Briana King–Model/Skateboarder/Teacher

Briana King | In episode 54 of Light Culture Podcast, Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits talks to Model/Skateboarder/Teacher Briana King who has built a community for women and queer skaters. 

Briana King is a model who fell in love with skateboarding when she moved to New York. Growing up in L.A., she was always surrounded by skate culture but not allowed to join in with the guys. Now, her mission is to change skateboard culture by teaching girls and her queer homies how to shred. Briana joins us on Light Culture to talk about why she does it, how she got here, and how it made her into a better model.

Read Transcript


David: [00:00:00]
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Light Culture. My guest today is Briana King. If ten years ago, you had asked Briana what she would be doing today, I doubt she would have described herself as a model and skateboarder. Especially one who is an inspiration and advocate for women and the sport. Raised in LA by a strict mother who watched her every move, including outlawing her beloved skateboarding. It wasn’t until Briana turned eighteen and declared her emancipation by taking her, quote, big ass fro to Australia, where she began a journey of self-discovery. That continues today where she finds living in New York City. Yesterday was her birthday, always a good time to reflect. Happy birthday, Briana.

Briana: [00:00:58]
Thank you. Thank you.

David: [00:01:00]
So what kind of day was yesterday? Tell me about your surprise birthday.

Briana: [00:01:05]
So, originally, my friends had planned to go Upstate and pick up a bunch of fruits and vegetables, and that was happening because it was gonna be a day full of rain in New York and I couldn’t skateboard. But thankfully, the forecast cleared all up and my day just ended up skateboarding with all of my best friends, and that’s what I really wanted to do and I’m really glad that that happened. I skated all around New York with my bestest friends and had a blast.

David: [00:01:38]
So I know a lot of people are enjoying New York these days, particularly because there’s so little traffic and fewer people everywhere. Do you find that it’s opened up the city for skateboarders that wasn’t available before?

Briana: [00:01:53]
Honestly, I think as a skateboarder in New York, you get a different experience. I don’t notice when there’s too many people, or when things are busy. I’m just on my skateboard, and you’re kind of in your own zone just on your board, and you can just hear your loud board. I don’t really pay attention to what’s happening around me. Only the cars and things that could be possibly bad. I’m still in the same mindset just skating, and it’s just me, and my board, and my friends. So, I don’t think it’s really that much different for me.

David: [00:02:29]
Did you go to a park? Or do you like to go in the streets? what’s your practice like?

Briana: [00:02:34]
Well, in the morning, we’ll go to the park because there aren’t too many people. And we’re still trying to keep our distance from each other. And then we just end up on the streets. So, we just go in one direction and we’re like, “Okay, let’s go to the left. Let’s go to the right.” And you’ll find an obstacle along the ride. We skate street spots because there’s not that many people in the street or too many skaters.

David: [00:02:58]
So it’s kind of freestyling?

Briana: [00:03:00]

David: [00:03:02]
your passion for skateboarding started before you were even skateboarding, as I understand it. Right? That you grew up in California and it was all around you, you watched videos, but you really couldn’t go out and skate because your mom was not having any of that.

Briana: [00:03:20]
Yep. All of my friends were skateboarding, my cousins were skateboarding, teachers were skateboarding. So, I spent a lot of time watching videos. I was really intrigued by just the movement of the body – shoulders, knees, hips. I think that’s what really made it easy for me. So, I’m glad that I didn’t get into skateboarding as a kid, because it let me study everything. So once I started as an adult, everything really came easy to me. Like, when I let people know how short of a time that I’ve skateboarded everybody is always amazed. Like, “Wow. This amount of time?” I’m like, “I was really studying it like it was a subject in school.”

David: [00:04:00]
Were you also doing it physically or just observing?

Briana: [00:04:04]
Just observing.

David: [00:04:06]
Because it’s unusual, your experience, right? Because when you’re young and, quote, stupid, in that respect. [laughter] You know, you’re willing to try things that as you get older you’re more reluctant to, because you’re smarter, you know you could hurt yourself in ways that kids don’t really think about.

Briana: [00:04:25]
A hundred percent. But at that point in my life, when I started skateboarding, I was already so depressed and sad. I left so much behind and came to New York, and I was like, “I’m sad and life doesn’t matter.” Like, so, the last thing I’m worried about is pain. [laughter] I’m already hurting inside. So, if I’m breaking on the outside, I’m like, “Alright. Now the feelings match all over my body. So, I don’t really care.” It was easy for me.

