We all have dreams and aspirations. When we think of success, we often imagine that it’s something that takes years of hard work and perseverance, but what if you could accomplish your goals in just a few short years? That’s exactly what Faye Hadley, star of the hit TV show, “All Girls Garage” did. As a Harvard-educated psychologist, Hadley had absolutely no experience in the automotive industry, but now she’s a self-proclaimed ‘girl with grease under her fingernails’, having followed a path that took her through several twists and turns – within just a few short years, she was able to go from Harvard psychologist to “All Girls Garage” star. How did she do it? Let’s take a look at Faye Hadley’s early life, family, journey, and the methods she used to reach her goals. Stay tuned!
Who is Faye Hadley?
Just a few years ago, she was working as a psychologist, studying how people’s behavior is shaped by their environment. Today, she’s one of the most popular automotive mechanics on TV, so how did Faye go from Harvard psychologist to mechanic maestro? Let’s see!
Lafayette ‘Faye’ Lewis was born on 25th September 1986, in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Not much information is available about her parents and family, but some posts on her social media accounts indicate that her biological parents have since divorced—although it’s unclear when this happened. Her father was a professor who obtained his PhD from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while her mother, Cindy Copeland, was also a professor; she’s been cited on several occasions as Faye’s biggest supporter. Faye had a relatively normal childhood, but was always passionate about cars, even from a young age. She remembers how her dad used to talk about the inner workings of engines, and even taught her how to change the brakes on his car. She started working on cars at the age of 15, and became a professional technician at the age of 19, mentioning that she’s a lot of hands-on experience, and has worked on a wide variety of vehicles.
After her high school matriculation, she attended the prestigious Harvard University in pursuit of a degree in psychology – when she wasn’t studying she was tinkering with her Honda Civic in her garage. She enjoyed everything about modifying and restoring cars — the engineering challenge, the mechanical knowledge needed to complete each project, and the thrill of seeing her creation take shape. She graduated in 2010 with honors, even working as a therapist for a year; although feeling out of place at her new job, she was encouraged to stay. However, when she began working at a Jeep repair shop, Faye felt an instant connection with the work, and became more involved in car mechanics. She relocated across the country to pursue a career as a mechanic, with no formal experience whatsoever.
Turning Passion into Reality
As expected, the move was an uncomfortable one for Faye, as she had to move out of her comfort zone; she persisted nonetheless. On the career switch she said, ‘I love helping people, but as a therapist you just jump into people’s lives, it was too intense for me. I want to help people; with a car, I can just jump in right away— I can change an alternator and make a ‘check-engine’ light go away!’. She started a YouTube channel in which she documented her builds and fixes in hopes of educating fellow women about cars, which in turn made her popular amongst motorists and car enthusiasts alike, and somewhat famous.
— MotorTrend TV (@MotorTrendTV) November 7, 2019
When she heard about the offer from “All Girls Garage” and saw an opportunity to pursue her passion for mechanics and cars, she jumped at the chance. This was her chance to prove that women could do what had typically been considered a man’s job. She found it incredibly rewarding to be able to take the skills she’d learned and teach them to others, helping empower other women with their cars and boosting their confidence. Faye was offered an opportunity to join the show as both a host and technical expert, which she accepted immediately, thrilled by the chance to put into practice all that she’d learned over the years in her own garage — while sharing valuable insights with viewers. Thanks to Faye’s enthusiasm and expertise in the show, people around the world have been able to find inspiration for their own projects in her work, making her a hero of sorts!
How She Knew the “All Girls Garage” Opportunity Was Right for Her
It’s rare to go from one extreme to the other—but for Faye Hadley, that kind of radical change was just the right move. She was a successful Harvard psychologist, but at heart knew that she had an aptitude for tinkering and construction that she hadn’t been able to actively pursue. Faye says that she didn’t get where she is today without taking chances, and being willing to work really hard.
Even though changing from academia felt daunting at first, she knew deep down that if she pursued her dream of working on cars, success would follow—it was just a matter of time. So, when she saw an opportunity for the show on the Velocity channel, the decision was clear: it was just what she’d been dreaming of – having a career where she could find reward in working with her hands and pushing her skill set was too good to pass up. With some luck and hard work, everything else fell in place!
Faye had a plan mapped out from day one: take part in a program that would inspire women and young girls to pursue their own paths in engineering and automotive repair. She had seen first-hand how society could be dismissive of these avenues as a viable career choice for women, and wanted to be part of the movement that broke through these prejudices. With her background in psychology combined with her love of auto repair, Faye was primed to make an impact.
How her Harvard education helped her learn automotive knowledge
It’s no secret that Faye had a top-notch education from Harvard—but how does that translate to her current position as an automotive expert in the show?
The answer might surprise you. While Faye didn’t get specific training in cars, all the classes she took in Psychology and Cognitive Science gave her the knowledge and expertise to quickly pick up the details about car parts and repair techniques, some of which she’s picked-up informally anyway. In her own words, ‘I was taking classes like neuroscience and cognitive science, which is really just learning about how people process information and learn things’. Well, her classes paid off as they helped her in the following situations.
