Mikaela Shiffrin Is the Best—And She’s Making Her Sport Better Too

All good athletes have winning records. But truly great athletes have a fire, whether you know anything about their sport or not, you can feel their excellence. It’s euphoric—stronger than the high of watching one of the greats win a championship or an Olympic gold. It’s the unique feeling of being pulled into the fun.

The power of that isn’t lost on Shiffrin. Growing up in the sport, she idolized Tina Maze, one of the greatest skiers of all time. “I think it was my second year racing in the World Cup circuit and she podiumed in almost every single race—it was arguably the best season that anybody’s ever had,” Shiffrin says. Maze had some surprising advice for her: “She said, ‘Don’t do this, it’s exhausting, it’s tiring, and you lose your passion.’ You could see on her face: She wasn’t enjoying it.” Maze’s words are always echoing in her head. “If I ever feel like I just don’t want to see a mountain for a long time, then it’s probably time to retire, I guess.”

You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to understand the burnout. Taking something you love more than anything and turning it into your paycheck—your legacy—changes it. Good thing Shiffrin loves the work. “I love the grind of the season,” she says. “It can get monotonous at times to be doing it every single day, but I still really love it. When I’m able to get through an incredible push of races that I know is just going to be grueling, and come out on the other side and feel like I’ve enjoyed it, I think that’s the biggest victory.”

Elevating Her Sport

Shiffrin is very much not thinking about her retirement. With a current tally of 60 World Cup wins, she’s happily barreling toward GOAT status. But she has started to think about her legacy and how she wants to leave her sport.

“The one thing that I’m sure about is that I want to have pushed this sport to a higher level,” she says. “I want to get to this coming season and still be one of the top racers, but also be pushing my own limits, pushing the limits of the sport, and pushing the other girls to push themselves.” Shiffrin wishes she’d had that when she made her pro debut at 16. “In order to perform your best, you have to be able to feel confident,” she says. “In order to feel confident, you have to feel like the people around you are supporting you, like they’re care about you, like you’re in a safe space. All my teammates were a lot older than I was, so they had different interests. I was just alone.”

Now as a veteran on the U.S. Ski Team, Shiffrin is doing what she can to make sure the younger women in the sport have the best setup to smash their own records. She wants to make sure they feel secure and confident on the world stage and on the road, shepherding them through the stressors, however minuscule, that can feel all-consuming when you’re scared and alone and away from home. “All those little pieces are part of my way of helping to build up the sport, and not only compete in it but help to elevate it,” Shiffrin says.

For now, Shiffrin seems more concerned about the present, using every second of her time on snow to push herself and her sport to be—you guessed it—the best. What all those record-breaking runs mean for her future legacy is less important right now. “Records are made to be broken—that’s part of the reason I don’t necessarily care about breaking records, because, hopefully, somebody is going to come up and break at least some of my records,” she says. “Otherwise, I didn’t do a good job of inspiring anyone.”

Caster Semenya Is One of the World’s Greatest Athletes—But She Has to Fight to Be Considered Female

Caster Semenya, the record-scorching South African runner with a stride like a bionic woman, is killing it on the track. She’s run through record after record, barrier after barrier, stopping for nothing. Then she was disqualified from competing—at least, as a female athlete. In May, Semenya lost her appeal against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the governing body banned her from competing in the women’s events. Her crime? Having naturally high testosterone levels.

Semenya’s fight over her hormone levels started in 2009 after she won the semi-final race in the 800-meter dash at the World Championships. After her victory—right before the final—the IAAF made her submit to “gender verification testing.” She competed in the final, smoking her competition, but after the race was over, she was suspended by the IAAF from competing for nearly a year.

In 2011 the IAAF established official rules restricting athletes with hyperandrogenism, like Semenya. The organization argues that high testosterone levels, even when they occur naturally, give athletes an unfair advantage—more powerful muscle-building capability and oxygen-carrying capacity. Since then Semenya has been locked in an ongoing battle of appeals, suspensions, and changing rules. But in May the IAAF finally issued a ruling that could end her meteoric career. After the Court of Arbitration for Sport reviewed her appeals, it was decided: Semenya was banned from competing in women’s events unless she lowered her natural testosterone levels.

