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!”