Vanessa Torres has paid her dues. The veteran skater is on every girl-skater's list of favorite skaters and inspirations. Even through tough times with no sponsors and not many contests in the mid 2000s, Vanessa has endured solely based off her passion for skateboarding and her stubbornness as she puts it, to not give up and get a real job. With her upcoming part in the all-girl skate video Quit Your Day Job, we'll all be able to witness this 30 year-old's best part to date. She's a lifer and will continue to inspire many more generations of skaters with her dedication and love for skateboarding. Hell yeah, Vanessa!–Jaime Owens
Photos by Cameron Strand
You always seem like you're having fun out there even with the pressure.
I feel like that's when the best skating happens, honestly. They're taking this crew of girls that already hang out outside of the contest, that skate and film together and putting us all together in an arena to skate together. And really, it's just rad to see all the new girls coming up and killing it while getting to have a glimpse into the future of where women's skateboarding is headed.
That's rad, yeah pretty much everyone we talked to for this issue mentioned you as an inspiration and legend that they look up to.
Awe, that makes my heart want to explode [laughs]. That's nice to hear. The feeling is mutual. It's rewarding to me to be on the sessions and watching these girls progress and kill it. It's important to me to still be involved.
After your time on Element, were you able to survive off of contest winnings or did you have to get a full time job?
I definitely never worked a full time job. I honestly can't tell you how I got by [laughs]. It's pretty wild. I feel like I'm a survivalist in many ways. Especially when I just wanted to keep skating and just being a super stubborn human at heart, I refused. I didn't know anything about that world and all I knew was skating. But yeah, contest winnings for the most part and living life on a budget with some couch surfing in there. It's similar to where I'm at now being sober and way more stable. I have my own place and I'm able to manage my finances. So, the contests are super vital to me and many others. Along with my sponsors now, who support me and back what I do especially Meow Skateboards. That's been super important to me.
Was it hard to stay focused before these newer contest and video projects came about?
I skated with Lacey Baker a lot and we were always skating. Even with Lisa Whittaker and her Girls Skate Network, we were making little video segments and doing skate camps. But there was definitely no motivation in filming a real video part until Monique and Eric came along with Quit Your Day Job a year or so ago. That couldn't have worked out better.
You mentioned your sobriety. That definitely helped get you back on track, which is great.
Oh yeah, for sure. There was a lot of fucking off then. But with my sobriety, it's been nothing but rewarding and my skating has just been great, let alone my personal life. It really allowed me to focus on what I really want to do and that's just to skateboard. And if I didn't have skating, it's a scary thought, honestly
So you said you just banged your knee up.
Yeah, I sprained it a bit on Sunday. It's been hard to sleep, so I've kind of been in a daze during the days.
Did you do that filming for Quit Your Day Job?
Yeah, I mean, I'm pretty much done now filming for it because I have to heal up for Street League. I'm pretty pumped that I have about two and a half minutes of footage that I feel real good about.
Is this the biggest project you've worked on in a while?
Yeah, I honestly feel like I'm going to be most proud about this part because I feel like my skating has evolved dramatically over the past five or six years considering that I haven't filmed for a full part in over 10 years [laughs]. I'm 30 years old and I feel like my skating is better than it's ever been.
You mentioned Street League earlier. How has that opportunity been compared to X Games which has been around longer?
I think one of the highlights is obviously that it's strictly skateboarding. X Games is just wild and so chaotic, but at the same time a very crucial and important event especially for women's skating with the exposure and the audience. We only have X Games and Street League as being the two top events that give substantial exposure to keeping women's skating on the map, as far as competing goes. So, last year I did really well in the contest.