The stunt rider extraordinaire talks broken bones, moonlighting as a pop star and becoming a champion for fearless females everywhere
Chesca Miles has many strings to her bow. First – and most thrillingly – the 24-year-old Londoner is the UK’s first professional freestyle stunt rider, pulling daredevil tricks on her Honda – riding since the age of 14. She might be speaking to Dazed in recovery from a recent operation, but Chesca’s adamant that she’s not about to let some bumps, bruises and broken bones stop her from becoming the best. She’s also worked as a model, and this summer signed a record deal with new label NUA Entertainment, also home of Peckham’s Beaty Heart, former Busted-boy Charlie Simpson and guitar gang The Heartbreaks. With an ambitious stunt bike video planned for her debut single, Chesca epitomises the cross-platform kind of creativity that’s at the heart of the AllSaints Manifestos series.
How did you get into stunt riding?
Chesca Miles: I used to tag along with a few guys who were into it. It wasn't as specialised at it is now, but it was still so much fun and adrenaline filled! I knew it was for me straight away after that, and had to get a bike of my own.
What have been your career highlights?
Chesca Miles: To be honest, the whole journey is a highlight in itself! I have to say that featuring in Vogue and launching the latest James Bond Novel were pretty awesome moments. But overall, my highlights are performing for my fans at live shows and events.
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
Chesca Miles: Being a stunt rider, you're constantly facing challenging situations. There are always bigger, harder challenges around the corner – you just have to be prepared, and go for it!
Is there anything on your bucket-list, stunt-wise?
Chesca Miles: All the stunts I can't yet do and haven't been thought up yet.
Is it a dangerous sport?
Chesca Miles: Like most sports, there are dangers involved, but I don't see it as a massively dangerous sport. I have broken both my ankles over the past two years, but that has been mainly down to bike error. I have to admit, it is worth it though. It is such an exciting sport to do!
What does it mean to you to be selected for the AllSaints Manifestos showcase?
Chesca Miles: I was thrilled when I was asked to do it. It sounded like a great project of which I was excited to get involved with. It has been a great experience, and nice to see other ambitious people with their passions being expressed in this way.
“I admire all women who have it in them to break down those barriers and get on a motorcycle. It isn't always easy to overcome fear in that way” – Chesca Miles
You recently signed a record deal - what kind of music do you make?
Chesca Miles: I have been extremely fortunate and overwhelmed by this opportunity. I sing primarily pop, with slants of other genres. We are aiming to release in early 2015.
You modelled as a teenager – what did you learn from that work?
Chesca Miles: I have modelled my whole life really, it has just been on the back burner since I have been focusing on my riding. Each job differs really... Some you will enjoy, others you won't as much. But overall, all of my work links together nicely, so it is what you make it really!
Which other women in the bike world do you admire?
Chesca Miles: To be honest, I admire all women who have it in them to break down those barriers and get on a motorcycle. It isn't always easy to overcome fear in that way. These are the women that inspire me.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into stunt riding?
Chesca Miles: Start simple. Get a small, less powerful bike to begin with. It is always safer to find your feet that way and start learning the basic skills needed to build your career. After you have that under your belt, stay focused until you are ready to move on to a bigger machine. Once you do, the opportunities are endless. The most important thing to think about is listening to yourself. If your body says stop, then stop – or you could end up getting hurt.