Interview: Jodie Kidd on becoming a YouTuber, and taking on sexism in motorsports

March 08, 2023 by

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We catch up with Jodie Kidd, ex-supermodel turned racing driver and YouTuber, as she joins carwow and Mat Watson on a drag-race film shoot

Hi Jodie! We’re so excited to have you with us! Firstly, how are you feeling about the drag race today? We know you’re very competitive… 

I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve actually never done it before! I’ve raced, so I’ve gone off all kinds of start lines, but I’ve never done a drag race. Every car is really different and there’s a lot going on with the modern-day cars. But I’m really looking forward to it. 

You’ve driven so many different types of cars during your career, are there any cars that you haven’t driven yet, that you would love to get your hands on?

My dream car to drive… the Pagani Zonda is up there. I’ve also been lucky enough to drive a Ferrari 250 GTO. In terms of new cars, I’m really excited to get my hands on a new Ford Raptor!

You’re a content creator as well as a racing driver of course. Your YouTube channel is having great success, tell us about that. 

There’s a lot of glamour to filming! [it’s snowing at our shoot location in Rutland]. YouTube is not for everyone! 

I started Kidd in a Sweet Shop [Jodie’s YouTube channel] during a lockdown where I wanted to showcase everything about cars. I love driving them. I love talking to people about them. So that’s what we do. It’s very much around the people that love cars, whether they’re collectors, or they’ve designed cars or they’re racing car drivers. It’s brilliant, brilliant fun, I’m really enjoying it. And we’ve got an amazing year ahead!

Who would be your dream special guest? 

We’ve had some brilliant guests on, from James Martin, to Howard from Take That, to Naomi Schiff from Sky Sports. 

I would say I’d really love to interview Ralph Lauren because he’s got the most extraordinary collection of cars and no one really gets to see them. It is very unique, very special, and he’s such an incredible man. Ralph if you’re reading, you better let me in that collection! 

You’ve just hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube – how did you celebrate that?

We were so delighted, it’s such a lovely milestone. My son who’s 11 years’ old – he actually loves carwow’s channel more than mine – and he was like, “oh, we’ve got the silver play button trophy – I’m taking it into school!” We’re just over the moon. 

Since you’ve become a motoring expert, are you the go-to person that your friends and family come to for car advice? 

Yes! I think buying a car can be a bit daunting and you do rely on people that you know and trust. It’s important to go to people that aren’t going to take the mick. There’s some lovely private car-sellers and amazing second-hand dealers out there, but there’s some naughty ones as well. I’m lucky enough now, having been in the industry, that if I’ve got a friend or a family that wants to get a car, I hopefully point them in the right direction.

Where do you send them to start their research?

I’ll actually send them to YouTube first. It’s really good because you can ask questions – for example you can often write directly to that content creator, and that’s something that you don’t get if you’re watching linear TV. If you’re watching something like Top Gear, you’re just watching it – you can’t have that interaction. So that’s where YouTube is fantastic. 

Unfortunately, women still have a lot of sexist stereotypes to deal with when it comes to cars. How, how have you gone about tackling that in your career as a motorsports driver? 

God, when I started I had terrible odds. This was a long time ago, we’re talking about 20-years ago and back then there were very, very few women in the sport. 

Now, it’s lovely to see more and more coming through, whether they’re racing or presenting. I think as professional drivers, we’re really now getting respect in the industry for being just as quick as some of the quickest male drivers out there. There are more women coming up through the ranks now, which is very exciting. So hopefully soon you might see a woman driving in an F1 car for a whole season. That would be brilliant. 

And generally, it’s lovely to see women out the front, whether they’re on forecourts, whether they’re doing content like I am. It’s important because women are the ones that are really the decision makers behind a lot of car purchases! For family cars, maybe they’re 100% the decision maker.

Your first professional motorsport win was back in 2004 – do you feel like the trailblazer that you are? 

It was a long time ago that I came off the end of a catwalk and straight into a racing car, which is not the normal kind of progression that a woman takes! I just knew I loved cars. I didn’t really understand that I would end up creating a whole career in it. 

I spent many years racing and really understanding what it’s like to go up against the boys and to be the only female in the paddock. My learning curve has been slightly more aggressive than most people’s. 

But that’s put me in good stead now to sit in the snow(!) and try to give Mat Watson and the rest of the guys a run for their money! 

It’s International Women’s Day today, who’s your biggest female inspiration? 

I would say my mum has to be number one. She’s always paved the way of being very forward thinking, very strong, very brilliant with everything that she does. She’s passionate, such a hard worker and she’s an unbelievable role model for me and my son, and for the whole family. 

You can find Jodie Kidd as Kidd in a Sweet Shop on YouTube  and on Instagram

carwow’s drag races with Jodie vs Mat will be up on our YouTube channel from the end of March.