Her problem-solving skills played a large role in her ability to pick up on all the nuances and workings of cars. This gave her the confidence to go into unfamiliar environments—whether that be in a garage or out in the field—and find solutions quickly and efficiently.
In psychology and cognitive sciences classes, Faye gained an understanding of complex systems. That knowledge translated into being able to understand why some electrical systems need special diagnostic tools or why some nuts take special wrenches for them to be taken off. When you understand complexity, you can solve complex problems quicker than most people—which is an invaluable asset for any mechanic.
Faye’s knowledge from Harvard has served her well, allowing her to become one of the most respected experts on the show, as her education has given her an edge when it comes to being able to diagnose mechanical problems quickly and accurately.
WHO SAW ME ON KABB FOX 29 THIS MORNING??!?! Thanks so much to Cassandra for always making me feel super comfortable and keeping the vibes positive! 🙂
Posted by Pistons & PixieDust on Monday, November 18, 2019
Balancing a Psychology Career With Her Stint as a TV Star
She made it work, by being careful to plan out her schedule, and prioritize her responsibilities. Faye managed this tricky balance by setting clear goals: from the very start of her journey, Faye set specific goals for what she wanted to accomplish each day. This allowed her to stay on track and ensure that both of her hustles were getting the attention they deserved. Staying organized – to juggle two very different jobs, Faye had to stay organized and structured in order to get through each day. She kept a detailed planner that tracked all of her appointments and tasks. Making time for herself: even with a hectic schedule, Faye made sure to carve out some time for self-care and relaxation so she could de-stress and recharge. Faye’s determination certainly paid off.
What “All Girls Garage” Means to Her
‘It is so amazing to help other women with their car projects, and see how empowered they felt when they finished’ she said. ‘I wanted to bring something positive and contribute in a meaningful way’. The show gave Faye the chance to demonstrate her ability as a mechanic, while also sharing her love of cars with like-minded individuals. She learned something new every day while also providing support and help for those who had similar interests. Faye enjoyed the challenge that came with working on classic cars, but she also loved the collaboration between herself and the other members of the show. Together, they were able to bring some of their ideas to life using creative problem-solving and out-of-the-box thinking. For Faye, being part of the show meant having a platform to support and encourage fellow female mechanics—a passion that she still carries today.
What is she up to now?
These days, it’s hard to miss Faye Hadley’s smiling face on TV. Tune in each week, and you’ll see her tearing engines apart, banging out dents, and performing other auto repairs. In 2019, she appeared in a few episodes of “Best of Top Gear”, before appearing in “Motor MythBusters” in 2021. She’s also a go-to expert when it comes to buying and selling cars. She now uses her platform as a TV star to pay it forward and mentor women who are interested in auto repair—teaching them the basics of working on cars so they can feel empowered to pursue their own automotive dreams. She’s the owner of an ASE-certified repair shop on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas, where she does general repairs, specializing in Toyota vehicles. The store is named Pistons & Pixiedust, resembling her YouTube channel. When she isn’t filming or in her garage, she enjoys being in her chicken coop, taking care of her many chickens.
Where can you find her?
Faye is an avid vlogger, chronicling her travels and documenting her day-to-day life on her YouTube channel. She’s been known to pick up automotive projects and updates viewers on how things are going— quite entertaining to watch as she fixes up cars in real-time. Faye attends car shows all over the country, inspiring others with her knowledge and connecting with people from all corners of the automotive world. She also offers seminars on women auto mechanics—a great way for ladies to dip their toe into becoming a gearhead too!
Not only does Faye regularly update her Instagram page, but it’s also full of amazing photos from the “All Girls Garage” set. You’ll get an inside look at how the show is filmed, plus photos of just about every high-performance vehicle they work on during the season. She can be found on Instagram, Twitter and on Facebook.
What is Faye’s net worth?
As of 2023, Faye Hadley’s net worth is estimated by authoritative sources to be a humble $60,000, but is likely a conservative figure. Faye is an automotive technician and instructor who has gained popularity through her work as a co-founder of the Women’s Automotive Association International and as the host of the web series “All Girls Garage” on MotorTrend Network. She has been working in the automotive industry for almost a decade, and she is known for her expertise in performance tuning, engine building, and fabrication. She has also worked as an instructor at the Universal Technical Institute and has taught automotive technology at a community college in California. Given Faye’s success in the industry, it’s likely that she will accumulate a substantial increase in her net worth.
The transition from a psychologist to a mechanic was anything but easy for Faye, but here she is today—a certified auto mechanic and popular TV star. Taking the biggest leap of faith, Faye Hadley has certainly proved that anything is possible, even turning your back on a career you worked so hard for to pursue something else that you’re passionate about. Not only has Faye found success on TV, on social media, and in her shop, she’s also gone on to work with companies such as Amazon, Coke, and Harley Davidson. We wish her all the best as she continues to grow and help people in her new world.