Eunice Chang– Skating’s Funny Girl

Eunice Chang | In episode 90 of Light Culture Podcast, Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits talks with model and musician, Eunice Chang AKA @notcheetos, skateboarder, positive influence, and internet personality.

In her popular YouTube and Instagram videos, Eunice Chang’s found a lane that allows her to be serious and lighthearted about her greatest passion — skateboarding. Her infectious personality shines through with her version of the skatepark community’s fun-filled antics. We talk about her love of the Jackass movies,  defying Asian-American stereotypes, social media’s impact on the sport’s fanbase, and why she wants to move to New York City.

PHOTO CREDIT: JOÉL VERGES

Read Transcript

Q&A

David (00:00):

In her popular YouTube and Instagram videos, Eunice Chang introduces herself as a professional skateboarder from the Los Angeles area. Characteristically humble, Eunice is, of course, much more than that. She’s also an authentic voice of a sport that continues to flex, striving and advocating for a multi-cultural society, staying true to its outsider roots, even as the sport grows in popularity and enters the big time with its upcoming appearance at the Tokyo Olympics.

David (00:41):

Like a lot of skateboarders, especially a female one who struggles to make a living doing what she loves, Eunice has had to go outside the skate park to make her mark, using her infectious personality and natural born creativity to spread the word via her lighthearted and infectious videos. Her good humor and skating professionalism makes you wish you were one of her friends too.

David (01:08):

While the corporate world tends to look at girls as skateboarding’s second-class citizens, their fan base is growing exponentially making Eunice one of the world’s hot new commodities. Welcome Eunice Chang.

Eunice Chang (01:23):

Oh my gosh (laughs). What-

David (01:24):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (01:25):

That was the sweetest intro ever. I’m, like, crying (laughs).

David (01:29):

Aw, see, you’re, you’re proving my point by-

Eunice Chang (01:31):

Aw, thank you.

David (01:32):

… by saying that. So, well, let’s talk about the commodity first, It seems like there’s-

Eunice Chang (01:36):

(laughs)

David (01:37):

…there’s always a lag between what’s happening in the streets and  what’s being talked about and looked at in the boardrooms and executive suites that make the big money decisions. We know that there’s something happening here that’s making a huge impact in people’s lives and deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting. But there seems to be a lag from (laughs), from the corporate world as far as recognizing that.

Eunice Chang (02:08):

Oh yeah, for sure. Skating’s been really popular lately (laughs). And, I think everybody’s trying to get a piece of it. There’s been a lot of new movies coming out. There’s, new TV shows. And I’ve been doing focus groups for brands also on the side. 

David (02:31):

What do they want to know?

Eunice Chang (02:34):

They want to know how they can be cool and authentic in the skateboarding scene, and (laughs)-

David (02:37):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (02:38):

… they can market and (laughs)-

David (02:39):

And you tell them, “Give me money, that’s how.”

Eunice Chang (02:42):

(laughs) Exactly.

David (02:44):

“And I’ll, I’ll help you.”

Eunice Chang (02:45):

(laughs)

David (02:47):

Yeah, that’s, I mean-

Eunice Chang (02:47):

Yeah.

David (02:48):

… isn’t that really, one of the ways they’re able to achieve that? It’s what it is, but it’s, it’s-

Eunice Chang (02:55):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (02:55):

… also true that other people look up to you, other girls particularly even if they don’t skate, 

 

Eunice Chang (03:04):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (03:04):

People like your voice and, and your attitude and everything in those videos.  you feel comfortable in that role?

Eunice Chang (03:13):

Oh, oh, thank you so much. Um, yeah. I mean, it’s cool. Like, my audience is super nice (laughs). And, like, it’s really encouraging. Um, oh, also just to, uh, preface, I’m not really a professional skateboarder. Um-

David (03:31):

You, don’t you introduce yourself as one?

Eunice Chang (03:33):

I do (laughs), but it’s like a parody of-

David (03:35):

Oh, I see.

Eunice Chang (03:35):

… um, (laughs) yeah it’s a parody of skateboarding How To videos.

David (03:41):

Oh, fine. Okay.

Eunice Chang (03:42):

Yeah (laughs).

David (03:42):

So, okay, what do you mean you’re not a professional? Does that mean you don’t get paid to skate?

