She is the darling of raceday, tweeting up-to-the-minute commentary on her husband’s performances and sharing fashion tips with thousands of ladies at the track and beyond. But Samantha Busch is more than just a social media queen. She is a loving wife, a caring philanthropist, and a proud midwesterner. We lucked out and had the opportunity to spend a day with Samantha, learning about what makes her tick, laughing a lot, and getting inspired to do more for our community. Get to know the recent recipient of her Master’s Degree, the health nut, and the fashionista, Samantha Busch, in this exclusive QC&A.
Modeled by Samantha Busch (Follow On Twitter @SamanthaBusch) | Photos by Thien La (Follow On Twitter @ThienLa) | Interview by Erica Hanks (Follow On Twitter @QCEStyle) | Hair by Sparkles Hill | Makeup by Joy Randall
Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I grew up in Northwest Indiana about thirty minutes outside of Chicago. It was such a wonderful place to grow up because you got the best of both worlds. We lived in a decent sized town but it had a small-town feel with lots of kids and activities that all the families would go to. Also, you had the city a short drive away with so much culture and exciting things to do. As a kid, I loved to go to Navy Pier and the Field Museum.
When you were a child what was your favorite thing to do?
I was very active as a kid but, believe it or not, I also had a little bit of tomboy in me! I grew up in a neighborhood where there were 10 boys and myself so I played everything from football, basketball, street hockey, you name it. If the boys were playing it, I would try. Of course, I was always still me at heart because even as a little girl I would roll up to the street hockey game ( a whole house away) in my little pink Barbie corvette. I always held my own with them come game time.
What was the most important lesson your parents taught you?
To always go out of my way to be nice and help others. And to thank God for what he has blessed me with. They wanted me to use my time here to make a positive impact. Even the smallest comment can have a major impact on someone either positive or negative so be mindful of what you say.
Any words of wisdom from your parents that molded you into the person you are today?
You can’t change the past but you can mold your future. And always go with your gut.
Have you always enjoyed health and fitness?
Yes I have! My dad actually was an amateur bodybuilder back in the day so when I was little I was exposed to his workouts because we had a mini gym in our basement. He was also big into boxing . He taught my friends and I some basic moves which inspired us in high school to take some great kickboxing classes.
Did you go to school to specialize in fitness? If not how did you get involved with it?
I did not. I actually got my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Purdue University and went on to get my Masters in Industrial/Organizational psychology from Austin Peay State University. I got heavily involved in fitness in high school when I worked at a local health club. It was there that I really learned a lot about all the various types of equipment and all about personal training. When I went to college I knew I wanted to do more in fitness so I trained to become an aerobics instructor and taught body-sculpt classes and spin classes.
How do you use health and fitness to encourage women and improve self esteem issues?
I have always been a huge health and fitness advocate and people, through getting to know me personally or through social media outlets, began to ask me questions about my daily routines. This really started a fitness dialogue and opened many doors for me to try to help them. Most women that contacted me really just wanted to lose a few pounds or tone up specific areas but they did not have a lot of time and couldn’t go to the gym. I felt like I was in the same boat because of how little time I have. Since I’m not always able to go to an actual gym, I created quick and effective workout routines with minimal equipment. I posted a few blogs on my site and I got a huge response! I am a huge people person and I really like to get to know these women and hear their stories. I love that many of them keep me posted on their progress. It is very exciting for me to see the emotion a woman will have when I meet her at an event and she tells me that my blogs and tips have helped her to lose weight or overcome some hurdle. It encourages me to continue doing what I do. Some of these women, when I first meet them, talk so poorly about themselves. It is probably because people in their lives tell them negative things. I love to point out stunning features on them that they overlook every day. Every woman is beautiful, special and unique and if they don’t have anyone in their lives to point that out to them, I will!
What are your suggestions for people who want to be healthier ?
Fitness inspiration that goes along with the words my parents told me: You can’t change the past but you can mold your future. Every morning you wake up, you are faced with choices and you can either live your life the same or you can change your life. The choice is yours and yours alone. Write down the goals that you want for yourself, not what anyone else wants for you. Put it on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror and every day make choices that will get you closer to your goals.
Aside from helping people reach their fitness goals you and Kyle are also active philanthropists. Tell us about the charities you donate to?
