TCP 008: The Only Way Out Is The Way Through | Jessi Lang

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Today I’m very excited to have award winning automotive host, writer, and producer, Jessi Lang Ph.D, on the show for a vibrant conversation as she shares insights and musings on some of the most significant events that shaped her life and career.


Jessi is widely recognized for her dynamic on-camera roles at MotorTrend where she’s produced and hosted several widely acclaimed automotive shows including The J-Turn and Wide Open Throttle.

Jessi’s relentless passion and fearlessness quickly became evident during our epic two-hour conversation. We covered a wide range of topics on everything from her experience as an English professor to her role as a leading female host in the automotive industry. We also discuss several topics she’s never shared in public before including her adoption, finding family and the enduring strength and community she’s found following her life-threatening accident three years ago.

To say that I am grateful and inspired by her willingness to share these parts of her life on this podcast is an understatement. It is my hope that listeners, regardless of their life situation, can find inspiration and courage through her story as well.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Jessi’s love for the piano and music [5:00]
  • Reflections on the 3-year anniversary of Jessi’s accident [9:50]
  • How Jessi has embraced “fanatical vulnerability” [13:05]
  • Where Jessi finds her strength and courage [17:33]
  • How Jessi’s experience as an equestrian translated to her passion for driving [20:45]
  • Why Jessi pursued a PhD and how she applies it to her work in the automotive industry [27:30]
  • Jessi’s thoughts on the elasticity of language and unconventional classroom assignments [34:43]
  • How Jessi sees her role as a woman in the automotive industry [37:10]
  • Jessi’s appreciation for her followers [42:50]
  • Jessi’s reflection on her adoption and learning about her biological parents [50:20]
  • Jessi’s first on camera automotive job [1:07:58]
  • What it’s like setting a standing mile speed record in John Hennessy’s 750 hp ZL1 Camaro [1:13:20]
  • Cars that Jessi hasn’t driven yet [1:21:45]
  • Jessi’s favorite exhaust note [1:33:50]
  • How Jessi felt when she was reunited with her beloved Subaru WRX [1:40:00]
  • Jessi’s passions outside of automotive [1:55:25]
  • The things on Jessi’s bucket list [2:02:10]
  • People who have had a meaningful impact on Jessi’s life [2:14:20]

Resources and Links

Pachelbel – Canon in D Major

Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability Ted Talk

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Awards Acceptance Speech

The Long Road to Recovery: Jessi Lang on Surviving a Near-Fatal Car Crash – The J-Turn Ep. 18

A Few Things

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*Note: The title of this podcast is a quote from the late Howard Nemerov in his book Journal of the Fictive Life, one of Jessi’s favorite books.

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