Eunice Chang (03:54):

I don’t, no. So, yeah, I feel like a professional is, like, you, you have your name on a board. You’re,contractually signed to a company and, like, paid to skate. But I, I just skate for fun. I skate with a crew right now with, uh, Worble-

David (04:14):

Yeah.

Eunice Chang (04:14):

… and working on, like, a little video part with them. 

David (04:18):

So that’s not enough to make you professional? What is gonna be that-

Eunice Chang (04:22):

(laughs)

David (04:23):

… thing that you need? You need your own board or what? Sneaker?

Eunice Chang (04:27):

Yeah. I’d say so. Like, your name on a board and, paid to skate is, 

 

David (04:33):

To make appearances-

Eunice Chang (04:35):

… is, like, pro, pro level, yeah.

David (04:37):

But not competition? You’re not particularly into that style of skating?

Eunice Chang (04:41):

Uh, me personally, no. But there’s a lot of pro skaters that don’t do contests either. 

David (04:49):

But your style of skating, you’re a very smooth skater, and, you know, because I watch skate videos (laughs)-

Eunice Chang (04:55):

Oh, yeah.

David (04:55):

… believe it or not.

Eunice Chang (04:55):

Thank you.

David (04:57):

And, you know, and you have, like, a real smooth style, which is not easy to achieve in skateboarding, because it requires (laughs) so many awkwards, you know, making so many-

Eunice Chang (05:06):

Oh yeah (laughs).

David (05:07):

… awkward moves and doing these weird things. Um-

Eunice Chang (05:10):

Well, thank you.

David (05:11):

Did that come easily for you?

Eunice Chang (05:14):

I’ve been skating for a long time. I started when I was, like, 13 or 14. Um, and so I’ve always been, like, really comfortable cruising on a board. I stopped for a long time in high school and college and then picked it back up again. Once Instagram and social media started becoming really popular and I started seeing more and more girls skate, that’s what got me back into it. So I’ve been able to, ride a board for a long time. That’s how I have developed my style over that time.

David (05:55):

Yeah, before you were doing tricks, you mean, you didn’t start out doing tricks. You started out just-

Eunice Chang (06:00):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (06:01):

… c- cruising.

Eunice Chang (06:01):

Yeah.

David (06:02):

Did you have a longboard or what kind of board did you use?

Eunice Chang (06:05):

No, I always had a shortboard. I could cruise around and, ollie and then do basic tricks. I started skating transition a lot. And I feel like when you start, when you skate transition, that’s how you get really comfortable on the board. And then, you can start developing your own style and, like steezing out tricks and stuff.

David (06:31):

People, look up to you today-

Eunice Chang (06:35):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (06:37):

I don’t wanna stereotype you (laughs), but, 

 

Eunice Chang (06:45):

Oh. No.

David (06:45):

… it’s mostly girls, right, that are gonna be-

Eunice Chang (06:47):

It is, yeah.

David (06:48):

And so, what kind of relationship do you have with them? Are they younger, looking for advice or i- inspiration? What is it like?

Eunice Chang (06:57):

Oh, yeah. I get a lot of nice comments from younger girls and, especially, Asian women also. They’ll say, “Thank you for skateboarding,” and, “I look up to you,” and stuff like that. It’s just funny for me to be on the other side where I’m just, like, so normal. I don’t know (laughs). I have a day job. And then, I just love to skate. And so for someone to reach out and say that they look up to me and identify with me also is a huge deal. And, like, I, it’s, like, really … I don’t know. I feel, like, honored. I’m like, “Whoa, like … ” (laughs).

David (07:42):

Is, uh, being Asian American, particularly unique to, to break out into a skateboarding world. We know from the movies-

Eunice Chang (07:54):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (07:54):

The families tend to be very traditional and-

Eunice Chang (07:59):

Oh yeah, absolutely.

David (08:00):

… and looking for a certain kind of academic success. What was the reaction when your family started to see you going off in this direction?

Eunice Chang (08:12):

Yeah, that was totally my case. And, uh, (laughs) like, growing up, my parents were super like, “Just go to school.” They did not like me skateboarding at all. I had to buy my own boards, buy my own trucks, wheels, all that stuff. And, I’d come home with bruises and scars, and my dad would just, like, (laughs) just shake his head “You’ve gotta stop skating, kid.” But I, I just couldn’t, I don’t know. I was just always just so drawn to it.

