Presley, from Kalispell, Montana, US, said: ‘When I first came into this job and I was a ‘pretty’ girl, people thought I just wanted to date the men. They thought I had other motivations. ‘As a firefighter paramedic, especially being a small woman in a largely male-dominant career, I knew I had to make a change.
‘A lot of people don’t believe I’m actually a firefighter. I say “what do you think I do. Go to a random department and take pictures of myself?” ‘Now I’m proving them wrong by carrying the same men [who doubted me] out of buildings. ‘I was the girl in school who played soccer but was always picked last because I wasn’t a man. ‘Now I’m probably the first pick over most men because my colleagues respect how strong I am.’
she proved everyone wrong by hitting the gym, weightlifting, and now carrying her male coworkers out of burning buildings. What a boss. Presley had always been fit and healthy, but when she became a paramedic and firefighter at 19 she received criticism from her peers, who assumed she was just a ‘pretty girl’ joining the fire service to date the men. Rude.
She began to worry that she might not be strong enough to succeed, so joined a gym, started weightlifting, and completely transformed her body. Now the mum-of-two shares photos of her journey to become firefighting fit on Instagram, where she has more than 66,000 followers, to show other women that they can be as strong as any guy.
As well as being a firefighter Presley is also a mum to two children. She gave birth to her first child, Payton, when she was 18, going into labor on her last shift as a paramedic. She was back at school two nights after giving birth and graduated two weeks later. The labor-led to bedrest, which caused Presley to lose a lot of her muscle. When she started working as a firefighter she was smaller than usual and not as strong. The job was tough, but after giving birth to her second daughter, Presley decided to go all in. ‘I didn’t want people to doubt me and not want to be paired with me,’ she says.
‘During my time on bed-rest with my second daughter, I first got my Instagram account. ‘I started on my own and had no idea what I was doing, but I ended up getting into weightlifting and once I noticed my body changing I was addicted. As I started training work got so much easier. ‘Now when we do fire academy [training], we have a 210lb dummy and have to be blindfolded, find him in the dark and lift him out of the window. It’s very demanding.’ She hopes her story will inspire others to fight for their goals and refuse to give up. Presley said: ‘I have a lot of girls messaging me, especially pretty girls, saying everybody is saying they’ll never make it. ‘I get 10,000 likes on my uniform transformation pictures.
‘I have all these women messaging me asking ‘how can I be stronger’, ‘how can I be better at my job’, ‘how can I fit in?’. ‘There are not many women in the fire service but I think women follow me because I show it’s possible. I definitely think that’s my target audience.