Ever wonder what a real life Reggie Rocket would be like? Amelia Brodka just may be your girl. BA skater herself she is the founder of Exposure Skate – a nonprofit dedicated to empowering women through skateboarding. Proceeds from their events support survivors of domestic violence. Cool woman doing cool things.
Let’s get the basics covered first. How long have you been skating and what brought you to a sport that is, for now, known primarily as a male dominated? Basically, of all things to love, why this?
AB: I started skateboarding when I was 12. Many things in my experience lead me to it – a combination of Rocket Power, Tony Hawk’s 900 and the THPS video games definitely piqued my interest. Around that time, my family decided to take a trip to the X-Games in Philadelphia. When I was there I saw Lyn-z Adams Hawkins, Cara-Beth Burnside and Jen O’Brien skate a vert demo and it completely changed my world. Seeing them skate completely inspired me and I have been obsessed with it ever since.
From what we know of the skate community, they are a tight knit group. Were you welcomed in, or was that a struggle?
AB: Initially I began skating with a group of friends who were all guys. Then when I would see other skaters at school I would get called out for being a “poser” for wearing skate shirts. I did find one other girl who skated, and Nicole Sarica quickly became my best friend! When I would go to parks or spots I definitely got weird looks or people who would challenge me to games of skate. It definitely felt like I had to “prove myself” to belong. But that was years ago and on the East Coast, the skate scene on the west coast now is super welcoming! It is like night and day.
What advice would you give young girls, or really anyone who wants to get involved in the sport? It can have a perceived reputation for sure.
AB: Have fun with it and don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Know that all of the skaters you see all started somewhere. I definitely have heard from a lot of people who have held back from trying to learn to skate because they are afraid to go to the skatepark or skate around others. Skateboarding is about learning from one another, if you go to the park, even if it is by yourself, you will make friends who will support you in learning to skate.
What was the inspiration for creating the EXPOSURE Skate event?
AB: There were a few year where there was a sudden lull in opportunities for female skateboarders. X – Games, Dew Tour and many other competitions cancelled their women’s events and at the time that seemed like the only way for girls to pursue skateboarding. At the same time, there were more and more girls skating at a higher level everywhere I went. Creating an outlet for all of these girls seemed like a logical step to take. This year’s event is on November 5th, coming up soon!
It’s clear that empowering women is your mission and you have devoted your heart and soul to it. What gives you the most satisfaction and joy in this journey?
AB: I love bringing everyone together to support each other. On the day of the event I get to see girls and women from all over the world cheering for one another, pushing themselves and sharing their passion with others. And it is amazing to see how amazingly giving people are when they believe in something! The entire team who works on Exposure is phenomenal.
The Exposure Skate event is an enormous undertaking. Clearly you go big. What is the most challenging aspect?
AB: Fundraising is definitely the most challenging. Cold–calling and e-mailing hundreds of companies, attending tradeshows, grant writing…There are a lot of ways to approach fundraising and some work a small percent of the time and some don’t work at all and then sometimes you get donations out of nowhere. It is pretty unpredictable, you just have to keep trying and trying and trying… Luckily, Exposure has an awesome fundraising team!
Your documentary, Underexposed, has done a phenomenal job bringing well deserved attention to women in skating. What did you learn from the film making experience that surprised you?
AB: People are definitely open to being honest on camera. I was so pleasantly surprised to see how willing people within the industry were to just sit down and chat. The reaction has been very positive. I’m grateful for all of the kindness and support for both the even and the film.
Life is a crazy unpredictable journey, we know this. But if you had to guess, or hope, where do you anticipate your world to be, in terms of the skate industry, say 5 years from now. And how about advice for your 16 year old self?
AB: Still doing what I do but on a larger scale. As for 16? Stop skating stair sets, stop drinking Red Bull and stop being such an angsty teenager.
Our Metiza community believes in spreading small acts of kindness and positivity, 365 days a year. How do you create your own positive energy out there?
AB: Smile and play cheesy dance music.
Also published on Medium.