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

Did you kind of just slide right in there with those guys? Was it comfortable just being around dudes?
Oh yeah. All my friends were just skate rats. So this was no different to me. All I wanted to do was drink beer, smoke reefer, and skateboard. It was perfect. Me and Muska were meant for each other (Laughs).

Did you ever have moments were you felt like a girl on tour?
I knew like, “Well, you gotta pull the van over, because I can’t piss in a bottle. Other then that, none of it ever really crossed my mind. We were skaters. That was it. We’re doing it. I’m living. I had never even been further than Gainesville my whole life. All of a sudden I flew to California, instantly got in a van and just drove across the country. I just discovered life right there through skateboarding.

Did girls start coming up to you at demos at any point? Did you start getting fan mail and stuff?
Yeah. Immediately I think Tum Yeto started getting fan mail. People started writing love letters (Laughs.) Girls started coming up at the demos like, “Oh my God, I want to be like you!” Or guys would come up like, “Oh my God, I want my girlfriend to be like you!” Whatever. It was instant. As soon as that video (Welcome to Hell) came out. I just remember being in Pacific Beach or somewhere and there was this undertone like, “Is that the girl? Is that her?” If I showed up anywhere I guess it was a big deal (Laughs.)

I don’t want to be a dick but…
Be a dick.

I guess to me personally, a lot of the girls that had come before might have had some of the tricks, but they just didn’t have the style. I guess I wanted to ask if you saw that from your perspective? Could you kind of tell there were some girls with bad style?
Could I tell that their style was bad? Sure. It didn’t appeal to me. I’m not one to talk shit on people, but I always had people come up to me and tell me like, “You don’t skate like a girl.” Or they would say like, “You got a rad style.” Guy Mariano came up to me at one point and was like, “Girl, you got a dope style. (Laughs.)” At the time it was like, “Okay, I guess I can die now.” (Laughs.)

Elissa’s part from Jump Off a Building (’98) to Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart”.