|Photo: Matt Smith|
|Photo: Dan Sparagna|
|Photo: Dan Sparagna|
|Photo: Matt Smith|
For most of you Amelia Brodka needs no introduction from us. She is a kick ass pro skater, the woman behind the movie UNDEREXPOSED, and the force behind the amazing Exposure skate events. She is doing awesome things year after year for women in skateboarding, so here she is to share an in depth interview like no other that's been done on the GN4LW site before. Enjoy!
Who's Rad? Amelia Brodka
Home is? Oceanside, CA
How long have you been Skating? 12 years
What got you into skateboarding?
- My brother didn’t let me use his skateboard when we first moved to America because I didn’t do it right. I just watched him enviously until his board got run over by a car.
- A few years later, I went to see the X-Games in Philly and stumbled upon a women’s vert demo. Seeing Lyn-Z Adams, Cara Beth Burnside and Jen O’Brien do airs and inverts made skateboarding seem accessible. It is inspiring to see people you can relate to doing something incredible. Lyn-z was the same age as me, so that made skateboarding on a high level seem even more attainable.
You are the woman behind the awesome documentary UNDEREXPOSED – can you tell us how you came up with this idea for your film?
Over the past decade, I have seen tremendous growth in the level of talent and amount of girls that were skateboarding. Around the time that I decided to do the documentary, it seemed like all of the avenues for women to pursue skateboarding were being shut down. It was rare for women to move up the ranks in sponsorship and all of the biggest competitions were cancelling their women’s divisions. I was confused as to why this was happening at a time when women’s skateboarding seemed to be bigger than it had ever been. I wanted to find out why this was happening, and how it could be changed. I figured the best way to inspire change would be to bring to light the issues perceived by the key players in the industry alongside footage showing tons of girls skating at a high level all over the world.
Have you seen some positive changes happen for women in the action sports industry in the past couple years since you launched the film?
I have! I wouldn’t say they necessarily a result of the film but a lot of changes began to take place around the time we finished the movie.
1. Today, there are many conversations going on about how to further women’s skateboarding. People are aware of the obstacles and seem inspired to tackle them!
2. More women’s competitions have popped up all over the world (X-Games women’s park in 2013, Van Doren Invitational, Vert Attack, etc.)
3. The level of girls skateboarding has been rising rapidly. Younger girls like Alana Smith, Poppy Star and Brighton Zeuner are bringing in a new, more progressive wave of girls’ skating.
4. More female-oriented skate companies are popping up (Meow, Yeah Yeah, XS Helmets, Pink Helmet Posse, etc.)
5. I’ve seen a slight increase in coverage of women’s skating in skate magazines.
6. Most recently, Leticia got a contract with Nike! That is a huge step that will no doubt inspire other companies to follow suit.
You were already a pro skater when you tackled this difficult subject – was that a hard decision to make, putting yourself on the line and speaking out?
When I first started the documentary, I thought all of these industry people I was trying to connect with would just dismiss me as some femi-nazi, wannabe filmmaker who didn’t understand the world of skateboarding. But I felt to strongly about trying to create some sort of change that I wasn’t really concerned about my reputation with the “core” industry. After all, no one’s opinions can keep me away from my skateboard.
However, I was pleasantly surprised with how nice and accommodating everyone was! People not only agreed to be interviewed, but they typically responded well, were incredibly helpful, and we had great conversations!
Everyone I interviewed provided me with new insights, connections to who else I could interview and even b-roll footage and photos.
The really difficult thing was putting myself in the documentary. There is a whole version of the film that I’m not even in (except for some skate shots). It took a year of convincing but Brian Lynch and test audiences from USC Annenberg showed me that I had to be interviewed in the film myself.
Where can girls see this awesome documentary?
You can watch the Underexposed on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes , YouTube Rentals, On Demand and mGO. DVDs are coming soon!
You also now run a contest appropriately named EXPOSURE, can you tell us a little about that and the idea behind it?
EXPOSURE is a women’s benefit event that features skate and yoga clinics, women’s pro and am skate competitions and live auctions. Proceeds from the event support survivors of domestic violence.
Last year, we had competitors from all over the world and raised over $10,000 for Carol’s House, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence.
The idea behind EXPOSURE is to create a platform for female skateboarders to pursue their passion for skating. Right now, it is just one contest in San Diego, but the intention behind it is to create a global series for girls everywhere!