David: [00:04:52]
And you’re also tall, right? How tall-

Briana: [00:04:54]
I’m so tall. I’m five eleven.

David: [00:04:56]
Yeah. So which also is something to deal with right?

Briana: [00:04:59]

David: [00:05:00]
Cause lower gravity gives you better balance.

Briana: [00:05:03]
Yeah. Everybody always thinks it’s like, “You’re taller. It’s easier.” I’m like, “I have a long way to fall.”


David: [00:05:10]
A lot more body to hurt.

Briana: [00:05:12]
[laughs] Yeah.

David: [00:05:13]
So, do you feel like your mom did the right thing, in other words? To keep you restricted around the house, the way she did?

Briana: [00:05:21]
Um. No. I don’t think so. I think it made my life a lot more difficult, when it came to interacting with other people. You know, when I moved to Australia, I’m working, I’m booking jobs as a model, but I never really kept friendships with clients because it’s always difficult for me to speak and that’s from being sheltered. I didn’t have much interactions outside of school. So, all I knew was school, school, school, home, and my family. It’s just me and my sister. So that made my life a lot harder. I didn’t know how to interact and keep friendships and keep clients around until I started skateboarding. I was forced to be around skateboarders all day long, and I was forced to have conversation because I’m around these people for six, seven hours a day every single day.

David: [00:06:13]
That’s a real crew.

Briana: [00:06:13]
You all become like a huge family, and you’re kind of forced to speak about what’s happening in your life. And if I had those interactions as a young child, it would have changed me and just work in general. Because now, at this point in my life, I can speak and have a conversation, and hold a friendship, and, you know, start a new family. I have these returning clients. I’m working with the same clients I’ve been working with for the past three years. And it just really helped me enjoy my life and working, in general. So, I don’t think it was really that good. But I’m not angry about the way I grew up, or hold any resentment. I’m very grateful. And it makes me so much more grateful for everything in my life now.

David: [00:07:02]
Did you skate in Australia when you went there?

Briana: [00:07:06]
Um. So, my partner in Australia had a quarter pipe in the backyard.

David: [00:07:12]

Briana: [00:07:12]
He was a skateboarder. I skated, maybe, like four or five times with him. But I was just really insecure at that point in my life. I would just be embarrassed of anyone looking at me and just not being perfect. So, I always just would skate ten minutes and I’d be too embarrassed and stop. So, it wasn’t really much skateboarding happening in Australia at all.

David: [00:07:38]
But you were busy modeling. You had a career there.

Briana: [00:07:42]

David: [00:07:42]
That you felt comfortable with. You were making some money. Life was good?

Briana: [00:07:47]
Life was really easy. It was really simple. I was proud to be able to take care of myself and be on my own. I just didn’t even know that that was a possibility in my life. Just like growing up really poor. So, moving away by myself, I was just really scared and then everything just worked out. It was very easy for me in Australia.

David: [00:08:10]
It wasn’t as if you had work lined up when you went there. Did you know anyone? Did you have any contacts there?

Briana: [00:08:18]
I had one friend that I knew from Instagram. [laughs]

David: [00:08:22]
Thank God for Instagram. That’s been helpful to you it sounds like.

Briana: [00:08:25]
I love Instagram. [laughs] [???]

David: [00:08:30]
And your friend encouraged you to come? Somebody that you just met over Instagram when you were in LA?

Briana: [00:08:36]
Yeah. He was just living out in Australia. He kind of hinted that it would be easier for me to have a career in modeling in Australia, because there’s not that many like mixed black people, or people with a fro. He was like, “It’d probably work out here for you.” But he didn’t really encourage it. He said this would be an option. And I was sad in LA, so I was like, “Alright. Whatever. I’m going to Australia then.”

David: [00:08:59]
But had you been modeling before?

Briana: [00:09:02]
Not really. I was working in hair and make-up. So, I was still on set, but I’d always been super insecure. I was like, “There’s no way I can be a model. I feel really uncomfortable in front of the camera.” So, I would just model here and there, like when I’m set. Like, I’m doing models hair, I’m doing models make-up. And the photographer would ask if I wanted to take a couple photos. But it was nothing too serious.

