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Beatrice Domond is a trailblazing skateboarder whose best is yet to come

The Vans Skateboarding team rider is grateful for her opportunities but knows she’s just as deserving of them as anyone else

Beatrice Domond is a Black woman carving a space for herself in the footwear world. The New York-based skateboarder made history for two VF Corporation brands by becoming the first Black female Vans team rider to have her own signature shoe and was the first female skateboarder sponsored by Supreme, the clothing and lifestyle brand.

Domond’s profile continues to grow with the July release of the Vans Zahba Mid and Skate Style 53 shoes, her third collection with the company. Her first two Vans collaborations – the Vans AVE Pro and the Skate Style 53 – were released in 2021.

She’s living the dream she first had when she was just 14. “For some reason, I was like, ‘I want to do this,’” she said. “I don’t know what exactly it was, but at that moment, I told myself ‘This is going to be my job.’”

Family has been the foundation for the 28-year-old’s success. Before Supreme, Vans, F—ing Awesome, and other sponsors came calling, Domond used to make her little brother shoot YouTube videos of her skating on patios and streets around Delray Beach, Florida. “It helped us bond,” she said. She called her mother a “pretty magical human being” who allowed the 6-foot former tennis player to “be my authentic self” and said her father even talked her out of leaving her goals behind. “I wanted to quit skateboarding one time. And I was like, 16 or something. I was just over it,” she said. “And then my dad was like, ‘Man, just go back outside.’”

Domond posits herself as a skateboarder first and foremost but also has interests in zines, art, and other creative endeavors. She’s been featured in Vogue, skated in Supreme videos, modeled for Thom Browne’s golf collection, and designed a trunk for Louis Vuitton.

In a Zoom chat from a patio in New York City, Domond spoke about the new releases, why the multi-talented athlete chose skateboarding, her relationship with Vans, and her family’s role in her success. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Skater Beatrice Domond wearing her Vans Zahba Mid.

How much input did you have on the Zahba Mid x Beatrice Domond shoe, this being your third time around? 

That’s all me when it comes to design and detail. I’m a control freak in that regard. With the first shoe, I was timid and grateful to be in the room. Like, “Wow, they’re giving me a chance to create a shoe.” I didn’t want to go too far out and give too much of my personality.

So, when the opportunity came to do this one, I was like, “I’m comfortable now. I’m more confident. I know what I’m doing.” Because the first time around, I took all these classes at Vans. They have these shoe classes, so if it was a rainy day in LA, I went to Costa Mesa and just hung out with the designers. Watching how they built a shoe, what parts of the shoes were called, and what color was better on what fabric. All that stuff matters.

For example, rubber doesn’t hold certain colors. Suede doesn’t hold certain colors. All that stuff is pretty important when it comes to designing. I learned that the first time around. So I had all that information. The second time around, it was just me finding my inspiration, which is like New York City. And then it was like, “Alright, I’m ready to go.”

Is there a reason you picked an olive colorway?

Around that time, I had a lot of changes in my life. I tore my ACL and had surgery. I had gotten broken up with, which was also a big change in my life…

So, it was fall and the leaves were changing. And I don’t know if you’ve been to New York, but it’s called “the colors of leisure” very much like a goldish green-brown. That’s the color that I chose for the shoes because it was like a perfect period of my time when they asked me to come up with the design. The shoe’s just about change and me growing into the person I’m in now versus who I was when I was making it.

What’s your relationship with Vans like these days? 

They’ve supported me tremendously and pushed me to the next level. I came in as a skateboarder, and now, I’m an advocate, designer, and skateboarder, you know what I mean? I’ve grown with the company. And that’s what I love about Vans. I started very low on the scale. With them, if you just show them what you can do, they’ll let you do it. 

Time and time again, I’m like, “Oh, this,” and they’ll say “Oh, you like fashion? You can do this.” I make fashion. I make zines. I make art. And [the company] says, “We’ll help you support that.” They’re just very supportive. And I believe, if the work is good and I’m willing to do it, they’re willing to facilitate it and help me make my dreams come true. And we both grow, me as an individual and the brand itself.

