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Q: What do you get when you invite 36 influential women to a world-class auto racing course and let them loose on a fleet of gleaming Mercedes-Benz AMG race cars?


A: A newly minted girl gang of fierce, feisty feminists moving very, very fast.

As a lead-up to their annual Women of the Year summit, Glamour and their presenting partner Mercedes-Benz invited female media makers from all over the country to Carmel, CA, October 2 – 4 for a high-octane 36 hours of dining and driving.

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The author, ready to hit the road

Out on the legendary Laguna Seca racetrack I joined a courageous crew of influencers—including travel expert Alivia Fields, lifestyle guru Dawn McCoy, plus-size fashion phenom Kristine Thompson and more—and a great group of fellow journalists on a crash course in auto racing and empowerment provided by the AMG Driving Academy.

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Lifestyle guru Dawn McCoy

My “team” was led by barrier-breaking racecar driver Ashley Freiberg—an auto racing champion who, among other accomplishments, was the first female overall North American GT3 Cup Challenge Winner. She commented that she’d never been surrounded by so many women on a racetrack before as she led us through the corkscrew turns of the track, the wet pavement for controlled spinouts, and a timed automotive obstacle course via headset.

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Pro-racer Ashley Freiberg


As a totally non-driving New Yorker, I got to ride shotgun with Glamour’s Communications Director Carly Holden, and I couldn’t have been in better hands. She was a natural behind the wheel, and when all was said and done, she also had the third overall fastest time on the obstacle course. Later, she confessed that she’s been stopped countless times for speeding, so I think she may be a natural!

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The author with Glamour Communications Director Carly Holden

Our busy day at the track was followed by an inspiring conversation between Glamour’s West Coast Editor Jessica Radloff and self-made skin-care mogul Kate Somerville at the Bernardus Lodge and Spa. Then we were all treated to facials by Team Somerville before being whisked off to a picture-perfect dinner under the stars at the woman-owned Holman Ranch.

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Glamour's West Coast Editor Jessica Radloff interviewing Kate Somerville

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Holman Ranch

The overall theme of the trip was “Empowered Women Empower Women,” and that vibe was definitely real. By the time our whirlwind adventure was over, we all felt ready to take on the world and were equally amped to help each other out along the way.

Glamour’s Women of the Year festivities are just getting started! Tickets are now on sale for their 2019 Women of the Year summit and awards, held in New York on November 10 and 11. Find out more at


Emily Rems is a feminist writer, editor, rock star, playwright, and occasional plus-size model living in New York’s East Village. Best known as managing editor of BUST magazine, Emily is also a music and film commentator for New York’s NPR affiliate WNYC, and is the drummer for the horror-punk band the Grasshoppers. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the anthologies Cassette from my Ex and Zinester’s Guide to NYC, and her short stories have been published in Rum Punch Press, Lumen, Prose ‘N Cons Mystery Magazine, Writing Raw, and PoemMemoirStory. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for fiction in 2015 and is working on a novel. Follow her on Twitter @emilyrems.