Pioneer: Elissa Steamer, Full Interview—Crashing The Boys’ Club

Did you want it at that point?
Oh yeah. I was hanging out with (Matt) Milligan. He was like my role model. It was just me and Milligan. We were the only people that didn’t go to college. So it was just him and me. He rode for New Deal and was well on his way. So he would go out to California. One time he came back and was like, “Ray Barbee was stoked on your skating. You should call him” So I called Lance (Mountain) at the Firm. But I remember sitting and smoking a cigarette before this Foundation/Toy Machine tour and just feeling good like, “I’m gonna f—king rip today. These motherf—kers are giving me a board today (Laughs.) And I got on Toy Machine that day (Laughs.)

For the Pioneer column, I wanted to argue that there were definitely girl skaters before you, but that you were the first to have a part in a marquis video. You were kind of the first time a girl was presented as on par with the boys. How did that whole part happen?
I pretty much got on. I met Jamie (Thomas) and Ed (Templeton) at the Tampa contest and they were just like, “Hey, we’re filming this video. Do you have any footage?” I had never even filmed skating at that point. So Jamie told me he would come to my house and stay for a week. So he did. We drove to Miami and skated in Tampa and my hometown. But I had no idea what this video was going to be or anything like that. I just remember Paul Zitzer hearing about it and being like, “You’re going to ride for Toy Machine? You should definitely do that” I was still skeptical. I didn’t even know how big a deal it was. I didn’t know that (Chad) Muska for example was the dude at that point. I seriously thought Chad was just Jamie’s bro the first time I saw them skating a demo. Jamie (Thomas) and Chad were basically the center of the universe at that point, but I had no idea.

(Donny) Barley alone was just huge after Eastern Exposure III (’96).
Oh yeah. For sure. I was just clueless I guess. All I really knew was that Mike Daher rode for Stereo and that was the shit.

Early Toy Machine ad. Circa ’97.