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Beyond Stereotypes: The Inspiring Journey of Amélie Riquelme, Trucking Trailblazer



Amélie and Jéremy, photographed in August 2021. Amélie is one of the few female truck drivers in France.

In the captivating scene captured through the lens, a young couple stands in front of a powerful 750-horsepower Volvo truck. Their cream and beige outfits mirror the sleek exterior of the commercial vehicle as they pose for the camera. Amélie Riquelme, a 23-year-old from Arles, France, stands proudly beside the truck, defying the stereotypes of her industry. She works in a field that has long grappled with attracting young people and women, a challenge exacerbated by global shortages. According to a 2022 survey by the International Road Transport Union (IRU), less than 3% of truck drivers in Europe and worldwide are female, and the COVID-19 pandemic has widened these gaps, making the shortage of drivers a critical issue.

In 2019, when photographer Yohanne Lamoulère met her, she was regularly driving the 850-mile route from Arles to Castellón, Spain, and back at least twice a week. Her family, including her former partner Jérémy, who is pictured with her, works alongside her in the company. The photograph, taken in August 2021, captures a moment of celebration — they were newly engaged. However, since then, their relationship has ended, marking a new chapter in Amélie’s journey.

Lamoulère, known for exploring life on the fringes of major French cities and capturing the aspirations of people living there, was drawn to Amélie’s determination. Despite her young age, she had chosen a career in trucking over continuing her cosmetology studies, following the legacy of her father and grandfather. Amélie’s story is one of meticulous planning and unwavering determination, combined with a fierce sense of independence and humor.

One of the most significant moments in Amélie’s life was captured during her sister Lucie’s farmhouse wedding. The all-white dress code and the inclusion of family trucks in the wedding procession set the stage for an unforgettable surprise. Instead of the traditional bouquet toss, Lucie handed the bouquet directly to Amélie, and Jérémy seized the moment to propose. Lamoulère immortalized this joyous occasion by photographing the newly-engaged couple in front of Amélie’s truck, the bouquet resting on the dashboard above their heads.

This poignant image is part of the series titled “Les Vies qu’on mène” or “The Lives We Lead,” created by the French photography collective Tendance Floue. Capturing daily life across France, this series has been transformed into a book and an exhibition in Paris at Cité Internationale des Arts. The series, including this striking portrait of Amélie, resonates emotionally and symbolizes her independent spirit. In a male-dominated industry, Amélie stands tall, challenging norms, and paving the way for more individuals like her to fill the driver’s seats, ensuring the survival and evolution of the trucking industry.

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