David: [00:09:28]
So, you didn’t really expect that to be a career?

Briana: [00:09:31]
Not at all.

David: [00:09:34]
And then, I know from reading, that there was a problem in Australia with your visa that eventually forced you to leave the country that you otherwise expected to stay there forever? Or what was your plan before that?

Briana: [00:09:50]
Yeah. That was pretty much my plan. To live in Australia. I had been speaking to people in the industry, offering a sponsorship, they can sponsor me to stay out there for five years. And I would be able to go from there. So, that would be like a five year visa. Work with this denim company and I’d be fine. But in the middle of that, I’m heading back to Australia, my modeling agency had been writing me that – Okay, I didn’t approve of any of this – but they were writing me, like, “Oh. We can do cash-in-hand work.” You know?

David: [00:10:28]

Briana: [00:10:28]
So, I’m not replying to any of these messages. They’re just writing to me. And when I get to customs, from America to Australia, they’re like, “Oh. It seems a bit suspicious. Because you usually come here on a working visa. So, you can let us see what’s happening on your phone, um, since we have suspicions. Or you can go back to America.” And, in my head, I’m like, “Okay. I have no plans on working. I have money. I’m gonna be fine. You can take my phone.” So, they take my phone. Go to the back. They’re taking about three hours on my phone, you know. So, I pulled out my laptop, even though I told them I didn’t have a laptop. So, they see in the camera. They’re like, “Oh, hello. Like, you told us you had no other devices. Can we please see your laptop?” And I was like, “Great.” Like, I deleted everything, every app on my phone, but I didn’t delete everything on my laptop. So, whatever. Here’s my laptop. I already agreed to this. So they can take my laptop. Whatever. I guess, like, Australia and Canada, they’re allowed to do this. They take my laptop. They see these emails from my agency, where my agency was offering cash-in-hand work. Which is obviously suspicious. So, they come back and they’re like, “What’s this? This is illegal. You can’t come here and work cash-in-hand.” And I’m like, “Where in my emails does it say that I agreed to do this? Like this isn’t any fair. I shouldn’t be getting in trouble for other people writing to me.” They go back. They check my Instagram, my Facebook. All these people are asking me to work with them. And they’re like, “This is just very suspicious. We need to do some sort of investigation, and we’re gonna detain you.” So, I get detained. I’m handcuffed. They go through all my stuff. They drive me to the detention center, and they do a bit of investigation for, maybe, for or five days. I’m detained in the detention center, which is disgusting and scary and gross. And they said that this was illegal just for even speaking about it. So, I got kicked out of Australia for two years. And I just chose to go to New York. I knew that I wasn’t happy in LA at one point, so I was just like, “Whatever. I’m just gonna fly out to New York and see what happens there.”

David: [00:12:43]
Have you been back since?

Briana: [00:12:45]
No. I actually was supposed to go back this summer for a Australian skate tour, but then Covid happened. [laughs]

David: [00:12:55]
Yeah. I’ve heard of that. And, uh, when you were coming back, you first went to LA, right? Hang out a bit.

Briana: [00:13:06]
Yeah. I actually went to LA for one day.

David: [00:13:08]
Oh, just one day.

Briana: [00:13:10]

David: [00:13:10]
And then you picked up and went to New York.

Briana: [00:13:12]

David: [00:13:13]
Had you been to New York City before that?

Briana: [00:13:15]
Nowhere. So, growing up, I never traveled. I just was in LA my whole entire life, and then went straight to Australia, and then to New York. So I was freaked out. I was like, “I really don’t know anybody there at all.” So, I was just doing exactly what I did all over again, but this time it was scary.

David: [00:13:34]
Because it was New York? Or was it just because you were older?

Briana: [00:13:38]
It was because, maybe, I didn’t have much time to think about what I wanted to do. I’m just sitting in the detention center in Australia, thinking I’m gonna be fine. And they come back and tell me that I’m kicked out for two years. And I just say New York. I had no time to think about where I wanted to go. So, it was pretty scary.

David: [00:13:57]
So, what was your impression when you landed and, you know, got, I guess, how did you get into the city? You took a cab?

Briana: [00:14:03]
Yeah. I took a cab. I booked, um, a hotel, um, on the- the Conrad Hotel, which is right on… What river is it?

David: [00:14:17]
The Hudson?

