Finalist Ingrid Brown: ‘I work on myself from the inside out’

Misty Caddell | May 14, 2013

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Name: Ingrid Brown
Company: Randall Miller Inc., Boone, N.C.
Years in trucking: 31 years
Hauls: Produce reefer, solo from N.C. to Cal., turns
Truck: 2007 379 Peterbilt
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If Overdrive’s Most Beautiful top 10 had a class clown, it would be Ingrid Brown. Friendly and unreserved, Brown flourishes when she’s making people laugh.255721_10150265889128278_781078277_8928832_4722223_n[1]

“Life is too short not to laugh, but it’s even shorter not to have friends to laugh with,” she says.

It’s that laughter that defines her and gives her true beauty, Brown says. While she admits she may not have the pristine features of someone half her age, she says she cherishes every laugh line she has. They remind her of the love she has for her family as well as the friendship she shares with her fellow drivers.

“You could not give me a trillion dollars for somebody to take away my giggle marks. I will hold on to those my whole life, because it’s the people I’ve met—the people in this industry, in this truck—that have given me a reason for every single one of them.  That’s what makes me who I am.” She finds great joy in any opportunity to give back to the industry she loves including her long time membership with Trucker Buddy and her role as charter member and advisor for Women-in-Trucking association and as a volunteer with Trucker Charity, Inc.

IngridOverdrive: What made you decide to enter Overdrive’s Most Beautiful contest?

Brown: Well, I don’t know. You know, everybody wants encouragement. It’s a great thing for every single one of us. And when there is something out there that I can get encouragement from and I can encourage with… it’s just a good thing.

Overdrive: What was the reaction from your friends and family when you made the top 10?

Brown: There were people who said good luck and that kind of thing, but my family was really just like, ‘What are you doing?’ And really, I don’t know. My youngest daughter, when I told her about it, she was like, ‘Mama, you’re 51 years old and you’re going to be in a beauty contest?’ And I told her, ‘No, it’s not a beauty contest. I don’t want them to see the outside of me; I want them to see the inside of me.’

IMAG1660-1[3]Overdrive: What is your definition of beauty in relation to trucking?

Brown: Inner beauty is the big thing, but that’s a common answer. That’s not telling anybody anything. Every single person alive has inner beauty. It’s whether you display and you use it—and you use it to help somebody else.

Overdrive: What do you like about the way you look?

Ingrid's DogBrown: I work on the way I look from the inside out, not from the outside in. I have to accept myself and like myself—everything about myself—and life’s good. I can’t be the same on the outside every day. I would say if there’s anything I would want somebody to look at my outer beauty, it would have to be my eyes. But really, I’m just happy the way I look every day—good, bad, or ugly.

Overdrive: How do you feel about the role of women in trucking?

Brown: I’m not a man. I can’t do what a man can do, just like a man can’t do what I can do. He can’t have babies, and I sure as heck can’t throw big fat tarps and chains and bind as tight as a guy can. I don’t want to be a man. I have to find my own ways, my own niche to do stuff, so that I can do it accurately and to the best of my ability. But my steering wheel has no clue whether I am a man or a woman—it doesn’t care!

Overdrive: Would you say there is a sisterhood in trucking?

IngridBrown: Yes. And that’s been one of my main goals. When I came out here, it was ‘Women—what are you talking about? What are you doing out here?’ There was less than 1 percent when I started driving. And now, just to see some of the newer ones out here, I just want to adopt them all and put them under my wing. That’s been a big thing to me—how I want to pay it forward.

Overdrive: Do you have any unique experiences that have happened because you are a woman trucker?IMAG2473-1

Brown: Oh, I can get myself into the biggest messes you’ve ever seen. I’ve got all kinds of funny stories. I got stuck on a load one time when I pulling a flatbed. I knocked my own ladder off while I was up top trying to readjust some timbers on it. I couldn’t get down. It was quite hilarious—I sat there for almost two hours. Finally somebody came to the rest area and looked up and said, ‘Are you okay?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I’m great, but that ladder’s not doing a very good job right now.’ I’m sure a guy could have climbed his happy little self off the top of a flatbed, but I’m five foot one and three quarters!

