Check out MICA alum, Sarah Thrower’s new project “Queens of the Road.”
Shelle, “The Mermaid,” started driving at 14. She had run away and hitched a ride, and when the man driving expressed the need to take a nap in his bunk, she piped up that she could take over driving, to avoid trouble. They swapped seats with the truck still rolling down the interstate.
After a rough childhood, Shelle says trucking was an escape, a “way to recreate yourself.” She says, “I liked trucks, and I liked the control that couldn’t be taken from me.” Shelle claims trucking has been a big help in healing her past, saying “It’s just you and the steering wheel. You can let it help you or hinder you.” She has had the kind of life where what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger.
Advocating for women in trucking, she is active in the groups Real Women in Trucking and Women’s Trucking Network. Two years ago she started the LGBT Truckers group, in response to a close gay friend’s death, and the disgusting replies from the trucking community around her. Hate against LGBT drivers is the last form of acceptable discrimination on the road. She’s created an outlet for women and LGBT drivers to educate and support each other.
Two cats drive the country with Shelle, both rescues. Treasures for Truckers, Shelle’s unofficial group for rescue animals, has accomplished around 340 total adoptions. At one point, she had 17 other drivers with her training animals to life in a truck. She personally has trained around 25 dogs and at least 120 cats. She spoils her own 2, and says, “When I die, I want to come back as a beloved trucker’s animal, preferably a cat.”