Briana: [00:14:17]
The Hudson River.

David: [00:14:18]

Briana: [00:14:18]
At that point in my life, everything was over, so I’m like, “I’m just gonna book a really nice hotel on the Hudson River, and I’m just gonna cry and look at the water and we’ll see what happens next.” [laughs] I just thought everything was done. I thought my life was over.

David: [00:14:40]
And in fact, it was just beginning? Does that work? Could you say that now?

Briana: [00:14:44]
Yes. A hundred percent. A hundred percent.

David: [00:14:49]
And as you, on your birthday, did you have a chance to reflect on any of that, been around- it’s ten years, more or less.

Briana: [00:14:59]
Yep. I always reflect on my whole entire life every time I have a skateboard meetup. The days that I’m there and teaching these people, or my friends, to skateboard. I always see myself in the people that I’m teaching. They’re like really insecure or uncomfortable, or hard for them to speak. So, it’s quite often where I think back on, and reflect, my life. And it makes me feel very grateful. That’s how I really stay happy. So, that’s something- I reflect always. It’s really important to me.

David: [00:15:37]
So, how did you discover this side of you? That you had this desire to introduce girls into the sport, when did that happen? Did something click or was there an event that brought that to your mind?

Briana: [00:16:05]
I didn’t put any thought into any of this. It happened very organically. I would just be sitting at the skate park sometimes, and I would give people tips, which was something that, you know, when I was younger, I was watching everyone skate all the time. So, I’m like, “Okay. Your shoulders, your hips.” And everyone just let everyone else know, “Hey, if you need help, Briana King is a really great teacher.” So, just random people, random girls, like, would roll up to me at the skate park like, “Hey, do you think you could give me some tips on skateboarding?” And  little by little, everyone just felt really comfortable with me. And I remember just like, “Wow. I’m like important and people really value my opinion. And obviously, I’m different than everyone else, because there’s a million other skaters that are a lot better than me, but everyone wants my tips. And it’s just a lot more helpful, and I know how to just get it out properly.” So, that’s what really brought me my confidence. I never felt comfortable speaking, or I didn’t think I spoke properly, and I was just really insecure. So, when it came to skateboarding, everything just felt right, and I felt happy.

David: [00:17:19]
It sounds like a big difference between you and people who are better skaters but maybe don’t really care that much about helping other people, to the extent that you might, that people are able to pick up on and came to you because of that. Do you feel there’s an increase in general, with girls going into skateboarding?

Briana: [00:17:46]
Insane. Yes. I’ve taught thousands of people. And the second that I leave, those people continue to have the meetups, and continue to teach people. And, yeah, so I think everybody has just been very helpful and wants to do this movement. So, there’s an insane amount of women that I’ve gotten into skateboarding. And especially queer people that stopped skateboarding, because a lot of men make them feel uncomfortable because they’re queer. But yeah, there’s a lot of non-traditional skateboarding happening because of skateboard meetups.

David: [00:18:36]
I don’t quite understand why, maybe is it because the sport itself attracts people who are on the margins, on the fringes?

Briana: [00:18:56]
Why would it attract queer people? I mean, skateboarding is attractive to everybody. And the only reason why a lot of people aren’t skateboarding is because a lot of men that are skateboarders are very mean. Like, if you’re not just a straight male at the skate park, men are just evil, or like just yell at you, or call you a poser, or saying you suck. They think the skate park is their home, and if you’re not like them, they’re angry that you are in their space that is public and it’s not their space.

David: [00:19:34]
Do you see that improving at all? As you know, we’re hoping that, male consciousness is evolving with regards to the Me Too Movement, for example.

Briana: [00:19:53]
I think there has been a lot of progress. A lot of bigger companies have been putting out videos and edits with women and women skateboard filmers. Everyone’s just making more of an effort to put more of a spotlight on everyone that isn’t a straight male. I’m a part of a skateboarding team and we’re all queer, and we were able to tour all of Europe with Nike and put out a really amazing video. So, there’s progression for sure. But it’s- it’s happening very slowly.

David: [00:20:31]
So, it is helpful to women and queer people, in that respect, to go in groups? If you’re on your own, for example, you might feel a little intimidated going into a skate park.

