So, a few months back you might have seen a post going around on social media with a video of two girls "feeling the music" and communicating in sign language to the lyrics of AMTRAC's remix of "You Haunt Me" by Sir Sly. Well, I would like to introduce you to those girls.
Ashley Fiolek is 24 years old and a retired professional motocross racer. Ashley was born profoundly deaf and attended The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Ashley is the first deaf person to win an AMA motorcycle championship and has earned 4 championships in her 5 years of racing as a pro. She was the youngest girl to win a championship and also the first to win one in her rookie year. She was the first deaf person to win an X-Games Gold Medal and has won two medals in both of the times that she competed at X-Games. Ashley has toured the United States giving motivational speeches to deaf schools and has been a presenter at Ted X in Greece and also at the American Motorcycle Woman’s Conference. She was the first woman to appear on a national motocross magazine (Transworld) and the first motocrosser to appear in Vogue. With these accomplishments, she is an inspiration to all of us.
Now let's meet 22 year old Kate Wenzel. Kate graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications and Broadcast Production. Currently a nomad traveling the world, she finds herself currently based in Southern California. "I make films to inspire others to live the life they've always wanted" says Kate. She also has her own company on the side called "Keep the Stoke," which promotes finding the positives in life through adventure and sharing those vibes with others around us. Her job allows her to meet people from around the world to make connections and learn about cultures and lifestyles.
See the video and our interview with Kate and Ashley below
I was lucky enough to ask Ashley and Kate some questions, and these two best friends are truly inspiring.
OTB: What is it like not being able to hear the music but just only feel it?
Ashley: To be honest, I never really cared for music and no one never really showed me what music is all about until I met Kate. She said she wanted me to feel it and share what it is like and why everyone loves music. Now I am into music more after me and Kate did a video of us signing/singing.
OTB: If you could change being deaf would you?
Ashley: Absolutely not. I was born deaf so I've been deaf my whole life. I am deaf for a reason so I believe that God give me a gift as a deaf person. I can do anything except hear.
OTB: How did you and Ashley meet?
Kate: I met Ashley through mutual friends when moving to California. She’s crazy, in the best of ways, and has the most amazing energy so naturally we connected immediately.
OTB: What is it like having so many views on YouTube and so many people talking about that post?
Kate: Honestly, I posted the video after we made it and on the drive home through the mountains I had lost service and when I regained service an hour later it had over 5k views. Now we are over 400k views and it’s absolutely insane because I would’ve never expected this to go viral. People buzzing about the video makes my heart happy, it’s opened the eyes of people to see that there’s this awesome connection that can happen through music.
OTB:Do you guys have a song that really makes you feel the music?
Kate:You Haunt Me – AMTRAC Remix. This was the first I played for her, the bass rifts I think really helped, also the lyrics mixed in. The song really has this deep meaning and the bass mixed with the signing of words are powerful. Ashley also really loves Foster the People – Don’t Stop. We always jam in the car and dance like crazy to that.
"Music allows you to feel and express emotion in such a beautiful way"
OTB:Would you say music is a big part of your life?
Kate: Music has shaped me into the person I've become. I think that for any moment in your life, there is a song with lyrics that you can relate to. Music allows you to feel and express emotion in such a beautiful way and personally music has opened my eyes to feel different things, and experience different forms of bonding.
OTB: If you could give any bit of advice to people what would it be?
Kate: Life’s short, you have to enjoy what you can while you have it. Enjoy things in the present and always keep the stoke life has to offer. Enjoy good music, good friends and let your happiness for life radiate onto others.
Ashley: Anything is possible. Don't let anything stop you! Try something new everyday.
Since that last video, the girls have put out two more. I suggest you take a look at them below!
Amazing, right? If you would like to keep tabs on Ashley and Kate you can follow their social media accounts below.