Eunice Chang (08:45):

I did a lot of activities growing up. We had tennis lessons and I’d do golf or swimming and stuff like that or art. But skating was the one thing that I always stuck with. And, yeah, I didn’t see a lot of, like … I don’t know if this sounds weird, but every time I go to the skate park, I count how many other Asian people there are. And then I count how many other (laughs) girls there are. And so, I don’t know, like, being, uh … If you’re an Asian and a skater, I definitely just, like, connect with you on a different kind of level, because “Oh, we probably did have, like, a similar, childhood growing up.”

Eunice Chang (09:38):

Not to, stereotype or anything. But when you see someone that looks like you doing something that you like, it makes it more possible or real. I don’t know. I just connect with it. 

 

David (09:58):

Oh, yeah, 100%. 

 

Eunice Chang (10:00):

Yeah.

David (10:00):

You can imagine people are alone and having dreams, and they don’t know that anybody has similar dreams (laughs). 

Eunice Chang (10:10):

For sure, yeah.

David (10:11):

… to think you’re the only one, right?

Eunice Chang (10:13):

Yeah. Oh, so the movie Lords of Dogtown, I was in middle school when I saw that. And the woman that plays Peggy Oki, um, I saw that movie and oh, The Nuge was in it too. And I was like, “Oh, this girl is Asian, and she’s shredding this pool. If she can do it, then I can do it.” That was one of the things that really inspired me to start skating also.

David (10:43):

Yeah, incredible. And I’m sure there are others as well. 

Eunice Chang (10:47):

Yeah.

David (10:48):

So when you said you started and then you stopped and started, did you, uh … just skating by yourself at first? How did this socialization part of it start? Did you have a crew or just a group of friends or a skate park?

Eunice Chang (11:03):

Oh, yeah. It started out as just regular neighborhood kid stuff. Like, everyone … It was the summer between middle school and high school. I just moved into a new town, and just wanted to be outside. And so all the kids had bikes and scooters. I grew up in So Cal. So (laughs) regular neighborhood kid stuff. Back then, it wasn’t so serious, you know? Skateboarding is my life. It started out just real casual, skating down to the liquor store. I wasn’t thinking of myself as a woman in skateboarding. Like, I was just-

David (11:47):

Having fun.

Eunice Chang (11:48):

Yeah, just having fun. Now it is getting a little more serious. But I don’t know. I’m still having fun (laughs).

David (11:58):

Well, you mentioned you have a side job (laughs) 

Eunice Chang (12:01):

Oh, yeah.

David (12:02):

… a, a real job. So you, you work full-time at, at a web developer or into tech, yeah?

Eunice Chang (12:09):

So I work for a media company. I did start out as a web developer. And I was doing front-end development. And I did that for maybe, like, three or four years building websites. And eventually it just became, like, too … It became so time consuming. My coworkers would code all day during the day and then go home and code their side projects. They loved to code (laughs). And, I liked it, but I realized, like, “Oh, I really just wanna skate.” (laughs)

David (12:48):

Yeah, get your head out the window half the time, yeah.

Eunice Chang (12:49):

(laughs) Yeah, for sure.

David (12:49):

Hey (laughs).

Eunice Chang (12:54):

And so I don’t code anymore. I do, like, account management for this media company now and, check in on emails, make sure brands don’t hate us (laughs) and stuff.

David (13:05):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (13:05):

Working from home now has been so sick, because I can do my emails and then take a lunch break and then come back and go skate during the day, catch, a quick session and then-

David (13:20):

So how’s that gonna change? What’s-

Eunice Chang (13:22):

… come back-

David (13:22):

… your future look like with regard to that?

Eunice Chang (13:24):

I would love to stay remote forever (laughs).

David (13:29):

Do you think that’s possible

 

Eunice Chang (13:31):

Yeah, I think so. We’ve proven that, like, working from home is still effective. I’m equally as unproductive at home (laughs) as I am in the office.

David (13:45):

There you go.

Eunice Chang (13:45):

(laughs) So-

David (13:45):

Good recommendation (laughs).

Eunice Chang (13:45):

Yeah.

David (13:48):

Tell the boss who’s watching.

Eunice Chang (13:50):

(laughs)

David (13:50):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (13:52):

I’m doin’ work, I’m doin’ work. 

David (13:55):

And then you stopped. So what made you get into it again?

