We at SheShreds are huge fans of Girl Is Not A 4 Letter Word! If you don't know them...umm, you NEED to and we couldn't be more stoked to showcase their gear on our site. One of our main missions at SheShreds is to spotlight and promote other rad female brands and companies. Needless to say we are professional stalkers of Cindy Whitehead, ex-pro vert skater, creator of GN4LW, sports stylist and all around rad chick! Cindy teamed up with Dwindle Inc. (the largest company in professional skateboarding) and designed a skateboard aimed at the female market.
The GN4LW brand gives back to women in action sports with every collab it does. The GN4LW mission and message is a perfect fit with SheShreds ..."Take every dare that comes your way. You can sleep when you're dead." You can imagine how our little stalker hearts filled with glee at the opportunity to ask Cindy all about the brand.
Check out her story here:
We are IN LOVE with the new board. I mean gold wheels & trucks is so tough and glam at the same time. But, the most important part of the board is the message, "It's Not About Pretty". It really clicks with us at SheShreds. Tell us the story behind that message.
I have always had this idea that girls need to be reminded that just because we see pretty pictures of models, celebrities, etc. out in the media, there is more to life than just being pretty. Of course everyone want’s to look their best and there is nothing wrong with that, but that shouldn’t be everything you are about. Pretty is “icing on the cake” – what you DO is the cake. So get out there and do what you love – skate, surf, snowboard, motocross BMX, soccer, baseball, art, science – anything that makes you feel alive and feel good – that’s when I believe you look and feel the prettiest anyway.
Being one of the very few pro female skateboarders back in the 70's how did you handle haters?
People were very careful not to hate too much back in those days because you had to own up to things face to face – there was no “on-line” or social media to hide behind, If you wanted to be nasty, you almost had to do it in person and most bullies and people who are haters are also cowards so that doesn’t work so well. My generation had it easy compared to the haters that girls nowadays have to deal with who are hiding behind a keyboard. I also think tuning haters out and not listening or giving it any credence was another way I dealt with them.
What was the inspiration behind GN4LW?
I thought of the phrase one night when I was winding down from a long day – it just came to me after watching a TV program about a girl who was boxing and the obstacles she faced. She mentioned some of the names she had been called online and this phrase came into my head. When I started the skateboard line with Dwindle I immediately decided to use it as my brand name moving forward. To me it said it all.
Do you think that the media is changing at all in how they depict female athletes? We know you had some opinions on the ESPN Body Issue. :)
I do think the media is changing for sure – I open ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and even fashion magazines, and see female athletes profiled or in advertising more and more. Girls are now looking to these female athletes for natural beauty routines, strengthening tips, how to learn a sport, and more. These athletes are great role models as they give girls something to strive for – when I look at a model I can admire her beauty but can I be her? No, not unless I am genetically disposed to look like that. With an athlete a girl can say – “wow, I can go out and learn to surf, do some training, wind sprints, etc. and become a strong graceful surfer like Carissa Moore, or Keala Kennelly or Bethany Hamilton – who by the way all have very different body types.
You're also infamous for skateboarding the 405 freeway in LA when it was closed down just a few years ago. Where did you even come up with the idea?
I like doing things that are not the norm and I personally have a bit of a hate relationship with that freeway as I travel it almost daily, stuck in traffic bumper to bumper. So when they closed it for 48 hours, and especially when they were all over the news telling people to stay off it or be arrested, the “teenage skater” in me came out and I knew I needed to skate it. It took some planning ahead of time, patience, and strong nerves the day of, as we were almost caught by the police on three different occasions before we accessed the freeway and I got to skate it – but it was well worth it!
Photos by: Ian Logan
Not only are you a skateboard legend but you have a booming business as a sports stylist. Who's been the funniest athlete you worked with?
That’s a great question! So many of them are fun because they love what they do. But one of the funniest has got to be pro snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler – she’s always smiling and has a funny comeback for any situation.
What's the craziest place you've done a photo shoot?
In the Canadian Rockies, in below freezing temps. The air was so thin a helicopter had to fly us in, drop us off with provisions (just in case he couldn’t get back to us if a storm hit) and we stayed up there roped together with our climbing guide and shot for 7 hours. Beautiful and quite the adventure.
Anything you can tell us about what's next for GN4LW or is that top secret?
We are launching the Dusters California x Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word board “It’s NOT About Pretty” cruiser board in March and a few months after that another board drops that we are calling the “Gypsy Queen” – it’s a collab with a well known skateboard artist, myself & Dusters – but I can’t say much more about that yet. We are also adding more pieces to our apparel line. We have yet another possible collab in the works and we are expanding our website to feature even more interviews with rad girls in action sports this year!
What can we do to get more girls out there shredding and trying these sports?
I think “girls” learn to ride clinics, & girls “go ride days” are super helpful in creating a friendly and safe environment for girls to try out a sport. If you ride already, invite 3 friends to join you! The more you share the stoke the more other girls want in on the fun. Create media with you and your friends to post on Instagram, Youtube, a blog, FB, Twitter, Periscope and SnapChat – the more girls see other girls riding, the more they know its possible to for them to do it too. Most important – be friendly and welcoming to all girls you see shredding or starting out – this is not meant to be a clique its meant to be INCLUSIVE and fun.
What advice would you give to someone who's just starting out in skateboarding?
Take it slow, learn the basics, have a friend who skates show you some things, know you are going to fall a bit in the beginning, but most of all have fun!
If you had to use a quote to describe how you live your life, what would it be?
“Live life balls to the wall, do epic shit, take every dare that comes your way, you can sleep when you’re dead’ – it’s my personal motto that is on every Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word product.
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