"Here's a bunch of ten chicks that truly define what it means to be an independent woman. Admire them, respect them, or simply use them for inspiration!"
Independent (adjective): Free from the influence, guidance, or control of others... Not determined or influenced by someone or something else.
Niki is on the cover of this special issue of Chick magazine. This issue celebrates independence and everything that goes with it. Chick lists Niki as one of the top ten girls getting about, including Natalie Portman, Laura Imbruglia and Lauren Jackson.
Using a combination of brains, beauty and cycling prowess, 24 year old Niki Gudex has established herself as one of our leading downhill mountain bike racers. Voted Australia’s 2002 Sexiest Sportswoman in Inside Sport, when she isn’t studying at uni or speaking one of four languages she is fluent in, Niki is working hard to make the Australian Cross Country Olympic Team for Athens in 2004. Not bad for a chick that took up the sport a mere four years ago.
Niki wandered into a bike shop by chance after busting a pedal on a mate’s bike. The guy working there encouraged her to give racing a go, so she hopped on a bike and loved it so much, she blew all the dosh she had been saving for a snowboarding trip to Canada on a brand spanking new mountain bike.
Despite not knowing anyone who rode, Niki turned up to a race the very next weekend. “I was totally unprepared,” she remembers. “I didn’t even know you were meant to take water with you!” Everyone she met that day was so supportive that Niki was encouraged to keep going. So the following weekend she entered herself in the National Championships and won her category.
From there, she hasn’t stopped. “Everyone in the sport is great, really nice,” she says. “There aren’t that many girls riding, but the guys and girls do co-exist.” Niki reckons the most important thing is having a go. “If you want it to happen, you can make it happen,” she says. “It’s important to be independent because it gives you a sense of self - a feeling of control. I like knowing I can take care of myself.”
Profile: Luisa Browett. Photographed by: Ezra Patchett. "Independent Women" Chick Magazine, March 2003 Issue.