Briana: [00:20:46]
Yes. It’s very important for people that feel nervous about going to the skate park. Like yesterday, when we got to the skate park, one of my good friends, she’s an amazing skateboarder but the second she gets in, guys are yelling at her, “Get out the way! Get out the way!” And she went there and sat down. And I was like, “You are shredding- Even if you weren’t shredding as hard as the other dudes, you are shredding and you shouldn’t let them get in your way.” And she’s like, This makes me really sad and uncomfortable.” So, I just go up to this dude and I’m like, “Yo, you’re being made rude to my homie. And she’s sitting down because of you, because you want to yell at her to get out of the way. Like, there’s a million other people that are in your way, you’re not yelling at anyone else besides this woman.” And then he came over, and said, “Sorry.” So, it’s just really important to be in a group. It doesn’t necessarily have to be all women, it’s just important to be with your friends especially when you’re a woman, because it is difficult. Guys are gonna be a lot more mean to you.

David: [00:21:43]
But you also run with guys as well, or skate with guys. I’ve seen your videos where you have great relationships it looks like, and respect from the guys as well.

Briana: [00:21:54]
Yeah. My first year in skateboarding, I went on tour with Element Skateboards. I’m on tour with some of the best skateboarders in the world. So, it would really shed a light on me to say not all men are evil. Because a lot of the women skateboarders put into other skateboarder’s minds that like, “Oh, guys are all evil.” But thankfully, I started with just all dudes, and I made sure to tell the girls all the time like, “There’s a million nice dudes. Like, stop being so shady towards everyone. I skate with everyone. It doesn’t matter.” A lot of people just hit me up online like, “Do you want to skate?” I’m like, “Yeah, whatever. I just hope you don’t kill me,” but I’ve been traveling around the whole entire world by myself. So, I can chance this and skate with one of my random followers on Instagram.” So I skate with everyone.

David: [00:22:52]
You also spoke about how skateboarding has helped you as a model.

Briana: [00:23:03]

David: [00:23:04]
To be able to project and be who you want to be.

Briana: [00:23:10]
When I first started skateboarding, obviously, I looked very uncomfortable on the skateboard. There’s a lot of like skate-face – skate-face is just really uncomfortable looking faces. Limbs are flying everywhere. And I’m getting filmed. And I would still post these videos and, you know, people would be like, “Your style sucks. This is ugly. I hate looking at this. Look at your arms.” And I remember, I didn’t care about those mean comments. I was just so happy to be trying something new in my life. And it just felt good. Even if my trick looked ugly, it didn’t matter. And when I was modeling before, I always stayed in the same few poses. I knew what looked good. I was just kind of uncomfortable when I came into front of the camera, because I didn’t have like a million poses. But at that point, from going ugly and lanky on a skateboard on a camera, it came to my modeling, and I just tried new poses. I felt more open. I didn’t care if it was ugly shots in between. And, I don’t know, I just felt comfortable in my body no matter what shape or anything. I was just like, “This is my body. I’m happy with it. I shouldn’t be unhappy with it if it looks different or uncomfortable, or whatever.”

David: [00:24:37]
And even in those films that I’ve watched of you skating and, you know, doing your thing, there are many shots of you falling. You know, so it’s not as if they’re editing out just to have the great highlights of your tricks that you’re landing. It’s like part of it is falling for you.

Briana: [00:24:59]
Before I was teaching online, I wasn’t really active online. What made me really love Instagram and the Internet, in general, is just helping others. And a lot of new skateboarders have no clue that people are falling down all day. Like, they’re not in the scene. They don’t see where people are skateboarding. So, it was just really important to show everything that is happening in skateboarding. Even to this day, people are always like, “It’s good to see, um, a good skateboarder falling. Like, I always think everyone’s landing everything all day long.” No, these people are trying these tricks for two hours, and they just post that one land that they did. And they probably don’t even ever land it again. That’s the one time that they landed it, and it took them two hours.

David: [00:25:46]
[laughs] Yeah. Yeah.

Briana: [00:25:46]
So, it’s just really important to show all of it. I’m not trying to be a professional skateboarder. I’m not trying to be the best skateboarder. I’m here just skateboarding and I want to help others get into skateboarding too, and that’s all. So, I’m gonna show everything possible.

