11 months ago
Shelina Moreda is geared up in a fitted one-piece bodysuit, her long lustrous hair flows down her back and black eyeliner emphasizes her almond-colored eyes. Moreda joined the lineup of CoverGirls for the cosmetics giant in October. But she isn’t a supermodel. Moreda races motorcycles for a living. This is how she dresses for work.
“A lot of people expect a female motorcycle rider to look and act like a boy,” she says. “I love when I take my helmet off and they realize it’s a girl. I can play in both worlds. I don’t have to look like a boy.”
Moreda has been playing in many worlds lately. She spends her days racing motorcycles professionally all over the world in places like France, China and Qatar. Her latest business venture with CoverGirl follows partnerships with the electric motorcycle company Brammo and a sponsorship by GoPro. She also started the She’Z Moto Camp, an all-female motorcycle academy that teaches girls of all ages how to ride motorcycles.
“I’m doing exactly want I want to do,” she says of her life on two wheels. “It’s my happy place to be on a motorcycle.”
The Petaluma, Calif., native began riding dirt bikes on her family’s dairy farm when she was 12. She decided she wanted to race motorcycles after seeing men do it on TV. While she says her parents were apprehensive at first about her decision to pursue motorcycle racing as a career — “If my dad had it his way he’d want me to get married and settle down,” she says — they also knew they raised a determined daughter. These days, Moreda regularly competes against men — and wins. In 2011, she became the first female to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, only a year after receiving her professional license from the American Motorcyclist Association. Currently, she’s one of only a few women to race professionally in the U.S.
“You can break so many limits that you have in life on a motorcycle,” she says. “There’s nowhere else that you could legally go 175 to 180 mph, and you’re encouraged to go faster. I want to push those limits to the max.”
Riding around on a motorcycle, outpacing men in a male-dominated industry, can sometimes make it difficult to be taken seriously though. While most of the men she competes against are respectful, she admits she’s been taunted by both sexes for winning races or things like wearing makeup on the track.
“I’ve been called some of the worst names because I’ve beaten guys that I quote-unquote shouldn’t have beaten,” she says. “Nobody likes to be beat by a girl. But I just use it as fuel to go faster. That’s what I love the most about [the partnership with] CoverGirl. It’s breaking all of those untrue standards. I can be tough and be pretty simultaneously.”
In the future, Moreda says she’s interested in working on other collaborations between beauty and fashion and motorcycles. She’s also in the process of putting together her own 2018 Superbike team for next year’s motorcycle racing championship. She’s even open to one day settling down — if she can find a guy to keep up with her.
“It’s hard to date as a pro-athlete,” she says. “You’re traveling a lot and finding someone that can keep up with you on that level is hard. If there are any football players or baseball players, maybe one of those guys would understand my life well.”