To keep competing as a woman—i.e. as her natural, biological self—she’d have to undergo hormone treatment, sort of like reverse doping. It’s a stunning verdict: The IAAF is arguing that for the sake of fairness, the best competitor on the field needs to be drugged. To be altered. To be slowed down. Usain Bolt would never hear such a suggestion. “It destroys you mentally and physically,” Semenya said in a recent press conference. “Then you feel like you’re not welcome.”

Women’s bodies are constantly policed—we’re told what we can and cannot do; what we can and cannot wear; and now, apparently, what hormones and in what quantities we can and cannot produce. As if that’s at all voluntary. Someone call Margaret Atwood; the Handmaid’s Tale sequel could write itself. Semenya’s case calls into question how we define gender—and what it means to be a woman.

This Female Sports Agent Is Out to Break Up the Boys’ Club at the NFL Draft

When sports agent Nicole Lynn was invited to the 2019 NFL Draft with her client Quinnen Williams, she had one problem: She had no idea what to wear. A Google search was unhelpful, showing page after page of men in suits. The occasional women that popped up were wives, girlfriends, and moms—not women like Lynn who were there to work. “I panicked,” Lynn wrote on Instagram. “Do I wear a suit? A dress? Heels or no heels? I had no clue.”

In the 83-year history of the NFL Draft, only two other female agents have had a first-round draft pick (no wonder she couldn’t find any outfit inspo), but thanks to Lynn, that’s starting to change. In April the 30-year-old sports agent became the third woman—and the first black woman ever—to rep a first-round draft pick when Williams was drafted to the Jets with the number-three pick in the league.

She had just become a game changer. But Lynn still felt out of place.

“I was the only female agent in the room,” she says. Yahoo Sports reported in May that of the nearly 800 agents registered with the NFL, only 41 were women, according to the NFLPA. Of that fraction, barely half had a client on a current NFL roster. That puts Lynn in a club with less than 3% of all NFL agents. “I was excited to be there, but there was still this gut-wrenching feeling, like, I’m not supposed to be here,” she says. “As a woman in this industry, we’re always fighting for a seat at the table. But it seems when we finally get there, we feel like we’re not supposed to be at the table.”

Lynn knew from a young age she wanted to work with professional athletes, but there were scarcely any women—let alone women of color—in the business of sports. Those who were weren’t exactly enjoying Ballers-level status or recognition. The lack of role models wasn’t lost on her. “It’s hard to know what jobs are actually in sports because there’s not a ton of exposure of women doing those jobs,” Lynn says. “It’s such an uphill battle to be a sports agent in general, and more difficult being a woman, and I would say two times as difficult being a black woman and under the age of 30.” People thought her dream job was crazy. “I never really listened to the noise—and there was a lot of it. I think that is one of the reasons I am where I am,” she says. “I knew that it was possible, and I was going to keep doing it until I reached my goal.”

In 2015 she finally did, signing her first client. “He did not make an NFL team, but it was just exciting because he was the first player that ever believed in me,” Lynn says. “I never made a dollar off him, but to this day that’s still one of my biggest accomplishments.”

Alysia Montaño Has a Message for Sports: You Can Be a Champion and a Mom

Alysia Montaño is “that pregnant runner.” At eight months pregnant, she ran the 800-meter race in the 2014 USATF championships, pink tank top barely stretching to cover her pregnant belly. Jaws dropped. Montaño might not have placed, but it didn’t matter; a new kind of legend was born. “It was this great empowering moment,” Montaño says. “Like, Wow I’m able to use my brain and also I have a uterus. That’s crazy! My brain still works, and my legs still work, and my body is this incredible, capable, physical machine as well as being able to grow a human.”

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

But before Montaño decided to race, she was worried about something else: her contract. For a sponsored athlete, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery mean time away from competition—leave that typically isn’t covered by an athlete’s contract. “Getting pregnant is the kiss of death for a female athlete,” Phoebe Wright, a runner formerly sponsored by Nike, told the New York Times in May.