Overdrive: Is there anything you wish you could fix about the trucking industry?

IngridBrown: Nobody is listening to each other. As drivers, we need to stop and offer help, put ourselves in that person’s shoes. I know we all have to take care of ourselves, but we need to take care of each other too. Everybody is so wrapped up in stuff—life is going too fast. I want the world to slow down a little bit. I still want it to progress, but just a little slower. Be willing to sacrifice a split minute to pay attention and listen.

Overdrive: If you could say one thing to the non-driving public about women driving big rigs, what would it be?

Brown: See, that’s a tough one, because if you could get the rest of the non-driving public to listen, then that’s when it would actually make a difference with what you had to say. The first step is just reaching out and getting them to listen. But I can’t fault a lot of people—non-driving people aren’t given very many opportunities to know what it takes to protect us and to protect them.

Overdrive: Looking back, is there anything you wish you had known when you started driving?

Brown: No, because I thought I knew it all. It took me this long to realize I didn’tmail-1

Photos by: Michael Russell, russellfotography@gmail.com

Ingrid Brown is just one of the 10 women selected for the Overdrive’s Most Beautiful top 10 list. Read about the other top 10 candidates as well as all the other submissions by visiting this link.

  • Wanda Howell

    I have know Ingrid for 25 plus years. Ingrid comes from an amazing family that has touched the lives of thousands in Watauga County for many years. Ingrid’s small framed body comes with a huge heart that shines every single day. There hasn’t been a day that I have either spent time with Ingrid or spoke with her by phone, that she isn’t helping someone else, praying for someone or making someone’s road a little easier by her kindess. She has a strong work ethic displaying that no job is to big or to small.
    She loves life, her family, friends and God. She takes care of others instead of doing frivilous things for herself. There has never been a selfish moment in her life….
    Half pint might be her nickname..but her heart comes in at a “full gallon”.

  • Sherry Greene

    Ingrid and I go way back to 16yr olds hauling, lifting, grading tobacco and driving tractors on the farm-don’t let her small stature fool you. She is truly one of the strongest women I know. Her heart is in everything she does, always positive and encouraging. I’ve found that no matter how hard life can knock you down-she comes up with a smile and is always putting others before herself! I am very proud of her work ethics- that she has proven so many times, over the years. Her love for her friends, family, work and life truly is beautiful! Her laughter is contageous. I am a better person for having known her. Ingrid truly deserves “Overdrive’s Most Beautiful”

  • Lone Ranger

    I listened to Half Pint on Steve’s radio show for years, but never knew she was so good looking. Those pretty eyes should be insured by Lloyd’s of London. You go girl!

  • Eric Evans

    wishing I was a driver but always been scared to try, now look at this pint size lady doing the big job, all I can say is thanks to all of you. If trucking companies would treat yall better and government would stay out of the way, and cut these ambulance chasing lawyers off at there knees and quit blaming truckers for the idiots on the roads it may not be so bad but lack of home time the dot, and dispatchers who don’t care im just chicken

  • ingrid brown

    Wow we’ve got comments now wooohoooo …. Lone Ranger you are one I’ve always respected for your honesty, brilliant mind and who you are. Thank you and this is FOR ALLL OF US ….each driver no matter who you are BEAUTY is what’s INSIDE! TKS Friend!

  • Ingrid Brown

    For 16 yrs you need to take your shoes off … I’m slinging snot now! The tears of laughter, of sadness , happy and even sometimes being mad … Most on the porch watching the sun…always with the best friend who has such an impact of who I am today …and she’s never known it! Love ya Sherry now you know…and yeah God is so Good!

