Danica Patrick on Being A Woman in a Man's World

Bobbi Brown
Editor in Chief

Photo: Getty Images

Racecar driver Danica Patrick has made a name for herself in a mostly male sport and her third place win in 2009’s Indianapolis 500 was the highest place finish ever by a woman. She’s also the only woman to ever win an IndyCar series race. Beautiful and confident, she shared with me how she stays in such great shape, how she manages to look so good after a race, and her advice for young girls who want to be racecar drivers.

BB: There are very few female racecar drivers out there, so how do you think being a woman has helped you or hurt your career? 

DP: I would say it has helped me more than anything. Being different and unique is something that has been a real positive for me. The double-edged sword is that people are watching, and people have a lot of opinions about you. You have to have some thick skin to handle what people are going to say about you, but I wouldn’t change anything. I am very fortunate and I feel very lucky being unique and different and able to do what I do.

BB: Where do you get your confidence?

DP: I think it comes from being in the public for so long. It also comes from putting the effort in, because then you know you’ve done your best and you’ve tried with all your heart. You’ve done everything you can and the things people say can’t affect you as much, because then all you are doing is hating yourself, instead of hating not trying hard enough.

BB: You are in such incredible shape, how do you stay strong for racing?

DP: I have been working out since I was 14. I do CrossFit now, so it’s a pretty intense workout and more than anything it is so fun. I do it one to two hours a day, three days a week. It’s definitely intense; Olympic style lifting is something else. I am hobbling around today because I did dead lifts yesterday and my back is reminding me.

BB:  What do you eat to keep up your energy and stamina when you race?‎ 

DP: I usually eat chicken, veggies and rice.

BB: What do you eat to stay healthy in general?

DP: I am pretty disciplined. People always laugh, “How do you take one bite out of out of a Reese’s peanut butter cup and then throw it away?” But I have taught myself how to enjoy less. I try and eat dairy and gluten-free so it ends up being a lot of fruits, vegetables, and protein. The common theme to being fit is really the same for everyone: working out and eating clean. Boring, but it works.  

BB: You have the most shiny, incredible hair—what shampoo do you use? 

DP: It is a lot of genetics, but I do feel like using the right hair products help. I’ve started using Oribe and I really like it. As you get older, your hair doesn’t have the life it once did, it’s not as silky, so I like to add Moroccan oil after I shower, before I brush my hair. I honestly think an ion blow dryer helps, too. 

BB: So after you race and take your helmet off and all the cameras are there, what makeup do you wear that holds up through that?

DP: I don’t really want to look like I am wearing a bunch of makeup so I pretty much stick with lotion and a tinted moisturizer, maybe a little concealer, powder and blush that’s it. I am not going to walk down on a pit with anything popping out of my skin so I am not afraid to use a little concealer. I say if you have bags under your eyes just throw on some Revo sunglasses. I have a new line coming out with them. They are polarized, which I think is way better for your eyes, plus part of the proceeds go to the National Parks Conservation Association.

BB: What makeup do you like to wear when you are off the track?

DP: My favorites are your Shimmer Brick, Makeup Forever Pressed Powder, and Rosebud Salve Lip Balm.

BB: So your boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is also a racecar driver. How competitive does it get with you two?

DP: I want to beat him in the same way that I want to beat everyone else, because that is what it takes to win! But you know I am always happy when he has a good day. Sometimes I am jealous happy, but I am happy for him. We are both really proud of each other when we do well. It is so nice to have someone to talk to who completely understands what you do.

BB: What is your advice for young girls who want to be race car drivers?

DP: Drive anything that you can. But before all that make sure it’s something you love to do.

BB: You are such a great role model. You have proven to women that there really are no rules, there are no boundaries, and there is nothing you can’t do. I am so happy to interview you and share your story with so many women and girls.