Penny Mallory Passes the Mirror
Look in the mirror. That’s the advice from local phenomenon Penny Mallory, whose goal in life is to push boundaries, master challenges and celebrate the victory of strength over fear.
Penny overcame family breakdown, addiction and self harm in her journey from despair to celebrity, resisting all attempts to stereotype or pin her down along the way. Fast cars, extreme sports, intense physical training and TV fame have driven her along the road to personal fulfillment.
Now she finds her inspiration in ordinary people, using motivational speaking to help others unlock their true potential.
Experience Chipping Norton is delighted to welcome Penny to our May public meeting, where she’ll discuss the power of flexible thinking. See Penny in action at The Red Lion on 20thMay, between 6 and 8pm! Read more about her life in the round-up and Q & A below.
The Life, Times and Achievements of Penny Mallory…
Following a comfortable middle-class start, family breakdown sent a wrecking ball through the teenage Penny’s life. A rebellious streak plunged her into a downward spiral of drinking, stealing, self harm and homelessness. With a boyfriend addicted to heroin, she reached rock bottom on the streets of London.
A true passion for cars saved her. Following her dream, and throwing herself into work, she became the first woman in the world to drive a World Rally Car. She is also well-known for presenting Channel 4’s critically acclaimed Driven and World Rally Championship, along withUsed Car Roadshow and Accident Black Spot.
Penny is an incorrigible adventurer. She insists on pushing both her body and mind to the limit, in her quest for mastery. She runs marathons, boxes, climbs enormous mountains and works out ferociously every day. As a qualified Performance Coach, she knows how closely mind and body interact in reaching – or failing to reach – your personal goals.
Now Penny is an inspirational speaker, author, event host, TV presenter and supporter of charities, specifically Barnardo’s and Crisis. She has been selected as Patron of Modern Muse, a national movement aimed at inspiring the next generation of young women.
Q: How did you come to settle in Chipping Norton, and do you find it a peaceful ‘retreat’ from your hectic career activities?
A: I moved to Chippy to get out of the rat race and live a civilised, small community life…which I love…best move I ever made!
Q: I believe you helped set up the Rumble in the Cotswolds white-collar boxing match, scheduled for 6 June in the Town Hall. Is genteel Chippy ready for an event like this?
A: We’ll see if Chippy is ready for this. but rumour has it that there was a fight night in Chippy every Friday night, years ago! It’s a glitzy, glamorous event that was originally designed to get Chippy ‘fighting fit’ through some tough exercise classes…and is now a sold out event that will be a huge amount of fun…all in aid of raising money for Helen and Douglas House hospice in Oxfordshire.
Q: You obviously love extreme sports, and strenuous, challenging activity – mountain climbing, marathons, boxing matches, rally driving. Have these risky pursuits ever got you into trouble, and have you had any close calls?
A: Loads of close calls. But that’s probably what it’s all about….I like finding out what’s on the edge of life!
Q: Is it annoying when people keep ‘pointing out’ that you’re a woman in a man’s world, rather than celebrating your achievements for what they are?
A: I don’t really ever engage in the gender conversation…I always want to drive and compete as an equal….the woman thing is not really a conversation I ever enjoyed!
Q: There seem to be two distinct parts of your personality. One is competitive and self-focussed, based on winning. The other is focussed very much on helping other people unlock their own potential and step out of the chains which stop them achieving. Are these different facets of your personality ever in conflict, or has the one evolved from the other, based on your own experiences?
A: It all boils down to the ‘psychology of success’…whatever you are trying to achieve, your mind is the boss….whether its training myself to use my head in a positive way or helping others to do that, it’s a very rewarding way to spend one’s time!
Q: Have you satisfied the younger and rebellious you ie. won enough events and proved yourself sufficiently? Or do you think you will always be looking for the next challenge and intent on fulfilling a goal?
A: Always on the look-out for ways to test myself …not sure that will ever go away!
Q: What would your advice be to a youngster suffering as much as you did at your lowest point?
A: I would remind them that only one person is in charge and can change things…and pass them a mirror.
Q: What is it about cars, and rally car driving in particular, which gives you such a rush?
A: The sense of adventure, going a bit crazy, pushing it to the max….the usual obvious stuff.
Q: Did you always love cars, or were there times you seemed set to follow a more traditional ‘female’ route?
A: I have never been a girly-girl. I wish I was! Always been a tom boy…
Q: What was the first TV show you ever took part in, and how did it go?
A: It was a TV show about racing and I was a useless bag of nerves – couldn’t remember any lines…and got so told off, I had a word with myself and then became the ‘one take wonder’ because I never wanted to be told off again!
Q: Looking back over your life, do you have any regrets?
A: None at all.
Q: Looking into the future, what do you see there?
A: I am very open to whatever comes along…that is what keeps me interested and excited.
Q: You are acclaimed as a great motivational speaker. What is the magic ingredient, and does it surprise you to know that you strike such a chord with so many of your listeners?
A: Well thank you, that is news to me! Just being open and honest and 100% authentic, I think.
Q: Are we ever too old to change our ways?
A: No, we’re always learning … that can never stop, can it?
Q: Now that the top job at Top Gear is free, what are your chances of snagging it? Would you even be interested?
A: Judging by the social media abuse that the potential candidates have had so far, it sounds like a pretty miserable job to walk into!
Find out what Penny’s up to on her website: http://www.pennymallory.co.uk/