In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we’ve rounded up some truly inspiring women who have grabbed life with both hands and are totally owning it.
Susan Davis, Founder and President of Desert X
Desert X is a biennial, contemporary art exhibition that brings the California desert landscape to life with innovative and creative installations by renowned, contemporary artists. Palm Springs local Susan Davis, who founded the exhibition in 2017, launched the second edition this month with 19 installations across Greater Palm Springs, the Salton Sea and even down to the border into Mexico. Through her work with Desert X, Davis encourages the artists to engage with the unique desert landscape and the sociological issues that are present in today’s society and the local area. By teaming up with artistic director Neville Wakefield to bring the dream to life, Davis has done more than just bringing global artists together—she has put the Coachella Valley on the art world map.
Izzy and Coco Tihanyi of Surf Diva
Twin sisters Izzy and Coco Tihanyi founded Surf Diva (the first all-female surf school in the USA) in 1996 with a meagre $328 and Izzy’s personal surfboard collection. It wasn’t an easy feat—in the beginning, local surfers would heckle and disrupt their classes out on the water, but that didn’t stop them. Over 20 years later Surf Diva,—run from the picturesque coastal region of La Jolla in San Diego—is as strong as ever. The sisters now offer stand-up paddle boarding and a host of camps and clinics for both guys and gals, and they also have their own clothing range.
Annie Pautsch of Brew Cruz
As the name suggests, Brew Cruz is a brewery tour around—yep, you guessed it—Santa Cruz. Founder and Santa Cruz native Annie Pautsch is in her element, shuttling an intimate group of guests around local craft beer spots in her refurbished, vintage school bus (affectionately named Betty Jane) and a recent addition to the Brew Cruz family, Slowboy—a vintage VW bus. Pautsch converted the interiors into a comfortable, mobile living room with maple floors, Douglas Fir benches, mounted vintage chairs and hanging succulents—making it one of the cutest brewery tours you’ll ever go on. Throughout the tour she highlights points of interest—like the site of an old beer garden with subterranean caves—as the bus skirts the scenic coastline of the Pacific and Monterey Bay. Pautsch is just one of many women killing it in a typically male-dominated industry—go Annie!
Vera Mulyani Founder of Mars City Designs
The idea of any of us living on another planet may seem a bit bonkers, but for Vera Mulyani, life on Mars is a daily reality. Mulyani moved to California from her native Indonesia and is now the CEO, Founder and lead “Marschitect” of Mars City Design. She spends her days creating prototypes of architectural structures that would be livable on Mars, which she believes could one day be a possibility. Her innovative and “out there” way of thinking could prove to be critical in the future of human civilization and we think that’s pretty awesome.
Bella & the Pink Helmet Posse
Bella and the ‘Pink Helmet Posse’ are a group of young girls who love to skateboard and have started their very own skating movement for girls. After seeing her brother skateboard, Bella questioned why she wasn’t spending her weekends doing the same thing. Dispelling the myth that skateboarding is just for boys, she and her two friends spend as much time as possible at the skate park and have never looked back. Aptly nicknamed the ‘Pink Helmet Posse’ the trio have been spreading the message far and wide that if boys can do something, girls can do it too—a strong and empowering message for all young girls.
Dominique Crenn Head Chef at Atelier Crenn
Dominique Crenn, head chef at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, has taken the fine dining food scene by storm. Her restaurant has long been a popular location for locals and food critics alike, and recently she was awarded a third Michelin star. This is huge news in the culinary world, making Crenn one of the few women to have this accreditation around the world. In the 13 years of Michelin in the States, she is the first female head chef of a three-starred restaurant and her success is a great source of inspiration for female chefs around the world.