  • Ingrid Brown

    Thank you Wanda! Me and my family, as you know but I love to tell you, love you as you’re ours. You’ve made so many achievements that I see I also can be anyone I wanna be as long as I keep God, Family and Friends just as you ahead of me so I always know the right way, never having to stumble because I chose to be in front where I’m sure to fall. I want my heart to be that “full gallon” more than anything! I know I’ve got lots of help to make it! Love you!

  • Ingrid Brown

    Eric I appreciate your kindness and your taking note of the hard hours, sacrifices and dedication allllll the LADIES do…Driving a Truck. It doesn’t take looks, it takes longing…to drive that truck! We each make our own way no matter what any Gov, DOT or dispatcher says, I continue to do what I feel is right no matter what. As long as it never hurts others or myself. Life’s about rules and changes everyday so, take the word CAN’T out of your kind vocabulary, pull yourself taller by your boot strings and drive a truck…. there’s never a limit just try!!!! Thank you again Sir!

  • Ingrid Brown

    Opps 16yr Olds giggle

  • Charolette

    Ingrid is my adopted Sis!! I’ve known her since I think 1998.. She’s one beautiful person!!! <3 <3 Love ya Bunches Ingrid!!!

  • Ingrid Brown

    Char been together thru life’s journey along time and thru alot of life!! Thank you for being one of all of us. ..a Beautiful Soul and driver!!! But most of all My friend and Sister of the highway. ..luv you to! Thank you!

  • Eddie L Conrad

    Ingrid,& I long time friends,we meet back in 90′s @ the Great american Truck Show in Dallas,Tx & been friends ever since.She has my full support in this contest.Go Ingrid

  • Ingrid Brown

    Eddie you and Cathy are wonderful friends and trucking family! Thanks lil Buddy!!!

  • Christy Kuppler

    Ingrid is the most fantastic and beautiful person, inside and out! She truly shines at everything she does, because she puts her heart into it. I was blessed to have personally met her, and she graced me with a video interview that is now featured on my YouTube channel, NJKatwoman. She is Part One and Part Two (Part Three to come) in my ongoing video series, The LadyTrucker Chronicles. Ingrid is the most deserving woman and she should win Overdrive’s Most Beautiful contest! :D http://www.youtube.com/user/NJKatwoman

  • Ingrid Brown

    Christy you are am amazing Lady Driver and friend. The chronicles are such s tribute to each Lady Driver out on the open Highway. And I’m privileged to be a part of them. If I could help just one person a day my life is complete. Especially With Friends like you! Thank you!!!

  • Linda “Falnbehindangel” Dewey

    Rather you win or not Ingrid, you are beautiful. Inner beauty is so much more important than what we see on the outside. I am sure that the beauty you have is also a reflection of the type of driver you are, the one we all wish were still around, always there for a good laugh and to lend that helping hand when we need it. Good Luck to you!

  • tracy

    love your answers lady. great perspective

  • Ingrid Brown

    Thank you TRACY!! Good Mornin! Hope you can hear my lil giggle this morning lol! All because people like you always make me and others Smile “out loud” Sometimes I think my so called sense of humor is cheesy then I realize it be aw’right … just remember “life’s to short NOT to laugh, but even shorter NOT TO have someone to laugh with” ;-) Have a great day!

  • Ingrid Brown

    Miss Linda it’s very obvious you are far from a falnbehindangel!!! You are the Angel that we never know are beside us even when we don’t “need” anything… and catch us when we fall, brush us off, set us on our feet and give that lil nudge that it’s all gonna be okay. And it’s also noticeable that you know the open road and your Beautiful yourself. And a joy on it with a huge heart! I appreciate your kindness and keep you close! Thank you!

  • Eric Evans

    Just heard you did not make the top 3 and hate it but in my book your still one cool lady.

  • Ingrid

    Thank you Eric and it’s just fine! We all are number 1 and we have the meaning of cool down! You stay in touch go say hi on my Facebook and thanks again!