Breaking Barriers and Busting Car Ownership Myths with Mechanic Shop Femme Chaya Milchtein | #96

The Conjuring Up Courage logo, a photo of Chaya in dark red gown in front of a white Jeep, and the words, "Breaking Barriers and Busting Car Ownership Myths with Mechanic Shop Femme Chaya Milchtein Episode #96"

Click here to access a written transcript of this episode.

When I first discovered Chaya Milchtein’s Mechanic Shop Femme platform, I was enamored. Here was a queer, plus-size woman who dressed however she pleased and provided automotive education to hundreds of thousands of people online. Chaya unapologetically brings her whole self to her work, so obviously I had to have her on the show.

We discussed:

  • Chaya’s lengthy background in the automotive industry.
  • The pushback Chaya gets for how she chooses to show up online.
  • The difference between the free content Chaya puts out and her paid content.
  • The need to hold back parts of yourself from public consumption when you have an online platform.
  • How Chaya has incorporated fashion into her work.
  • Why Chaya’s visible femme identity is important for changing perceptions of who can work in the automotive industry.
  • The myth that women will inevitably be ripped off by male mechanics.
  • Chaya’s recommendation to get to know your car’s owner’s manual.
  • What items everyone should have in their vehicle.
  • Car maintenance things that you can do yourself.
  • The story of Chaya’s viral, virtual, pandemic wedding that was attended by 10,000 people.
  • The study Chaya is running to find the best cars for bigger bodies.
  • Some examples of things fat folks have to deal with that folks with thin privilege do not.

Mentioned in This Episode

Featured in This Episode

Chaya is pictured standing in front of a white jeep wearing a long-sleeved, deep-red velvet gown with a leg slit and shoulder cutouts

Chaya Milchtein (she/her) is an automotive educator, journalist, and founder of Mechanic Shop Femme. As a queer, plus-size influencer based in Milwaukee, WI, Chaya’s goal is to empower people to be educated car owners without the gatekeeping of car bro culture and be authentically themselves. You can keep up with Chaya on her website, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook.

Did you benefit from this episode? You can show your appreciation by supporting Chaya’s work. Sign up for Chaya’s Patreon to set up recurring support for her great content. And for a limited time, you can participate in Chaya’s study to find the best cars for bigger bodies if you are over the size of a “women’s” 24 or a “men’s” 46—learn more and access it here.

Share the love!  

Subscribe to

The Queer Agenda

The Queer Agenda is a newsletter dedicated to uplifting LGBTQIA+ folks (where our accomplices benefit too) by sharing thoughtful tools, strategies, advice, and encouragement to help us heal and come home to ourselves. It’s equal parts warm hug, gentle kick in the ass, and queer magic.