Danae Mines, a firefighter of 11 years, has long been one of New York City’s few women in the position. Now, she’s taking on another first — the only woman to be featured in the formerly dudes-only FDNY Calendar of Heroes.
The annual display of sexy firefighters raises money for the FDNY Foundation — and gives us all an excuse to gawk at shirtless heroes for a good cause. Mines’ interest in the calendar wasn’t met with the enthusiasm her male peers usually receive. Mines told the New York Daily News that she was told that only men were allowed to be featured and that “if I made it in the calendar, I would look like a pinup girl.” Considering that all of the men featured in the calendar are scantily dressed themselves, a comment like that is positively blood-boiling. It seems that Mines felt the same way: “I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I was determined.” After all, it only makes sense that anyone who risks their life everyday to protect others, male or female, deserves eligibility for such honors.
Last year, when she saw a posting for an open call for the calendar, Mines showed up alongside with over 100 men. As the only lady there, she was a bit intimidated, but she made the cut. She’s featured in the 2015 calendar as Miss March, albeit dressed much more modestly than her male counterparts. “I wanted my picture in the calendar so that young girls and young women can see me and know that they can do this job.” Is she awesome or what?
Maybe seeing a woman in the calendar would’ve made things a lot easier when for Mines when she was a kid. She started dreaming of life as a firefighter at 10 years old, and her family encouraged her to choose a different path, because in their eyes, only men became firefighters. Mines began her career as an EMT, and when she was offered the promotion to firefighter in 2003, she became one of only 41 women in the department. Her family initially encouraged her not to take it. “Once I graduated (from the Fire Academy), it was the complete opposite. They could not stop bragging.”
Even as she pushes for equality in the FDNY, she also insists that she doesn’t face any greater challenges than men when it comes to the actual job. She and her coworkers are all expected to do whatever it takes to keep New Yorkers safe. “When I step foot into the firehouse, I have to be able to tell myself that I’m willing to risk my life to save someone else.” [NY Daily News]