The [Real] Freedom Machine


Julia Kish and her honda xr400

Julia Kish and her honda xr400

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.

The real story behind the portrait series of Petrolettes, and if I’m honest the real intention behind In Venus Veritas, is the showcase of courage. Any woman who steps into a world that clearly is more appealing (and therefore popular) amongst the opposite sex, who listens to that little voice in their heads that says “go for it”  or more importantly ignores the one that says “don’t”, has got a story to share.

Of the wonderful women I’ve met for IVV both across the Australia and overseas, most are just thrilled to have someone hear their story, however often these Petrolettes will say things like “Oh I’m not that interesting, but I know someone else who is”, and so I end up spending our first conversation trying to convince them that not only are they interesting, but potentially inspiring for others who will read about her.

The thing is, courage is courage. Whether you’ve finally booked your motorcycle licence or base jumping off K2, it all starts the same. In fact it’s the little challenges that lead to bigger dreams, bigger goals and bigger thresholds to push through which ultimately lead to great things. When I’m interviewing women for the Petrolette portrait series this is actually what I’m looking for. I’m waiting to hear about what they’ve faced to become a Petrolette, who encouraged them, who or what held them back and how they over came it. Their machines are a target for all that drive and passion and therefore become an extension of their personality, all of which I find totally inspiring. 

Courage is authentic self expression and leads to freedom. Courage is like a machine, it needs regular care, attention, respect and it’s limits pushed regularly for it to take you places you once never imagined possible. These are qualities inherent to a Petrolette, and to all those ladies out there I haven’t met yet who are passionate about their gasoline powered lifestyles, before you dismiss yourself as “not that interesting” think about what it took for you to get there, remember all those challenges… and then think again. You are a Petrolette. You are courage. Share your story.


Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.