I scrolled through your Instagram and saw that you’ve been doing some bits with Hoods to Woods [a non-profit organisation that promotes awareness of the outdoors to inner-city children through snowboarding] as well.
I think there are a lot of great organisations doing a lot of great things and Hoods to Woods have also been around for a long time and I feel like they don’t get as much shine as they deserve. Omar is an incredibly amazing human being and he lives and breathes this so when I heard about the Hoods to Woods foundation, I wanted to attend their program and share their things on social media, and interact with the kids. There should be no competition when it comes to bettering people and that’s exactly what the Hoods to Woods foundation does, just like the Chill Foundation.
If you think about what snowboarding has given you, what are the most important things you can think of?
Freedom. And it’s a no judgement zone. I always say that the music industry is really hard, it’s the most non-relaxing environment. There’s a lot constantly going on and snowboarding has always kept me grounded. It has always been a way for me to disconnect and reconnect. It’s beautiful, it’s fun, and there’s nothing like just sliding through the trees. It’s just the whole vibe, you can’t really explain.
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered throughout your career and journey in the snowboard industry?
I always say being mixed [race] is being a combination of two different worlds. Usually, people always want you to fit in somewhere, but the reality is I’m a combination of two different worlds, I don’t fit in on just one side. And then of course the lack of people of colour on the slopes can be kind of frustrating. And being a woman. I always say that snowboarding is incredible but it’s also very much about the ‘bro culture’. It’s male-dominated and there’s so much testosterone and energy in snowboarding — and that’s great — but that’s also why we need more women on the slopes.
“There should be no competition when it comes to bettering people and that’s exactly what the Hoods to Woods foundation does, just like the Chill Foundation”
I went to this camp a couple of weeks ago, BT Bounds, and just being surrounded by fifty women was so empowering because when you hit a feature it’s a different vibe than with guys. You do this little thing and everybody’s like, ‘Yes girl, you did it!’. You need that as much on the slopes as you do in your personal life. You need women to hype you up because that’s how you progress.
I’ve always been mostly riding with guys, and it wasn’t until recently I started doing these camps and meeting a lot of new women to ride with. But in sports being a woman can be very intimidating because of the lack of support, and sometimes the environment can feel really intimidating. That’s why it took me so long to get into the park. There are usually all these dudes surrounding this feature and telling everyone to just send it. It was so stressful for me because I’m trying to learn how to do things and it can be really frustrating.
As women, we are so much more analytical in everything we do. Men don’t tend to think about the aftereffects and we do that. We want to walk around the rail, assess the landing zone, and guys they just go right over. And just having that conversation here, you realise you’re not the only one. We are all thinking these things in our head and it’s good talking about that, it helps eliminate the fear and helps you progress. Snowboarding is a rough sport, and it’s about getting more of that ‘It’s okay, it happens, we all fall, we are all learning, we are all here to have a good time’ mentality out there.
“It’s about breaking down that mentality of being better than the girl next to you and instead saying, ‘Listen, you can do this, and we should go and do it together’. We feel like we have to be the one that stands out when, really, it should be about us working together”
And then there’s the competitive vibe between women and I think the only reason women are so competitive towards one another is because of years of programming and putting us against each other, making everything about a competition. I don’t think that’s because of us, it’s because society has engraved that in us — that you and I can’t win at the same time. That’s not true. We can all win and we can all shine together.
It’s about breaking down that mentality of being better than the girl next to you and instead saying, ‘Listen, you can do this, and we should go and do it together’. We feel like we have to be the one that stands out when, really, it should be about us working together. And once you get talking to people, once you get to know them, you start building a friendship and that eliminates the competition.