Friday, November 23, 2012

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Julia Landauer

Julia Landauer is our very first American Hip + Urban Girl of the Week! We are both Brand Ambassadors for LOFT and like how most friendships start these days, it began online. I finally got a chance to meet her in San Francisco and we spent the afternoon sipping iced lattes and chatting about our blogs, her life growing up in NYC and being a NASCAR Driver!

Student, Blogger and NASCAR race car driver... how do you juggle such a diverse career?! What is a typical day in the life of Julia Landauer?

There are so many things that I hope to accomplish in my life that I feel like I have to do many things at once (in a great way). I love constantly moving and doing something, working hard, traveling, and learning as much as I can, so it makes most sense for me to incorporate those things into my daily life. It’s extremely challenging at times, but I just remember that I love what I’m doing and that keeps me going.

While I’m in school, a typical day starts at 7:30 when I go through emails, do business work for racing, and get ready for class. I have many morning classes, but then I always take a relaxed lunch in the dining hall with my friends. I like to get a bunch of school work done in the afternoons, followed by a workout session in the late afternoon. After unwinding and showering, I take a dinner break. Then I’ll work on a combination of homework and racing stuff until I go to sleep between 10 and 11. Except for meals I’m pretty much on 100% of the time, but I love that.

Tell us more your race car adventures!

Racing is the coolest career/activity/job I can think of. Racing is like a big puzzle, where you have to find all the right pieces and put them together correctly to make it work. These “pieces” include one’s racing skills, talent, sponsorship, character, physical strength, team, equipment, emotional support and determination, to name a few. And I really like that racing requires so many different skills. I need to be racing savvy, business savvy, those who are relatable to my fans, attractive to my sponsors, aggressive on the track, personable off-track, smart, critical, and a good team player! I think many people don’t realize how well-rounded of a sport racing is.

I like to think that the car doesn’t know whether the driver is a man or a woman, so that’s the mentality I take. While I’m racing, I’m a race first, female second. There have undoubtedly been some obstacles with getting attention or respect, but the minute I get on track and start driving, I’ve earned the respect of my competitors. Being a woman in racing has some positive aspects (more media attention, an element of being a novelty) but it also has negative aspects (more constant criticism, not being “one of the boys”). I just use all of it to my advantage and drive race cars really fast!

I’ve learned countless life lessons from racing, including understanding the incredible power of being hungry for success. The best things in life are really difficult to achieve, and you have to want it at all costs in order to get passed adversity and achieve your goals. It sounds cliché to say “do what you love,” but if you don’t love what you do, what will be the driving factor to keep going when it gets tough? (Pun slightly intended).

Who is your mentor or inspiration?

I’ve had several mentors growing up, all of whom played a crucial role in my development. My parents are amazing and have really supported me and helped me grow. Outside my family, two of the biggest influences I’ve had are Glenn Butler, my driving coach and Lyn St. James, a retired race car driver.

Glenn saw my talent when I was 12 and wanted to work with me when few others did. He really helped me go from being a good racer to a great one. We were the dream team, dynamic duo, the ones to beat. We had incredible synergy, challenged each other, worked remarkably well together, and we both had to win at all costs.

In addition to her professional racing accomplishments, Lyn founded the driver development program and Women in the Winner’s Circle to help guide young female racers through their careers. I met her when I was 13 and she has since given me advice, support, encouragement, criticism, and the confidence to keep going. She also told me that you can never take “no” for a final answer, which was one of her best pieces of advice.

What are you studying at Stanford University?

I am studying a program called Science, Technology, and Society. It’s an exciting interdisciplinary major that allows me to take classes in the social sciences, engineering, computer science, and business. I am developing a technical background while also learning about the humanistic ways in which things work. It’s directly applicable to my racing career, brand building, and marketing, and I get to work with amazing professors.

Tell us about your neighborhood and your favorite places to shop and hang out.

I currently live in Palo Alto. One of my favorite escapes from campus is to Philz Coffee. Making every cup fresh, I'm a particular fan of the Ecstatic Ice Coffee and the Iced Mint Mojito. Empire Vintage Clothing is a really cool shop to get a fun specialty item of clothing and is nestled on a downtown Palo Alto side street. I love being outside as well, and hiking up Windy Hill on the other side of Stanford's campus is always a great activity to do with friends.

You are also a fellow LOFT Girl! What are your must-have pieces from the collection?

I was thrilled to become a LOFT Girl! It’s really a perfect brand that caters to the forward-thinking lady. One of my favorite articles of clothing is a grey knit vest with a faux-fur collar. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it’s so trendy and dresses up any outfit.

I absolutely love the Sequin Detail Striped Cotton Tee from the current collection. Stripes and sequins are two of my favorites for clothing, so when you put them together it’s magic.

You are so young (only 22)! Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I would like to be winning races in the higher levels of auto racing. Additionally, I hope to use my Stanford degree to further the Julia Landauer Racing brand; I want to develop the business side as well as a more philanthropic aspect. The goals are to secure sponsorship to continue racing, bring awareness to the Julia Landauer Racing brand, and to become the best racer, and person, I can be.

What life and career advice do you have for hip + urban girls trying to create their own self-brand?

1) Know what you want to do. Without a clear idea of what you want, you can’t put all the pieces in place to help you get there. 2) Surround yourself with people you trust. Individuals rarely succeed on their own, rather they need a tight support system helping them. 3) Always keep pushing forward. It’ll get really tough, and seem as though it can’t work out, but if you give up you’ll never know what could have been. So just keep going!

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