How Michele Smith Became the First Lady of Motorcycles
Michele Smith of the famed American Thunder television series on SPEED Channel and then of Two Wheel Thunder on Discovery HD Theater, is by far the most recognizable female face in the motorcycle world, she is the Celebrity that we all know and love. If you’ve been to a major motorcycle rally just about anywhere in the country, you’ve seen her for sure. She makes public appearances, signs autographs and has fans getting their photo with her everywhere she goes. How did this happen? How did she become such a celebrity in the motorcycle community? Michele has been a dear friend of mine for the past 4 years when we met on production of American Thunder, and I have produced several other videos with Michele as the subject of admiration. I wrote her the other day and asked if I could do a story about her and she gladly accepted and said “Ask away Shannon, anything for you love.” So I did.
I, as well as many others, want to know how she got to be of that stature of the First Lady of Motorcycles. While I was talking to her, I stated a few times about her being a celebrity and she finally stopped me and said “First of all I don’t think of myself as a “celebrity”, I’m just someone who happened to become a recognized figure in the motorcycle industry.” So from there, the word “Celebrity” was out of the conversation. So to begin, I asked her simply “Where did it all start for you and the motorcycle?” Her reply was this (Michele Smith) “My first step of being part of the motorcycle world was taking the motorcycle safety course in Ca. due to a foreign video that I was working on. They had hired a stunt double to do the riding and when this tiny 90 lb girl showed up I almost fell over! For the close up shots they strapped the bike in the back of a pickup truck and I had to sit on it and pretend I was riding while driving down Hollywood Blvd. I thought the heck with this I’m never going to let this happen again so the next day i signed up for the motorcycle safety course and ordered a brand new 883 Sportster. That’s how I started riding. My first ride was one in Southern Ca. called “The Love Ride”. I had so much fun. Not too long after that I went out for the audition for “American Thunder” and the rest is history!
That explains the beginning of her passion for motorcycles, but I wanted to know more. This is the woman, that is in “The Know” of the motorcycle world, where it has been for the past 10 years and where it is going in the next few. This is a brain that I just had to pick, now if I could just through those beautiful golden locks of hair streaming down like a waterfall of pure gold… ~~ Oops, sorry, end dream sequence, I’ll just ask her. Michele, how have things changed over the past 10 years, more appropriately, in the past few years? (Michele Smith) “. I think what has changed since I have been a part of the motorcycle culture is the fact that there are a lot more woman out there riding today than 10 years ago. When women see other women riding they think “gee, if she can do it so can I”. Women are no longer satisfied sitting on the back of a mans bike. Look at me I went from posing next to these bikes in my early years of modeling to actually riding a motorcycle, something I thought I would never be capable of doing until that 90 lb girl showed up on the video shoot. I wish I could find her just so I could say thank you! It’s funny I guess my style has changed a lot from the early days before I got into the motorcycle business. I was going through my closet the other day and looking at some of the designer pieces of clothing ( now vintage like me ) that I managed to hang on to and thought now what would I look like riding a bike in a Chanel suit! Yes I did dress very different back then but I also spent a lot of time overseas and it was an entirely different lifestyle. I’m much more comfortable these days in a pair of ripped jeans and boots!”
Now one thing I would like to mention here is Michele is also quite the advocate for female riders to get on the bike on the front seat and grab the bars and take themselves on the adventure. I have seen and met many women that have said that they never would have gotten on the front of a bike had they not seen Michele out riding in Daytona or Sturgis or on television at some point, she is their Heroine. Michele is obviously not the first woman to through a leg over some American Iron, look at Margret Wilson, who has logged over half a million miles on a motorcycle and is a Golden Life member of the Motor Maids, Inc. But what Michele has achieved is this, she has brought it to the Main Stream, she used her talent and beauty to change the hearts and minds of people all over the world when it came to the riding position of the woman on a motorcycle.
Moving on, I wanted to know where Michele thought she would be had she joined the Motorcycle Industry.
(Michele Smith) “Let’s see where would I be if i wasn’t in the motorcycle industry? That’s a tough one. I started out in the entertainment industry and that’s pretty much all I know except for designing lingerie (www.jeweledgs.com). For a while I was so busy with the lingerie line, that at one time I actually thought about leaving the TV show. Thank god i stayed!” Michele is the designer of the Jeweled G’s G-string line that beautifies the backside of the female figure. Michele has also designed the “No Needles Tattoos” T-shirts that make your arms look as if you have these awesome tattoos on your arms. You can find these on her website.
Now you hear all these stories of famous people having problems with Stalkers or Weirdoes after them or the paparazzi just making life miserable, but Michele feels perfectly safe in the motorcycle community. She said, “I have met a few weirdoes in my day but that is to be expected, but nobody has ever stalked me or done anything to really cause any alarm. I feel very safe amongst the motorcycle community, there are just so many personal body guards around that have gotten hugs while Having the Most Fun Ever.”
Now that we’ve learned how you became the Most Famous Woman on a Motorcycle, What are you doing now? (Michele Smith) “I’m still doing personal appearances. Rhode Island was the first stop of the New Year. I will be doing appearances mostly in the East/Northeast as that seems to be the market for a lot of the events that I book. Even in the winter months there are a lot of indoor events. Keep in mind most people can’t get out and ride in the snow covered areas so the indoor events gives them a chance to see what’s new on the market. American Thunder went off the air at the end of 2009. In 2010 I did a new show for Discovery HD Theater. We did about 10 episodes and now that’s gone too! We really need another good informational motorcycle show. I have a following of viewers who would love to see something new, they all miss American Thunder and Two Wheel Tuesdays. The problem is Reality TV took over and it seems like every show out there is reality based now.”
Back to the brain picking.. Ooohhh, silky.~ Sorry, got lost in the golden flow again.. I’ve personally seen a lot of changes in the motorcycle world over the past few years, and I was sure that Michele would have an opinion on the subject as well so I said this. Michele, Tell me where you see the motorcycle world going in the next 5 years from the rides to the enthusiasts and how they ride. (Michele Smith) “Over the last few years I really have seen the industry take a dive. A lot of builders and vendors closed up shop and moved on. But I do see a positive change coming and things are slowly picking up again. There will always be motorcycle enthusiasts and as long as you have people who love to ride, you will also have people who will buy bikes, parts and accessories. They may not be spending big bucks on a custom anymore but the desire to own a motorcycle for some is still there. I meet motorcycle enthusiasts at events all the time that tell me they have not one but two or more bikes in the garage. And now they are just taking good care of them and putting little extras on them to still make it their own.
It would seem by what you see or are not seeing on television that the Michele Smith tour is coming to an end, but I know Michele pretty well, if there is any person out there that can take a lemon and make it into lemonade, she is the one. The motorcycle industry has been boosted in so many ways by Michele Smith and many people, including manufacturers owe it to her for getting the word out about their products, events or even just giving them the confidence to jump on a bike for the first time. She is a celebrity to us even if she doesn’t see it that way, we look up to her, we admire her and of course, we cannot keep our eyes off of the Twins. So Michele, thank you for taking the time to enlighten our readers with your story, it’s one we all wanted to know about and we certainly hope to see much more of you in the future, maybe something like your job in July/August of 1991 for those that are true Michele Smith fans. Until next time, I’ll see you on the road.
More information about Michele Smith including booking information can be found on her website, www.michelesmith.tv