I was invited to skate with the Original Skateboards team in July of 2017. They asked me, “What are your goals and accomplishments?” and I gave them pictures of every podium I stood on, every freeride I attended, and listed off everything I was ever proud of. I said to myself, “There’s no way such a major influence in the downhill skateboarding scene could really want ME to represent them!”
I’m one of few transgender people I have met in skateboarding. Only a small number of us even do it, and a smaller number of us compete. I was chosen based on my merit and goals to actually ride a product I was already a fan of.
Coming at a point in my life where I was down on my luck, I accepted the role and took it as inspiration to better myself. I was at a point when I said, “Who cares about distance skateboarding?” and “I’ll never get better at downhill, I’ll never be able to take it further,” and I was wrong. They welcomed me with open arms. They encouraged me to embrace myself as a transgender woman and stand up to inspire others to do exactly what I do.
I received my sponsor package, and a light switch went off in my head: You are talented. You have dreams. You have a chance to show others what you’re all about. Shortly after that, I took my Original Maven and took on the Central Mass 8 Skate Festival, an annual event hosted in my home state. That event, 2 years ago, was my very first. I was nervous, scared, intimidated to be myself, and didn’t stand up to the challenge at all. Two years later, I won.
Photo by: Khaleeq Alfred
Without the support coming from the amazing athletes behind the business, I’m not sure I would be here before you about to literally shatter social norms. The camaraderie was something I never experienced. I felt like for the first time, I had my place in a scene where I only felt like an outsider. What an absolute treat it is to be able to represent a company that stands behind the idea that skateboarding is skateboarding, people should be themselves, and the world has room for those of us who have the same beliefs.
There’s no room in life for those who can’t share the love to others who are different. We can only embrace change, encourage it, and watch it blossom. Original has pounded that into my head in my darkest of days.
Riding an Original board from point A to point B is an absolute honor, something I cherish, and quite literally me achieving my own dreams. When all is said and done, I owe everything to this business, the same one that told me no matter the comments, no matter the controversy, they stand up and support me for who I am and what I accomplish.
In the coming days I’ll be showing my official set up – stay tuned! In the mean time, if you’re along my route, grab yourself an Original and come skate a few miles!