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Beatrice Domond is an anomaly. Every young skater from the overlooked pockets of the globe dreams of being a sponsored skater and in the age of connectivity, they put it all out there hoping to get noticed yet such a finite amount do. Growing up in South Florida, Beatrice began skating at age seven and eventually got the attention of William Strobeck, which eventually landing her on Fucking Awesome’s roster and later Supreme, Venture, and Vans. But as her footage and output have shown, she’s neither a product of social media or the structure of the skateboarding industry.
Instead, even with the most prestigious sponsors in skating and the attention from fashion magazines, she remains independent and focused on her creativity, not her "brand." That’s rare because it’s natural to want to flex your achievements, but at 26-years-old, Beatrice Domond is genuinely humble, curious, and uses opportunities to make what she wants, whether it’s photographs, parts, clothing, or simply communicating with people. Most importantly, she skates. Everyday. While she often refers to herself as “awkward” and “private,” she also puts things out there in a way that’s relatable and genuine because that’s what’s natural to her.
Beatrice and I spoke about the past year and maintaining that focus while adapting to what feels like a myriad of changes and challenges at warp speed. She mentioned the larger goal of working on a part for “one of the companies she rides for,” so stay tuned for that. We talked about her recent colorway with Vans Skateboarding, her footage, her family, and what was most inspiring to me, her view that no matter how frenetic the world’s pace is, you can always navigate it at whatever speed you desire.
Broad question but how has the past year been for you?
It was a really big shock for me. I had such an exciting 2019 - traveling, really filming for the first time, going on trips, and doing what I want to do. Then it was a complete abrupt stop. I didn’t know what to do.
A lot of skaters are always with a crew but your footage is always by yourself - it feels really personal. Is it hard to put yourself out there around more people?
It’s pretty hard. I grew up skating by myself and being singular. When I got on Vans officially - they’re very team-oriented, they take you on trips with a bunch of people. It took me a whole year to adapt. 2019 was mean learning curve, and so 2020… it was just not there because of COVID-19. It was such a bummer.
Do you feel the pressure of your sponsor’s expectations?
No, I’m just stoked and want to have the best “career” I can possibly have. I want to have a part, I want to get ads, I want to do stuff. I didn’t start skating because of all that, but now, I want to make the best of the opportunities because it’s fun to put something out that you’ve worked on for a while.
Because you’re used to doing things solo it seems like you’re used to doing everything yourself, it feels like you always find a way to express yourself. Is that accurate?
That’s just from me having ADD. I can’t sit still for more than a minute. I grew up doing so many activities. That's fun for me. My mind is always racing. It’s how my personality is. I’ve never been forced to do anything I didn’t want to do. That’s why I got into skating because I don’t like being told what to do. [laughs]
Where do you think you got that from?
My Mom is pretty much my role model. She’s super independent and she always got us involved in things - I have three other siblings. I was in photography classes when I was 7-years-old. She was always encouraging us to find different ways to express ourselves because she wanted us to be well rounded and cultured. Growing up being around that I just continue to do that on my own. It’s just what you know and you keep doing it unless you don’t like how you were brought up, then you do something completely different.
Sadly, I know people who were brought up in really progressive and creative environments who ended up going the opposite way just to rebel.
Yeah, I was never forced to do anything. You could do this if you want. We didn’t have television growing up because my Mom didn’t believe in it, so you could go home and find something to do or go out with your siblings to a painting class or tennis or soccer. As a kid, you want to be outside anyways. These days kids grow up on a phone. Outside seems way cooler than sitting at home reading the encyclopedia. [laughs]
Just before we got on this call I was scrolling through Instagram and I stopped on FA’s post in tribute to Dr. King and got sucked into the comments because there was so much back-and-forth. I want to tune it out but I also want to understand why simply celebrating a figure’s legacy is so divisive to some people. It’s so frustrating. One part of me wants everyone to throw their phones in the East River and see what happens and the other part still enjoys the positive aspects of being connected.
