By Basem Wasef
Charis served as Playboy's Miss February, 2003, and went on to co-run the SilverStar clothing company with husband Luke Burrett.
I sat down with Charis to find out more about her passion for motorcycles; here are excerpts from that conversation.
I actually started riding horses at the age of six, and I started riding dirtbikes and motorcycles at the age of ten. So, I like to ride things [laughs].
I was really pretty good at it. With horses, I was #1 in the country for English show jumping at the age of ten, and so riding around barns and stuff, everyone rides motorcycles and dirtbikes to get around. Motorcycles and dirtbikes are literally just a part of that horseback lifestyle.
Instead of having to walk a quarter mile or half a mile to get back to the barn from the show ring, you jumped on a little Honda 50. So at ten years old, my dad was like, "It's on, you can get on the motorcycle and go off on your own." That was the beginning of my motorcycle riding.
It was a blast. I was always the wild child, I tied a plastic sled to the back of my motorcycle and forced my brother and sister on the back of it, and I was always trying to jump the little berms in the yard, always trying to do something to the next level. I had worn out the path around the house.
I had a Honda 50 and picked a number for the front of it. Since I was ten, it was #10. So I have a picture of me in my red t-shirt on my Honda 50, and my girlfriend that was probably 11 or 12 behind me. But when I stopped riding horses, the motorcycles kind of went with it. I wasn't riding motorcycles any more, and my life went into school and being a teenager, getting into my 20s and kind of partying, different things like that took center stage before anything else.
It just so happened I had this crazy dream about riding a street bike. I don't know, maybe I watched Angeline Jolie in the movie "Wanted," and a few weeks later had this dream that I was riding. I always call myself "Gasoline Girl" because I like anything that takes gasoline; I like fast cars…
When I met [husband and business partner] Luke and we got together, I got on the back of his bike and that was pretty much it. I was a passenger. I'm not really a passenger in life, I like to be doing it, too. I don't like to go for the ride, I'd rather give the ride, you know what I mean? My dad raised me very much like… he didn't raise me like a guy, but there wasn't anything I couldn't do. There was no boy/girl thing, there was never "That's what boys do."
I would love to really get on the track more. I'd love to do some of amateur racing, I really have a passion for technical, controlled speed, and getting faster and faster times on the track. We were doing track days, and that for me is probably the most exhilarating and exciting; it's very second nature to riding horses. Everything about riding horses in the English show jumping world is extremely technical, and the bikes are better because there's no brain to them. I can make it do what I want it to do. It's going to listen to me. The whole other thing with horses is that you're dealing with something that sometimes wants to do something completely different than what you're asking it to do. With the bikes, it's technical. When you're coming into a turn, where you're hitting your apex and how fast you're going, all of that is all down to a science. So if you're really technical about things, you can go faster and faster. That's exciting. And when you don't do it the right way, you find out very quickly.