THIS YEAR, EXPOSURE IS HAPPENING NOVEMBER 8 IN SAN DIEGO! Come check it out!
Please e-mail me if you would like to volunteer: Amelia.firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you are interested in donating to help make this year even more successful than last year, Please click HERE to donate to our Paypal account.
You are inspiring an entire generation of girls in skateboarding to speak out and stand up - can you tell us about some women out there that inspire you?
Lyn-Z has always been an inspiration to me. Not only did she inspire me to get into skateboarding at age 12, but today she inspires me with her ability to have a baby one day and jump the mega ramp the next!
Mimi Knoop is an inspiration as well, she is always pushing her skating while running Hoopla and doing work for The Alliance. I’m amazed that she has time for her art!
Jean Rusen is also an inspiration. She is a badass skate momma still pushing herself and making it to as many contests as she can, sometimes judging, working and skating the events. Jean has a very pure love and undying passion for skateboarding!
Any plans to do a follow up film? (we are all crossing our fingers!!)
We have thought about doing another film. However, I feel like it might be more productive to work on something more tangible, something that creates avenues for girls instead of just talking about them. That is why at the moment I am choosing to focus on EXPOSURE.
But if you have a compelling reason/story for another film, feel free to try to convince me to do another one! Just shoot me an e-mail or facebook message. Amelia.email@example.com
You always have a lot of energy - between skating, filming and everything else you do, it has to be hard to always eat healthy – any food choices/tips for girls who are also on the go ?
I feel like there is an assumption that it is hard to eat healthy but it is actually quite easy! There are grocery stores everywhere you go, and they are filled with veggies, fruits and nuts. I always keep vegan nutritional bars in my skate bag and car. Carrots, apples and raw trail mixes are great, portable snack that you can find anywhere. When I travel, I bring vegan protein powders and rezealiant superfood powders in shake cups to make quick shakes on the go. That way, if you don’t want funky airplane food, just add water or juice to your shaker cup! I pretty much stick to whole vegetables and fruits as well as legumes and nuts. I stopped eating animal products because it actually requires energy for your body to break down & use animal protein vs. assimilating your own protein from amino acids and proteins in plant-based foods.
What are your plans for competing in the upcoming year – any contests you are looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to Ultra Bowl and Get Set Go in Sweden. Malmo has an amazing skate scene that is supported by the city and a ton of incredible skaters come out for the event! Last year, there were around 30 girls from all over Europe that came out to compete in Get Set Go. It was super fun!
Besides that, I have a few other skate trips planned:
- Vancouver with XS Helmets to run a girls’ skate clinic for their launch event.
- Costa Rica for a community outreach event I planned with the Poseiden Foundation. We are traveling to the small village of Nosara to teach skateboarding, speak at schools bring shoes and boards for the kids.
Favorite place you've ever skated?
I am so grateful to have gotten to skate all over the world! If I had to list a few I’d say Newcastle in Australia, Malmo in Sweden, Rye Airfield in New Hampshire and Encinitas YMCA and Carlsbad as the local spots.
Frontside Stalefish! Maybe one day I will be able to tweak them like Tom Schaar…
Black Bear B12, Arbor, Theeve, Vox, 187 Killer Pads, Aura, Concrete Disciples & XS Helmets
I know you just signed with XS Helmets – can you tell us what it is about these helmets that made you decide to switch?
I have a tiny (possibly weird-shaped?) head! I have always had challenges with helmet and have always had to customize the padding. I am happy to have found a certified helmet that fits and that looks great too.
The founder, Christine, is a really talented designer with a passion to truly promote women in action sports. She and her business partner, Matt, have really great ideas and the fire to execute them!
Three Things You Don't Know About Me?
1. I’m addicted to Kombucha and often brew my own.
2. I used to rollerblade
3. English is my second language
Currently, I am working with The Poseiden Foundation on a community outreach event in Costa Rica. We are traveling to the small village of Nosara to teach skateboarding, speak at schools and bring shoes and boards for the kids so that they have the opportunity to fall in love with skateboarding!
EXPOSURE 2014 is happening Nov. 8!
Make sure you follow Amelia on Facebook, Instagram
Also follow UNDEREXPOSED on Facebook, instagram and their website
Thanks to Amelia for this awesome interview!