Eugenie Lee is a climber and model from London, UK. In our interview, we got to ask a number of questions about her climbing career, competing and modelling, as well as getting her thoughts on how to inspire women into action sports.
You started climbing and bouldering at a young age. What first got you into climbing?
I was around 8 years old when I had my first experience climbing at the castle climbing centre in London. I remember my mum being the one to introduce me to rock climbing with the idea being it was a sport me and my parents could do together, although it later became me and my fathers sport. At a young age I was a pretty active kid. I played tennis and football, did dance and circus training, I swam and went to cross country club. I was always climbing trees, so naturally I loved climbing from the very first moment!
You have competed across the UK and Europe in a number of events, how does it feel when you’re competing? Do you get nervous before starting your climb?
I love competing. It’s intense, exciting and at times it can be very stressful. I always get a bit nervous before I pull onto the wall and start climbing, but I think that’s normal and a good thing if I can use that nervous energy to get me psyched to climb.
What are your grand ambitions for your climbing career?
A goal of mine is to win the British bouldering championship and be able to compete in the senior World Cup circuit. I also want to work towards competing in the Olympics.
Alongside rock climbing, you are also modelling. How did that opportunity come about?
I signed with a modelling agency when I turned 17. I remember I was shopping after school and a lady from my agency approached me asking if I was interested in modelling, (at this point I was a little freaked out) she then handed me a scouting card with the agencies information, took some photos and my email and then left. I was 16 at the time so it took a little research and time to decide it was something I wanted to do. I’m super grateful for it now and don’t really look back on the decision.
How do you think more young women can get inspired to try out action sports?
For a long time men have dominated action sports. They were the face of every sports brand, film and advertising. We just didn’t see much of an identity for women in these sports. Over the last few years however, I see more and more women at the top of their game, breaking boundaries and closing the gap between female and male achievements be it on social media or places like Red Bull TV (and Epic TV for climbing).
We’re seeing incredible athletes like Dina Asher Smith as the face of global brands like Nike which is so important for women to see. I think if women are able to see other women in action sports it breaks down the fear of participating, which is why it’s so important for those sports companies to support and showcase more female athletes.
I am incredibly grateful for the support of the brands I’ve been working with such as Ellis Brigham, who provide me with all the climbing equipment I use; this kind of support in fundamental in the development of an athlete through training and competing. One message I’d like to send to the women, (and men on the fence) about trying an action sport is that they don’t need to compete or do it to a high level. You can just have fun with it, persevere and learn from it.
Thanks to Eugenie for this insightful interview. We hope it can help to inspire more young women to try out action sports.
Eugenie Lee is an Ellis Brigham sponsored athlete. Find out more about other sponsored athletes by visiting the Ellis Brigham website.