Victoria Taylor, AKA Skate Moss, sat with us to talk about her name, her goals, and skate culture.
Alex Corporan: Tell us about yourself. What’s your deal?
Skate Moss: I’m 24 turning 25 in November. I live in Downtown L.A. and I graduated college in the middle of the pandemic, which was really hard for me because it was supposed to be at the Staples Center and stuff. So when I graduated it almost seemed like it wasn’t real, I guess. So that was kind of hard for me. And so I guess during the pandemic, a lot of people chose to look at the pandemic negatively and kind of control other people and what they’re doing during the pandemic and stuff. And I decided to say, fuck all y’all. If we all die, we’re going to die. But I’m going to go out and make sure that these last days count. And so I made sure to go out and just kill it and skateboard every single day. And I’m so glad I did because it’s brought me here with my mentality and everything. So, you know, I came out to L.A. on my own, 18 years old, no friends, nothing. Fresh, new skateboarder. So it really was all up to me to make friends. And, you know, if I didn’t make friends, I probably definitely would have gone home because school was so hard for me and stuff. And the school that I went to was kind of a commuter school. Everybody already had their cliques and stuff. So I was really alone when I came out here. And so I just used skateboarding to cope, I guess, with not really having friends or anything like that. And so I just used Instagram. I tried to find other girls that were like my level of skating and stuff. And that’s how I met my girl Hilary Shanks, and Eunice, who we call Cheetos. I met them at Stoner Skate Park and I kid you not, since that day we’ve been just inseparable. And we’ve just built this really cool family/friend bond where we’ve just built each other up and stuff.
And I guess that’s how I got here is just not overthinking about anything and just, I guess trying to be a good person and really trying to uplift these girls because the skating community is not OK. It’s really hard because skate culture is super sexist and it’s male-dominated and male-controlled. So when someone like me came along who was a newbie in skateboarding and didn’t really know the ways of the industry and the culture as much, and same with the other girls, it was really hard. I moved out of Utah, where I’m from, to California because I was severely bullied growing up. And I wanted to just get the fuck out of there. And then college was cool. But the second me and those two girls started skating more, I was just posting my progress on my Instagram just for, like, my good friends and stuff because they would laugh when they would see me fall, you know, it’s comedy. And it was nothing I ever took seriously. I never was like, I’m going to go pro. I’m going to, like, knock people off their spots, I never, ever had those intentions. It was just something that me and my friends did together rather than going out to bars every night and drinking and stuff. So when I started doing that, boy skaters started seeing my content and then all the bullying from Utah followed me here. And it didn’t stop, and it actually got worse.
Back at home I wasn’t getting death threats at all, but I was having a lot of nasty girls anonymously writing me messages and stuff through various social media platforms and stuff. I never really had a problem with [that] because I knew that it was a jealous girl problem. And I kind of knew how to handle that just because of the upbringing from my own mother. And so I kind of knew how to deal with them. But when I got here, I didn’t know how to deal with it because it was men, and it was men saying that they wanted to break my knees so I can never skate again. It was men saying that I’m worthless. It was men saying, like, ‘what are you even trying to do? Like, you’re a disgrace to my eyeballs.’
AC: Was it because you were modeling, with skateboarding with it? Was it like the double edged sword? Because they’re like, oh, modeling and a skateboarder?
SM: Yeah, I mean, I guess. The thing is, I wasn’t even like a model yet at the time. I was just a college student that majored in fashion. And everybody takes selfies of themselves, so it was kind of like they made that thing up on their own. They were the ones that were like, ‘you’re a model and you’re trying to skateboard?’ But I was never a model. I was never signed to an agency. That was me posting a selfie like everyone else on Instagram was. And so people kind of started to make up their own ideas of who I am and the way I live my life, and they were just expanding that outwards and saying that modeling has no room, or there’s no room in skateboarding for anyone who looks like me or anyone that’s even trying to model. And that really floored me because, like what the fuck was Dylan Rieder doing then, you know what I mean? He’s out there modeling for Burberry, like all this and that.
