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International Woman's Day: Melissa Paris

 - International Woman's Day: Melissa Paris
© Melissa Paris
Melissa Paris is part of the all woman Weronica Female Endurance Team the first and only female motorcycle racing team which competes alongside men.  Melissa Paris is one of the fastest American women to compete in Motorbike racing and was the first woman to qualify for a World Supersport Championship Event. Pushing boundaries of what women can achieve, Melissa Paris and the Weronica team are an inspiration to us all.

Describe yourself in 5 words:
Determined, mischievous, aggressive, motivated, resolute

How do you shake up to female clichés?
There are times in my life where I am such a chick. I love to get pedicures and shop. I like getting dressed up when I have the chance and laying on the beach in a bikini...
And in 2009 when my bike dropped a valve in the middle of the World Supersport race at Miller, I'll admit it, I cried. My husband was like, "What the hell? There's no crying in racing!" But I guess part of being a girl is that my emotions are hard-wired to my tear ducts.
There are other times when I am sure people must wonder if I have a Y chromosome sort of dangling on to the two X's. I am absolute disaster when it comes to cooking or keeping a house. My idea of a good time is going to ride my motocross bike or taking an engine apart. I grew up with four brothers and parents who encouraged me to try pretty much anything I wanted, so I think it just never really occurred to me that there are things a girl should do, and things a boy should do. 

What are you especially proud of?
I think over the last two years I've really become a lot more aware of my position in life and racing, and found a bit of pride in it. Unlike most people, I never even learned to ride a motorcycle until I was 20 years old. So I came to this a bit late. But I never let that stop me from having big goals.

© Melissa Paris
I'm proud of the fact that I don't let my circumstances decide what I'm capable of. I've had a bit of bad luck these past two years with injuries and other things, but I haven't given up. I guess it never occurred to me that you could do anything but soldier through it, but my husband has pointed out to me, that lots of people throw in the towel when it gets tough. I'm glad my parents brought me up to fight through it.

How do you imagine men-women's relations in 20 years?
That is a hard question! I think that more and more you see couples acting more like teammates or partners than a traditional husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend. I like that Josh and I get to navigate life like best friends.

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