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Wildlife ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant talks breaking barriers and fostering diversity in new memoir

John Legend, Rae Wynn-Grant on new book
John Legend and groundbreaking ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant talk working together on new book 06:50

From a young age, wildlife ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant was captivated by wildlife and dreamed of hosting her own nature show, a vision that seemed unattainable due to the lack of representation in the field.

"You know, older White men walk through the jungles and the savannas and point out wildlife and talk about their protection, and I was captivated by that and I wanted to do it, too. But it looked like no woman, let alone a person of color, seemed allowed in that space," said Wynn-Grant.

Wynn-Grant details this and other experiences in "Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World," a memoir. The book covers her remarkable 20-year career, her experiences in the field, and the obstacles she's overcome in a profession where she often felt like an outsider.

The memoir goes beyond professional achievements, offering readers a glimpse into Wynn-Grant's personal life, including her thoughts on relationships, motherhood and the difficult choices between a stable life and one of adventure.

"I thought that my craziest adventures were behind me," Wynn-Grant said. "So, at the time that I was pitched the idea of a memoir, I thought, 'You know what, this is good timing.' Because, you know, I'm a mom now. I'm probably not going to do all this amazing stuff in the wilderness for much longer. I was wrong, because I am still at it."

The book is being published by John Legend's newest publishing company,  Get Lifted Books. Legend, known for his Grammy-winning music career and social activism, is taking steps to highlight diverse voices through his publishing company. He said the goal of Get Lifted Books was to bring unique stories like Wynn-Grant's to new audiences, whose book opens with her coming face-to-face with a wild black bear.

Legend said he started Get Lifted Books because "we really wanted to lift up great authors, people with interesting voices, interesting stories."

"We heard about Rae, and that she was going to create this memoir. There was a bidding war. There were a lot of folks who wanted to work with her. We really showed our passion for this, we wanted to help her get her story out to the world."

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