The Kyle Busch Foundation has many passions. Kyle and I both love kids so many of the charities that we support revolve around them. To date, we have five homes around the country that we help support and are looking to help another wonderful organization called Barium Springs located in the greater Charlotte area (Troutman) in the upcoming months. I had the opportunity to visit this facility just a few weeks ago and spend time with the young children. I sat and had lunch with the 4-5 year old group and was greatly touched by their enthusiasm and questions so, in the future, we plan on providing them with financial support as well as with activities that they possibly wouldn’t get to experience otherwise. We try to help all of our homes financially to meet their basic needs but also provide them with “fun” things too. This past Christmas, we asked each of the homes for individual Christmas wishes for all the children. Two other women and I shopped for about 3 days straight for hours at a time to get the exact presents that over 300 children specifically wanted. We wanted them to feel really special and get exactly what they asked for and it was a very moving experience to see the small things children would ask for that many may take for granted.
What inspired you to get involved with all of the charities that you support?
Kyle and I realize that we are very blessed and God put us in this position to do something good with our blessings. We have been given this great platform and we should use it to help others. Kyle and I were blessed to have wonderful childhoods and it is heartbreaking to hear that not all kids have this opportunity. Your childhood should be carefree and innocent; a time filled with happy memories. Many of these kids have been through very traumatic experiences and I feel that it is our duty to try to provide them with comfort and fun activities to let them be what they truly are, children.
Do you have any inspiring stories of people that you have helped?
Aside from helping children, I am very passionate about helping women of all age ranges. I really love to interact via Twitter with the teenage girls and help them with things such as what to wear to prom or how to do their hair. It makes my day when they send me a picture of themselves on their big day dressed up or with the hair style I recommended that they are so happy with. I just love to be an ear for girls that may not know where to turn for questions like this. I never had a big sister either so I feel like, for some of them, I help with that role. One really moving email I received was from a young girl who was starting college and nervous because she was shy and also wanted to lose weight. It really meant a lot to me that she reached out to me and asked me for my advice. I wanted so much to help her…and still do!
How would you encourage others to donate their time and effort?
Many of these homes need volunteers for so many different activities. Barium Springs has people come in to read stories to the children or help assist them with some of their extra programs. One thing they are going to initiate is activities to ward off childhood obesity. One idea they had was a Zumba-type class for kids. Go spend time dancing around with them, it will be a blast!
Have you always been interested in style and fashion?
Yes, I have always been in to fashion and have always had a really eclectic taste. I don’t really follow any one trend or look. I just throw on whatever I feel like that day. I also take risks a lot in what I wear. I like to go crazy with color and accessories. My passion has always been for shoes! I blame my grandma for this but, long story short, my grandma has Alzheimer’s and when we were moving her in with my parents we were cleaning out her house and came upon a countless number of shoe boxes. It was like entering a shoe department. Also, same as me, she never threw any of them away. They are so hard for me to part with. Clothes I don’t mind getting rid of, but shoes I justify in my head that I will need them forever for some outrageous event or because they will come back in style. I have a pair of crazy pink pointy pumps that I have had since my freshman year of high school and they are so out there but I justify keeping them because one day if someone throws an 80’s party I’ll have shoes for an outfit.
So, you have found a way to use your own individual fashion to donate to charitable organizations?
Yes! I started an eBay store and part of the proceeds go to the Kyle Busch Foundation. This kind of started because I would wear something to a race and girls would ask where I got it from. Many times it came from an outlet mall or a TJ Maxx or Marshalls so there was really no guarantee that it would be there. A friend of mine suggested putting it up on eBay so people can have the opportunity to buy it. So that’s exactly what I did. I also set the prices low so that everyone could have a chance to buy them. For example, I sell BCBG tops for $10-15, H&M tops for $3-$5 and so on. I love when people who purchase the items send me pictures of them going out somewhere in the item. It’s fun and interactive and also helps raise money for the Kyle Busch Foundation.
How did you and Kyle meet?
