Photos: Lori D.
Alright my friends, lets paint a picture that we can all relate to. You love skateboarding. You live and breathe it everyday of your life. You’ve developed a pretty decent bag of tricks and are taking care of business.
You’ve earned the respect from the skaters around you, and you’re having a killer time skating with your friends. As is always the case someone in your crew decides that it would be cool to start filming a video part for you and the crew. You figure what the hell, it will be fun. Besides, there are teams that you dig and it would be cool to send some footy to the team manager.
Nowadays, most team managers get sent videos all the time, and if you’re not their style, your part could be laughed at, and at worst become the new topic of discussion around the water cooler for the next week. If you happen to be really bad they may even quote comments you made during the video for a few weeks. Whatever, it’s just skating though. At least you would come up on some free stickers, and free is always in budget.
Well, what if your video part stood for something more than a means to gain product? What if you were carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? What if every move you made was going to be the determining factor on how history was going to be written? Damn. Scary right? That’s exactly the weight the girls of the Villa Villa Cola crew had resting on their shoulders.
Before the premiere, even I felt the initial anxiety and pressure of whether or not people would honestly be interested in the video. Sure we all know that Elissa has game, but beyond that did the other girls in the industry truly make the grade? If people showed for the Hollywood and Vine premiere would they be forced to watch sub-par footage? Plus I actually had a lot riding on it as well. I had chosen to make it a date on an incredibly rainy night with two of my super fem girlfriends. If the video sucked, I was going to look like a buster.
Pulling up to Vine, I spotted flocks of skaters and witnessed Amy Caron screaming random obscenities at people. Sweet, it’s going to be a good night after all. A bunch of rowdy skaters, a rainy night, and the promise of getting my swerve on at the art show afterward. It looks like something is going to go right this evening.
Outside of the theater there was a line of male and female skaters, arty types, music dudes, and random hot chicks. I guess skaters are all in vogue now, but it still is entertaining to see that we are the hots and everyone wants to get involved. The gathering outside was a great example of this and it seemed everyone wanted to know what the girls had in their velvet revolvers.
After the opening montage, we were immediately slapped with the reality that this video was going to rock. Featuring the skating of Vanessa Torres, Amy Caron, Van Nguyen, scene stealer Stefanie Tomas and 9 year old wunderkind Elizabeth Nintu, as well as a host of others, the video was simply amazing. The level of skating occurring in the video set a new precedent on how we should be viewing female skateboarders. The girls had such buttery steez and a mixture of well rounded tricks that it kept the audience applauding and screaming all night. Watching the video felt like being let in on a super secret session and watching the hot shit go down.
From Vanessa’s huge bag of tricks, Stefanie’s snap, pop, catch prowess, and Alex White’s unbelievable handrail charging, (trust me when you see her you wouldn’t possibly be thinking that it could go down like that) this video does not disappoint.For further validation I observed how my two nonskating friends felt about the video. They represented an impartial party who would never even think about standing on a skateboard. I thought it would be interesting for them to see how their female counterparts lived in the skating world. After watching Nugget’s first slam they cringed and asked why any womman would subject themselves to that type of abuse. They figured just walking around in heels all day was enough. However, after watching Nugget and Alex White deal with the pain, the rewards of the make, they were on the edge of their seats. They applauded just as hard as any of the real skaters in the audience. By the middle of the video they turned to me in amazement, saying that they couldn’t believe the level of skating, and the dedication they were bearing witness to. They also agreed that they probably would have given up in such a male dominated industry. I explained to them that skaters are a resilient bunch, and that the girls were no exception. They formed a crew to help keep everyone motivated and as a family they created this video. As a family they reached out to extend that love to members they hadn’t met yet.
When filming the video, instead of just concentrating on their tight knit crew, they opened up to submissions from girls all over the world. There was home footage of skaters shot dead center in middle America by people who knew nothing about 3-chip cameras and death lenses—and that footage shined.
The VVC put together a video that showed skating in its truest form, unadulterated, unbiased, and unbridled. These skaters live and breathe skating and are not second class citizens of the game. As a matter of fact they probably skate better than you and most of your friends. Watch Vanessa, the “ATM” (all terrain machine) rip things you could only hope to skate and watch your preconceived notions explode. Combine that with Stefanie Thomas’ switch flip and Elizabeth Nintu’s prowess and you realize that not only are they right on Vanessa’s heels, but that the future is upon us all.
Fitting that I’m writing this article on Martin Luther King’s birthday. He preached that we should treat everyone with fairness and equality. He felt everyone should be judged by the merit of their work and not by color, creed, or sex. I say that from now on equality has a name, and that name is VVC.—Neftalie Williams