Eunice Chang (13:59):

I did. I stopped in high school and mostly college. But it was mostly Instagram and YouTube that got me back into it, because I started seeing other girls skating. And I was like, “Whoa, these girls are, like, shredding.” Because back then, when I started, I only knew of Lacey Baker and Vanessa Torres. There were only two or three other girls that I really knew were skating. And then fast forward, Instagram started popping off and, it was just way more inspiring to see other girls skating (laughs). I just connect with that way more.

Eunice Chang (14:44):

Like, dudes, I’ll watch a dude’s video part. They can be doing the craziest stuff and, like, the craziest most technical tricks, and, it’s cool, but if I see a girl, landing, maybe it’s not the craziest skating or the most technical, but, I feel like it’s way more in my realm of possibility. And, that’s what gets me motivated to go skate or, try that trick that she tried.

David (15:14):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, it’s interesting, because,, right now the NCAA, uh, basketball championships are on. I don’t know if you’re-

Eunice Chang (15:23):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (15:24):

… into that at all. There’s the girls, NCAA and there’s the boys. And-

Eunice Chang (15:30):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (15:30):

… it was a little bit of a beef among the girls originally, because they hadn’t been treated equally as the boys with regard to the facilities and-

Eunice Chang (15:40):

Hm.

David (15:40):

… training and weight room because they had to create this whole, uh, special space, due to COVID, so, you know, in order to be able to do this.

Eunice Chang (15:49):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (15:49):

So by way of background, just to apropos to what you were saying, so yesterday, for example, last night I was watching the boys and, and the girls, sort of going back and forth to the girls.

Eunice Chang (16:00):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (16:00):

The boys obviously just have more physical strength, they’re taller, And the girls-

Eunice Chang (16:07):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (16:08):

… have their own set of skills. And I wound up watching the girls, because somehow that was more exciting.

Eunice Chang (16:15):

Yeah.

David (16:15):

The game was better and even though, they weren’t gonna dunk-

Eunice Chang (16:20):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (16:20):

… (laughs) But everything else, it was just a much more interesting game to watch. And, you know, I sort of come to appreciate, the abilities of these women-

Eunice Chang (16:32):

Oh.

David (16:32):

… out there as well.

Eunice Chang (16:34):

Yeah, well, I love that.

David (16:35):

Do you think skateboarding in the Olympics is a good idea for the sport? Some people think it’s the commercialization and you, you know, you start-

Eunice Chang (16:45):

Right.

David (16:45):

… talking about women in sports, how these things-

Eunice Chang (16:49):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (16:49):

… have become commodified in the way that I described in the beginning.

Eunice Chang (16:53):

Yeah. I think it’s great, personally. I definitely see the perspective of why people aren’t so into it. Um, but, it’s creating opportunities. Like, if my friend was gonna go skate in the Olympics, I’d be so hyped for them, you know. Like, they’re gonna represent our country. They’re gonna be highlighted in a way that they should be. Skaters are athletes. 

 

David (17:25):

The professionalization of the sport, I guess, it’ll create-

Eunice Chang (17:31):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (17:31):

… two, two kinds of types, right? Because 

 

Eunice Chang (17:34):

Right.

David (17:34):

Some of these people have no real connection to the culture or the history-

Eunice Chang (17:39):

Right.

David (17:39):

… or, the idea of where this comes from and what it represents. And just seeing it as a sport then start at a young age, pursuing the tricks 

 

Eunice Chang (17:50):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (17:50):

… the jumps and all the things that they have to do.

Eunice Chang (17:53):

Yeah. I think, what it is is that the more mainstream skateboarding becomes, I think the people that really love it there’s a fear of diluting skate culture. Like, it’s gonna lose its authenticity that way. But, I feel like there’s, there’s room for different lanes. You know? Like, the core skaters, the real authentic ones are always gonna stay core. And they’ll always have their lane you know, like Thrasher, they’re, the skate Bible (laughs). They’re the gatekeepers of the culture almost.

Eunice Chang (18:36):

And, they’re always gonna be there. The Olympics and commercialization isn’t gonna take away from that, because I think they’ll always be there, if that makes sense. I don’t know (laughs).

David (18:53):

Yeah, and I understand. That’s a good point.

Eunice Chang (18:57):

I think there’s room for everyone, yeah.

