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Monday, April 23, 2012

Rogue Skateboard’s Jenna Selby Interview.

Jenna Selby and As If And What: "It was a year of hard work and many hours spent traveling around the country on
 National Express buses. Then a solid 3 months editing slot – it was definitely a steep learning curve - the week before
 the showing I don’t think I slept a wink."
Jenna Selby: "Just stay true to yourself, if you really have a passion for something you will get there"
Rogue Skateboard’s Jenna Selby Interview.

How many skaters that you know bought a Zorlac as their first skate? Jenna Selby did it! In November 2011, Jenna Selby was induced as the newest addition to the Alliance Advisory Board (a non-profit association of professional women skateboarders who have united to develop and promote skateboarding)! A couple of years before that, she edited and published “As If And What”, a video showing that girls are taking it to the streets of Great Britain and which was Europe’s first all-girls skate film. The trailer has been seen 120,000 times and the actual video, which is 33 minutes long, was seen 35,000 times.

A couple of years before that, Jenna Selby founded Rogue Skateboards, UK first girls’ skate brand. Jenna Selby is 33, she is a pro skater, a company owner and manager, a blogger, a writer, a photographer, a university photo professor, a contest founder, and self-taught video editor.

She organized three global skate tours.

Within skateboarding’s professionals, it is said that Jenna Selby has done more by herself to uplift women’s skating than most mainstream brands and companies.

 This is what she told us…

Travis Bacon, Brisbaine. Photo Jenna Selby How long have you been involved in the industry and how did you get started? Jenna Selby: I started skating in 1998. I guess I first got involved with the industry when I got picked up by Gallaz in 2002; from there I moved onto photographing other members of the team. What’s different about the British skate Scene? Jenna Selby: It’s gritty! Our spots aren’t always the most polished places around - they make you work hard but at the same time give you some sense of achievement! The people are all good and friendly too - lots of grass roots talent. Why did you call your brand Rogue?
Sydney. Photo Jenna Selby
Jenna Selby: When the team first got together in 2005, one of our previous riders Maria Falbo was asked to do an interview for Etnies. She phoned me up and said I need a name by tomorrow so that she could mention us in the interview - we’d already been together for 3 months by that point. That same night I watched one of the X-Men films, the name of the character just seemed pretty apt – so that’s how we became Rogue! What is the story behind Rogue? Jenna Selby: It basically came about post Gallaz. I think the brand started off with very good intentions but somewhere along the line lost the way a bit. I tried to take all the good things they had done and put them into our team.
Helen Lovelee, Milan Italy. Photo Jenna Selby
We’ve never wanted to advertise the fact we’re a women’s team, more that we’re a team that promotes female skaters. There’s not always the coverage out there for female riders so this seemed like a good way to help give them more exposure. How many stores distribute your brand? Jenna Selby: At the moment we do everything through mail order or by word of mouth. We are however currently talking to some shops in London and the surrounding areas about stocking the boards. Do you distribute WW? Jenna Selby: Through a distribution company no, but via mail order yes we do -

Julia Wilshusen, Barcelona. Photo Jenna Selby What’s the biggest distribution channel, the pro shops, the big retailers or the Internet? Jenna Selby: Internet and word of mouth – the skate grapevine.

Vans Half Cab How have you seen the role of women in action sports, whether its athletes or company/retail positions, evolve since you’ve been a part of the industry? Jenna Selby: There are more women involved these days than when I first got into it. I think there’s a lot more riders coming through the ranks now who want to carry on being part of the industry. It’s a good mixture of guys and girls occupying various positions. How are women skateboarders seen in Great Britain? Are they well accepted? Jenna Selby: It’s not bad really; the days of ‘oi look there’s a girl in the park’ have definitely gone! There are obviously a lot fewer women on boards than guys but everyone’s pretty supportive of each other. What’s the percentage of women in skate in Great Britain? Jenna Selby: Ha, compared to the guys it’s very very small! I guess though, our female scene in comparison to other countries is actually fairly big. What’s the women’s skateboarding level in Great Britain? Jenna Selby: Pretty good, I’m not a huge fan of comparing levels; everyone just skates at the end of the day!

