WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Getting to Know Vera Koo: ‘The Most Unlikely Champion’

I recently came onboard at Women’s Outdoor News, and one of my first clients was Vera Koo. To better understand, and therefore better connect and work for her, I decided to read her memoir, The Most Unlikely Champion. 

Vera Koo Holiday Ad 2020 960x100

Sponsored by Vera Koo

I was already familiar with Koo’s reputation in the industry. I knew her as a champion shooter, with an incredible library of accomplishments in the sport. I also understood her as a kind and approachable woman, from meeting her in person at a recent trade show. When given the opportunity to scratch the surface beyond what I knew, I jumped. Wouldn’t it be great if all new clients had published their own memoirs?

What I found out about Vera, behind all the accomplishments, is astonishing. I found that I related to and had similar life experiences as her. I found she has an incredible depth and breadth to her life story, that I would have never imagined when shaking the hand of this intelligent, petite woman. 

SHOT Show Koo Baird
Meeting Vera, SHOT Show 2018

Getting to Know the Memoir

The Most Unlikely Champion delves into the life and times of Vera Koo – it is a memoir, after all. It starts with her humble beginnings in China, details her immigration to the US at the age of 12. The stage is set, and the rest unfolds as the book progresses, explaining the struggle between being raised in a traditional Chinese household, and living as an American adult female. 

The timeline shifts between past and present, which kept me turning the pages. I always enjoy when a book gives a taste of information, and then jumps to another portion of the puzzle. This is an engaging way to cover ground. She details her accomplishments and struggles in male-dominated shooting sports. This information I anticipated, and thought Vera presented her journey clearly and efficiently.

The Most Unlikely Champion Vera Koo Cover
(Vera Koo photo)

Memoir’s Impact

What I was not expecting, and why you should read this book, is the rawness and forthrightness with which Vera, helped by writer Justin Pahl, explains the heartbreak that became the catalyst to her shooting, drive, and later, success. Through absolute gut-wrenching betrayal, she focuses her energy on the positive. What floored me, and continues to do so as I remember the memoir’s passages, is her story. It is brutal at times, and comes completely un-minced. For her to be so real and honest, I believe, is the bravest thing she has done to date. I connected with her story and felt her trials as tied to my own (similar) memories of betrayals. I was not expecting to be moved in this way. Thankfully, she provides levity with funny quips and memories! Her trials as a woman, mother and wife struck me in a way I had never imagined. Through her honest words, and then her struggles-turned-positive outcomes, I was inspired to get the heck out there and do better. 

Vera Koo The Most Unlikely Champion Kindle iPad Quote
Providing some humor: “I’d vowed then to marry an engineer. Carlos was studying electrical engineering. Plus, he’d brought a cake.”

Final Thoughts

Vera Koo’s memoir, written with help from Justin Paul, contains a pleasantly deep and honest look into her life. She details her childhood, cultural divide, journey through faith and family life. Her explanation of her accomplishments, and the road which led to them, is one best traveled with undivided attention. It is not to be missed. 

Vera Koo Justin Pahl The Most Unlikely Champion
Vera Koo with Justin Pahl, ‘The Most Unlikely Champion’

Knowing Vera Koo

The next time I see Vera, I will have a better understanding of the layers that compose the woman. Like seeing through your neighbor’s windows in the evening, and catching private conversations, she has allowed us an unfettered view into her world. 

Learn more about Vera Koo at her website.

Order your own copy of her book, The Most Unlikely Champion, here.

  • About Jackie Richardson

    Jackie Baird Richardson is an interior designer, editor at The WON and avid junker. Watch for her design tips and occasional crafting ideas, bringing the outdoors indoors.