It’s tough. I’m in that right now actually. I’m giving it [social media] a break because I want to focus on things that are more important to me. That does suck? Why is there even a discussion about Dr. King at all? That’s frustrating. These people aren’t even around you yet they can take you out of your element.
It makes me think about how much that happened in 2020 alone and that we don’t really have leaders anymore. There’s no one person who could show up at the Capitol drawing as many people as MLK or Malcolm X. Is that because we’re all so obsessed with our “brands”?
Yeah, I think about that all the time. These are the times that we live in. Everyone is their own leader even if they’re misguided and that’s scary. It’s frightening. People are more obsessed with the aspect of pretending rather than doing. They care more about how they look on a screen rather than actually doing something. No one can do anything without it being filmed. As skateboarders, it’s funny to say because filming is what we do. But you’re right, there’s no one that can draw a crowd unless they’re giving away an iPhone or clout. Clout is currency these days. Think of World Star—the level of idiocy that goes on these days just to get noticed is absurd.
Totally, but conversely Fucking Awesome is arguably the biggest brand in skating and the least “in your face” in some ways. Sure, you know when a product is coming out but the actual output - the skating - happens when it happens. It’s not teased out for months or forced. I think that’s actually why people pay more attention to it. Do you think that’s intentional?
I think it just happens naturally. Everyone is doing their deal whether they’re on the Gram and hyped about it, or on the ground doing what they do. It is what it is and that’s why we’re together as a collective - like-minded people find like-minded people.
You speak with a lot of reverence about the skaters that came before you. Where did that come from?
I don’t know. There’s a certain type of skating that I like. I don’t have a solid answer as to why. I grew up skating in the early 2000s and I’d start to find skaters I really liked, so you get into Andrew Reynolds for example. You see a video of him saying his favorite video is Goldfish. ‘OK, I like Reynolds, so I’m gonna go watch Goldfish and wow, it’s so sick, what else did Girl do in 94 when I wasn’t alive?’ I love that period because people just did it—rich or poor. It had this energy around it that I really loved and gravitated towards.
I think that’s how some people are wired. Some people like what’s on the radio and some people immerse themselves in music and its origins. Both of them love music but in totally different ways.
Yeah, some people just have this natural passion for what they’re doing and it comes out in their skating. That alone can make their skating look better. The fact that they truly love something and they’re in it for the right reasons. It’s almost like art—whatever you’re feeling inside is going to come out in what you paint, skateboarding has that effect. That’s why people say ‘I could just watch Gino push.’ Well yeah, that’s because he could give a damn if you watch him push. He’s just doing it for himself. You can tell and that’s the coolest thing. There’s no word for it.
That’s what I liked about your “5 a 7” part. It’s you pushing around in a parking lot too, but it also feels really serious and it’s set to Burzum which is this really atmospheric black metal song.
Thanks so much. It’s funny you say that. That part started off super fun then got super serious and then fun again. I went to Florida to be with my family because of COVID and travel was being limited. I thought, ‘Let me go down there to be with them in case of anything.’ That was around April of 2020. I was just home and I skated every day. That particular parking lot is always filled with people because it’s such a big plaza and it was just empty. There’s a skatepark in Florida I usually skate but it was closed. One day I went to that parking lot with my friend and I was like, ‘That curb goes. You can 50 it. So my personality is, if you can 50 it, you can 5-0 it, you can pop-shove it 50, whatever.’ My friend encouraged me to film a part, at first I felt like it was just an Instagram thing but he pushed me to make it an actual part. Every other day we’d go chill and skate and if we got something we got something… just having fun. And I love heavy metal. People wouldn’t think that by how I skate but I grew up listening to it. It’s some of my favorite music.
On the other side of things, you’ve filmed a lot of “day in the life” segments for fashion magazines that are really high production. How is it working that way?
