Since 1966, Vans has embraced originality and authenticity, championing unbridled expression through wild prints and customizable elements. Due to the durability and individuality of the classic Sk8-Hi silhouette, they have become a staple for skaters as well as fashion lovers far and wide.
Beatrice Domond has always marched to the beat of her own drum. With her own original style and bold attitude, she has changed the landscape of skateboarding as we know it. Not only is Beatrice the first and only female on Supreme’s skate team, but she is also proving that there is no one mold for what a successful skater looks like and hopes to transform the space from the inside out.
Hypebeast: What originally inspired you to get into skating growing up?
Beatrice Domond: I was always athletic but what I liked about skating is that it was individual. You don’t have to rely on anyone else. I played a lot of team sports growing up and it was always like if you’re the tallest, the ball gets passed you, or if you’re the fastest. And that’s a lot of pressure. That’s not my vibe. I found skating and it made me happy. I wasn’t stressed to do it — I wanted to do it. That was one thing in my life that I was seeing myself progressing in. So that was super cool for me, especially not being really good at school. When I put one hundred percent into skating, then I saw a hundred percent out. Whereas at school, I put a hundred percent in, and I’d get like 2% back. That progress in my skating kept me going.
Along with skating, you have so many other hobbies and interests that intersect with that. How has skating impacted those other areas of your life or brought you new hobbies to the table?
It’s definitely brought me new hobbies because I recently just tore my knee. Before then, it was just skate, skate, skate. I didn’t remember my life without it. I forgot that I used to paint and make collages and do photography because I was just so skate-focused. So getting hurt was kind of the coolest thing that ever happened to me. I started to find my whole self again and remembered that I can do other things. I’m not just this singular person. I have multiple avenues that I can touch, which I love because I bring them into skating and people who like my skating are also interested in my art.
I think that is the coolest part of you and your persona — you are so multifaceted. There are so many people who are okay with just having one outlet, but you challenge yourself.
Totally. I mean, because skaters can be kind of close-minded if it’s not ‘core.’ For a while, I thought, ‘Oh, I can’t do that because it’s not core.’ But after some time, I realized that was hindering my growth. At some point, you have to grow out of that and realize that it’s okay to do other stuff. I think skateboarding’s at a weird place right now, where it’s like ‘We gotta stay core,’ but being core is being yourself. You can’t be free if you’re making all these rules about how to be free. It’s a little backward, but I think we’re getting there as a community.
Being someone who has broken into this world that used to be heavily male-dominated, there may be sort of an archetype that is imposed upon you or this idea of what a female skater is supposed to be. How do you feel we can foster a more inclusive space in the skating world that doesn’t follow those archetypes?
What’s different for me is that in the beginning, I was just doing what I love. And people can see that. I just kept my head down and focused on skating and my skill. So once you know what you’re capable of, you can do whatever you want. It can’t be denied that you’re a good skater. There are so many skaters that people think dress horribly or they don’t like their style, but those people are still the gnarliest skaters.
I feel like at times that label is almost more constricting than freeing because then you feel like you have to fill this role for others and do it by their standards.
Totally. I’m in a weird position because, hopefully, there will be women of color after me. But I can do whatever I want because no one was before me. So no one can tell me what to do, you know? There’s no one who looks like me who laid that path out, so I can just make it up as I go along.
You’re making the rules.
Yeah. I recently realized, ‘I don’t have to follow what you guys say.’ Most of those voices are the complete opposite of me — male and white, and I’m a woman. I’m black. You guys can follow those rules, but I’m gonna do me. At first, I wanted to fit in because I’m already so different. But as I grew up, I realized that being different is a good thing. It’s a cool thing. I’m gonna make the rules for the girls who look like me, so they can have sicker rules. Yeah, you can model, you can do art, you can do photoshoots, why not?
In paving your own path comes creating your signature image. How do you bring your style to the sport? What are things you like to wear when skating that show your personality?
I just know if I’m comfortable, I’m psyched about what I’m wearing. I generally like to wear streetwear. I love my Vans. But I’m also a loafer girl. If I can skate in an outfit I’m wearing, then it’s chill, even if it’s all dressed up. That’s my aesthetic.
