‘I've been skating all day!’ – Beatrice Domond

At the intersection of style and skating with Supreme’s first – and so far only – female pro skateboarder.
Beatrice Domond

One of Beatrice Domond’s favorite places to skate is the rectangle of asphalt in Tompkins Square Park. These days, this spot in New York City’s East Village is almost her second home. Even by skateboarding’s laid-back conventions, it’s pretty bare: there are no big ramps, no stairs to jump down, just a flat patch of land with a few low rails, surrounded by black metal fencing. And yet it’s still a legendary destination known to skaters as the ‘TF’ or ‘Training Facility’ – a joke playing on the fact there’s not a whole lot to skate here. 

At first, Beatrice seems scarcely more able to stay on her board than the others. When she tries a complicated kickflip, she falls and the board shoots away from her. Thirty seconds later, she falls again – but absorbed in the private rituals of flight and fall, her untroubled expression remains fixed, only occasionally breaking into a smile. Skateboarding, of course, involves an almost crazy willingness to fail, again and again, in pursuit of landing perfect tricks. 

It turns out she’s only just coming back from injury. A bad knee stopped her from skateboarding for six months. ‘I’ve never gotten hurt before’ – almost unprecedented in this industry and for someone in their late 20s, but she’s not making it up – ‘so it was a scary period of time. I don’t know who I am without skateboarding,’ she says. ‘I thought I might not skate again. I was, like, am I done?’

But here she is. ‘Skating is 90% mental. So I forced myself to start thinking about all the tricks I wanted to do. Practicing them in my head,’ she says. ‘When I had the strength in my legs back, the tricks were there. Because I had mentally trained myself not to be scared to get back out there. I was ready to go.’ 

Thankfully, Beatrice lands perfect tricks more than virtually all of the approximately 10 million skateboarders in the US. She’s a professional skateboarder and the first – and so far only – woman to be sponsored by Supreme. Highsnobiety has announced her as ‘the future of skateboarding’ and check out any kind of ‘top skaters’ list from Thrasher Magazine or elsewhere and you can bet she’ll be on it. This year alone, her work has taken her to France, Japan and Thailand. She considers trips to London, Milan and LA as ‘standard’. 

Shoe deals are the financial pinnacle of a skateboarding career – and if you’re right at the top you can get your name on them, too. Hence why her latest collaboration with Vans has ‘Beatrice’ in gold emblazoned across the heel. She’s also been featured in Vogue, modeled for Thom Browne and designed a trunk for Louis Vuitton. Along with the likes of Tyshawn Jones, she’s one of the few people around the world who have launched a successful career sitting at the intersection of style and skating.

‘We’re the first generation to have successful careers in New York City,’ Beatrice explains. ‘For six months of the year, it’s hard to skate here. The rain. The snow. The market and all the brands used to all be out in LA. But as the market has gotten bigger and expanded, it’s okay to be based here now.’ 

For Beatrice, skateboarding well is not only about landing tricks. ‘It’s a style, an aesthetic, a feeling,’ she explains. ‘Look at LeBron James: you care that he can shoot, but you follow him as much for his aesthetic. You can dunk in the NBA because it’s beautiful to watch, not because it’s technical like passing. Typical college basketball is boring as hell. Then as soon as they can dunk it’s like, okay, I get it now. This is entertainment. This is beauty.’ 

Over the past handful of years, women’s skateboarding has exploded in popularity. Even so, years of underfunding and lack of marketing means there’s still catching up to do. Does Beatrice feel a heavy weight on her shoulders?

‘It’s a lot to bear,’ she says. ‘I do realize the impact I have, especially because there’s only one of me. I know the power that I hold, so I hold myself to higher standards. Once the next girl comes along, hopefully she gets treated in a certain way because I’ve helped put in some of the work for her.’

Could the big skate brands do more to help more female skaters become pro? ‘When I first read that I was Supreme’s first ever pro skater, it felt incredible. I read it in an interview. But until then, I hadn’t even thought about it. At the end of the day, they run the company how they like. I don’t think they say: “We got to find a girl. We got to hit a quota.” I think they were just like, “Beatrice is cool. She hangs out with us. She’s good at skating.” It wasn’t like ticking a box. It’s natural with all my sponsors.’ 

Beatrice grew up in Florida. Pulling out her iPhone, she shows a picture of herself when she was five holding her first skateboard. She had seen someone skating at school and went home later that day, begging her parents for a board of her own. When she finally managed to wear her dad down, he came home with a longboard. ‘Not what I was hyped by!’ she laughs. ‘But I got a proper board shortly afterwards.’ 

She is the second of four siblings. ‘My mom put all of us in sports teams. I also played soccer and tennis. She wanted us all to be well-rounded,’ she says. ‘Also: there are four of us and she wanted us to be exhausted by the time we got home!’ 

When she was small, ‘I used to make my younger brother come skating with me, but he quit after I learned to kickflip before him. I definitely made him eat shit for that!’  

She credits her parents with giving her the confidence to pursue a career in skating. ‘Starting out, ignorance is bliss. Because skating is hard,’ she says. ‘It’s competitive. You have to really want it. Luckily there was no one telling me that I couldn’t do something. Sometimes I’d tell my mom, “I can’t believe it. I got sent this box of skateboards.” And she’d be like, “Well, of course. You’re good enough.” So I didn’t really have any barriers. It was super cool. My environment was just positive. That’s how I kept on going.’ 

When she was 17, she emailed some clips to William Strobeck, who has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed videographers in skating history. He liked what he saw and included footage of Beatrice in Cherry, one of the most influential skate videos ever recorded, which he directed for Supreme.

It was a huge breakthrough moment. Beatrice was invited to the screening in New York. She took her mom. ‘We got on the Amtrak up here – a massive train that goes from state to state,’ she remembers. ‘The screening was wild. All my favorite skaters were there. Jahmal Williams. Todd Jordan. Kyle Demers. When my trick came on the screen everyone went “waaaaaaahhhhh”.’

‘I’d never been to a skate premier before,’ she continues. ‘It was almost too much to take in. All these people that I look up to in one room, clapping for my trick. That was the moment I knew for sure I could do this. That I wanted to do this.’ 

The parties have kept on coming ever since. After the London-based skate brand Palace collaborated with Calvin Klein on a clothing line – starring Willem Dafoe as a pizza boy in one of the campaign videos – they held an event in New York. ‘Maybe the best party I’ve been to,’ Beatrice says. ‘It’s funny because they'll have a Hollywood A-lister sitting next to a skateboarder like Shawn Powers. And I’m thinking, how the fuck did we get in the room? We’ll be drinking the best champagne right next to them.’

Despite the obvious benefits, pro skaters face many challenges. There’s the constant threat of a career-ending injury; despite the recent progress, it remains a young man’s game. This is partly why Beatrice has such a fierce work ethic. 

‘Back in the day, there wasn’t space for someone that looked like me in the skateboarding world. It wasn’t a viable “career” – whatever that means, I’m still figuring it out. Now there’s less gatekeeping involved, but it’s still not easy. That’s why you’ll find me out here skating. I want to help keep moving the culture forwards.’ 

Unlike the vast majority of skaters, she’s a morning person. ‘Everyone generally wakes up at 12 and will message, “What's up? You skating today?” And I’ll reply, “Yeah bro, I've been skating all day!” My happiness revolves around hitting a trick, which is kind of fucked up but sick at the same time. After skating I’ll be shattered. I’ll grab something to eat, go home and watch skate videos until I fall asleep.’

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