Wow, three months since my last blog post. Although don’t think that means I haven’t noticed wonderful and inspiring women every day.
Every now and then I would see a woman’s story and think, “I must write about her on my blog!” But the demands of a small boy and my other commitments have held me back. But here I am. Perhaps a bit of a tame story to bounce back with, but one that I read recently on an evening tube journey.
Being a woman in the public eye for whatever reason – music, acting, sport, dating a celebrity – can’t help but bring with it attention, not only for the songs, roles and medals, but also dress options, make-up brands, cellulite control and hair styles. Also that pervading “hot or not” category everyone seems to quietly be slipped into.
So when Laura Trott, Olympic, European and World Champion of track and road cycling, was recently sent an invitation to attend the Sexiest Women in the World Awards, you might have thought she’d say yes. The 21 year old ticked all the boxes – fresh, pretty face, walking around in a media buzz, role model for young women, no doubt.
Frankly, I wouldn’t have seen a reason why she might say no. Who wouldn’t want extra publicity, perhaps some cash-spinning opportunities, and why should move stars be the only ones allowed to dress up and trot down a red carpet?
However, Laura said that while she feels the “pressure to fulfil a certain image”, she declined to attend the event simply saying, “That was just a no-go for me. That whole other side of things just does not appeal to me. I do sport because I like being an athlete. I want to inspire young girls to get on their bikes, and I just believe there is a certain way of doing that, a certain way that I want to be seen.”
I really admire this clarity of thought regarding her goals and image, especially at an age when normally (whatever that means!) most young women feel being known as “sexy” is one of the top things to aim for, and you can have career, money and talent but without sexy, there’s the argument a woman just doesn’t have it all yet.
As an inspiring aside, Laura also spoke of the equality between men and women that she has always encountered on the track. In a world where it can often seem like we hear about inequality in industries and companies on a daily basis, this is definitely worth mentioning, too. Perhaps part of her character decisions are testament to this balanced environment?
More: read about the double Olympic gold medallist here