How do you maintain a healthy balance between all of your interests? Though for you, it sounds like it just comes naturally since that’s who you are.
I’m a busybody. I just love to do things — I can’t just sit down. That’s why I like skating; it’s both an art and athletic. Even when I’m resting, I’m thinking about a new skate spot or something I can make since I just love to make things.
Do you sometimes see those artistic releases in a therapeutic sense? When you’re tired from skating, is visual art a release for you?
It totally can be a release. I would say just recently, I’m more of an outgoing, talkative person — I have to be for my job. But even though I wasn’t really a talker, I’ve always had a lot to say. So I’d make things instead, to show what I wanted to say. Sometimes I’m not the best at expressing my feelings, so showing them is easier.
Can you tell me a bit about the process of making a zine? How do the obstacles you face in these creative hobbies differ from those you face as a skater?
I would say that sometimes expressing myself visually is more difficult. With skating, you try a trick for hours and you don’t leave until you get it. It’s an emotional process, but it’s a less emotional process in a sense. Whereas, I just made a zine about my surgery on my knee and being heartbroken for the first time. And I don’t know, that took a lot out of me to make, but at the end of it I was like, ‘Oh, I see why people do stuff like this.’ It works.
That’s definitely that therapeutic element we talked about, especially if that was a hard time for you. So you would call that your first heartbreak?
Oh, for sure. That one really got me and it came at a weird time in my life. I tore my ACL and had to get surgery. I never got hurt before. It was a lot of things at once. I was sitting in my apartment and trying not to lose it, thinking, ‘What can I do to take my mind off of this?’ And every day I would just crutch to the desk and start making things that I felt and at the end of the six months, I had a little zine.
It lets you know that really nice things can come out of these times when you feel really horrible.
I hadn’t been so low before and watched myself climb up — by myself. I think that’s a really cool thing to experience in your life. I kid you not, six months ago I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to skate ever again.’ But I would just chip away slowly every day, physical therapy and eating right, then all of a sudden, I’m back on my board; 11 months later.
You’ve gone from the “Cherry” video in 2014 to now being featured in Supreme’s “Play Dead” video. How did it feel to be a part of that, especially representing your current city of New York?
I mean, it’s an honor. We worked really hard on that video. To see myself go from Cherry to now is crazy. Sometimes I don’t understand it. I’m grateful to be a part of Supreme. We’ve had a long relationship so I couldn’t be more stoked. I was just a kid in 2014. My first time in New York was coming to that Cherry premiere.
Wow — that’s very full circle.
It’s wild. My mom and I took the Amtrak and I went to the Supreme store for the first time and everyone was so welcoming.
What has been the most exciting part of your partnership with Vans?
They’re great. I’m honored to ride for them because that’s the skateboarding shoe. I tell people all the time, any of your pro skaters, no matter who they ride for now, they skated Vans. So for me to be a part of them, making shoes with them, and designing stuff for them is amazing.
Does the design aspect come second nature for you, since you also are immersed in that creative realm?
For sure. I’m so hands-on. The only thing I don’t do is put the shoe together physically. But when it comes to colors, what fabric we’re using, when are we putting it out? How are we shooting the creative video? I’m all on top of that. I used to draw shoes in my room all the time when I was a kid, just pretending, but now it gets to come to life.
You have this really unique opportunity to be able to pave a different path for people who look like you and who maybe didn’t think there was space for them in the skating realm. You’ve been titled the future of skateboarding. How do you feel about that? What’s the legacy that you hope to create for yourself in this world?
I want to film a video — a full one, that I’m proud of and can look back on. I want to give a kid a full circle moment, like Jason and Anthony at FA gave me. What they did for me, I wanna do for some other girl or boy. I don’t think they knew what I would’ve done, but they believed in me. I want to give some kids from a small town some boards and watch them grow. Then one day maybe they’ll be having this conversation.
Each silhouette in the Vans Classics collection is available now via Vans.com/classics.