In the clearly male dominated field of big rig truck driving, Lisa Kelly may seem like an anomaly but speak to her once and you soon realize that her time behind the wheel informs not just her work life, but everything about her. If you’re not into tracker trailers, never fear, the wisdom that Kelly’s gained on the road, and more than willing to share, applies to non-drivers as well. In fact, it’s quite relevant for everyone.
Appearing on the reality series “Ice Road Truckers” on History Channel, Kelly is the lone female driver featured on the show as she traverses the often treacherous back roads of the Canadian countryside.
Kelly admits that, “It can be dangerous at times, but I’m very confident in my skills.” But, while Kelly knows precisely how to handle difficult situations, she reveals that, “The hard part about being on TV while I’m working is that right when things get scary, they want you to talk to the camera to tell them what’s going on. So right when you’re sliding down a hill backwards, you’re expected to explain what you’re doing and I’m thinking, ‘ok, just hold on, I’m trying not to put us in a ditch.”
When she’s not facing down a difficult situation, Kelly admits that she uses her time in the cab as productively as possible, saying, “I listen to the radio and podcasts and I try to make good use of my time and learn things. But, really I’m constantly busy, monitoring things, learning the roads. That’s my job, first and foremost, and I want to do it well so that’s really what I concentrate the most on doing.”
Kelly has been serious about her career of choice for a decade, wanting everyone to know, “I’ve been working for ten years as a driver. I did not become a driver for this show. I love my job and so much about it. I love the scenery, the wildlife and all of that. Just a little bit ago, I pulled over and took a hike for about 15 minutes or so. I was alone out in the untouched wilderness and it was so peaceful. It was amazing.”
When asked what she would do if she weren’t a driver, Kelly is quick to say, “Wow. I really don’t know exactly. Well, I feel like every door is open to me and that there are a ton of things that I’d have to try. But, I really have to say that this is the thing that I like the best so far.”
Kelly isn’t just a driver; she’s a wife and mother to ‘seven four legged kids,” she says as she refers to the horses, dogs and cats that live in Alaska with her husband, all of them waiting patiently for her to return from the road. “The only difference between kids and pets is pets don’t move out when they turn 18,” she says with a laugh.
With both her career and personal life firmly in hand, Kelly reflects on her the perspective that she’s gained both behind the wheel and in general, saying, “Yes, there are things that are dangerous and that get your adrenaline pumping, but you can’t live your life scared of things. You can die doing almost anything. I love doing this, so I’m going to keep doing it, it’s pretty much as simple as that.”
With the straightforwardness of that statement and the overall open demeanor that Kelly is more than willing to display on-camera and in her life, it’s a little strange that Kelly at times feels that she’s let her fans down a bit as she explains, “People seem to get a high expectation of what I am and then when they meet me in person like get let down because I’m just a person like everyone else. I’m not really that social. I’m a truck driver. I’m not good at social stuff because I haven’t had that much practice, like movie stars or something. But, I really do try.”
It’s safe to say that movie star or not, Kelly’s personality makes her something special to see onscreen.
With another seemingly effortless statement, Kelly perfectly sums it all up, saying, “This show is entertainment so I hope everyone enjoys it. It’s not staged in any way. It’s a blast for me and I love doing it. What you see is what you get with me. I just do my job and that works well for me.”
Clearly, it’s working well.
“Ice Road Truckers” airs on History Channel. Check your local listings for dates and times.