femalecarhustler

The Life of a Female Fast Car Hustler

Becky Evans would have taught herself to drift a Lamborghini even without her Instagram fanbase showering her with likes

The Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 — painted to resemble a U.S. Postal Service vehicle, but with a shrewd, almost imperceptible placement of the street fashion brand Peaches — speeds down the Las Vegas Strip. British-born Becky Evans, “queenb” to those who follow her on Instagram, is at the wheel, which is on the wrong side of the car, at least for her. But it doesn’t matter — Evans has driven everywhere for nearly her whole life. Further afield, along a more desolate stretch of highway, she drifts the Lamborghini, kicking up dust while tracing a series of concentric circles.

Of course, for all her prowess behind the wheel, Evans isn’t a professional drifting driver, at least not the way all-time greats like Formula Drift champions James Deane and Chris Forsberg are. But she is a trained driver with considerable experience, someone who knows the terrain of the sport and began competing in track racing when she was in elementary school, teaching herself how to drift along the way. Occupying a space at the intersection of street racing and streetwear, Evans is an expert in making those subjects accessible.

Evans’ automotive expertise is precisely why I’m talking to her, since I have none whatsoever. Although my dad owned a Chrysler dealership, that place belonged to him and my half-brother — I wanted nothing to do with it or the vehicles that populated its lot. But Evans’ car-obsessed father, a kindly fella who figures prominently in some of her YouTube and Red Bull TV videos, quickly placed his young daughter in a junior dragster he imported from the U.S. “I started doing go-karts with my dad when I was eight, and from there, I got into drag racing,” she tells me. “But I came to a stopping point because of the considerable expense associated with the jump from junior racing, where I had enjoyed some success, to senior racing, which meant I had to move on from that.”

Still, Evans never quite left the racing world, even as her focus shifted to finishing college: “I began learning about street cars and the process of customizing street cars. I also began to think about how the idea of style relates to all of that, style in the sense of blending automotive culture with fashion.” The result was her Instagram account, which dates back to her teen years. “The ‘queenb’ nickname is kind of an impulsive teenage thing,” Evans says. “I had no expectation that it would evolve into anything beyond a way of sharing photos about my interests.”

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Still my Queen

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Her Instagram presence evolved rapidly after Evans, then 21, bought a “super-fresh” red 1983 BMW 3 Series sedan, which was the last model year in that first generation of the 3 Series. (“Damn that thing is sweet,” opines automotive writer Blake Rong when I ask him about it). “I wouldn’t say I was an online persona at that point, but that BMW — which is restored but nothing over-the-top, if anything, it’s understated — greatly increased my engagement with automotive fans,” she explains. “The combination of that car and my approach to streetwear — to the entire culture of automotive — began to reach a wider audience.”

Reaching a wider audience, however, wasn’t necessarily Evans’ primary goal. She’d obtained a degree in business and moved to London at 23, where she began working in fashion PR. “Here’s where you could say I got a bit of an inside look at all this, since the PR world was engaging with influencers more in 2016 and 2017, a trend that’s only increased since then. Although I don’t think of myself as an influencer, I did look at the automotive space, and noted the organic growth of the content I was producing simply because I was interested in the subject.”

Not to mention: “There was absolutely no female voice in this community, and absolutely no voice for someone who enjoyed cars that fell between the low end of the price scale and the true luxury end of things,” Evans says. “So I’d seen my Instagram grow just by virtue of me posting material there. I then took a leap of faith and launched a YouTube channel in 2016 that would allow me to do longer-form video projects and share my knowledge.”

Essentially, Evans created a series of videos that explored her own track racing roots, getting her motorcycle license and guiding viewers through the ins and outs of vehicles like the Kia Stinger GT. She doesn’t overwhelm with excessive detail, but provides more than enough information to leave novices like me with a better understanding of the subject at hand. And when she demonstrates something herself, like driving a motorcycle, it isn’t the sort of awkward, amateurish flailing-about that I engaged in when my uncle taught me to ride. There’s something about all this that’s reminiscent of the YouTube channel of Jon “Jujimufu” Call, a strength sports generalist who trains right alongside hyper-specialized competitive athletes — in both cases, the presenter is also an insider, not some clueless, fish-out-of-water media figure (while still seeming like enough of a newbie that they’re relatable).

The work that demonstrates the breadth of what Evans can do, though, is the Red Bull TV Drift Queen series. Its mission is simple enough: Evans will learn how to properly drift a car. But the story, which features cameos from prominent drift racers as well as Evans’ father, evolves into something much more complex, blending her background as a racer with her hands-on involvement in thoroughly re-training herself — not just learning how to drive a drift car but how to buy and build one as well (and making it seem so easy that I might be able to do the same).

The more and more I talk to Evans, the more and more my initial skepticism begins to fade. Working as a quasi-insider in another world, the fitness world, I’m always expecting rank cynicism — cynicism of the sort that will prompt me to ask the person I’m talking to if they really care about their chosen field or if it’s all an elaborate grift. Yet everything Evans says relates to her lifelong devotion to cars, to car culture and to making her mark on that particular world.

“The Drift Queen series for Red Bull raised their female viewership considerably, from single digits to the teens, and that’s wonderful,” she says. “But I’m not running some feminist enterprise here. I’m trying to educate people about the entire automotive culture and what it consists of — cars, clothes, the whole bit. So that’s why, in addition to my own content, I’m working as Global Director of Culture at Peaches. I’m getting to help this company accomplish everything I’ve envisioned for the automotive culture. They’re a total operation, making automotive streetwear, automotive accessories and customized cars, timing the debut of their custom car builds to the release of their accessories and clothes. It’s all of a piece for them, with an understanding of how fashion is this an integral part of the music world, the fitness world and all these other spaces.”

As for where her road ends: “I’ve got no idea where this is going, but with everything I’m doing, I’m working to create the automotive culture I would have wanted to discover when I was a teenager,” she explains. “And in this world, if you lack substance or depth, if you have no expertise or you’re just trying to be seen, you will be found out and exposed. You won’t be around. But I’m still here, and I intend to stay here.”