Project Badass: Meet One Inspiring HU Customer

Pernilla Peterson --  a 6 ft tall, mixed martial artist --  feels a special connection with our Walk Tall Kick Ass shirt, for obvious reasons. We sat down and talked with Pernilla about what it was like to grow up tall and how she became a strong “badass.”

So you like the Walk Tall Kick Ass shirt, eh?

When I saw the shirt I just laughed because I felt like it was made for me (other than it was a shirt for men, but hey, I had a dancer at a gay bar once think I was a transvestite, so whatever works!) Walking Tall for me is important both literally and figuratively.

When I told my husband I wanted to “be a badass," and he got me a membership to POW! for my birthday and I named this new adventure “project badass.” I love everything about MMA but I love kicking the most. It’s incredibly therapeutic, technically hard and graceful (well, some days) all at once.

So walking tall and kicking ass just spoke to what I dream of doing -- in MMA, in motherhood, in my career and in life in general.

Have you always walked tall and kicked ass?

Well, there was never a time I wasn’t tall.  Being tall was always my identity. I was almost 6 ft at 15 years old and wore a size 11 shoe at age 10!  

I faced some challenges, but I won’t give you the Buzzfeed “10 things only tall women understand.” What I found was that our culture, at times, assumes women don’t want to (or shouldn’t want to) take up room, whether that be physically and spiritually. Being tall made me different enough growing up where I get aspects of how it is to feel like an outsider. I have a lot of empathy for people in general and I find people who has gone through life in less of a straight line the most amazing and fascinating.

While there were times I wanted to be just like the cute, petite girls, I never really hated being tall. Mostly I found that the more I owned being tall, the less challenging being tall became. The taller I walked in them heels the less the issue. People respond to how you feel about yourself and if you own your space, physically and emotionally, people respond accordingly.

Sounds like you found benefits to a walking tall and kicking ass mindset.

Yes! Like reaching the highest part of our insane kitchen cupboards. But seriously, for me the two most important benefits to being strong and owning it would be:

  1. Setting an example: I am the mother of two young boys and it’s imperative that they see a woman who is strong, takes care of herself not just by working out, but emotionally as well, every day. How can I tell them to value others and take care of themselves and respect women if I don’t set that example? I need them to grow up to be amazing men. This is why I love MMA. There is a lot of respect for your own body, abilities and for the people you train with. You train fairly aggressively and sometimes in stressful situations and you have to trust the person you partner with to not hurt you and vice versa. It’s pretty powerful beyond the workout. There’s a lot of grace within the aggression.

  1. My own mental health. Being strong is a must to get through my day-to-day as a full time worker and mom without going insane. While I am super pro-therapy, I always joke that mixed martial arts is cheaper than therapy and comes with better arms. I have days where I battle massive anxiety but if I go to POW! my anxiety becomes manageable. I become a better mom, employee and human. Everyone should kick padded things! The physical aspect of strengths is really just the superficial act that makes my mind quiet down and feel mostly at peace.

Thanks for talking with us. You’re an inspiration!  We’re honored to have you wear our shirt.

I’m honored to wear it.  I love HU’s combination of badassery -- having a bit of an attitude (without trying too hard) while having a deeper connection to people, what we care about, and how we care about each other. If HU was a person, it would be a person who knows exactly who they are and they wouldn’t apologize for it.

I was really blown away by your customer service, UI and check out experience (as an art director I geek out on these things). I was so impressed I actually wrote a brand and design blog post about it. I haven’t gravitated that quickly towards a brand ever.


Wow,  Thanks Pernilla! Stay strong, sister, and we wish you continued success on Project Badass!

Do you have an HU-themed personal story to share?  Send us a FB message and we’ll reach out.




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