skateboarding is not just for boys
We catch up with Leticia Bufoni, the first ever female Street League champion, to talk about skateboarding’s potential inclusion in the 2020 Olympics and why there needs to be more female skaters in the world.
Ever since her dad dropped her off to compete at the X Games in LA aged 14, Leticia Bufoni has been on a mission. Today, the Brazilian beauty is not only one of the most universally recognised female skaters in the world, she's also one of the few actually making money from the sport. In fact, with her own TV show and Nike sponsorship, many would call her the Ryan Sheckler of female skateboarding. Despite moonlighting as a successful model, actress and entrepreneur, she admits she owes it all to skateboarding and hopes to give something back to the scene by challenging the perception that skateboarding is a predominately male sport, and inspiring girls to get on boards all around the world. She's also keen to prove that skating isn't just something kids do in their spare time; it's a competitive sport and should be taken seriously. On Sunday she made history winning the first ever women's division at Street League, one of the biggest competitive skateboard events in the world. With skateboarding rumoured to appear for the first time ever at the 2020 Olympics, the future is looking very bright for Leticia Bufoni.
What does competitive skating mean to you, and why is it so important to your career?
Contests are really important; it's how you get your name out and where you get more sponsors. However, one week after contests people forget about it, while a video part lasts forever. If you film a good one, everyone is going to remember! This contest is different because it's the first Street League for women - a big one for us!
Do you consider yourself an athlete as much as a skater?
I do consider myself an athlete. Skateboarding hurts you a lot, so if you don't work out and stretch you can get injured all the time. It helps to keep your body strong and it really helps when you are skating big gaps. Skateboarding is changing a lot. It's not just a lifestyle; it's a sport.
So as an athlete and competitive skater, what's your take on skateboarding being at the Olympics? Do you think it will be a good thing for women?
I think it would be great for, not just women, but skateboarding. It would make more opportunities and people would understand that skateboarding is a sport. It's my job, that's what I do for a living. I skate every day and I train. That's what I love to do.
Have you ever felt that being a girl has held you back in skating?
It's great to be a girl in such a male sport. If you love skateboarding then you skate, and learn new tricks and skate every day! You can't give up just because it's a male sport. If you love it, you've got to keep doing it.
Are you pretty famous in Brazil? Do you get recognised?
Actually now I have a TV show on a nice big channel in Brazil, it's changing things for me a lot. So now when I go back I get recognised everywhere I go. Paparazzi taking pictures! I'm not used to it. I'm trying to, but it's kind of weird. I'm a skateboarder, not a famous person. But it is good to have people know what you do. That means you are making it. So I like it!
Do you enjoy the acting and modelling side of your work?
I am really into TV stuff, after I filmed my show. I'm taking acting classes. I like to do commercials and acting. Maybe in the future it's something I could do after skating. I really like it. Modelling is fun too. I want to go out there and show you can skate and be beautiful. You can be girly!
I think that's maybe your mission… to show girls they can be both.
Yes that's my goal! A lot of parents see guys skating and don't want their daughter doing it because it's a male sport. I'm here to prove it's not. You can be girly and you can go and skate. You can do the same as guys! I respect the other girls, like Elissa (Steamer) is my favourite and Lacey (Baker), they have great style and tricks. But we all have different styles. They do their thing and I do mine. We love each other and skate together. It's good that there is respect. Everyone is doing their part.
Your part for Push is about to drop. Do you have any more skate parts in the works?
Well I just finished Push, both my heels hurt from China and other filming so I need to take it easy for a few months. After this (Street League) I have Kimberly Cup and then I'm going to chill for six weeks. I am going straight to Brazil to get surgery on my hip so my mum and sisters can take care of me. It's going to be a mellow month. Then in November I am filming a movie, it's my first role! It's called Skate God. December will also be a mellow month. Then January it starts all over again. Then I think I'll film a full part for Nike.
So you're not giving it up anytime soon to concentrate on acting or modelling?
Hell no! Everything I got is from skateboarding. Everything I do is because I skate. It's not because I am beautiful or a model, because I am not. If I want to compete with models then I'm fucked! Everything is because of skateboarding. So I will never quit. Even when I'm 40 I'll be pushing around.
Photography Street League/Shigeo and Street League/Kanights.