If you don't know who Denali's Raven is, then you haven't been paying attention. Pause right now and watch the 9 minute film highlighting Leighan Falley and her amazing life as a mom, pilot and all around Alaskan Badass: Denali's Raven.
Growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska, Leighan is no stranger to the resilience that Alaska bestows on its native grown women.
Unbenownst to her father, a pilot who had nurtured her brother's career along in aviation, Leighan pursued her pilot's license in secret.
And one day, as she was in flight calling out her flight pattern, her dad recognized her voice and was like: "Leigh, is that you?"
To wrap Leighan up in a few paragraphs is impossible...but suffice it to say, that this woman is not only a beautiful mother, an accomplished bush pilot, a mountaineering guide, heli ski guide, and a mind-blowing artist capturing the freedom of the hills in her paintings and drawings.
Furthermore, she once climbed the infamous peak Meteorite in Valdez, Alaska, from the road to the top and back, skiing it's 55 degree ramp for thousands of feet (an iconic Valdez coveted heli line), while she was 6 months pregnant with her first child Skye.
Leighan IS ALASKA... sexy, beautiful, resilient, tough, accomplished, kind and knowledgeable...she embodies wildness in her spirit of the raven.
This is Leighan. #IAMALASKA
What keeps you in Alaska?
I was born + raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have tried to leave. I lived in the intermountain west. I picked four different states/places to check out, and decided I just love Alaska so much! The power of the Alaska landscape and you can just be yourself here….It is easy to be different, in a state full of different people.
What is a typical day like for you?
Oh man, no day is typical. You never know what you're gonna get. Yesterday I flew, some sightseeing passengers and then I went to two different glaciers and dropped off two different groups of skiers in the Alaska Range. Meanwhile, the boys were taking freight for the BBC broadcasting company to the Arctic. Some days I will just fly barrels to the Sheldon Chalet or drop off lumber at a remote homestead!
What are you excited about right now?
Springtime in Alaska, I know that's a good time to be in Alaska! It is the start of climbing and skiing season. We like to call this the most wonderful time of the year.
After reading the email we sent describing this project, how does the phrase “I AM ALASKA” resonate/mean to you?
It made me feel AWESOME that you picked me to be a part of this!
What is your favorite SWOOP product?
Your bras are so amazing. And they look amazing on everybody that wears them.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I've gotten to do a lot in my life including, being a guide on Denali and fly airplanes, but being a parent.
That sounds cliche, but it really is!! I love my daughters. And it's been the hardest one too!
What do you do to be your best self?
It's just learning how to keep those self doubting voices down inside of you… like your fears and doubts…. and say NO, I can do this!!
It is hard because we as women are such self doubters and you just degrade your performance.
If you can say I actually am good at this and I can keep up with the boys, then it's perfect!!!
What advice would you give to your 25 year old self?
Never be afraid to be a beginner over and over and over again and don't have fear of being bad at something. Just keep going.
Surprise skill: Sparkling conversation.
Who inspires you? Kitty Banner who fought her way through aviation in a male dominated world.
Favorite space in your home? My cactus garden
What is your favorite month in AK? Solstice.