Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Today we’re sharing our interview with Ashleigh Binder, the founder of Sports As Told By a Girl. Ashleigh created the platform as a college project and in the time since then she’s grown it so much, interviewed accomplished journalists and athletes, and provided a platform for women of all backgrounds to share insight from the world of sports.
We talked to Ashleigh about how she grew her platform, what shifts she’s made as she did, and we dove in to how her work is empowering other women writers.
Ashleigh Binder is originally from Manalapan, NJ. She went to Rutgers University where she studied psychology as an undergraduate student and communications and media as a graduate student. She created Sports As Told By A Girl during her final semester of undergrad as part of a class. She really fell in love with writing and wanted to see if it would take her anywhere. Not long after she decided to open the site to other women who wanted to write and the rest is history. She loves staying active including hiking and working out, but is also obsessed with being at the Jersey Shore. She’s a diehard New York Giants and New York Mets fan.
You’ve created a truly remarkable platform. Can you tell us about Sports As Told By a Girl and what led you to create it?
Thank you! Sports As Told By A Girl is a girl’s account of all things sports. It started as a space just for me to share my opinions. I was tired of arguing with men who dismissed me simply because I was a female. I quickly learned that there were many women who were also looking for a medium where they felt comfortable expressing their thoughts. The site
represents the crossroads of sports, pop culture, and social justice told from a woman’s point of view. I want it to be a space where women of all backgrounds feel represented.
When a lot of us were growing up, sports were deemed “for the boys”. What’s changed and how has Sports As Told By a Girl been a part of that change?
I think women are feeling more confident in expressing their opinions. They don’t feel as alone in their aspirations. I think Sports As Told By A Girl has helped women feel like they belong in sports media. There is a community of strong inspirational women in sports working to lift one another up.
What did you notice was missing from sports coverage? How did you decide to fill that gap or do things differently?
I think this is something that a lot of women realize when they enter the work field. When they look around the room, they are the only woman in the room. Why is that? Why can’t a group of women discuss sports just like a group of men? It’s acceptable to have a television show of just men talking about sports, but that’s never been the case for women. However, major media brands think having just one woman is enough representation. We have the opportunity to fix that.
How has your work evolved? Have you had to pivot?
My work has evolved as I’ve gotten more confident. I never shied away from difficult topics like racism and sexism, but now I feel emboldened to speak out about it. I feel like I need to speak out on the injustices. It is such an important moment to denounce discrimination.
I’ve definitely pivoted in my work. At first, I would try and push out content as quickly as possible that would attract readers for only a short period of time. Now, I try to write more thought-provoking pieces along with exclusive interviews as a way to separate my brand. A person is only going to read one game recap, but a person might read multiple articles on a major topic in the sports world.
You’ve interviewed Olympians like Michelle Carter and Elana Meyers Taylor and reporters like Michelle Margaux and Laura Okmin. What were those experiences like? What did they mean to you?
And of course, do you have a favorite, or someone you’d love to interview?
Every time someone agrees to be interviewed, it’s the coolest feeling of accomplishment like wow someone who won a gold medal wants to talk with me and be featured on something that I created! I love every interview because all of these women are breaking glass ceilings. I can’t pick one! It’s a tie between Laura Okmin and Jennifer King. Laura is one of the first really big professional women in sports to take me seriously and she has been nothing but a role model. Despite her busy schedule, she still devotes countless hours to her program GALVanize to help the next generation of women in sports prepare. Jennifer’s hiring was a moment in history. She is the first Black female coach in the entire National Football League. I felt honored that I got to talk to her after the hire and share her words with my audience.
There are so many people I’d love to interview. Of course, I’d love to interview Serena Williams. I mean she’s one of the greatest athletes of all time who has overcome racism and sexism throughout her career. She still balances a family and other business ventures while making it look easy.
You are a writer yourself but you also work with other writers to create the content and articles for the website. What’s that collaborative process like?
This is what I tell writers when they first reach out about wanting to contribute, write what you’re passionate about. An article is so much better when you can tell the author cares about what they’re writing about. I think that is what separates Sports As Told By A Girl from other sports sites.
I’m very open with my writers to bounce any ideas they have off of me. I think it is so important to make people who are working for you feel comfortable enough to talk to you. I encourage it if they are ever feeling unsure. Once the article is written, I’ll go in, edit it, add photos and any relevant links. The final step is the most important thing which is sharing on social media and I always tell writers to share it on their own social media pages.
How has running Sports As Told By a Girl allowed you to support other women?
This is honestly the best part. I have met incredible women on this journey who I consider friends and have helped me grow as a person. I keep in contact with most of my past writers who are also doing amazing things. I feel so proud of everything that they accomplish because they helped me live my dreams. There is a very special community of women in sports who support one another by simple things like reposting something or commenting on something and it’s so uplifting.
What’s your favorite thing about working with new writers? And do your writers stay with you or do they move on to do other writing work?
My favorite thing about working with new writers is their passion and excitement. There can be days where I feel so unmotivated and I’ll receive an email from a woman interested in writing and I can feel her excitement about the site and everything feels better. It makes me want to work harder.
I tell writers that the door is always open for them to write something. Some just stay for a semester as an internship while others have been with me for years.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a platform like yours or who wants to begin sharing their perspective with the world?
Do it! It might seem a little bit scary and overwhelming at first, but it is so rewarding.
There are days when you cry and want to give up, but just take a deep breath because you got this! If you’re unsure about something or like something that someone did reach out to them. Be kind because it can lead to opportunities. Even if it doesn’t at least it’s someone new who knows about you and your platform that didn’t before.
What’s next for Sports As Told By a Girl?
Sports As Told By A Girl is going to keep shining a light on women making a difference in this world and fighting for equality. It will continue to be a safe zone for women to talk about sports.
Is there anything we should look out for?
Yes! I am working on a marketing campaign that is sports-based, but speaks to the much larger issue of gender equality, specifically women of color.
Ready To Learn More About Ashleigh and Sports As Told By a Girl?
You can find her on Instagram here: @sportsastoldbyagirl
Or on her website: Sportsastoldbyagirl.com
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