David (18:59):

You speaking about how social media introduced you to these other women who were out there skating and, and inspired you to possibly do the same. And, since then, looking at your Instagram page with your friends and people that you engage with that you’ve-

Eunice Chang (19:18):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (19:19):

… become friends to some of these high profile women skaters as well. I think of Briana King who-

Eunice Chang (19:27):

Oh, yeah.

David (19:28):

… who was on my show as well, and, Skate Moss’s Victoria Taylor, do you know these people? Have you all met and have a relationship beyond just Instagram?

Eunice Chang (19:39):

Oh, yeah, for sure. We’re all friends in real life. Victoria lives, like, down the street from me. Um, we hang out. And yeah (laughs). Like, social media’s … there’s a lot of bad things about it, but I feel like I’ve benefited more from social media and, being able to link up with people and connecting with people like Victoria and Briana has been, like, really cool.

David (20:11):

For the women based on who, what other people I’ve spoken to, it’s especially important because, there’s always been an issue of going to the skate park and being the only girl or, it’s not all peace and love at, at the skate park all the time-

Eunice Chang (20:30):

Oh, yeah (laughs).

David (20:30):

… for everybody (laughs), you know?

Eunice Chang (20:32):

Absolutely (laughs), yeah.

David (20:33):

For them, they’ve always said that that was a way they knew they could connect with other girls. They could all meet there. They could do the meetups or just have a presence, so it’s not just, like, “Oh, I’m the only girl here trying to skate. This is not fun.”

Eunice Chang (20:48):

Yeah, absolutely. I respect Briana so much for that, because she started that whole thing, like, creating a safe space for, you know, not dudes (laughs), to come together and skate and feel comfortable. It’s so important for the culture. And, like, a lot of guys were upset about it like, “Oh, you’re … Like, why aren’t we invited to, like, (laughs) the skate sesh and stuff?” No, it’s, it’s really important that, there’s a safe space for women and, queer people to just be able to vibe and not feel pressure.

Eunice Chang (21:33):

You go to the skate park and it can be so vibey, like, where you just feel like you’re in the way like, guys will snake you. It’s not a very, uh, encouraging environment to learn. I still feel like that too, like, “Oh, I’m at the skatepark, but I don’t wanna, like, try something different, because then I’ll be, like, taking up space,” or like, “I just wanna do the tricks that I know I can land so I’m not in the way,” which hinders your progression. Briana did a really cool thing by making those meetups.

David (22:16):

So, you’re still-

Eunice Chang (22:17):

Yeah.

David (22:17):

… learning new tricks, yeah?

Eunice Chang (22:19):

Oh, yeah.

David (22:21):

So it’s fun to skate. You’ve already nailed a bunch of tricks. You don’t expect to be, a professional or a world class skater in a way that, the top skaters are today, I feel,-

Eunice Chang (22:53):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (22:54):

… by, by what you’ve been saying. But yet, you still feel like you need to learn new tricks. And so is that just part of what it means to be a skater, that you’re never done?

Eunice Chang (23:04):

I don’t know why my brain is like that, (laughs) curious really. Yeah, skateboarding just, like, is pretty fried. You’re rolling around on a piece of wood with wheels and just tryin’ to (laughs), Land these tricks. But I just feel it in my soul, like I have to … Like, when I get inspired to do something, I wanna try. Like, I really wanna land a tre flip. Like, I have these, list of things that I wanna do.

Eunice Chang (23:38):

There’s an infinite level of progression. I don’t think there’s one person that’s landed every single trick in the world, maybe, like, maybe Andy Anderson actually (laughs). He’s pretty crazy.

David (23:54):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (23:55):

But yeah, that’s the whole process. There’s no real end goal. As long as I’m progressing, even just a little bit, I just try to do something new every session. If I go to a new park, I’ll try to do something new on an obstacle or, learn a new flat ground trick. There’s infinite possibilities. Yeah, and-

David (24:19):

Well, one of the things that I’ve seen on, on your site, on your pages on your feed is that you also committed to make a new video every week, was it, or every day?

Eunice Chang (24:35):

(laughs) Oh, yeah.

David (24:35):

Every day? (laughs)

Eunice Chang (24:37):

I tried to, I tried the YouTube thing. It’s so hard to make content. I get these ideas and I feel inspired, and then it’s just editing, YouTube videos are so time consuming. And I think I was a little too ambitious about a video a week, but maybe a week a month. I was getting a lot of good feedback on it, and I know people like them (laughs). So I should probably-

David (25:08):

Yeah. No, I think they’re great, really.

