My worst automotive confession: I learned to drive in a Prius. Instead of failed burnouts and stoplight drag races, my first encounters with the joy of driving consisted of hypermiling in EV mode and maximizing regenerative braking. So how can I possibly call myself an automotive enthusiast, and how did I end up at Automobile?
No one really knows where my fascination with cars came from, but it was there long before I started driving. My mom loves to recount the tale of a 3-year-old me, swinging on the swing set at daycare. When I reached the summit of the swing’s arc and could barely see over the fence onto the street beyond, I would scream out the name of whatever car was passing by at the time. “Mitsubishi Eclipse!…Toyota Tercel!”
Growing up in Nashville, TN, I voraciously read Car & Driver, Motor Trend, and Automobile Magazine. But coming from a family where cars served as simple A-to-B transportation, driving any of the cars in those magazines seemed unattainable. Even piloting our Prius was exotic to me compared to the Corolla that had preceded it. I kept reading about cars, but in high school I got serious about another passion of mine—classical piano—and resigned myself to the fact that any kind of career in the automotive industry was just a pipe dream.
It was during my freshman year in college that I discovered my interest in journalism by writing for the school newspaper. I changed my major from Piano Performance to English and realized that my pipe dream might have a shot at materializing. Contributing to a local alt weekly helped me hone my writing skills, and internships at Jalopnik and Nissan PR gave me glimpses of the inner workings of the automotive industry. A few years later, here I am, living out my dream that I never thought possible.