Minna is the first girl to win most of the contests she enters…
However, she says it doesn’t matter to her if she’s competing against boys or girls, she just wants to skate. The 10-year-old has been skating since she was in diapers and has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Sports International Magazine, and even a Disney campaign.
She tells us why “girl” is not a four letter word, and explains how she was able to share her light in skating with all types of people, including adults.
Q: Some would say skateboarding isn’t traditionally known as a “girls’ sport.” What do you say to that?
A: They can say that but I think they are wrong. I have been skating since I was in diapers and I have always skated with boys, girls, older and younger. Anyone can choose whatever sport they want to do.
Q: Girl is not a 4 Letter Word is one of your sponsors, but it’s also an awesome, empowering phrase. Can you tell us a little more about what that phrase means to you?
A: Cindy Whitehead is the brains behind Girl is not a 4 Letter Word and she’s awesome. She’s an original vert pro skater girl from the ‘70s, and back then there were not many girls at all skating. Lots of boys would use the word “girl” as if it was a bad word, (lots of bad words ARE four-letter words), using “girl” as an insult: “you throw like a girl” or “run like a girl” is something that boys would say to insult each other, but being a girl is not a bad thing, being a girl is awesome! Yes, literally “girl” is a word that is made up of four letters but that’s okay, that’s part of the point of the whole thing! That’s why on the logo on my helmet the “not” is crossed out to show that part of it is also true but not what we mean.
Q: What’s the last trick or goal you achieved, and how did you work up to it?
A: I practiced really hard to progress and learn some new tricks in order to compete in two contests recently. In September, I earned first place at the Tim Brauch Foundation Memorial Contest in San Jose. I was really proud of myself because I landed all of the tricks that I really wanted to. Then I practiced really hard again to compete this November at The Exposure Skate Contest in San Diego. Exposure is the world’s largest all female skateboarding contest, with over 120 female riders, and I earned first place in bowl, third place in vert and 4th place in street. I am really hyped on that because I made the top 5 in 3 events, which no girl has ever done before at Exposure!
Q: Has there been a moment when you were able to Share Your Light and inspire other skaters?
A: I am really grateful that I had the chance to show that girls can skate when I skated for the Disney Channel’s very inspiring “Dream Big Princess” (at minute 1:21) campaign, and millions of girls have seen it on TV, so that’s really awesome. Also, this past weekend I skated with a girl, who is around my mom’s age, and she told me that when she saw me drop in the deep at the Vans Girls Combi Bowl Contest back when I was 7 and she said she got inspired to start skating that bowl, too! She even dropped in at that exact same spot for the very first time recently and shared that story with me and my mom. That was really totally amazing and inspiring to hear!
Q: A lot of press coverage around your awards mention “the first girl to win.” How does it feel knowing you’re lighting up the world of skating for women?
A: I just love to go and skate everything and compete. I skate in contests with boys and or girls, it doesn’t matter either way to me, I just want to skate. If it turns out later that I’m “the first girl to win” certain things in skateboarding, that’s really great and awesome too, but that’s not why I do it. I just love to skate! I have the best time skating with my friends and skating contests are extra fun because I get to skate with friends from all over the world that I don’t get to see every day. It does not mean it’s only for boys. Skateboarding is for anyone who wants to do it.
This season Athleta is celebrating women coming together to support each other in the pursuit of our wildest dreams. Share Your Light with gifts made for team adventures.