I met Jamie Little when she was pregnant with her son, Carter, and she is one of the most badass women I know. I am so honored that she wrote a love letter and while I knew many of the things included, there is something about the written word that crystallizes the strength you see in a woman. I once told Jamie that if there is any type of apocalypse, Zombie or otherwise, I’m coming to her house. She laughed, “We would survive.” She is afraid of very little and has such a strong sense of self that I’m so thrilled she can share this side of herself with you too.
Jamie asks us not to allow ourselves to be labeled and it is such sage advice. Had she allowed labels to stick she may not be the first female pit reporter for the television broadcast of the Indianapolis 500, the first female to cover a televised Supercross and Motorcross event, and one of the first female reporters in X Games history.
Ladies and gentlemen, the badass Jamie Little –
I was a strong minded only child raised by a single mom. For some reason, I always had gumption. I was always brave and never feared. Maybe it was growing up in the outdoor paradise that is South Lake Tahoe, California. Maybe it was having a strong mom who never took no for an answer. Maybe it was not having a father around to give me the idea that I NEED a man to do things for me. Whatever it may be, that strong, independent spirit has never let me down. It’s led me astray at times, gotten me in trouble a time or two but it always brought me back to the “right” path. With that, here’s a letter to my younger self, a list of explanations you could say. This is for the girl who loved horses, loved boys (at a very young age!), never settled for no, loved her mom to a fault and missed having a father, her father, more than she could accept until much later in life.
DON’T BE ASHAMED that you don’t have a dad around. Most of your friends at your young age still have a two parent household. It’s ok to have the love of two parents wrapped into one. You’ll use that void left by your father to fuel your passion to succeed in a male-dominated world such as motorsports television. You’ll yearn to have acceptance by men for your character, hard work and accomplishments. You’ll get it.
THAT LOVE FOR RACING ISN’T WEIRD. Your friends and classmates won’t understand why, in High School, you started bringing dirt bike magazines to class. Your mom will be shocked one day to discover all of your precious, innocent horse posters have been replaced by dirt bikes, racers and autographs. Just because you don’t have a brother or father around to promote something like dirt bikes, it’s ok. One day everyone will understand your love and passion for something so rough and “unladylike.”
THOSE TEARS, LONELY NIGHTS ON THE ROAD AND SMALL PAYCHECKS are all part of the plan. Suck it up and keep your eye on the prize. The more you endure and the harder you work, selflessly, the bigger the reward. It’ll all lead to true happiness, but it’ll be a long road. Keep digging.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF and trim the fat while you’re at it. Your stepmother may have “taken” your father away and tried to keep you out, but being angry, sad and disappointed won’t help. Just accept your relationship with your father for what it is; surface conversation between two blood acquaintances. Ironically, the day will come that you are all your father has. You’ll end up burying his wife. That will leave him alone, broke and depressed with nobody but you to lean on. Take it as “God’s work” to be there. Don’t judge, don’t walk away. Be there. You’ll be your father’s shining light in his darkest days. Funny how life works out sometimes.
YOU ALWAYS WANTED A BABY BROTHER OR SISTER. Although it won’t happen, one day you’ll have the chance to hold, love and care for a baby of your own. It’ll be hard to fathom while you’re keeping your head to the grindstone, hardly coming up for air, but it’ll happen. Just be sure to open your heart, enjoy dating, don’t take yourself so seriously. In the end, it’s not ALL about your career or becoming wealthy, although that’s nice, it’s really all about the circle of family you create around you. So, don’t wait too long, but don’t settle either. Oh and don’t keep people in your life just because. Cut those who are toxic, drama or who zap your energy. Life is too short. Keep your circle tight.
DON’T BE LABELED. In life, people will want to characterize you into a category. “She’s a pretty girl. She’s a tomboy. She’s a hard ass. She’s a classy lady. She’s a partier. She’s a country club-type of woman.” Don’t be afraid to be ALL things. You can and will be a woman who can wear a dress, heels and interview anyone on TV. You will be a country girl who loves her country music, cold beer and swearing. You’ll like riding dirt bikes and you’ll enjoy golf. You’ll hang with millionaires while sipping expensive red wine. You’ll also wear your sweats and feed the homeless on D Street or walk homeless dogs in the impoverished part of town. Be ALL things. Life is so much more exciting that way.
RESPECT YOUR MOM. She’ll drive you crazy, you’ll drive her crazy. You’ll be angry at her and hold grudges for things she did as a parent. Let it go. The only things that’s important is that you have each other. She’ll be your number one fan your whole life. She’ll be your cheerleader when you call her with self doubt and disappointment. She’s done it all. She’s your best resource. Stay close to her always. Help her in times of need. She’ll need you in a big way. The husband of hers that you call “Pops” will see the bitter side of life. He’ll one day look at death in the face, but his attitude and the love of you mother will steer him away. It’ll end up being the biggest challenge in all of your lives. Stick together. It’s the ONLY way.
Veteran motor sports reporter Jamie Little joins FOX NASCAR in 2015 for its 15th season, bringing 13 years of broadcasting experience and a lifetime of racing knowledge to her pit reporting duties in the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES. Her assignments also include select additional races and special events throughout the year.
Prior to joining FOX, Little spent 13 years at ESPN/ABC as a reporter for NASCAR (2007-’14), IndyCar Series (2004-’14), Winter X Games and Summer X Games telecasts. Her television career began in 2002 as a reporter for ESPN immediately following graduation from college. She also has worked for SPEED, NBC and TNN.
The move to FOX after multiple years with ABC and ESPN represents a “homecoming” of sorts for Little. She covered a variety of motor sports events for FOX Sports’ SPEED in 2002 and 2003, including the network’s live coverage of Daytona Supercross, which marked her live national broadcasting debut.
She was the first female pit reporter for the television broadcast of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 (2004), the first female to cover a televised Supercross and Motorcross event, and was one of the first female reporters in X Games history. Little has covered 11 Indianapolis 500s and eight Brickyard 400s and has hosted a variety of non-racing sporting events ranging from Paintball Championships to the Great Outdoor Games, in addition to live announcing roles in Motorcross and Supercross.
Little credits her lifelong passion for the sport and affinity for dirt bikes as the springboard for her entry into television. While still in college, she reported on various motor sports for ESPN2 and also served as a live announcer in Supercross.
The Las Vegas resident is well-rounded outside the four corners of a race track, as well. In 2013, she released her first book, entitled Essential Car Care for Women, and has worked the red carpet for the ESPYs, in addition to hosting numerous NASCAR events away from the track. Furthermore, the popular racing video game “MX World Tour Featuring Jamie Little” bears her name and likeness. She also held a cameo role in the 2005 feature film, Fantastic Four, and Supercross the Movie starring Channing Tatum.
Little spends her free time volunteering at The Animal Foundation, Nevada’s largest animal rescue shelter. Her first solo charity project is a 2016 calendar titled “Las Vegas to the Rescue,” featuring Las Vegas celebrities, such as Wayne Newton, Carrot Top and NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, posing with homeless pets from the shelter to promote adoption.
A graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in Journalism, Little grew up in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and currently resides in Las Vegas with her husband and son.
You can follow Jamie on Twitter at @JamieLittleTV.