Tara Gins, 30 years old, was shocked when she was denied a management position because of her past. The Belgian cyclist applied to be a manager for a Belgian men’s cycling team, but she was refused the job because hiring managers worried that online photos from Gins’ past as a model were too improper for someone in a managerial position. Gins is now fighting the decision in an effort to save her career. Gins herself cycled professionally from 2016 to 2018, and rode in Belgium for both Lares-Waowdeals and Health Mate—Cycllelive Team. Her knowledge about cycling earned her a position as the director of Belgium’s amateur team S-Bikes AGU. She knew her time riding combined with her experience as a director made her extremely qualified for the manager position with the men’s team.
Gins is also a former model and shares photos from her photoshoots online with her thousands of followers. In an effort to show her body tone, some of her photos are revealing. Some of her photoshoots include nearly nude shots, including one included in Playboy magazine. Gins has also been photographed topless as part of a calendar distributed only to members of a Belgian firm last year. She said the photos would not hurt anyone and believes it is ridiculous to put more importance on a photo than on a person’s experience and ability. Gins claims she had a verbal agreement to start working for the men’s team in question, but that the person with whom she made the agreement broke off the commitment due to her racy photos. She said she believes the photos of her were shared with other staff members in the men’s team’s organization, and the staff decided the photos would adversely affect sponsorships and the team’s image. Gins said the decision to break off the verbal commitment was upsetting because she has a passion for cycling and wants to build a career in the sport. She said the photos would not hurt anyone and were not even related to cycling, but they apparently made her unqualified to work in the cycling world.
She said, however, that upon reflection, she is glad that the agreement was broken, because she does not want to work for an organization that values image over abilities. She is still outraged, though, because the decision sheds light on a double standard present in the world of cycling. Gins claims that she was sexually assaulted while she was a cyclist, but she cannot be hired because of a handful of photographs. She said not only had someone on her team assaulted her in the shower after practice one day, but she has also been kissed without consent by another person on the team’s staff. In addition, team managers have made inappropriate comments to her, she said, commenting on her looks and weight. She also pointed out that in the world of cycling in Belgium, flower girls, who are dressed very sexy and revealing, are a part of all the men’s races. Gins said there are many women, just like her, who are qualified to and want to build a career in cycling but are unable to because of this double standard – they are not able to advance in the field because of, what Gins calls, idiotic attitudes.