In the days leading up to the interview and photoshoot with Evelia, Jenny Sampson and I got to talk over zoom a little bit. I learned a ton about tintypes, developing photos, and how Jenny got into skate photography but Evelia was kind of a mystery to me. I learned a little about Evelia and her Dad from Jenny and got a heads up to check out her Instagram before the interview so I did. Their entire thread was super creative with a plethora of skits, skate clips, and borderline movie quality. My Dad and I meet everyone at the Berkely skatepark this summer to interview Evelia and check out Jenny Sampson's wet plate photo process. ~Violet Reed
Violet: Can you introduce yourself?
Evelia: My name is Evelia, I use they/she pronouns, and I live in West Oakland. I’m an only child and I’m ten years old. I am bilingual. I speak English and Spanish. I’m named after my Grandma who passed away when I was 6.
Violet: Alright, great! It's so nice to meet you! Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into skating?
Evelia: My dad has been skating since he was like 11, so he started teaching me when I was about six. I basically just rode around on a skateboard not trying any tricks for a while, but after a year or two, I started having him spot me on a lot of tricks.
Violet: When do you like skating parks? Or do you like skating streets?
Evelia: I like skating parks more than I like skating streets.
Violet: Any reason?
Evelia: Sometimes it's funner not to just do ground tricks, lately one of my favorite tricks has been dropping in which you can't do without a ramp or bowl. I also prefer having a smooth area to skate in. I like the smooth surface that skate parks provide. City streets and sidewalks are always rough and full of gravel.
Evelia has four dogs, Baxter, Sherlock, Green-Bean, and Winkle. Two of the dogs are older than she is. Evelia loves all dogs. She volunteers at the Berkeley Animal Care Services shelter. She walks dogs and spends time with them.
Violet: Oh agreed. At what age did you start skating in parks? When you went from like, kind of pushing around in a board to learning tricks and really getting into it.
Evelia: I started skating at the town park with my dad when I had just started skating, it's like a walking distance from our house. The ramps there used to be made out of wood, a few years ago they remade everything with concrete. Before I really started standing on my skateboard and stuff I butt-boarded on the ramps there. I guess I was two and three when I used to just sit on my butt and go down the ramps but I started getting more serious around 6 years.
Violet: How old were you when you started, do you think?
Evelia: I kind of started when I was five, but maybe more officially when I was six.
Violet: I want to ask you about your Instagram a little bit. I love your Instagram. And I want to ask you about your videos there. Can you tell me a little bit about them and how you get your inspiration?
Evelia: My Instagram is managed with the help of my parents. Most of the content has to do with my Skating, my art, our four dogs, or anything that seems fun or interesting. We film stuff that is going on in my life and then use the footage to make artsy little videos. The videos are more than just capturing a family moment, we dress them up and try to make them interesting to watch. For example, one Christmas I made every kid in my class a snowman (or snowwoman or snowperson) out of clay. I baked them in the oven, painted them, and gave them little hats and scarfs. I made over 40 snow people. Before I passed them out to the kids in my class, my Dad and I made a stop motion video with all of the clay figures. I also like to make videos of new songs that I learn on the piano or guitar. My dad used to be a filmmaker so he’s good at coming up with ideas but I have to like them. He has a lot of ideas that I shoot down and veto. We’ve been making videos my entire life. I even have a time-lapse video of when I was growing in my Mom’s belly. Right now my Dad is re-editing a movie he made when he was younger, and he’s using me as the narrator. I’m helping to make the plot easier to follow.
Violet: Do you have a specific project that you'd like the best?
Evelia: Not really, I do like the piano and guitar videos we make. We are planning on making a video of me playing blackbird by the Beatles on guitar sometime soon.
Violet: Kind of fan of it all?
Evelia: Acting isn't one of my favorite hobbies. But it's all right. I enjoy being on the other side of the camera more.
Violet: Wow you have a lot going on. That's super sick. Are you excited to be photographed by Jenny today? What are you thinking about that?
Evelia: Yeah, she took a photo of me a long time ago at a skate like a girl event, we also bought her book “skater girls” and I got it signed at one of her art shows.
Violet: What do you think about skate like a girl?
Evelia: I think it's a very fun program because I can skate with other people my age because sometimes at skate parks or just skating in general, it's really intimidating. Skateparks are normally filled With adult men who don't care if they almost hit a random little kid or something.
Violet: Oh for sure. Have you seen any incidents?
Evelia: I've seen a lot of people just get angry and throw their skateboard across a park, I also would say skating is frustrating, for sure. But Not to the point where I'm gonna go make everyone else that's just trying to have fun feel awkward.
Violet: What do you think about skate culture? I mean, you can kind of see how people are clapping around us and stuff, or do you feel like it's a very supportive kind of thing?
Evelia: Yeah, I think it's probably the best sport because it's not people pressuring you to win something. And it's more just getting to have fun and learn new things.
Withitgirl: Who are your favorite girl or guy skaters and why?
I don’t have any pro skaters that are my favorite, because I live under a rock. But shout out to all the Skate Like A Girl instructors. They are my favorite skaters!
Withitgirl: Do you have any suggestions for girls wanting to get into skating?
Evelia: Get a good skateboard, not one that you can buy at Target because the wheels and stuff aren’t very good. The fundamentals take a long time to learn, like pushing and keeping your balance. The first 6 months you don’t need to go to a skatepark, you can just practice on the sidewalk or in your front yard, and it can be scary and dangerous to share a small space like a skatepark with people who are flying around you really fast if you don’t know what you’re doing. Practicing on the carpet is a good idea too because your board won’t roll fast and if you fall you’re on the carpet so it won’t hurt.
Withitgirl: What is your deck setup?
Evelia: Right now I’m skating an Alien Workshop deck that is 8 inches wide and 30 inches long. I have independent trucks and Spitfire wheels. I have some very fast swiss bearings and my mounting bolts are from 3beansonaboard. They are my friends and the Mom, daughter, and son all skateboard. They sell mounting bolts and stuff like that. You should check out their Instagram.
EDward (Evelia's Dad) about ToyIslandTV
I started making videos with my daughter when she was really young. I thought it would be a fun pastime for both of us. It was also a way for me to make art and hang out with my daughter at the same time. We also wanted to make something interesting and unique for kids to watch on youtube, there wasn’t much out there that didn’t have to do with opening toys. She liked making videos so kept doing it. Now that Evelia is older she is starting to run the show, she has veto power on all ideas and is starting to jump behind the camera a lot more. She wants to be an artist when she grows up and the channel is a good little outlet…. Actually, she’s already an artist, but you know what I mean.
Violet Reed has been a contributor to withitgirl since the beginning of its relaunch. Violet enjoys surfing, skating, alternative punk bands, drawing, and producing her zine, Spectacular Degenerate. Her father Matt Reed, a long-time car racer, and founder of clothing company Cosmic Debris sponsored and contributed to withitgirl back in the day.
Jenny Sampson Instagram
Violet Reed Instagram
Skate LikeA Girl Instagram
SNIPPETS with SKATERS is a multipart series with Jenny Sampson telling the stories behind her wet plate portraits. Her skater books can be purchased here.
Photo Credits: All Photos by EDward and Emelia unless otherwise stated.
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