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Creative Conversations: Jenny Bruso of Unlikely Hikers – RANGE Magazine

One of my favorite interviews and I was photographed for it, which is sometimes a nightmare, but not this time. Huge thanks to Lisa Daugherty of RANGE and photographer, Chelsea Parrett, for an experience that made me feel like I am exactly where I need to be.

“I really want to hear the stories of people who found a sense of place in the outdoors at crucial times in their lives. Nature holds space for me and all of my pain and my trauma and sure, all of the positive stuff, too. I don’t want to tell only half of my story. Nature has a way of putting the big stuff into focus and even shrinking it altogether. I’d love to hear people talk about that process more, of going into nature to find clarity, peace, belonging and healing.”

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‘Unlikely Hikers” Gain Traction – Jane C. Hu for High Country News

Bruso, a Portland resident who identifies as a fat, queer woman, was tired of seeing the same type of person in outdoorsy ads and social media. “The person is always white; if it’s a woman, her hair is cascading down her back, and they’re very young and thin,” Bruso said. “It’s always someone who looks like they’re effortlessly there, like they didn’t get their entire ass kicked by hiking.”

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An Unlikely Story – Jay Kosa for Columbia Land Trust

“People of color, or fat people, or queer or trans people, or people of different abilities or disabilities should be highly consulted by the companies, retailers and otherwise, who are trying to diversify their image. Otherwise, the work will be fleeting. I see companies get accolades for having diverse imagery, but there’s not a lot holding that up. And people feel tokenized by that, like ‘Oh great, you’re using me to sell your product, but you’re not including me in any conversations.’ There needs to be more diversity behind the scenes.”

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