During her first pregnancy Montaño was terrified of telling her sponsor. But she says a woman on the team at ASICS reassured her she had nothing to worry about. “I felt so much relief. At first, I was like, ‘This is how we should be able to come to our sponsors,’” Montaño says. She ran, went to events, did a photo shoot—pretty much business as usual. But an official clause protecting her against performance reductions while she was pregnant wasn’t actually written into her contract, she says. “When the woman at ASICS left, the first thing they did was look at my performance from that year I was pregnant and say, ‘Well, within this contract, you didn’t meet the standards, based on performance, and we’re going to reduce you,’” Montaño alleges.

Kylie Jenner Just Got Very Real About Motherhood, Anxiety, and ‘Losing Friends’

The Kardashian-Jenners have become so omnipresent in our lives—thanks to 16 seasons of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, constant social media updates, and their myriad brands—that it can sometimes feel like we know everything about their lives. Obviously, that’s not altogether true, and Kylie Jenner just proved it with her most recent Instagram post.

In a rare moment of raw emotional honesty, the youngest sister in the crew opened up about her own struggles with anxiety, especially after giving birth to her daughter, Stormi, last February. “I’m proud of myself, my heart, and my strength. growing up in the light with a million eyes on you just isn’t normal,” she wrote in the caption, which follows a photo of her looking out at the ocean at sunset. “I’ve lost friends along the way and I’ve lost myself too sometimes.”

“My first tattoo was ‘sanity’ to remind myself everyday to keep it,” she continued. ‘I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole young adult life and after my baby i dealt with all the internal ups and downs. I felt like i had to find myself completely again.”

Jenner, who was only 10 when KUWTK premiered in 2007, is certainly one of the most guarded members of her family. She went on to address that fact, as well as sending a message—both to herself and her followers—to cut themselves some slack. “I keep a whole lot to myself but just wanted to share and let you know I’m human,” she said. “My life is not perfect and what you see here on social media is just the surface. be gentle with yourself, move on, and let go. we are all capable of great things, worthy of love, and allowed to express ourselves. do more of what makes you happy and be unapologetic. now is your season ✨ we all have a magnificent destiny.”

Here’s her message in full:

“I’m proud of myself, my heart, and my strength. growing up in the light with a million eyes on you just isn’t normal. I’ve lost friends along the way and I’ve lost myself too sometimes. my first tattoo was “sanity” to remind myself everyday to keep it. I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole young adult life and after my baby i dealt with all the internal ups and downs. I felt like i had to find myself completely again. I keep a whole lot to myself but just wanted to share and let you know I’m human. my life is not perfect and what you see here on social media is just the surface. be gentle with yourself, move on, and let go. we are all capable of great things, worthy of love, and allowed to express ourselves. do more of what makes you happy and be unapologetic. now is your season ✨ we all have a magnificent destiny.”

The Bachelorette Season 15, Episode 10 Recap: A Note on Tyler, Luke, and Sex in the Fantasy Suites

Sadly, that’s where the positive moments of the episode end because the final two dates are with Jed and Luke. Jed goes first, but he and Hannah spend most of their time talking about Luke. If you’re this close to finding your future husband, he asks, why keep someone you’re uncertain about around? She stumbles over her answer before finally telling Jed that she and Luke have a connection; she knows it’s hard to understand, but he’ll have to respect it. “You’ve got to let me figure it out,” she says.

Over dinner, she thanks him for bringing up the Luke stuff. Jed admits it’s hard for him to understand how she can be falling in love with him but still holding onto someone who’s been toxic to her and everyone else. It makes him wonder if there are other bad situations she won’t let go of out in the real world. “I’m just really freaking sure about you, and I don’t want to be unsure,” he says. She gets so frustrated at that she leaves the table.

When they both sit back at the table, Jed insists that he trusts her decisions and has her back no matter what. Hannah says his conversation scared her, but ultimately it shows her that he cares. They go to the fantasy suite.

The next day, Hannah and Luke take a helicopter to Santorini. It’s fairly uneventful, though I did a spit take when Luke, a man who told Hannah that he was falling in love with her on their second date, says he doesn’t take “dropping the L word” lightly.

