HOW A HASHTAG LED TO A SUPER RAD NEPALI

MOUNTAIN BIKING FILM

Jennifer Killian is an accidental Instagram sensation. In the best possible way. After feeling the pressure to go outside just to capture “the perfect shot” for instagram, Jenn decided to delete all of her accounts and have a social media detox. She realised that her motivation for getting outdoors was influenced more by the desire to fill her social media feeds than it was to fuel her enjoyment of the outdoors. It was at that point she knew that something had to change.

It wasn’t until her husband Taylor started using the hashtag #AndShesDopeToo on photos of Jenn enjoying herself in the outdoors, that Jenn discovered a way to turn the tables on social media. The hashtag quickly grew in momentum with others adopting it and the number of supportive positive comments ballooning.

What began as Taylor’s adorable ode to his adventure-loving wife, quickly turned into a forum for Jenn to share her adventures and connect with other women (initially locally, but now on a global scale) who love to get outside and have fun.

If you have a scroll through the AndShesDopeToo’s Instagram feed you won’t see endless picture perfect summit shots but you will see plenty of smiling faces and positive, supportive comments. You won’t find yourself thinking “I wish I was her” rather you’ll be thinking “I wish I was friends with her” or  “I want to go on an adventure with her”. And that is exactly how Jenn likes it. You’ll also quickly discover that these days the feed is not all about Jenn and her own adventures. It has swelled to be an international sisterhood of women just like Jenn, and just like you and I. Women who love nature, enjoy the outdoors, who enjoy pushing themselves and also love sharing that experience with other supportive women.

Growing from the humble beginnings of a hashtag, Jenn and Taylor have created an outdoor adventure collective, giving women the opportunity to try new outdoor sports with the best chance of success. In addition to expanding the online community, they now host meet-ups, training clinics and a national get-together called ‘Rendezvous’ in their backyard of Utah. Women from all across the US attend and the majority of them come solo.

The commitment to creating a community of women who teach, inspire, and give back to those who need it most, led AndShesDopeToo to being the driving force behind the stunning film MOSKSHA, which toured in the 2018 Gutsy Girls Adventure Film Tour. The project aimed to invest in the future of Nepali women, by connecting with and supporting female Nepali mountain bikers. The film follows the journey of Roja, Usha and Nishma, three young Nepali women who are pushing the boundaries of gender bias in outdoor sport, pursuing their dreams and inspiring the younger generation.

In partnership with Himalayan Single Track and the Ladies Mountain League, the AndShesDopeToo initiative remain dedicated to supporting women in Nepal to find community, adventure and autonomy. Since launching the project, Roja, Usha and Nishma have created a bike library which offers free bikes for any women in Kathmandu to borrow for a week.  The three women also lead weekly morning progression and trail rides for other young women.

It’s an amazing legacy from humble beginnings.  This accidental Instagram sensation hasn’t always had a tribe of like-minded women supporting each other behind her, but she sure does now, and she can’t wait to see what happens next.