grand Prix in Austin next week, which is basically my personal Super Bowl. I’m so excited to be on track and to be surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world. There is truly nothing like the sights, sounds, and smells of a Grand Prix weekend – I feel like a child waking up on Christmas morning every time. It never gets old!
It’s a personal and professional goal for SLF1 to partner with a team, so I am actively manifesting that into my reality… stay tuned! 2023 was the most incredible year of my life, so I can’t wait to see what magic 2024 has in store.
Any final words?
If anyone has any questions or wants to reach me directly, please email me at email@example.com. You can find me on TikTok at @shelovesf1 and on Instagram at @shelovesformula1. If you’re looking for an informative + entertaining newsletter to read, check out Thirsty Thursday. It features motorsport news, book & movie recommendations, music I’m loving, motorsport merch finds, and words of motivation to get you through those tough days, all in a quick 5-10 minute read!