Eunice Chang (25:09):

… get back on there.

David (25:10):

And they’re very special, because of this casual man on the street feeling. But, the man, women, whatever on the street is really in the skate park usually. You could ask some pretty serious questions, but it gets some fun answers, it’s very revealing.

Eunice Chang (25:32):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (25:33):

And it also paints a picture of what it’s like to be in this community.

Eunice Chang (25:39):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (25:40):

A feeling of, of comradery that I think people are looking for, and it’s hard to find.

Eunice Chang (25:47):

Aw, yeah. For sure. I feel like skateboarding’s, like, 90% not skateboarding either (laughs). It’s, like, also about, like, community and friends and having a support group. So if I can make content that does help bring everyone together, it’s, it’s cool.

David (26:15):

Well, it does, but, of course, it’s, it’s like a utopia, right? You don’t get the ugly scenes. You’re not catching the fights on camera or-

Eunice Chang (26:26):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (26:26):

Whatever else (laughs) might be, people bitching about something or another. It has, 

Eunice Chang (26:32):

No.

David (26:32):

… a real positive vibe to it.

Eunice Chang (26:34):

Aw.

David (26:35):

And by seeing the variety of people, it makes it look like a world that I would like to be a part of, everybody’s having fun and they’re all a bunch of cool kids. So-

Eunice Chang (26:47):

Aw, thank you so much.

David (26:49):

People react to that. So yeah, I would encourage you to keep doing that.

Eunice Chang (26:53):

Aw, thank you.

David (26:55):

And then you, you know, but you’re also-

Eunice Chang (26:56):

(laughs)

David (26:56):

… you also t-

Eunice Chang (26:56):

I will (laughs)

David (27:00):

(laughs) You will, you will, you will. Content creation as you, as a business model, it’s not a bad thing to be good at. And as you said skating is getting a lot more attention in the media world. And, you know, a segment, we can see- I can see a segment of you, you know, reporting on the skate-

Eunice Chang (27:21):

(laughs)

David (27:21):

… skate news.

Eunice Chang (27:24):

That’d be a dream come true. That’d be really cool.

David (27:27):

Listen, I would hire you right away.

Eunice Chang (27:29):

(laughs) Oh, thank you, David.

David (27:31):

(laughs) One of the subjects you talked about in one of your videos was self-esteem. Which is a serious subject, isn’t it, what made you talk about that?

Eunice Chang (27:50):

Oh, for sure. I feel skaters are so, like, we’re so in our own box. we just wanna skate and just be skaters. But there’s life things outside (laughs) of skateboarding that matters too, you know. Like, if skateboarding’s your only pillar of self-esteem, you’re gonna have a hard time (laughs), when I was transitioning from being a skate rat every single day I remember, making the decision, like, “Okay, I could pursue skateboarding as a career, or I could, like, have a normal job and, like, do that.”

Eunice Chang (28:31):

And, that transition from skate rat to full-time worker was the most depressing (laughs), hardest transition I’ve had so far. I’m glad I did it, because I feel like just a more well-rounded person overall. And, I feel kind of like an older sister, like an older cousin kind of role, now that I’m older. I’m 27. And so, I guess just, being able to give a little perspective. Everything is about skating (laughs), but not everything. I don’t know if that makes sense though.

David (29:22):

Right. Well, I

Eunice Chang (29:23):

Yeah.

David (29:24):

I was just thinking about your decision, at that time what brought you to the crossroads that you had to make that, decision between skater rat-

Eunice Chang (29:36):

Yeah (laughs).

David (29:36):

… and, and (laughs) and the real world.

Eunice Chang (29:40):

Between skate rat and the real world.

David (29:41):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (29:41):

I guess thinking about it long term. The skate industry has had a history of not really taking care of skaters. They don’t really have health insurance, you know. There’s just been, like, so many times where you have a sponsor and then you get hurt. You break your ankle or something, and then your sponsor drops you. That sucks. I definitely don’t wanna be in that kind of position. So I just decided that I’d self-sponsor myself and, 

David (30:26):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eunice Chang (30:27):

… have a job. And if I can, if I can keep skating, that’s the ultimate goal. That’s why I work my job. And-

David (30:38):

Yeah, but that’s too bad, because, you can be great and not be sponsored and not … you don’t need a team,

Eunice Chang (30:51):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (30:51):

To enjoy the sport at the optimum level. It’s just as good as you can make it for yourself.

