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Behind the Book: It's Not About Pretty: A Book About Radical Skater Girls

by Gina Duffy on June 20, 2017

We're total fangirls when it comes to rad companies like Girl Is Not A 4 Letter Word, founded by Pro Skater, Hall of Famer & sports stylist to mega athletes, Cindy Whitehead. There's nothing we love more than to support and spotlight amazing projects like this one; It's Not About Pretty: A Book About Radical Skater Girls. It's the FIRST of its kind and we are so stoked to share it with all of you!

This book is so rad and inspiring…amazing female skaters! Why a BOOK? What was the idea behind it? (Add to Cart Now)

I had been thinking (and wishing) for many years that there should be a book on women’s skateboarding; I really couldn’t believe no one had done it. After awhile I decided to stop “wishing” and start DOING. My husband, Ian Logan who is a professional photographer, had been shooting the girls contests, events and freeride sessions for many years for our Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word website, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2016 that he finally felt that he was ready to go through all the images (about 40,000 in total over the years) and start working on a book.  I have always felt that girls need to see other girls doing what they love so they can see that it is possible and they can get out there and do it too. A book lives on your bedside table, coffee table, bookshelf or even in your backpack – it has staying power. I love magazines but after I read the articles and look at all the images I tend to throw them out – if they have something special in them I keep them, but they get tattered and sit in a basket. A book can last forever; it can be passed to friends and returned back to you at a later date, it can be in a library for years to come. It feels like a more permanent record in time of what these girls have accomplished.

(Photos by: Ian Logan)

What kind of impact do you hope this book has on females in the skateboard industry and just females in general.

We hope that this book encourages more girls to get out there and skateboard. We also know from the comments we have received that most of the general public had no idea that so many girls skateboarded and the level at which they do it. We also hope that it opens doors to revenue streams and sponsorships for the top female skaters so they can keep competing, traveling and doing what they love.

How did you decide which girls would be in the book? You have an amazingly diverse group. Did they have to meet a certain criteria or are they girls who just inspire you?

Great question!  Skateboarding IS diverse and we wanted to show that for sure, but ultimately we gave our designer Elise Crigar the responsibility of selecting the final images for the book. Ian and I had lived each and every contest, shoot, and event and know the girls personally, so we felt that we were way to close to the subject matter. Elise came to the project with fresh eyes a new viewpoint, and a design aesthetic, which made us look at certain photographs in an entirely different way.

(Photos by: Ian Logan)

We L-O-V-E the phrase, "It's Not About Pretty".  What's the message inside the message?

Thank you! We all want to look our best, we get that, but ultimately life isn’t just about a pretty selfie or a being a pretty face. It’s about being rad, strong, smart, motivated, and so much more. These girls are all of these things and we wanted to show girls out there that life can be gritty, you can fall down and get back up, you can smile and have fun, and you can rip the hell out of a bowl, street, hill, half-pipe, or pool. We made sure to show the bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes too because that is what “living life” is all about.

I stalk you on social media and always see you taking pics at "hidden/secret" spots. I've seen you use the word "trespass" a couple times! ;}  What's the craziest "behind the scenes" story when you were out shooting for the book? You must have a few!

 Ha!  Yes, I do “trespass” to skate cool places or to get a great shot. I think the first time we went to check out an old motel in Hollywood that an artist painted all white – I mean EVERYTHING was white – the entire dilapidated motel, the fence around it, the palm tree’s flanking it, the motel sign – everything! We kept seeing fashion bloggers post pics on social media in front of the art instillation smiling and looking pretty and glam, so I had this idea that I needed to be inside the motel skating the exterior hallways, but the whole place had a fence around it with barbed wire and sometimes there were security guards to keep people out. We drove up there early one morning ready to DO THIS. Or so I thought…  Ian isn’t a trespasser like I am and when we arrived I noticed he was wearing flip flops. Now, everyone knows you can’t scale a barbwire fence or run from the authorities with flip flops on, so we had to come back another day. It’s funny now but I wasn’t laughing then. When my adrenaline is flowing and I have decided to do something like this I am ready to GO! We went back the next week and got in, at one point I yelled COPS! And ran to hide, Ian just turns around to look for the police and says “where”?  Our styles are VERY different when it comes to this stuff.

(Photos by: Ian Logan)

Skateboarding can be intimidating…Not just the physical aspect but the social aspect. We have a lot of ambassadors who really want to learn, want to go to the skate parks and try it out. Once they do, we've heard time and time again they get harassed by the guys and sometimes even other girls and don't want to go back. What advice would you give a newbie heading to the park to keep them coming back?

Get your basic skills down before heading to the park, then pick a time that the park is not crowded – early mornings are usually a good bet. Just know that every single person at that skatepark was a beginner just like you at one point, so try not to be intimidated. It’s also helpful to find a group of like-minded girls to go with. And just remember, that for every person who tries to intimidate you, there is another who wants you to succeed. We’ve seen many guys at the park give girls valuable tips on dropping in, and even scooping up the little ones to avoid having them get hurt when a crash was about to occur between the two skaters.  Whatever you do, do NOT give up – if you love skateboarding, keep going no matter what, because you are showing the next girl that she can do it too.

You've recently been inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame…which is EPIC! What was the most memorable moment of that day?

Everything about that day was so amazing – It is such an honor to be inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and one which I do not take lightly. The day of the ceremony I started getting tweets from people I didn’t know congratulating me, flowers were arriving at my house from far away friends, and a lot of my good friends and family joined me at the induction that evening. I had wonderful film maker there filming me - Glenn Sakamoto was just completing a small documentary about my story and he was able to film part of that night and add it to his film, which was so cool.  I have to say that having both Joan Jett, and legendary skateboarder and photographer, Bryce Kanights give my introductions was pretty frigging RAD.  Being able to stand up there and give a speech for my peers that included a message to all the young girls coming up today, was probably the part I am most proud of.  It was a magical night.

What epic sh#t are you going to do next???

That’s a secret for now, but it will be fun and it will be rad – I can promise you that! 

(Photos by: Ian Logan)

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"It's Not About Pretty" is the FIRST comprehensive hardcover book ever to be published on girls skateboarding. The 8x10 hardcover book is 144 pages and features 65 different skater girls- from pool riding, park, street, downhill, vert and cruising, to pro female skateboarders and soul skaters - this book covers it all.

With powerful imagery by award-winning photographer Ian Logan, words and concept by 70's pro skater and Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee Cindy Whitehead, and graphic design by Elise Crigar.

About the Book:

These girls are RAD. They are renegades, and they are fearless. They have consciously decided that it doesn't matter what age or gender you are, you go after what you love. They fall hard, and they get back up. They keep pushing and they never give up. As skateboarders, it's ingrained in them. They don't skate for the medals, trophies or public acclaim. They do it because it's who they are. These girls are smashing gender stereotypes into tiny bits, hitting glass ceilings so hard they shatter into a million pieces and they are kicking ass and taking names. They are authentic and real and don't take no for an answer. For these girls it's not about being pretty, it's about being pretty radical.

Each book comes sealed, with a beautiful dust jacket, and a 15x19 poster inside featuring 1 0f 4 skater girls.

A portion of the proceeds from this book gives back to girls in skateboarding.


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