Briana King is changing the rules in the skate culture.
Coincidence or not, Briana King was born in California, the birthplace of skate culture.
At 12, she took her first steps with the board and, like most girls, realized that skateboarding in those days was still a boys club.
For anyone learning anything, hearing mean comments are discouraging and can really make us give up, but Briana has one-of-a-kind talent and strength. Showing what it's like to do something "like a girl," she started posting skateboarding tutorials on social media so everyone could learn at their own time and build trust.
Since then, Briana has been increasingly involved and acting in several places of the front in this modern but often old-fashioned world. Changes are urgent, inclusion is the path, and the athlete has done her part through sport, lifestyle, and the community that she's creating.
This led Briana to found Display Only in 2018. The project facilitates local skate meetups for girls and LGBTQ+ people to promote real-world interactions. It's a safe space where newcomers can learn, practice, or simply hang out.
When we talked with her, she was in Florida doing what she loves to do: skating with real people. Keep reading to know about her projects, her path, the new way of showing skateboarding in pop culture, and how she became a boundary breaker.
The main goal of Display Only is to break stereotypes and create safe spaces for girls & LGBTQ+ people. How did you feel when you began to skate?
Well, when I skated when I was younger, I really had no clue why I felt uncomfortable, I thought that was my skateboard itself. I was like, "Okay, maybe I suck and that's why I'm just really uncomfortable on my skateboard."
And I'd always end up getting into it and stopping and getting into it. And the moment when I found another group of girls and gays, just my community, that moment, I was like,
"Oh, it's not me on my skateboard, it was just me being around a bunch of hating men."
Because they're guys, they'll give me such a hard time and it wasn't always like that for me. It wasn't 'till I was 24 years old that I moved to New York and found a group of girls, and "Oh, this is what it should feel like." And I wanna share this similar feeling with everybody else.
You also work as a model, and it's inspiring other people all around. What inspires you?
My family. But then, at the same time, my family is still skateboarding. One of my nieces is a snowskater and the other is in fashion. They like making clothes, making art together. So, my whole family is what's inspiring to me, and they're all artists also.
When it comes to fashion and making clothes, it's just "Okay, this outfit I feel good on." And then it all rounds back around to skateboarding. So what inspires me would be fashion.
Some brands are trying to embrace skateboarding culture and to be part of the skate world. How do you feel about this movement?
I think it just makes sense, skateboarders have always been so stylish. And styling and street fashion have just been like a thing on the uprise for a while now. They just finally figured out that a lot of fashion has been inspired by skateboarding.
A lot of skateboarders like going to the thrift or customizing their clothes. And we don't really have a lot, so we just need to make the best out of the things that we do have. They're just like a little behind.
In high-end brands, pop culture seems to be changing the way skaters are portrayed. Can you talk about your experience and relationship with Betty (HBO Max)?
My first year in skateboarding. That was the year we shot the Skate Kitchen movie, which I'm also in. We shot some of season one of Betty and season two too. They're my really good friends. Ajani is really out here, in modeling, and working with all these humongous brands is just really, honestly rad.
Obviously, it's part-appropriate, but now people have more money to just relax, focus on what they really love, and that's skateboarding. So as much as other skateboarders wanna be mad, some of your favorite skateboarders gotta focus on their craft, because they are making more money. And they don't have to be stressed about eating or where they're gonna sleep tonight.
Could you rank your favorite sneakers to skateboard?
My Air Jordan 1s. That's pretty much all that I skate in.
They're the only shoes that I got three times in a row. So, if I were to give my top three, it would be pine green, pine green, pine green. It's just green the way I like, I look down and I'm skateboarding, that's always something that just makes me so happy. I'm like, "you make me feel good."
What you can say to encourage people who are starting to skate?
I just tell them from the beginning that I also felt very uncomfortable. It's normal to feel scared, it's normal to feel uncomfortable, it's normal to feel anxious.
And you just gotta give it some time. It's just a comfortable space, this is a safe space, this is a welcoming space, and especially, the friendliest people ever. That's something that I always have to share in the captions beforehand. I promise you, if you come, everybody's going to say hello to you.
Leading your own space is never easy, but conquering spaces and transforming them into strength and inclusion is a queen's move, or rather, a King's move.
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