Published February 22, 2012
Gentleman, stop your engines! Because race car driver Danica Patrick says she is uncomfortable being described as a sex symbol.
“People don't know how to describe women in a pretty way. Do you call Blake Griffin a sex symbol because he was on the cover of Men’s Health with his shirt off? People just don't know what to call women who look attractive," Patrick told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. "The easiest thing to do, that gets the most attention, and that people are familiar with hearing, is 'sex symbol.'”
Patrick says such characterizations are inaccurate.
“I don't think that's who I am, but it is how people describe me," she said. "I’m just as a person doing things I have fun doing, and that I'm comfortable doing.”
By which you mean, err, showing off your sexy side for GoDaddy and FHM and Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? Anyhoo... when she's not showing some skin, Patrick insists she is 100 percent race car driver.
"When I go to the race track I'm all business – I don't have much make up on, I comb my hair, and what you see is what you get,” she continued. “With commercials I'm able to tap into my more feminine side and get my make up done – which I love to do. I love being girly, and having both sides keeps me balanced as a person, and keeps me fun."
As one of the few female race car drivers, Patrick is often described as infiltrating “a man’s world.”
“If I ever hear that – I personally think it’s funny. It's a great place for me to be able to shine. When somebody doesn't expect something to happen it becomes exciting and amazing. It's the world that you make, it doesn't matter if you're a girl or a boy,” she said. "The way that happens is finding what you love to do as a person, what you enjoy. And when you find something you truly enjoy and have a passion for, you're going to put in the amount of work it's going to take to be successful and great.”
Patrick is similarly devoted to her position as the celebrity ambassador for the health campaign, DRIVE4COPD.com, and committed to raising awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in memory of her grandmother who died of the disease when she was just 61.
“It usually happens in people over 35, the leading cause is smoking. Try taking into consideration things like that and how well you’re taking care of yourself in earlier years to set yourself up for success,” she added. “We are doing as much as possible to raise awareness; you should never wait for somebody else (or the government) to do the work for you. You have to do the work yourself, and that’s what we are doing – raising awareness.”