nefarious: the all-female skate crew

Get to know Nefarious, the London-based 15 strong skate crew shedding a bright light on female skaters, as we sit down to chat with co-founder and photographer Viviana Gomez.

Fuelled by a staple diet of pizza and beer, Nefarious, also known as the Pizza Appreciation Society, are a diverse group of women from varying professions that encompass photography, film, music, writing and graphic design, who aim to encourage and support more women to take up the accessible sport that is skateboarding. With an ethos based on having fun, shredding hard and not letting society’s opinion on women dictate their lives, Nefarious represents an inclusive community shedding a bright light on female skaters.

What’s the best thing about being in an all-female skate crew?

I love skating with other girls. I feel like we’re not in any competition with each other and a bit more encouraging and willing to give each other a hand. However, that being said, I also love skating with boys. With them, it’s usually keep up or get left behind and that usually really pushes me to get better. They’ve also been skating for a lot longer than I have and have great little tips on how to nail tricks. I think society always wants to divide us and throw out the ‘female’ label, but in the end I’m a skater irrespective of my gender, there’s no difference in what we do, it’s still the same trick.

What makes Nefarious important to you?

Skateboarding gives us an outlet from whatever we've got going on in our day to day lives. It’s a real stress reliever. It can be really intimidating to go to a skate park on your own when you first start out and having each other there for moral support is so helpful. For me, Nefarious has become much more than just a group of friends, it’s a sisterhood. We’re just a big family now. I really love those girls and I’m lucky to them in my life.

In a predominantly male industry, what are some changes you hope to see in the skating world?

With the scene being so heavily male dominated, it’s important to show people that we’re out here trying to breakdown any gender barriers and stereotypes that come with being a female skater. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of inequality with things like money prizes being considerably lower for women, but there are so many amazing female skaters now paving the way for us so hopefully it’ll be something that we can all fight to change. I find it so annoying that women get asked about our reasons for skating in a way that men never would. And yes, unfortunately sometimes we do get the odd stupid remark about what tricks we can do, but most of the time these comments are coming from men outside of the the skate community. Guys that we’ve met at the skate park are usually really supportive and encouraging, and are stoked to see how much the female scene is growing.

I hope that as the scene continues to grow, more women are encouraged to go out there and give skateboarding a go and realise that you don’t have to be in your early teens to start skating.

What was the main attraction of joining the team for most involved?

It’s a support group for anyone who wants to start skateboarding. It’s about having a bunch of friends you can have a good time with. When we all first got together, some of us had just started skating and it was nice to be able to go to the skate park with someone else, as it can be pretty nerve wracking to show up on your own. Having the presence of another girl made it feel less intimidating. Now we try to support each other as best as we can when it comes to learning new tricks and we will always push each other to get better.

How does everyone make the time to commit to the team?

There’s never any pressure to meet up on a regular basis, we get together when we can. Most of us are freelancers or work part time so we’re able to meet up more regularly for a skate or just to chill out. Sometimes we’ll go months without seeing some of the girls who are still studying full-time, but we pick up right where we left off; we’ll go for a skate, have a beer and end up at someone house eating pizza.

What have you found to be the most essential things that keeps everyone together?

Beer, pizza and sweet hangs! We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We just like to go out and have a good time, whether we’re out skating or just hanging out. We’re all really creative individuals and whenever the opportunity comes up to do a shoot or video, we usually get together and bring different skills to the table and bounce ideas off of each other. We’re a combination of photographers, filmmakers, musicians, writers and graphic designers so there’s always lots of ideas and little projects going on. We’re like a little production company and it’s nice being able to do everything in-house. We get approached by a lot of men who want to sell us as an idea but we’re not interested in that. We just want to skate and create our own content which will hopefully encourage other women to get involved along the way.

Which of your senses are most heightened when skating?

It really depends on what mindset you’re in when you’re skating. Sometimes it takes a lot of concentration to avoid eating shit; whether it is trying to not to bail a trick or simply trying not to die bombing a hill, your senses go into hyper mode. You become aware of what your feet are doing, how the ground feels beneath you, your mind starts to calculate every single step you take until it becomes second nature and you don’t think about it. Other times I get so caught up that I don’t even realize what my body’s doing. I can be pushing down the street on my way somewhere and I won't even be thinking about what I’m doing, I'm kind of just in the zone. If I start overthinking it I throw my balance off and end up eat shit.

How does your profession compliment or work alongside skating?

I think skateboarding and photography have always gone hand in hand; they’re both forms of creative expression. What I love most about the skateboarding community is that isn’t not just about skating, it’s about being creative and seeing the world from a different perspective. Everyone is always on the hunt for a spot to skate and you begin to look at architecture in a completely different way, with different locations turning into little spots. I see photography in a similar way, it’s about going out there and capturing these special moments. It’s about using your surroundings to tell a story. I shoot a lot of different things but I’ve always loved capturing the strength of women and now I’m able to show the world that girls are shredding just as hard as the guys. I use my photography as an example that women can do anything they put their minds to, that we don’t have any limits. At the moment, I’m working on a photo series and zine project called Untitled which documents the lives and adventures of women who skate or ride motorbikes. I’m hoping that through capturing these incredible women, we can work towards breaking down any gender barriers and stereotypes.

What example do you hope Nefarious is for other women?

I hope that as the scene continues to grow, more women are encouraged to go out there and give skateboarding a go and realize that you don’t have to be in your early teens to start skating. It’s never too late to try anything out!

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