By Vicki Rae
For some time, the image of women in the automotive industry meant women posing next to vehicles in scandalously dressed outfits as a way to increase sales of magazines, posters, and calendars just to name a few. As in many other industries, the taller, skinnier, and as unrealistic the better. The image of women in the pursuit of perfection has left most women with vast insecurities and a false sense of the word "beautiful". Talisa Ohmer is a female passionate about the automotive industry and the promotion of the women in it. With her passion also lies the promotion of confidence and showcasing beauty and that the true beauty of a person is not how closely they compare to magazine models, but quite the opposite. Here, Talisa talks about identifying beauty no matter your shape or size and her love for the automotive industry.
What are your passions within the industry?
My passion in the industry started sixteen-year-old me, hopping into the driver seat of an '02 F250 7.3L Powerstroke. I had been saying for weeks that I could and would NEVER drive it because it was just too big. From that day forward, I was hooked. I started to learn things about diesels, that I didn't even know about cars.
Along side of my love for diesels, I also have a passion for pin-up modeling. Being a plus sized girl, I'll tell ya, it isn't easy. The struggles of being a curvy girl in a world where the "sexiest" woman come in smaller sizes, are hard to take on. I recently did a photo shoot with my truck, and all I can say is, I wish that EVERY discouraged and shy girl could feel the way that I did when I saw the finished photos. I felt like a million bucks! I won't lie, it was really hard for me to put those photos out to the public eye. I thought that because I wasn't the image that society puts on us women in the Automotive Industry, that I would get a ton of negative feedback. Man, was I wrong! Everyone absolutely loved the photos! I loved them. And shouldn't that be the only thing to matter, anyhow?
What would be your words for advice for women looking to enter the industry?
My advice for the new gals in the industry would be to NEVER get discouraged by the guys. In this day and age, jobs and careers are not limited to gender. Besides, anything they can do, we can do better.... We just look prettier doing it! In 2011, I ended up enrolled into a Community/Technical college for Automotive Engineering. Very soon after starting, I realized that my MAIN focus was specific to Diesel Technology. Cars are great, but my heart is behind the roar of a diesel engine.
What are your goals within the industry?
I have recently been in contact with an adult degree program local to me, about possibly enrolling into their Diesel Technology course. My goal is to take that step, and move toward certification in the field. I would love to take my accomplishments then, and land myself a career based job.
What would you like to see in relation to women in the industry?
I would like to see more girls who are actually willing to learn and work on their own vehicles instead of looking pretty in and on them! Girls come in all shapes/sizes. We're all beautiful in one way or another. More girls should start using their knowledge behind their passion for their vehicles, not their looks. Any girl can pose but it takes a special kind of girl who will stay out in the garage 'till dawn to complete one thing or another on their truck for an upcoming dyno/pull/race/show. I know several respectable women who have done it. That's something to be proud of.
What impact does the "ideal image" have on women of the industry?
Two of men's favorite things, cars/trucks and of course, "sexy" women. To them, nothing compares to when the two meet. I get it, sex sells! If you look good in a thong bikini, more power to you! I always say that, "if you got it, flaunt it". Unfortunately, for me and the other plus size women in the industry, we don't have it. At least that is what society tells us. So, where does that leave us? We don't win the contests, we don't win the giveaways, or get offered sponsor ships to help us build our dream cars/trucks. If we don't look the part, we can't be a part.
Well, when is the last time you saw a plus size woman in any automotive event model searches? I know I never have. We are completely discouraged by the women with the "perfect" bodies. Women that sometimes, aren't even in the industry.
What is your view of beauty and how did you come to see it?
After gaining weight due to poor health and depression, I was completely stumped. I thought that if I didn't lose weight I would never do the things I wanted to do. My insecurities really put me in a bad place. It almost happened over night. I woke up one morning and I looked in the mirror and I thought, if I do this with my hair, and put this make up here, then I won't look so bad. I slipped on a cute dress and I looked absolutely stunning. I have had so many girls tell me to go out for plus size modeling and from there on out, I realized that I don't have to be a size 2 to be beautiful.
Beauty to me truly is in the eye of the beholder. It is all about how you carry yourself. You can be a size 2, or a size 22, and still be equally beautiful. Confidence is the key. Classy can still be sexy! More women need to pick up on that.
What would be your words to women facing similar obstacles?
My message here is to all women, but especially to the plus size women in the industry, do not ever let your size stop you from being beautiful. When you gather enough confidence to get out there and strut your stuff, you can conquer the world!
Not let anyone tell you that you're not beautiful. Beauty lies deeper than it's surface. Someone is always going to look up to you. The best way to not let let them down is to not let yourself down.
Here is Talisa, changing the game and showing the world that you don't have to be a size 2 to be beautiful,or to be model.