I approach everything as myself. I always give a disclaimer and tell people I’m not that interesting and very awkward and I’m probably just going to skate all day unless you ask me to do something else. [laughs] If I didn’t do that it would come off so weird. If someone wants to talk to me I think about how it could be a cool opportunity and also, I do like fashion. On one shoot I got to meet these cool people from Fred Perry and I just like to meet cool people outside of skating, so I take that as an advantage. But I’m not really keen on letting people in. Those videos are a broad representation of me. I don’t really like being followed but I really like “day in the life” videos. I grew up watching those. I could quote every famous one in skating. It really depends how people approach it. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to share. If you’re talking to me for the first time, I always want to give you the best of me, not the worst.
It’s also a bit awkward how you can be known for skating or photography and then suddenly someone shows up with a camera and starts asking really personal questions about your life - you’re a cool skater now, I want to know everything about you. I completely understand why some big athletes won’t do interviews but it drives people wild. That being said, what I think is cool is that every time you talk to someone you have the opportunity to make someone else feel less awkward or inspire them. We forget about that human element because we’re in go mode all the time.
For sure. My friend Frank told me that. That’s really interesting you mentioned that because sometimes I’m burned out and don’t want to talk but he said, ‘You don’t know who you could inspire by what you say.’ We’re in our own little bubble but he told me to think about stepping outside of that and thinking about something that simple could mean to someone else. Frank taught me that. He’s a smart man.
Talk me through the process of working with Vans and collaborating on the AVE Pro colorway. I’d be overwhelmed trying to figure out what I would want to do.
Sure, can I ask you a question first? When you say collab, what does that mean? I feel like collabs are with people who aren’t attached to the brand, whereas I ride for Vans. I have people commenting, ‘Sick, you should collab with Nike next!’ What? I officially ride for Vans, you know? I think it’s just me doing a colorway.
Well, I think of it this way. A colorway is really loose. It could be someone picking colors that have a lot of meaning or it could be them being emailed a few options and picking one. Outside of how media or the industry thinks of a collab, to me, it’s when someone brings something personal - a story - to a brand and they work together to tell it. That’s how I see what you specifically did with Vans.
That’s interesting to know. I didn’t think of the term that way. I’ll tell you how it came to be because it’s a really funny story. I did a custom with them and AVE was really hyped on them. I thought I was getting kicked off because both of my Vans team managers called me to meet for breakfast and I thought, ‘OK, this is it, I’m getting kicked off.’ They’re taking me to my favorite restaurant in New York, I’m getting my favorite tea, ordering french toast… before I have to start eating I just wanted them to tell me I was kicked off so I can just eat in sorrow. They were like, ‘What? No way! We came to tell you that we want you to do a colorway on the AVE Pro.’ At the time I was so psyched on them. AVE was down and they thought it would be super cool. After that, I went straight home and had so many ideas and designs. If you give me a blank thing to work on I’ll just go and come up with so much.
At the time I was drinking a lot of Perrier, so I thought to use that glass color for the sole. I got the patterns from my favorite skirt. It just came together like that. I also got really into shoe design - going out to Los Angeles to meet with the Vans design team, learning all the different processes, the names of each part of the shoe, what it costs to make… everything about it. Every time I do something I get obsessed. I think that’s just the personality of a skateboarder. My main focus was to make it unisex so everyone can wear it. The AVE Pro has so much thought put into it and I wanted to bring as much to it as I could.
It’s also important to just think about how important any opportunity is. I think about it when I write and how lucky I am, not only to get to talk to interesting people but tell a story. I always keep that in mind.
Exactly, I try to stay around my family and be humble. I really do think about 14-year-old Beatrice in her room and how sick she’d think all the things I get to do now are. Sometimes when you’re in the mix all the time it’s hard to think about your achievements. I like to step away and not take things for granted. It’s a fast life and I like to slow it down as much as possible. It’s not a race. I’m in a canoe all by myself and everyone else is in a speed boat while I’m just chillin’.
All photography by Beatrice Domond
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