Beacons of Badassery is an interview series shining light on strong women.
After spending most of my life trying to prove that I’m strong enough to be one of the guys, I’ve realized that instead of trying so hard to fit a certain expectation, we should be redefining what it actually means to be strong.
These women are doing just that.
Beacon of Badassery: Krystle Wright
A few weeks ago, a video showcasing a bunch of badass outdoor women started popping up all over social media. Watching the ladies of “Where the Wild Things Play” totally crushing it gave me chills, and I couldn’t stop playing on repeat.
Krystle Wright is the creator and director of this inspiring video, and I wanted to find out more about her amazing career as an adventure photographer and how “Where the Wild Things Play” came to be.
Which came first for you, the adventure or the photography? (Basically, how did you get started as an adventure photographer?)
Both the adventure and photography came at the same time and ultimately that meant they both grew and evolved together as my career progressed. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Australia, was a place to grow up in the outdoors, but I also had a creative streak and loved art and anytime I could play with a Kodak disposable camera. When it came time to choose a university course to study, it was by chance I came across the work of Adam Pretty in an Australian photography magazine and knew I wanted to be a sports photography instantly. Over the years, it migrated into adventure sports, and at 25 I took the leap and left the newspaper world to see if I could make it full time in the adventure industry. I was called up by chance asking if I wanted to go work as a guide with an Antarctic tourism company, and that was an incredible leap to push me in the right direction.
Watching “Where the Wild Things Play” gives me goosebumps every time – it’s so amazing to see so many women pushing their limits in outdoor adventure. How did you come up with the concept and make it a reality?
Early last year, I had broken my ankle in a skiing accident which made me take some much needed down time. As I was forced to lay flat, my mind kept coming back to that conversation that has been circulating the film industry asking why aren’t there more ladies. Why aren’t there more female big line skiers, more adventure photographers, filmmakers (and the list goes on)? The thing is, there are ladies. And rather be negative, I wanted to put a positive spin and get the message out there that if we celebrate the ladies who are there ripping it, then it shows others what is possible.
What is your definition of strong? How has it changed throughout your career, as you’ve grown through your own adventures and also witnessed what other strong women are capable of?
I believe the representation of strong is very much a multifaceted idea. I remember growing up and having the strongest of beliefs that strong meant physical strength, so I trained hard to be fast and strong.
Of course, over the years that has evolved thanks to meeting incredible people, particularly leading women of the adventure industry, and I realize now that being strong encompasses the ability to be vulnerable, to listen, and a willingness to evolve and be educated. When I talk about educated, my idea is that my ideal way of education comes through experience and not only learning what my strengths are but more importantly what my weaknesses are.
Strong women, well, strong people, are capable of anything.
As an adventure photographer, I’m sure you’ve found yourself in many situations where you’re the only girl in a group of guys (As a videographer who specializes in sports myself, this happens to me all the time). Have you had to deal with sexism, either blatant or subtle? How do you handle it, both in the moment and after?
Absolutely, I have spent majority of my career as the lone female in many different situations. To be honest, I know that anyone I’ve encountered who has acted like an asshole to me is not worth my time since such a blatant negative attitude reveals insecurities. I’ve developed a relatively thick skin because to make it as a freelancer I need to be able to handle opinions of all types and that sometimes means things I don’t agree with.
I know what I stand for, and I’ll keep fighting for that through action, as actions will speak louder than words.
You’ve definitely had your fair share of adventures gone wrong, yet you say that your biggest fear in life is regret. What else scares you? And is the fear of regret what helps you work through the other fears?
There is plenty that scares me, but I love that since it means I am pushing myself outside my boundaries.
I was once asked about an event that happened to me when I was 7 or 8 years old. I remember being scared of riding down big hills on my bike fast. But one day I finally followed my brother, and I hit a rock at the bottom of the hill causing me to launch off my bike and rip my knee open. It was revealed to me that since this event, I’ve approached my life in a similar fashion in that I don’t want fear to dictate my actions, and I chase after it through my career in many different forms.
What have been a few of your favorite adventures? Do you have a dream adventure? And is there anything you’d absolutely never do?
It’s tough to compare adventures since each one is a different experience. If I were to choose one, it’s tough to go past my first expedition to Baffin Island in 2010 where I documented 23 BASE jumpers from around the world for a month. It was like jumping into the deep end of the pool, and I instantly fell in love with the lifestyle of expeditions.
Talking about my dream adventure is like opening up a can of worms, as once I start this conversation, it doesn’t end since there’s just too much to do!!!
One thing I don’t think I would ever do is deep sea diving and exploring caves 60m-100m below the surface. I think that would scare the living shit out of me.