David: [00:26:06]
And talking about filmers here, for a second as well. Do you feel like they’ve become such a big part of the sport at this point? Do you feel that’s changed the sport? Encouraging people to do things more outrageous each time to be captured on film, as opposed to just having fun

Briana: [00:26:35]
Yes. I’ve lost, well, not that I’ve lost. I’ve chosen not to skate with a lot of people, because they’re main focus in skateboarding is to get clips for Instagram. So, we’ll be skating all day and they’ll have their friend filming for hours. And they second that they get their clip for Instagram, they’re like, “Okay, I’m going home.” They’re like, “Okay, I’m done skating.” So, it’s changed it a lot. It’s also amazing. There’s a lot more women filming now and making skate films.

David: [00:27:05]
Have you watched that show, on HBO,

Briana: [00:27:13]
Yes. Betty.

Briana: [00:27:16]
Yes. Those are all of my good friends. So, they made, um, the Skate Kitchen movie a few years back. And that was my first year in skateboarding, and that really introduced me into a lot of women that were skateboarding. Because the whole entire movie is basically women. And we were on set every single day, skateboarding all day long.

David: [00:27:37]
Oh. So, you’re in there as well?

Briana: [00:27:39]
Um. The Skate Kitchen movie.

David: [00:27:40]
Oh. In the Skate Kitchen.

Briana: [00:27:40]
But I’m also in the last – Yeah. But I filmed like a couple days in Betty. But during filming, I was somewhere else. I don’t remember. [laughs]

David: [00:27:50]
Mentally, you mean?

Briana: [00:27:52]
No, I mean, I was on tour. I was on my skate tour.

David: [00:27:53]
Oh, physically. Okay. [laughter] I thought that you meant that you were in it, but you weren’t really mentally present.

Briana: [00:28:04]
Sometimes that- that happens.

David: [00:28:05]
Yeah. So, do you feel like you’re part of the industry now? And- and is that making you, enjoy it more or less while that’s going on?

Briana: [00:28:18]
Yeah. Definitely, like, the best skaters in the world are recommending me for jobs, you know. Like, Erik Ellington, a legendary skateboarder, recommends me for a lot of jobs. Everyone that kind of is huge in the industry knows who I am, or I’m on panels with professional skateboarders. I am on tour with professional skateboarders. I have professional skateboarders coming to my meetups and doing like celebrity appearances, and teaching these other, um, girls and my queer homies. So, I definitely feel a part of it, because they care about my opinion. I’m a sponsored skateboarder.

David: [00:29:06]
You are? Who’s your sponsor?

Briana: [00:29:08]
Krux Trucks. And then I’ve been flow for Enjoi Skateboards for a good two years now. And then Deluxe is- which is like one of the biggest distributors sends me like boxes and boxes for all of the girls, so everyone can have boards. Trucks, wheels, bearings, everything they could possibly need.

David: [00:29:32]
So it sounds like you’re right on the- on the cusp here of an explosion of girl skateboarding.

Briana: [00:29:39]
Yeah. A hundred percent.

David: [00:29:42]
Do you feel like there’s, um, more sponsorships going to girls overall? As, you know, obviously, the boys get tons of them.

Briana: [00:29:51]
Yeah. A lot of girls are becoming flow. A lot of girls are becoming pro. I mean, not that many. But also, we’re a bit behind. A lot of people haven’t been skating from six-years-old like a lot of these men have. But the few girls that have been skating for years, they’re doing pretty well, getting sponsors, and filming. But there’s a lot of underrated women that aren’t getting enough. But the time is gonna come. We’re working on it, and it’s gonna be good.

David: [00:30:30]
Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of surprising isn’t it? Skateboarding has gone through so many ups and downs where it wasn’t really cool for- or it was super cool, it wasn’t cool. People kind of stopped, especially on the East Coast. I just did an interview that went up today actually, a podcast with Eli Gesner, who started Zoo York with some other people.

Briana: [00:30:52]

David: [00:30:53]
And, you know, he was talking about how skateboarding died out in the early nineties. Everybody from New York moved to LA or just stopped. And then suddenly there was this resurgence- any thoughts around that? What happened or why?

Briana: [00:31:16]
I would have no clue why that happened. [laughter]

David: [00:31:20]
Good answer. Thank you.

Briana: [00:31:22]
[laughs] I just know- Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to anybody else unless it’s like chicks or gay people skating. And I know exactly why it happened for us is because of the Internet. Just like a bunch of group chats and meetups, and that’s what happened in our scene.

