Blond and petite Linda Kelly looks as if she'd be right at home doing a fashion shoot or performing on a flashy network series.
But the 32-year-old Kelly probably wouldn't be caught dead near a fashion runway. Her runway is concrete, icy and often treacherous.
Kelly, who lives in Wasilla, Alaska, is one of the star attractions of the seventh season of "Ice Road Truckers," History's reality series about truckers navigating dangerous roads as they haul materials to far-off rural areas. The new season launches Sunday.
Kelly, who producers call a "trucking icon," is working for for Polar Industries of Manitoba, Canada, which is locked into a bitter rivalry with a company owned by trucker Hugh "Polar Bear" Rowland.
During the premiere, Rowland continually insults Kelly: "She shouldn't be on this road because she's a girl."
But Kelly, who has been a school bus driver, motocross rider, gas station attendant and state freestyle motocross champion, dismisses the comments, saying she's more than up to the task.
Question: How did you get started in this business?
Kelly: It was basically a process of elimination of what I didn't want to do. It was either college or trucking. I've always had an interest in engines and trucks and motorcycles.
Are there many female ice road truckers?
Kelly: Not a lot. Four or five. We all drive the same roads.
What does your family think of your job?
Kelly: My husband is very supportive. The rest of them I don' bother to ask.
What's the best thing about "Ice Road Truckers"?
Kelly: It's been such an amazing experience. I drive in different countries all over the world. I've done promotions all over the world. I've traveled and met people I never would have gotten to meet.
You're very ... photogenic.
Kelly: You're trying to be all PC.
OK, you're very attractive. How has your appearance affected how people in this profession perceive you?
Kelly: It's affected me in certain ways. People judge a book by its cover. But the people who hired me looked beyond that. If you can do that job, that's what's important.
Why does Hugh dislike you so much?
Kelly: I don't know if he really does or that's just TV banter. I've never asked him, and don't really care.
What's been the most harrowing thing about being in this show?
Kelly: Driving the most dangerous roads in the world, having my tires hanging off a cliff, driving in areas that are so overpopulated you try not to run over things.
How long do you think you'll be driving?
Kelly: I might quit tomorrow, or go for another 30 years, maybe the rest of my life. I'm perfectly happy driving a truck.
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