Their dinner that night starts off well enough, until Luke opens his mouth. “I want to make sure that from now on things are known how they’re supposed to be,” he says. “So let’s talk about sex.” Sex is a beautiful thing only when it’s in the “guidelines of a marriage,” he says. He concedes that he’s been abstaining from sex for almost four years—and he knows she’s not a virgin either—but he wants to know that she won’t be having sex with the other guys in the fantasy suites. He adds he’d “100%” go home if she did.

While I screamed at my television and threw my phone across the couch in horror, Hannah keeps her cool. “Sex is a very big deal to me,” she replies. That said, she doesn’t agree with him. “The way that you just said that…it’s like, why do you have the right to do that because you’re not my husband,” she explains. She feels he’s judging her when he doesn’t have the right too. “Pride is a sin too, and I feel like this is a pride thing.”

Here’s the Full Transcript of Hannah and Luke’s Sex Talk on The Bachelorette

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette was action-packed, to say the least. We finally learned who Hannah slept with in the windmill (Pilot Peter), Tyler Cameron proved himself to be the perfect man, and, oh yeah, Hannah Brown and Luke Parker had a heated debate about religion and sex that led to their breakup. Yes, my friends, Hannah finally spoke the words we’ve been waiting for all season: “I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me.”

How she got there isn’t surprising if you’ve been keeping up with The Bachelorette. Luke sat Hannah down and said he’d remove himself from their relationship if he found out she’d slept with any of the other contestants. This, naturally, did not sit well with Hannah—and their proceeding conversation was explosive. But I’ll let them do the talking. Here is the transcript, in full:

Luke: Let’s talk about sex.

Hannah: Okay.

Luke: You know sex is an incredible thing. And it’s a beautiful thing. Well, you know, only when it’s within the guidelines of marriage. This whole process, I’ve been studying Hebrews, and it talks about how marriage should be honored by everybody and how the marriage bed should be kept pure. I know you’re not a virgin. We’ve had the talk. You know I’m not. I’ve been abstaining myself from sex for, like, three-and-a-half to four years now. And I know that regardless of what I’ve done in the past, I am saving myself for marriage. And I am very confident that we’re on the same page with our morals. And I just want to hear it from your mouth. There’s a lot of people that say they believe in something but yet they live or do things completely differently. Thinking about Fantasy Suites, I’ve heard people proclaim their faith but yet they’ve said things like, “I’m excited for Fantasy Suites. I want to explore this relationship on a sexually intimate level, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.” And to me, that’s like, “Whoa, what? Excuse me? There’s something I’m missing here.” I don’t believe that’s something you should be doing. I just want to make sure you’re not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here.

Hannah: Okay.

Luke: I totally have all the trust in the world for you, but at the same time I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. If you told me you’re having sex or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I’d be wanting to go home, 100% But if that’s something you’re not going through, then I’m just ‘gonna continue to grow the relationship and move on.

Hannah: Um…Sex is a very big deal to me. And I’ve said I’ve had sex with two people in my life and it was long relationships I thought were ‘gonna be my husband. But some of the things you said, I don’t agree with at all. And, honestly, I’m kind of mad because the way you just said that is…Why do you have the right to do that? Because you’re not my husband. And you’re not—

Luke: Can I cut you off for a second?

Hannah: No.

Luke: Okay.

Hannah: It’s just that you’re questioning me, that you’re judging me and feel like you have the right to when you don’t at this point. I get when you care for somebody that you don’t want to think about someone being intimate with another person, but guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage but pride is a sin too. And I feel like this is, like, a pride thing.

Of Course Tyler Had the Perfect Reaction to the Fantasy Suite on *The Bachelorette*

The Bachelorette‘s Fantasy Suite episode is one of the most-anticipated of the season, and Hannah Brown‘s did not disappoint. From the teasers we already knew there was drama with Luke P.⁠—surprise, surprise⁠—but little did we know the other highlights that would come from it. For one, we now know that Peter the Pilot is who Brown slept with in that windmill⁠—but more importantly, we have more confirmation that Tyler C. is the world’s most perfect man.

