*the photo above is the work of talented miss Andreea Retinschi for DoR

Influencers and haters are like bread and butter. You never really realize other people than your mother and boyfriend read you until the shitty comments start appearing. They say it’s kind of a validation, a real proof that your opinion starts to “matter”. Actually, this is only 5% of the recipe. I gather most of my energy and writing enthusiasm from your amazing messages and from all the great feedback I receive from you, who follow my rally and #carstories adventures. Seriously, you have no idea how important your beautiful words are to me!

When I started my blog, I thought I had all the necessary skills to do this: I polished my photography skills with Vlad Eftenie’s guidance during my architecture & urban planning year, also in university I’ve learned what it really means to do research and how this helps you have the proper attitude towards various subjects, and ever since high school I’ve nurtured my passion for reading and writing thanks to my professor Ohara Donovestky who taught us it is ok to have a different opinion, as long as you have one!

I had no idea I was lacking an essential skill: the capacity to ignore the negative comments and all those people who, in a very Romanian way, always chose to criticise me instead of just shutting up. Why do I say ‘ a Romanian way’? Because in my 3 years as a rally driver I’ve noticed that foreigners, be them journalists or others involved in motorsports, are much more positive when it comes to other people’s authentic passion. I am still under the beautiful spell of my collab with Walero, a racing equipment brand based in Uk which use a NASA developed technology in their products – they were so delighted to discover my story and starting this January I am their ambassador in this part of Europe.

All in all, I noticed that quality is not enough if you can count your readers with one hand. So before I even knew I will have a blog, my mother guided me towards communication, marketing and PR courses – then, for my personal development. After a while I started choosing them myself, investing thousand of euros in books and classes, but also hundreds or even thousands of hours spent reading of in different conferences or at summits. This things are visible in social media if you can see past boobs and coffees.

I promised myself I will never undress, literally and figuratively, just for the sake of online “number”. Because my journey is about this: “It takes courage to follow your dream”. Provided that you get rid of stereotypes, throw away your fears, shut the door closed and just alone, in silence, until other people voices disappear and you start hearing yourself. What do YOU really want to do in this life? Then you start working. Day, night – it doesn’t matter. You work a lot, even if you reached your goal. You start learning how to edit your photos. You understand what a communication strategy and a pitch are. You then start learning video editing – of course all by yourself, Google it. What, you really think Alina Ceușan is a reference because other work for her? Creating content means working 24/7 – so back to work! Your dream is that small?

A lot of people told me I am an example for young ladies today – I am honored and I feel this is a beautiful, yet tough responsibility. In an ideal world, this feedback would have been enough for me to continue making inspirational stories for you.

Truth is we are in February 2019 and I am sitting on the couch with my agenda in one hand and facebook in the other – searching for brand who could support my rally project further on. After 2 years when I self-supported 95% of my budget and managed to do 2 full national rally seasons, I find myself in a critical moment. Because apparently courage and ambition don’t buy as many likes as red lips, and numbers matter more for the online specialists than social media workshops like to admit. 

I would love to tell you my plans for 2019. The rally season in Romania starts in April and has 8 rounds in the National Championship. I would like to do again some tarmac events in Bulgaria, at least Rally Sliven. And our big project for this year is to test an R2 spec race car and do an amazing event: Rally Roma Capitale. Since 1953 when the European Rally Championship was founded, no other female rally driver represented Romania. I look at Ekaterina Stratieva (driver, Bulgaria) and Carmen Poenaru’s (codriver, Romania) photos and I know it’s good to dream big: if you work hard enough your dreams might just turn into reality. So we plan to change the statistics and, together with Diana, to mark another European experience. This time it won’t be as random as Rally Sliven (in 2018 we discovered we were the first Romanian female rally crew to ever compete outside our country in 50 years) and I won’t keep it for myself. As many friends told me, shyness keeps you starving (I have no idea how to translate this quote other than this). 

So, I need your support, this time in public. I want to ask you to share my stories with your friends: email them this story or my blog. Or maybe you feel more like sharing this on facebook or instagram – whatever inspires you most. Maybe it is a photo, maybe it is an article or a tshirt which makes you happier.

Let’s prove together that online is not just about superficiality, just like rallies are not just about cars! Whatever it will be, thank you!

As for those who told me I made enemies because I am promoting myself too much and that I profit on the fact that I am a woman in motorsport, with sincere dedication: “It’s never too late to mind your own business”. For your morning everyday coffee, you can find this mug at Urban Tale. (Irina, you should really do an English version of this, it’s too good).