Eunice Chang (30:58):

Yeah.

David (30:58):

But at the same time, that does, uh, create problems, like you were saying, insurance. Is there any union or organization that represents people who are not, pros in the sense of what that might require? I don’t know, some sort of level of participation in various events or sponsorships I don’t know. But it seems like that would be something that’s, uh, would be necessary.

Eunice Chang (31:27):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Damn. Not that I know of. I don’t know of any, like, union or anything that, like, protects skaters. But-

David (31:37):

Yeah.

Eunice Chang (31:38):

(laughs) I feel like that would actually progress, uh, the industry in, like, a positive way, for sure.

David (31:44):

So who did you look up, because girls, you know, look to you now for inspiration. You’ve even identified yourself as, as an older person on, who can have perspective on what’s going on with the younger kids. So they look up to you. But who did you look up to, uh, for inspiration when you were growing up?

Eunice Chang (32:05):

Uh, I mean, uh-

David (32:05):

Not just skaters, but it could be anything, music, art, film.

Eunice Chang (32:11):

Oh, my inspirations?

David (32:13):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eunice Chang (32:14):

Um, growing up, I mean … I was really influenced by Jackass and, like, Bam Margera.

David (32:24):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (32:24):

(laughs) And that’s another, reason why-

David (32:29):

Ah.

Eunice Chang (32:29):

… I got into (laughs) skating.

David (32:31):

Okay.

Eunice Chang (32:32):

Um, yeah, Elissa Stema- Elissa Steamer for sure. Um-

David (32:38):

Uh, tell us about her.

Eunice Chang (32:41):

Oh, she was on Toy Machine. She was one of the first pro female skaters and, like … Oh, Marisa Dal Santo also. Like, she was just way ahead of her time. Her part, um, she skated for Zero. Just, like, super gnarly. I feel like I’m blanking on so many names. My favorite-

David (33:07):

Yeah, it’s hard.

Eunice Chang (33:08):

Yeah (laughs). My favorite skater right now, who I am absolutely obsessed with is, uh, Alexis Sablone. Her style and her trick selection and her as a human being, she’s so cool and interesting. She’s also had a crazy, non- non-linear, skateboarding career. She went to the X Games. She went to MIT. She’s got a degree in architecture. That’s so insane. She animates and she’s still, coming out with, skate parts. And she’s a little bit older too, like 34. And so I don’t know if it’s, like, weird to bring up age, but, I’m 27 and I-

David (34:02):

(laughs) That’s not weird at all.

Eunice Chang (34:06):

(laughs) I feel like sometimes I’ll wake up and, like, my back hurts or, like, my ankles aren’t working right. And I’m like, “This is it. I’m done skating forever.”

David (34:17):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (34:17):

(laughs) And, I see Alexis Sablone killin’ it. She came out with her best part, like, she’s ever had. And I’m just like, “Damn, I gotta start, like, eating fruit and, like (laughs)-

David (34:29):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (34:29):

… “eating healthy and stuff.”

David (34:31):

But you don’t see the misses [crosstalk 00:34:32], that’s always a problem, you know.

Eunice Chang (34:34):

Oh, true. Yeah.

David (34:37):

Because that’s, yeah, the bruises that go along with getting to there, right?

Eunice Chang (34:40):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

David (34:43):

Did you ever hurt yourself seriously?

Eunice Chang (34:46):

I’ve hit my head a few times. That’s the worst. I hate, like, seeing anyone hit their head. That’s the worst for me.

David (34:56):

Yeah, that’s a scary one.

Eunice Chang (34:58):

I’ve torn like, um, ligaments in both my ankles, but I’ve never broken anything, knock on wood.

David (35:05):

Oh, yeah.

Eunice Chang (35:06):

Yeah (laughs).

David (35:08):

Woohoo, that’s, that’s major in this, uh, (laughs) this profession, isn’t it?

Eunice Chang (35:12):

For sure. Yeah. I need those feet. 

David (35:14):

I also saw that you, said you always wanted to move to New York.

Eunice Chang (35:22):

Oh my gosh, yes. I think this-

David (35:25):

Why? What’s about, what’s up in New York that you think is so good?