Because she felt their physical connection was more developed than their emotional one, Brown told Tyler C. she did not want to have sex in the Fantasy Suite. His response to this was perfect and, truthfully, how all men should react all the time. No exceptions!

“The Fantasy Suite has the connotation of sex. For me, it’s way more than that. I just want to be with you and have that time with you,” he said. “You have to really love and really respect and honor each other’s boundaries.”

And that’s exactly what he did. Brown woke up the next morning from their Fantasy Suite and said, “[Tyler] was the most respectful man that’s ever been with me. Ever.”

Twitter users are very excited about how Brown and Tyler’s night went down. Like I said, though, this type of behavior shouldn’t be an anomaly: It should be the norm. But even still, it’s great to see on TV.

“I see myself at the end with Hannah B., that’s for sure,” Tyler told Glamour in an interview. “She’s a real-ass woman. She’s her. She doesn’t care. She’s unapologetically Hannah B.—and I love that. I adore that.”

Check out just a few reactions to Tyler and Brown’s Fantasy Suite for yourself, below:

The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 P.M. ET on ABC. Let’s see what happens next!

New York Is the Latest State to Ban Discrimination Against Natural Hair

New York is officially the second state to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees because of the way they wear their hair.

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo passed Assembly Bill 07797, legislation that would “prohibit race discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles.” This law will also impact previous efforts to curb discrimination in the state. For example, it will solidify recently introduced human rights guidelines, which called for the protection of citizens’ right to wear natural hair, treated or untreated, in hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, or Bantu knots. The bill is also an amendment to New York state’s Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act, which outlines racial discrimination as “traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles.”

The signing of this law comes on the heels of California’s recently enacted CROWN Act, which made the state the first in the country to ban employers from discriminating against people with natural hair. “By introducing the bill, I wanted to use it as an opportunity to educate my colleagues about the unique experience and opportunities of having black hair. I didn’t want them to see it as a negative,” Los Angeles Democratic senator Holly Mitchell told Glamour. “Because of my natural hair texture, I have the unique opportunity to wear these amazing natural hairstyles.”

Through the bill, Mitchell also aimed to highlight that locs are no less “professional” than straightened hair or a blowout. “Our knowledge and ideas of what’s ‘appropriate,’ what’s ‘professional,’ what’s ‘beautiful,’ are based on a very Eurocentric standard,” she said. “This bill and my mere presence in presenting the bill was going to challenge that.”

New York becoming the second state to pass this type of anti-discrimination law sends a powerful message to women who have faced issues in the workplace because of how they wear their hair. A recent study from Dove found that black women are 50% more likely to be sent home, or to know a black woman who has been sent home from work because of her hair. Which doesn’t even account for the countless microagressions women face when wearing their hair natural in school or at work.

While it’s too soon to tell how cases of discrimination will be handled under these new laws, it’s a vital step in the right direction for workplace inclusion.

Kim Cattrall on Why She’ll ‘Never’ Be in Another Sex and the City Movie

If you’re one of those Sex and the City stans still holding out hope for a SATC 3 with the full cast…sorry, friend. Kim Cattrall has made it clear that she will never, ever participate in Sex and the City 3. Of course, Cattrall—who brought PR exec by day, heartbreaker by night Samantha Jones to life—has long been outspoken about not wanting to return to the beloved franchise, but a recent interview with The Daily Mail is the most definitive she’s been yet.

When asked if she would appear in another SATC film, she told the publication, “Never. It’s a no from me.”

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kim Cattrall on the set of Sex In The City: The Movie.James Devaney/WireImage

She then added, “You learn lessons in life, and my lesson is to do work with good people and try and make it fun.” The Daily Mail dubbed this “a swipe” at her former costar Sarah Jessica Parker, though Cattrall doesn’t name check Parker—or any Sex and the City costars, for that matter—in the interview.

While there have been rumors of tension between Parker and Cattrall for years, things came to the surface last winter after Cattrall’s brother passed away. Parker shared her condolences on Cattrall’s Instagram, to which Cattrall replied, “Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven’t already) You are not my family. You are not my friend. So I’m writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona.”

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, and Kim Cattrall in 1999.Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images