Here is another article I did for today’s SanTan Sun News, a newspaper based out of Chandler, Arizona. I had the opportunity to interview The Jeep Girls, Ashley and Brittany, two extremely nice sisters, over the phone a few weeks back. Their story was pretty incredible to hear, as well as write. Enjoy reading about their adventure.
‘Jeep Girls’ share their story, bring awareness
Published in SanTan Sun News Jan. 18, 2014 issue
Two Chandler sisters dubbed “The Jeep Girls” share their lifestyles with like-minded people by giving back to others as they tour the country bringing awareness of American culture.
“Life is a constant treasure hunt and we are able to learn about our culture through the people, landscape and industry,” says Ashley Hill, who makes up the Jeep Girls with sister Brittany Hill.
The two are relative newcomers to Arizona, having moved here from Illinois when Brittany, now 25, was just out of high school.
“It was quite a culture shock,” Brittany explains.
She says when they moved to Chandler, they learned that life can be sunny and colorful. Arizona offers a very laid-back atmosphere, Brittany says.
Before the ‘Jeep Girls’
The love of Jeeps resonated at a very young age for the Hill sisters. The duo has a family video where they are in a Power Wheel flame red Jeep Wrangler.
“In this video Brittany is 3 or 4 and I am 1,” Ashley says. “In this video our parents taught us the word ‘Jeep.’”
The girls purchased matching flame red Jeep Cherokees as teens and, in 2005, they went on a nationwide search to find a Jeep Wrangler, which they found in Chicago.
“The Jeep is a symbol of that ultimate freedom machine with the ability to take the doors off and the top,” Ashley explains. “The freedom machine celebrates American history.”
Brittany earned a fi ne arts degree from Arizona State University’s Herberger School of Fine Art in 2008. Ashley graduated summa cum laude in 2009 from Arizona State University with a communication degree from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.
Both of the girls went into the news business after graduation but were dissatisfied with that career choice.
Brittany quit on a whim. Ashley followed.
“I am much happier not being competitive in terms of trying to climb that corporate ladder,” Brittany says.
The American Legend Tour
The American Legend Tour kicked off on July 4, 2012. Ashley explains that they are focusing on learning and understanding what it means to be American through their tour.
The jaunt was so interesting to Chandler Public Information Officer Jim Phipps that he shared the story with the council.
Councilman Jeff Weninger says as an entrepreneur he’s excited anytime when he sees people doing what they are passionate about.
“I think it’s exciting,” he says. “Even at their young age, look at what experiences they are having.”
Phipps found out about the Jeep Girls through his subscription to a Jeep magazine, because he, too, is a Jeep owner. He explains that he found it interesting that these two young ladies can do what many people dream about.
“(They) throw hair to the wind and get in a vehicle and see the world and do it through help of sponsors,” Phipps says.
Phipps says the Jeep Girls are good role models.
“We are letting them know that their city is proud of them, letting these young ladies know that we think they are a good example for the community and the youth,” he says. “(It sends) messages of inspiration to young people that there is a great big world out there and go conquer it.”
The Hill sisters have traveled to such states as Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York and many national parks on their tour. In 2013, the sisters trekked more than 17,000 miles.
“We take everything as a learning experience and we try to evolve and bring awareness to our home community and what becomes our global community as we interact with people,” Ashley, 28, says. “We like to spend a lot of time in person with people and learn from people.”
At the end of January they will head to Aspen, CO.
“This is a very exciting time to explore what’s in front of us,” Ashley says. “Our main focus right now is our American Legend Tour. The goal is simple. By leading by example, we want to inspire others to live an active lifestyle, explore and follow their dreams.”
On the back of the American Legend Tour, is the American Legend Artists series featuring U.S. fashion designer Nanette Lepore. The tour explores artists, designers, storytellers and musicians. The jaunt will involve heritage vehicles to inspiring heroes and historical sites.
“We want to open the conversation to allow other people to interpret what you are proud of,” Brittany says. “It doesn’t have to be related to what we do. We want to stimulate and activate people to live a colorful lifestyle and see no limits.”
Ashley says she does not think they would be doing what they are doing today if they were not living in Arizona.
“We really owe a big thank you to the community,” she says. “We wouldn’t have the encouragement anywhere else, I would think.”
Brittany says even though they do not make money right away, they have to be OK with that because of the rewards, including seeing America.
“So far it has been this growing, wonderful thing for us,” she says. “We wantto keep running with it.”
For more information about the Jeep Girls visit their website www.gojustintimemedia.com.