Eunice Chang (35:28):

Oh man, everything. The culture, the people, the diversity.

David (35:32):

(laughs) Really?

Eunice Chang (35:32):

Like, all the spots. Yeah (laughs). I love New York.

David (35:36):

(laughs) Where, where have I been? No, just joking.

Eunice Chang (35:39):

Um (laughs)-

David (35:40):

But I’m in New York too (laughs). You’ve been here, no doubt. And so what do you do when you come to New York? What do you like to do?

Eunice Chang (35:48):

I like to party and skate.

David (35:49):

(laughs)

Eunice Chang (35:53):

(laughs) I just have so many friends there. And, just seeing all the spots that I see on, on the internet and, like, I don’t, I just like the vibe there. It’s so cool. And, like, everything’s new. I mean, I love LA. I love, like … Like, this, LA’s, like, home base. I’ll always have my friends and family here, but, like, I’ve never lived anywhere else. And so New York is the only other place that I’d really love to, you know … hang out (laughs).

David (36:26):

So what’s stoppin’ you?

Eunice Chang (36:28):

I mean, I have a lease here at my apartment. It ends in June of this year.

David (36:36):

Whoa.

Eunice Chang (36:36):

And I think, yeah, it’s time to-

David (36:38):

Serious.

Eunice Chang (36:38):

… it’s now or never for me, you know.

David (36:39):

Woo.

Eunice Chang (36:39):

Like-

David (36:40):

Okay.

Eunice Chang (36:41):

Yeah.

David (36:42):

Well, New York, uh, needs good people to come here.

Eunice Chang (36:45):

Oh yeah (laughs).

David (36:46):

There’s a lot of churning because of the COVID year and people moving home or different whatever, you know, making changes in their lives. So the good news is there are a lot of apartments (laughs). They’re, they’re

Eunice Chang (36:59):

Oh, for sure.

David (37:01):

… they’re all being discounted. So, you know, if anybody wants to move to New York, probably this is a nice opportunity. There are other benefits too. There’s fewer people. There’s fewer tourists.

Eunice Chang (37:13):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (37:13):

It’s much more real and authentic and, uh, what New York is without the tourists.

Eunice Chang (37:19):

Yeah.

David (37:20):

I know you said your favorite part of skating is partying.

Eunice Chang (37:26):

Yeah (laughs).

David (37:28):

(laughs) So New York is, uh, capable of handling that side too. So-

Eunice Chang (37:34):

Also, also I feel like, I need to get more tough. Like, I’m kind of soft, uh (laughs)-

David (37:41):

Oh, sure.

Eunice Chang (37:42):

And New York will, uh, put some-

David (37:46):

Well-

Eunice Chang (37:46):

… hair on my back, or I don’t know how you say it (laughs).

David (37:49):

It can do that. It can do that. It can do that. It can be a very lonely, uh, city.

Eunice Chang (37:53):

Oh.

David (37:54):

So, but it’s good that you already have a scene-

Eunice Chang (37:56):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (37:56):

… and connected. So, well, thank you very much, Eunice, for being my guest today-

Eunice Chang (38:03):

Oh, thank you. This was so fun.

David (38:03):

… on Light Culture Podcast. This was fun. I did see the podcast, or that you did with those kids, the middle school kids, those two girls about music.

Eunice Chang (38:12):

Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David (38:13):

Uh, that was so cute.

Eunice Chang (38:15):

They’re (laughs)-

David (38:15):

That was (laughs)-

Eunice Chang (38:15):

… they were so sweet. That was my first podcast ever also.

David (38:21):

Oh, well, it was perfect.

Eunice Chang (38:21):

And they were … I was like, “I can’t say shit with these guys. They’re too sweet.”

David (38:27):

Well, thank you for joining mine.

Eunice Chang (38:29):

Thank you.

David (38:29):

And, uh, look forward to seeing you, shredding in, in New York City, Tompkins Square, which is right-

Eunice Chang (38:34):

Oh, yeah. I’ll see you at Tompkins.

David (38:36):

… outside my window. Yeah.

Eunice Chang (38:38):

(laughs)

David (38:38):

Okay. Take care.

Eunice Chang (38:40):

Awesome. Thank you, David.

David (38:41):

Bye.

Eunice Chang (38:42):

Bye.

 

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