Julia Landauer Says Her Power Comes From Going Fast

Julia Landauer, 27, is a professional NASCAR driver. She’s given a TEDx Talk about fear, was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 sports list, and was also a contestant on Survivor.

I feel most powerful when…

I’m executing to the best of my ability and succeeding at it. Whether that’s on the track during a race, or it’s pumping up my team beforehand. Or it’s on stage giving a talk, or working out really hard. Just knowing I’m doing the best I can and that it’s paying off.

What does power mean to you?

The ability to go fast in a race car. On a more human level, it means having the skills and resources and network to make things happen — and get shit done. To achieve those things, it takes practice. You have to be self aware. You have to be constantly striving to be better. You don’t build a network overnight. It also helps to have a good support system. The circumstances you’re born into definitely affects it. But internal drive is huge.

What do you do when you feel powerless?

First, I go for a run. No matter how bad or stressed I’m feeling, running for a few miles always makes me feel better and more in control. I also always feel better and empowered by talking to my family, who’s been through this journey with me. Then, I try to figure out everything about the situation that’s under my control, and I go work on that.

What's your power anthem?

Champion” by Carrie Underwood.

Who's your power icon?

I would say Serena Williams. For years, I've thought that physically, mentally, and culturally, she epitomizes power. Seeing people who may not fit the mold owning who they are is really important. As a female NASCAR driver from New York City, I’ve never fit the mold. So, being comfortable owning who I am is something that I’ve learned from her.
She has inspired me to be comfortable being vocal about the causes I care about. I really care deeply about women’s empowerment. I also care about access to STEM education. That’s our future, and what I studied at Stanford. I work with two nonprofits, including the One Love Foundation, which helps to educate people about healthy versus unhealthy relationships. Also, with the TechForce Foundation, which helps to introduce students and parents to technical vocations.

What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?

I always feel powerful in my racing suit. That's first and foremost. Also, a really great jumpsuit with pumps also makes me feel like a boss.
Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.
For more female-athlete content, check out On Her Turf.

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