Jenna Selby: "Just promoting women as riders rather than ‘look everyone 
we’re female riders!!’ is the way we wanted to go." What opportunities do you see for women in the action sports industry today? Jenna Selby: Fairly equal to that of guys – I know various women who work for and are editors of magazines, work in distribution or act as web editors. I don’t think there’s any distinction between the roles anymore. If you really want to do it there are always the opportunities. What is your main source of inspiration? Jenna Selby: Ha ha sometimes I’m not quite sure. I come from a family of women who’ve always worked or campaigned for what they believe. My 90-year-old grandmother has recently been part of an action group who were fighting against the closure of 6 libraries in her home county of Brent – it made national news in the end. Working with both retailers and manufacturers in the industry, what lessons have you picked up and how has it strengthened you in your business? Jenna Selby: Just promoting women as riders rather than ‘look everyone we’re female riders!!’ is the way we wanted to go. Getting out there and meeting other riders and spreading the word face to face I think is a much better way to build a reputation than just being a faceless company. If you could do one thing differently in your career, or go back to a certain point and apply what you know now, what would you do differently? Jenna Selby: Surely the oldest phrase is that you learn from your mistakes. They serve to make you stronger in the long run! What advice do you have for young women trying to break into a profession in the action sports industry? Jenna Selby: Just stay true to yourself, if you really have a passion for something you will get there (a bit of pestering when you’re starting out also goes a long way ). What were your goals when you were younger? Jenna Selby: I was a geek at school, I didn’t have goals as such, I just wanted to learn everything!! I sometimes worry there’s not enough time in the day to be able to do that.

Photo Jenna Selby How have those changed today? Jenna Selby: Nothing changed really; I’m still trying to learn as much as possible. I’m currently working towards an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop – it means I can become a super geek ! What have been your biggest accomplishments personally and professionally that got you to this point? Jenna Selby: Winning the first female skateboarding competition in the UK (Girls Skate Out, organized by Laura Powell and Vanessa Goreman) in 2002 – where does time go!! I think that really was the starting point, everything including sponsorship, photographing skating, starting Rogue etc really escalated from there. Tell me when you won the first UK girls comp in Sheffield in 2002. How was it? Jenna Selby: Haha I didn’t even know I’d won it until I read the competition results in Sidewalk Magazine. I knew I’d been given a lot of product but it didn’t really register – my friend Rolo and I had spent 7 hours on shifty buses getting there so I was pretty knacked by the end of the comp. But when I read it, it was an amazing feeling! I think as soon as I found out I rang my Mum and Dad. Tell me about the As If, And What? – The first UK/European female skateboarding film. Jenna Selby: It happened after a culmination of events. Firstly I’d finally been given a holiday from my job as a high-end retoucher so I booked a last minute skate trip around Europe. Whilst staying with some friends in Vienna, on the last night I managed to break my ankle doing a trick I’d done 6 million times before. I wasn’t allowed to leave the country for a couple of weeks as my ankle was so swollen after being operated on. The friends I was staying with were at the time editing the Yama Skateboards videos and showed me the ins and out of Final Cut. When I got back a couple of weeks later I was made redundant from my job. I’d been filming the team on and off for years and decided that instead of just talking about it I’d actually make a Rogue Team film. Well it started off that way – not long after some of the older riders got involved and it really escalated from there into a full UK female skate vid, with some Euro riders and Lacey Baker also getting some footage. I don’t think I really knew what I was taking on!!

