J. B. Gillet Am Interview

J. B. is nearly impossible to get in touch with. He comes here from his hometown of Lyon, France and goes on three-month-long couch tours. Every time I finally got the number where he was staying, by the time I’d call, he’d have already moved on. With the help of World Industries employees I talked to him from World’s El Segundo, California offices.

How long have you been in the U.S.?

Three months. I can’t stay more than three months. I’m illegal today. I’m gonna go back on the 28th of February. I don’t want to get in trouble.

Do you get hassled a lot when you go through Customs?

Yeah. A lot.

Do they say, “What are you doing here for so long?”

Yeah. They’re like, “Are you getting paid? How much money do you have?” They search me a lot to see if I’ve got some hash.

Have you ever been strip searched in Customs?

Well, stripped to my boxers.

Do you miss France right now?

Yeah, kind of.

What do you miss about it?

My friends and family. I’m used to the routine.

What’s it like when you come here and stay? Do you stay on lots of couches?

Yeah. It’s like a mission. I’m always on someone’s couch. I’m going to try to get a place when I get my visa … maybe with Enrique Lorenzo.

How long does it take to get visa?

I don’t really know. As soon as I turn pro I’m going to get a visa.

Do you and Enrique get along?

Yeah, I’ve been staying at his house.

Does he speak French?

No.

Do you speak Spanish?

No. I don’t speak it, but I understand it. In France, they make you learn another language in school, so I took Spanish. But, I didn’t do so hot in school, so I can’t speak it. It’s kind of like French¿a form of Latin.

Most Europeans think Americans are idiots. What do you think about Americans?

Nah, not everyone. In San Francisco people are freaks, because nobody cares. You can scream on the street and no one will say anything. In France you can’t act crazy or somebody will be f¿king you up.

How is it trying to deal with the whole skateboard world from another country?

Sometimes it’s kind of hard. Now that I’m on World, everything is working good.

When you come to the U.S., does World by the plane tickets?

Yeah.

Can you just come anytime you want?

I guess.

How long ago did you get sponsored by World?

Almost three years ago. I was on New Deal, but they kicked me off.

Why?

They said I was talking shit. I don’t know. I wasn’t skating the bowl because it is too big. It’s better now, anyway.

How did you get on World?

I was supposed to get on 101 with Marcus McBride, and then Rodney saw my video, and he asked me if I wanted to skate for him. I said yes.

Do you get paid to skateboard?

Yeah.

Is it better than what other French skaters make?

Yeah, it’s good. You don’t get paid in France from skateboarding. Only a few people do, but it doesn’t pay enough to live off.

Do you wish there was a scene in France so you could get paid to skate for a French company?

There are companies in France, but it’s not the same. You can’t travel as much as people do here. The companies here have been around longer, so they are more professional. The team manager makes a phone call and gets you a ticket. It’s way easier.

What do you do other than skateboard?

Nothing. Chill. Play soccer, video games, go out and party. Nothing special.

Are you on a soccer team?

Nah. I’m just messing around right now, playing for fun.

Were you happy when France won the World Cup?

Yeah! I was in France for the most of the World Cup, but for the semifinals I was in L.A., so I missed those. For the finals, I was at my friend Fernando’s house, and I remember screaming, “Yeah, France!”

Have you talked to World about going pro?

Yeah. I’ve just got to skate and get more coverage. So, that’ss what I’m doing.

J.B. rides for World Industries skateboards, Axion shoes, Matrix clothing, Venture trucks, and Lordz wheels.