David: [00:31:40]
And what about the Olympics? You know, this other kind of skating, this competitive skating. How do you feel about that? There’s this one girl, obviously, everyone’s talking about, Sky Brown, who’s eleven-years-old.

Briana: [00:31:51]
Yes. I love Sky. She is crazy. She’s such an inspiration. She’s just an amazing person. But I think the Olympics are rad. Like, skateboarding in the Olympics. Like, if you don’t wanna be in the Olympics just don’t think about it. I don’t understand when people are hating and angry. Like, my friends were gonna be in the Olympics this year, and it really changed their life. Like, they were so happy to be out there training every single day. And you’re going to the Olympics, like, what. It would’ve just changed even just women skateboarding. Like, all these girls get to see these women skateboarding, and it would just inspire and just change the whole entire scene. I love it. I love the Olympics. And I can’t wait for it to be in the Olympics. There’s no hate towards it.

David: [00:32:46]
I wanted to ask you also about the skate parks in New York. The condition and the respect, people just feel like kids could skate anywhere and they don’t really need the kind of, uh, spaces that are safe and big. Every park has a basketball court. Tompkins Square Park, which I’m sure you’re familiar with, and they’ve always had to improvise they would find a barrel or something on the street, or a garbage can, and they would have to bring it into the park. Is that ever gonna change? Or will skateboarding always be considered marginal that people who are rebels primarily are interested in and not really mainstream?

Briana: [00:34:01]
Okay. First, before I even answer that. That’s what makes New York skateboarding so different. Like, is skating the street, skating random obstacles. These barrels, these trash cans, just a bunch of trash. Like… When someone’s from New York you just can tell, like that’s a New York skateboarder. He’s like skating the poles in the skate park, just like a bunch of random obstacles. So, I think that it’s amazing that there’s less skate parks, in a way, here. Because you’re forced to use the world around you. And that’s the best part of skateboarding. You just figure out at Tompkins how to skate this trash, and then you go to the skreet- the skreets, and then you skate that trash. So, I love it. That’s- that’s my favorite thing, and I’m so grateful that I started skateboarding in New York. But I was gone from my apartment in New York for six months, and since I’ve been gone there’ve been six new skate parks built. So, I came back home to six new skate parks. And there’s plenty more that are gonna be built here. So…

David: [00:35:12]
Oh, really? In Manhattan? Or Brooklyn?

Briana: [00:35:14]
Yeah, in Manhattan, and Brooklyn, and Rockaway. So, you got a new one on the beach, like two new ones in the city like near Harlem. Um. 108. And a few in Brooklyn. So, we’re making some progress with skate parks.

New York is so flat. Like, it makes it so fun to skate the streets. There’s no hills, there’s no skating uphill, downhill, there’s so much to skate around you. That’s like one of my favorite things. Like, from skating to LES Skatepark to Tompkins Park, there is always just so much to skate on the way.

David: [00:35:54]
You mentioned earlier, about being a black woman growing up in Los Angeles

Briana: [00:36:07]

David: [00:36:07]
Because you didn’t quite fit in there, and even within your own family. Given Black Lives Matter and all the attention that’s being, justifiably put on this whole subject. Do you feel that there’s something good happening? What is your overall perspective on that?

Briana: [00:36:30]
My overall perspective. Um. So, yeah, I grew up just with no black family or black friends. And then I go to Australia where there’s very little black people again. So, when I came to New York, I just felt really happy and excited to be around other black people. It just felt like my family. So, during all of this Black Lives Matter, I’ve kind of like been forced to be an activist because of my platform. But it just felt right. It made such a big impact in my life to be around other black people when I came to New York, and it changed my life, and I started skateboarding because of another black female. And I just know how important it is. And it’s just pretty much become my life at this point. And I’ve been an activist out of just a platform. And I don’t really know how to speak about it without, like, just mumbling, but it’s just really important to me.

David: [00:37:30]
Well, it’s important to all of us.

Briana: [00:37:32]

David: [00:37:32]
And I’m glad you’re able to get it as part of your practice And, enjoying New York for what it is. Thank you very much, Briana King, for being my guest today. And once again, [sings] happy birthday to you.

Briana: [00:37:47]
Thank you.

David: [00:37:48]
Enjoy it.

Briana: [00:37:50]
Thank you. Thank you.

David: [00:37:53]



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