The introduction of skateboarding at the 2020 Olympic Games, women's divisions in international level skate competitions, the addition of a women's category with a $ 20,000 prize purse at Am Getting Paid 2018... Women's Skateboarding is definitely growing exponentially right now. And it's the BEST !!!
Quebec counts one of the girl skaters that stands out the most on the local and international scenes right now. Yes, we're talking about Annie Guglia. We had the chance to speak to her to get to know more about her perception of skateboarding, the Olympic Games and what it takes to "make it" in the industry as a girl skater.
Believe us, the future is bright!
Photo: Élodie Salomon
Photo: Erik Lemay
Let’s start with the basics: How and when did you start skating?
My little brother got a skateboard for Christmas in 2000. The following summer, I borrowed it regularly and tried to ollie up a sidewalk for hours, so my parents bought me one too. When I returned to high school the following year, I quickly made friends with the "skaters gang" and that's where skating went from being a hobby to a passion. It quickly became a big part of my identity.
What your skate crew looked like when you first started? Were there many girls to skate with in Montreal?
At first, I skated only with guys and it never bothered me. I never felt like it was weird that I'm a girl in the skate world. I would even say it took me some time to realize that there were not a lot of girls skating! It was in 2006, when I met the Skirtboarders, that I realized it was rare to see girls in skateboarding, and that I understood the importance of getting together to show to those who are “scared” to start that it is possible... and also really fun!
Photo: Erik Lemay
How would you describe the state of today's women’s skateboarding industry compared to when you started?
I would say that skateboarding today is more "accessible" for girls (and trans and non-binary people) than when I started. In society in general, I find that openness to gender identity, in relation to what one can do as a "girl" or "guy," is generally more advanced. It's rare to hear someone say that skateboarding is not for girls today compared to 15 years ago. I still hear it, but it is often parents who still have this old mentality and who pass it on to their children.
The fact that we are showing more and more girls who skate in the medias also makes a big difference and inspires the other girls a lot! Before, the biggest girls' skateboard competitions like the X-Games always took place in the early morning and were never on television while now they are! In skateparks, there's always girls shredding now! So yes, I'm starting to see a real positive difference regarding the place of girls in skateboarding.
Photo: Erik Lemay
What do you think of the introduction of skateboarding at the Olympics?
I think it's going to be positive for skateboarding. On one hand, I think it's going to get the attention of the general public and bring money into the industry, which will benefit skate companies and skaters with the construction of thousands of skateparks around the world.
On the other hand, I think that when skateboarding democratizes and becomes more mainstream, a lot of core skaters will always find new ways to distance themselves from the mainstream and that will always push further to differentiate themselves and remain core. In the end, it generates creativity that benefits the subculture of skateboarding, in my opinion.
Ultimately, I think it will create two worlds in skateboarding, a bit like we already see but more distinct: The world of Olympic / competitive skateboarding, and the world of lifestyle/street skating. In both cases, it should be driven by passion, It's just a different route, depending on what you are looking to experience with your skating.
Do you think that adding this discipline to the Games will push more girls to start skating?
Definitely! I think any window that exposes girls who skate pushes more girls to want to start skating. It's quite impressive the number of people who still today say to me "Wow! This is the first time I see girl skateboarding who's that good! ". It's inspiring for a girl to see other girls who skate, it shows you that you can really get there too. The fact that the Olympics consider women equal to men will bring a lot of positive for us because it now pushes everyone to consider girls as much as guys in the sport. Big purses for competitions, sponsors, etc.
As we suddenly get the same visibility at the Olympics and the medals are worth the same, we are worth the same thing even if the caliber is not as high as for men. I think it's important because it is by promoting equality first that the result then becomes similar. When I talk to athletes from other sports about what a podium in skateboarding can be worth, for example, $ 10,000 for a guy and $ 1,000 for a girl, they cannot believe it. Fortunately, it's changing with the realization that there are as many girls as there are guys on the planet and we're finding new ways to attract them to skateboarding. Right now, there are 3 times more girls who start skating than guys, so I have no doubt that the skill level of girls will skyrocket in the next few years thanks to the growing interest in girls skaters and the equal opportunities offered to them!
Just watch the Vans Park Series, X-Games and SLS, with all the new recruits appearing. It's coming!
Last year, you entered Am Getting Paid and you were the only girl in the men's category. Major respect for that! How did it feel?
It was funny!! Honestly, I did it for fun because obviously, I was not going there to win the contest. I find it important to show girls that there is no embarrassment in skating with whoever, no matter the level. Personally, I really like doing contests; it seems weird but it pushes me to skate and enjoy the present moment and to commit. I like the extra dose of adrenaline that goes on when I skate a contest, it pushes me to try things that usually scare me. For example, at AM Getting Paid last year, I landed nollie lipslide on the 4 steps downrail in my run and it was a trick that I wanted to try it and I dared to jump on it in my run! In short, I really enjoyed my experience and look forward to this year's edition!
What do you think of the addition of a female category and the $20000 prize purse at this year’s AGP?
Even though there's a lot of enthusiasm for women's skateboarding at the moment, do you think there are still injustices or inequalities between men and women skaters?
I think that there are physiological differences but that it is the human who transpose them into inequalities. Physiologically, a girl after adolescence is not really built to jump on a 25 steps rail. Her estrogen tells her to make babies while a guy's testosterone tells him to go fight against a boar! So I think there will always be a difference in caliber between girls and guys, but that does not mean girls, like guys, are not going to constantly push the boundaries of what we already know and that one is not as valid as the other!
On the other hand, more and more people start to realize that and to consider it in the decision-making and I think that we're going in the right direction as far as injustices and unequal opportunities!