"My first job is as a photographer, that’s what I trained as and that’s what I 
love the most, well equal to skating and pressure flips." Jenna Selby
Add caption
It was a year of hard work and many hours spent traveling around the country on National Express buses. Then a solid 3 months editing slot – it was definitely a steep learning curve - the week before the showing I don’t think I slept a wink. Tell me about the UK Girl Skate Jam… Jenna Selby: My friend Rolo just rang me up one day in 2002 and told me we were going to organise a comp – I’m a bit like Monica from friends, I love organizing, lists etc. After the first event I decided to keep it going annually – it’s now on its 11th year. The event is for any female rider who want to come along to skate and/or network with others – no pressure to compete, there is a jam for all beforehand. At the end of the day skating is supposed to be fun. For those who like comps there are different street and ramp categories. We usually get around 35 riders turning up – guys can come and watch if they like! This years’ event will be held on Saturday June 30th. How are you using the media to promote Rogue? Jenna Selby: It’s all done through social media these days. We have our website but obviously anything you post on Facebook gets out to the masses a lot quicker. Are Skateboard magazine about to die? (and be replaced by blogs?) Jenna Selby: I hope not, I love actually holding a good quality magazine, sitting away from a screen and flicking through the pages. I hope that there will always be a call for both. Who are the women of Rogue? Jenna Selby: Helena Long, Georgina Winter, Jenna Selby, Helen Lovelee, Emily Russell, Caitlin Robinson Mawhood and our newest rider Claire Thompson. How about on the film front? What would be different in making skate films if you were a dude? Jenna Selby: More funding available, companies just aren’t interested in the female skate side of things – we’re aiming to change that.
"I don’t skate anywhere near as much as I did and sometimes I do get a bit 
sad about how simple things used to be but at the same time the things I do 
with Rogue and the guys on the team, especially the photography side 
of things is another love of my life."
Otherwise no I think we’re all fairly equal, magazines gave us loads of coverage when we put out AIAW? How do you find funding? Jenna Selby: Ha ha difficult! As If And What? was self funded. Off the back of that one though companies now are becoming more interested. What are the keys to being a successful leader and driving change? Jenna Selby: Just do what you love – at the end of the day it’s your life you’re leading so make the most of it and follow what you believe to be right (but not forcing things down peoples’ throats!). I find if something really gets me riled up I do what I can to help make a change. What are the opportunities for women skateboarder? Jenna Selby: Same as the guys really – there’s loads of different areas in the industry to work in. Marketing, warehouse, magazines, filmmakers – the list is endless! What’s your prediction for women’s roles in the industry in five years? Jenna Selby: I think they’re doing pretty well now, as I mentioned I know a fair few ladies in quite key positions. At the end of the day it comes down to who is best for the job, not what sex they are. Tell me about what happen during the Poseidon Tour in Ecuador… Jenna Selby: I went over to Quito to kick off my next project (which is actually on hold at the moment). I traveled around with Micaela from Poseiden, Jen O Brien, Eliana Sosco from Brazil and some local pro guys. We went to various schools to talk about ‘following your dreams’ and did some demos. After the tour I stayed on for a couple more weeks to meet up with some of the other female riders I had met whilst out there and got to document their lives. On the last night of my trip I packed up all my stuff and left it at the bottom of the stairs, as I had to be up at 5am to fly back to the UK the following day.

However when I came down the following morning it had all disappeared. I slightly panicked but then thought that my hosts must have put it ready in the car. When it turned out they hadn’t, that’s when I panicked and saw that the back door was wide open. The police took 3 hours to turn up and didn’t really care - I had to keep pushing and eventually after 4 days
About the Poseidon Tour in South America: "The cameras taken were the ones 
I had  when I started out life as a skate photographer, I’d also just literally 
invested in a new HD camera. The worst part though was the loss 
of over 3000 images and countless hours of footage..."
(my passport was also taken so I couldn’t go anywhere) they referred the case on to a type of CID division. However getting to the department involved walking through the morgue! Although they did their best, by that point it was too late – I did get to go on an undercover police operation to see if we could recover the goods which was actually quite fun.

 It was quite possibly one of the worst moments of my life – the cameras taken were the ones I had when I started out life as a skate photographer, I’d also just literally invested in a new HD camera. The worst part though was the loss of over 3000 images and countless hours of footage, I put out reward just for the return of the films and cards but nothing came of it. What job do you prefer: skateboarder, photographer, retoucher, blogger, skateboard team manager or CEO? Something else??? Jenna Selby: I have a terrible attention span so I find doing lots of different things means that I never get bored…although sometimes I would like just a bit more sleep  My first job is as a photographer, that’s what I trained as and that’s what I love the most, well equal to skating and pressure flips. What do you love and hate about your each position? Jenna Selby: There’s always something new to learn or to create. Emails and social media (the ‘we want everything now’ syndrome) seem to have taken over much of the working day, sometimes I would like to focus on other things! Lance Mountain shut down his company after a few years because he was missing skateboarding everyday… Does your daily occupation prevent you from skateboarding as much as you would? Jenna Selby: Yes it does and that’s something I struggle with. I don’t skate anywhere near as much as I did and sometimes I do get a bit sad about how simple things used to be but at the same time the things I do with Rogue and the guys on the team, especially the photography side of things is another love of my life – so there’s always something good going on. Something we missed? Links:

All pictures from Jenna Selby. Thanks a lot Jenna!!!

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