You played multiple sports as a kid, including roughly five years of tennis. What was it about skateboarding that stuck the way other sports didn’t?

It’s a feeling, it’s an energy. I played basketball, and I was really good at it. I played soccer, tennis, all these things. But, the one thing that kept coming back or didn’t really go away in my life, was skating.

So, I was putting that light on skateboarding. It’s just you usually have to keep your wits. If I don’t learn the trick, if I don’t pull the photographer and don’t talk to the videographer, nothing gets done. I’m a pretty independent person. So all that kind of stuff relies on me, which I prefer.

You made the decision to be a professional skateboarder at 14. What was the conversation with your parents like? 

My mom is a pretty unreal, magical human being. She based raising us on the idea that whatever [my grandmother] didn’t let [my mother] do, my mom would let us do it. She let us dream big and do what we wanted and told us we can literally be anything we wanted to be.

 When she found out I really loved skateboarding, she was 100% supportive and took me to every contest. She was my first sponsor. 

So, I think I have a bit of an advantage when it comes to having a mother who was just all in, no questions asked. And then my dad’s obviously, like, he’s from a period of New York where he’s like, “I used to do that s— in the 1980s.”

You’re a Black woman making history. Is it something you’re cognizant of in the moment or do you think it’s something you’ll reflect on later?

Lately, now that I’m more reflective of my career, when I do interviews like this, and get questions like that. It’s, “Oh, yeah, I am doing stuff like that. That’s cool.” But, when I’m doing it, I’m [thinking], “This is what I’m supposed to be doing.” Like, why not? This is what I do.

I’m kind of just living in the moment of like, yeah, I should be in Vogue. I should have my first shoe. I should be the first girl on Supreme. To me it [was] “I’m just a skateboarder. I don’t, I don’t really see my gender or color” very early on, just because I was just focused on my goal…

And then it changed?

Once I turned pro, I kind of opened my eyes and [realized] I do represent a smaller community, which is fine. I know that privilege. And sometimes, it’s a burden sometimes to bear. But, if anybody can do it, I think it’s me. And I’m honored to have that privilege and open the door for more just to be a part of it. But yeah, recently, I just realized how crazy stuff is. But, to me, [the way] I was raised…I’d get a box from a company. And tell my mom, “I got my first board box!” And she’d say, “Of course you did. Why wouldn’t you?”

That’s a super compliment to your mom. 

Yeah, I mean, she also taught me, this world isn’t designed for you. But, it sure as hell can be. And you can do anything you want to do. It might be a little harder. You might have to be a little better, but that’s only going to make you better. You know what I mean? So yeah, super grateful for that.

What’s one thing that the sport of skateboarding gave to you that you’d like to give to others?

Oh, confidence, the ability to do this interview. You know, growing up, I was really shy and really didn’t talk to anybody. But, I wanted to be a part of skateboarding so badly. It helped me open up and use my voice. Skateboarding gave me confidence and a freeness about myself. And I feel everyone should have that in their life. 

When it’s all said and done, what would you like people to remember about you as a creative and skateboarder? 

On a smaller caliber, but kind of massive caliber in our community that I’m focused on is my, like, my first real, like, true video part [a video where skaters show off their skills]. It’d be like Jay-Z’s The Blueprint album, where I put my heart and soul into it, you know? I deserve it for myself, and my fans deserve it as well. 

Once I start getting older, I would love to go back to Florida and make a skatepark since there’s not much where I’m from. Maybe do some workshops with some girls. I love doing that. I grew up doing mission work in school. I went to a private Christian school growing up so that’s instilled in me. I’d bring my skateboard along and that was a connection to the kids and then talk about spirituality and revival and things like that. 

But, right now my main focus is the video part. Once I have that, I’ll just have the trifecta of what I want.

Garfield Hylton is a professional journalist, ghostwriter and digital storyteller. When he's not writing essays, he's in the gym working on his jumpshot so the young boys don't run him off the court.