Aisha Weinhold is the Founder and Executive Director of No Man's Land Film Festival. Beyond this title, she is the girl who is always walking too fast and rocking the "just got out of bed" / "I woke up like this" look. Pink Chuck Taylors, baggy pants, a trucker hat, and dripping with gems. She is probably talking excitedly with her hands or deep in her headphones with a WNYC podcast.
What are your three most prized accomplishments?
1. Starting No Man's Land Film Festival. Actually, I think the bigger accomplishment is having seen NMLFF through to fruition. I am an incredible starter, not as talented of a finisher.
2. Racing my first winter Elk Mountain Grand Traverse with Dana Kracaw (@danasaurus.raerex) in 2014. This was my second ski mountaineering race and I had only spoken with Dana for 15 minutes. We jumped in, did well and have both been racing skimo ever since! This moment was extremely formative because I had never partnered up with another woman for a race or big objective. This partner experience set me on my way of mentoring and seeking out other female mountain athletes, which has been wildly fulfilling.
3. I am proud of having stayed married for nearly three years. My husband and I got married after 6 months of knowing each other. It has been a wild ride, one that I would never recommend to anyone, but rewarding nonetheless. This is three times longer than my longest relationship!
What are your three favorite things to do?
1. I love moving through the mountains in whatever means available. Whether that be on skis, running, climbing, or paddling, I am content.
2. I am way into rollerblading and rollerskating right now. I've got big derby dreams!
3. I love playing my trumpet. I am so bad, but it feels like this emotional extension of myself where I don't care about the sound that is coming out, I just like to walk around and wail like Louis Armstrong.
Where are your three favorite places to be?
1. My bed. Ooooh, I love a good bed. I have spent so much time sleeping in weird places that I have truly come to appreciate the power of a mattress.
2. Yosemite. Damn. That place is pure magic. Don't go there, you won't like it.
3. In the mountains. Nothing brings me more joy and relief than to be high above the valley floor on a small and windy summit.
What is your greatest passion?
I am passionate about learning new things. I love being uncomfortable and in the space where everything is new and moving towards mastery is your only objective. There is so much beauty in the beginner's mind and I never want to lose that perspective.
What keeps your passion alive?
Experts. People who are experts in their field inspire me to keep pushing myself towards the boundaries of my comfort zone in search of growth and excellence. I also have a ton of energy, which probably helps.
What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?
My grandmother just died and I don't know how to deal with it. Death has always been a terrifying unknown to me and now I have found myself in this shattered and utterly redefining space and I don't know what to do.
What is your wildest adventure?
I just got back from a packrafting trip in the Wrangell's in Alaska. We flew in on a bush plane, hiked a few days, and then paddled two days back to town. Everything out there is mind-blowingly BIG. The mountains, the rivers, the glaciers, the bears, the risk, the exposure, the bugs, the consequences could all swallow you whole in the blink of an eye. I was incredibly humbled by the trip and left with a new definition of adventure.
If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?
I would sail around the world.
What is your personal definition of feminism?
Feminism is living unapologetically. Feminism is doing things because you want to do them. Most of our behaviors and societal norms are based in misogyny, many of these are so seamlessly engrained in us that our only option is to live fearlessly and embrace everything that WE love about our womanhood. Feminism doesn't have to be polarizing, angry, and loud - feminism can be as simple as having the courage to stand in your own and state your needs and desires with confidence and conviction.
What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?
Being a woman in the outdoor industry has led me to connect with countless other women who are equally as committed to tackling big objectives in the mountains as they are to fighting for their rights on the public stage. The sisterhood that I have found in the adventure and outdoor industry inspires me daily and gives me hope for the future.
Who is another woman who inspires you/your WCW?
I am inspired by the women who make impeccable eye contact and meet conflict with biting articulation and fearless tact. Shelma Jun and Krystle Wright are the quintessential embodiment of these traits.
In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?
In the coming years I don't want there to be a need for No Man's Land. I hope that female-empowerment organizations become a nicety. I want to live in a world where race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc are seen as areas of celebration, rather than spaces that harbor fear, anger, resistance, and aggression.
For more, you can follow Aisha on Instagram or on her website.