Kyle and I crossed paths the summer going into my senior year in college. We began to get to know each other via the phone and emails and eventually started a long distance relationship throughout my senior year. Upon graduation, I relocated to Charlotte and we got engaged on February 4, 2010 and we were wed on December 31, 2010. We were married in Chicago because my huge family is there and we really loved the venues in Chicago. We were married at the beautiful Holy Name Cathedral and our reception was at the Chicago Cultural Center which was originally Chicago’s public library. The wedding was a vintage glam theme and was done in plums, golds and feathers. The absolute best moment of the wedding was when I was walking down the aisle with my dad. It was a crazy long aisle and there were a ton of people there but my only focus was straight ahead at Kyle. It was one of those moments where everything else in the room fades away. It was truly magical, and of course, I proceeded to burst into tears. Just to see the emotion on his face too was so overwhelming. We had so much fun dancing the night away with our friends and family. The whole day was just beyond perfect!
What are you looking forward to the most for your future?
You recently got a master’s degree. What was that experience like?
I got my masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology through Austin Peay State University’s online program. The program was very rigorous and challenging. It is very impressive what a great education you can receive online through the various online classroom formats. It was a lot of work and there were many days that, even on race day, I would have a stack of papers with me, going over my notes or working on a paper during the cautions.
Was Kyle’s racing lifestyle new to you or have you been around the racing world?
It was completely new to me. I had never been to a race before. The joke was the only driver I really knew of was Jeff Gordon because his name was featured in one of Nelly’s rap songs. It was such a learning experience but I love it. I was constantly asking Kyle and the crew guys’ questions about various car parts or different things. I still do because it is such a huge part of their lives and I like to know what’s going on when Kyle will say various scenarios on the radio. The engineers up on the box are always really nice about answering different race questions during the race when they have time. I love seeing the look on Kyle’s face when he says something and I throw some racing terminology back at him.
What gave you the idea to give updates on Twitter about all the races for your fans?
I was not the first to start doing that but when I saw many others doing it I jumped on board to see what all the buzz was about and I was instantly hooked. It is instant access to so much information. I love the fact that people really get to interact with each other. It makes it very personal and is awesome for our sport. I love to tweet pictures and give race updates so that everyone feels like they are sitting up on the box with us. My favorite thing is that I get to bring a touch of girly to NASCAR. I can give race updates about pit stops and adjustments while also answering questions about fashion. I have a race day shoe pic tweet that started once almost as a joke by someone asking me about my shoes and has taken off into a weekly thing. I love when I get done with driver intros and am getting ready for the race and look at my phone and see a ton of tweets asking about what shoes I am wearing.
Do you think race updates are the main reason you have so many fans on social media or do you think it is your fitness and fashion advice?
It is probably because I give various tips from how to create homemade face masks to how to jazz up canned food to how to get an effective workout on your couch. I think another reason too is because I really try to interact with everyone. I truly enjoy hearing their stories and such and it’s funny because there are some people that I actually get to meet and interact with face-to-face. I have become really close to some. There is one family in particular that has a daughter Lexie who is 14 and she is just the sweetest girl in the entire world and her and her family come to many of the races. When I see them it is like seeing long lost family.
What are your hobbies outside of fitness, fashion, and racing?
I love to read. My favorite types of books are murder mysteries. I can get lost in a good book for hours! I also really love to go on walks and hikes.
THIRTY SECONDS WITH SAMANTHA:
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Caribbean or Europe? Europe is my dream trip
Jeans or Dress and High Heels? Dress and high heels
Going fast or taking it slow? Going fast
Pizza or Filet Mignon? Neither, healthy option please!
Country or Rock N Roll? Pop and oldies (1960s/1970s)
Beer or Wine? Wine
Bieber or Timberlake? Timberlake
Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds? Ryan Reynolds
Coming Soon! Look for Samantha’s new fitness column starting in the next issue of QCExclusive magazine. Her column will consist of workouts that will help you stay fit and encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle even when you are busy or on the go. You can also follow her on Twitter at @SamanthaBusch.
What Samantha is wearing:
Blue Dress: Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus, $698 | Bangle: Nordstrom, $28 | Earrings: Sloan, $40 | Ring: Diamonds Direct
Purple Dress: Alberta Ferretti, Coplon’s; $3815 | Necklace: Coral, $420 | Earrings & Ring: Diamonds Direct | Cuff: Sloan, $220
Feathered Dress: Alice + Olivia, Neiman Marcus; $440 | Necklace: Kate Spade, Nordstrom; $378 | Cuff: Lotus, $28 | Shoes: Valentino, Neiman Marcus; $745
Tan Dress: J. Mendel dress from Coplon’s; $3100 | Cuffs and earrings from Diamonds Direct.