AC: I’ll back you on that one because I used to be a huge model in the 90’s while I was skateboarding. And that’s how I made my money. I know some people got on me, they were like, ‘Dude, come on.’ I was like ‘Hey, this is how I live.’ You know? Especially back then, we were making money as pro skateboarders. You’d get a hundred dollars for a sticker on your board from whoever you were sponsored by, and you’re like, ‘Wow, a hundred bucks? Great.’ You know, now skateboarders are getting paid like $50,000 a month, easily. But that wasn’t the case. And especially for you, I feel for you because I get it, you know, it’s kind of stupid. Especially a lot of kids now, they don’t have a lot of respect for girl skateboarders. [And] I love the way you said it, you’re doing it for fun. You’re hanging out, you’re not trying to hit the pro rank. It’s pretty dope. And we interviewed Hilary like a year ago, and she had your same attitude. And I was like, fuck, yeah. You know, I’m so down for her. And that’s why when we saw your stuff, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ I love that you’re on your own, you’re in your own head and you’re doing your thing. So I definitely respect it. Because I skated with Jaime Reyes, Elissa Steamer… I used to skate with those girls on tour. Oh man, you’ll love them once you meet ‘em. You know, Jaime and Elissa definitely have like that tough edge because of similar things like that. But they’re out there with the same mentality as you were, like, ‘I’m just fucking skating to skate.’ That’s it.
SM: Yeah, well, it actually took a while for some of those pro girl skaters to come around as well. And I’m not trying to shame them or I’m not judging. There was no girl skating that looked or dressed like me until I came along. They were with the dudes, that’s what they did. They never really showed their feminine side, which is OK, like they didn’t have to hide or block it. That’s just one thing I wasn’t ever going to hide. I wasn’t ever going to hide, you know, I like to take care of myself, I like to groom myself, I like to look cute, I like to look like I want people to respect me.
AC: I remember for Big Brother they tried to dress Elissa Steamer for her interview, like all dolled up. And she fucking had a freak out, like ‘Fuck this shit!’ So, you know, I get it. I get it. It’s like you want to be with the dudes. But then if you’re dolled up everyone’s like, ‘Oh, what the fuck are you trying to be?’
“It was like they just green-screened out my skateboard and critiqued me from head to knees.”
SM: Yeah. I just don’t understand because I’m just wearing what’s in my closet. I’m, you know, wearing what I like to buy. And, you know, I find it really offensive when someone thinks they’re special enough or important enough to even have a voice in how someone dresses, because how someone dresses is exactly how they look at themselves and how they portray themselves and how they feel. And to tell someone that they should dress differently is like telling someone to change their personality or something. Like, I don’t know why someone would ever even think that they’re special enough to even voice something like that. That’s just so out of bounds, I think, and narrow-minded. And so I’ve always had a problem with that. And people wouldn’t even look at my skating anymore, like I was getting better and better, like I couldn’t kickflip when I was posting videos and now I can kickflip. But the time between the not kickflipping, to kickflipping, to learning other tricks- My tricks weren’t even being looked at. Nothing, it was like they just green-screened out my skateboard and critiqued me from head to knees.
AC: That’s a waste. By the way, sorry to cut you off, that was a really nice ollie over the can, that kickflip from the footage you have.
SM: That was scary! Thank you haha.
AC: I was like, ‘Wow, there you go.’ I liked the style you had on it. Because skateboarding- a lot of it’s style, too, you know? Like how you feel on your board. But a big question I want to ask, why did you choose the name Skate Moss?
SM: So Skate Moss- the name we all know comes from Kate Moss. She’s been my idol ever since I was little. My mom used to take me to New York when I was little every year around Fashion Week, and I would sooo fantasize. I was just so taken aback by all the power that these individuals had walking around Fashion Week. And a lot of them weren’t even celebrities or figures that everybody looked up to. A lot of them were just New York citizens, but the way that they wore things, the way that they walked was like, oh my god, yes! They walked with confidence, they had the attitude, and that’s what outfits bring. And that’s just what Kate Moss had from the get go. She got scouted off the streets of London. She stayed true to herself, like just because she was picked up by one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world, she didn’t change. She didn’t have anything, she was dirt poor. And people nowadays, when you see them come from dirt poor, they [become] so unrelatable. Like rappers nowadays who come from low and have all this talent and go up, [they become] so unrelatable because they start to wear high-end shit, like stuff that no one could ever afford.
But that’s what I like about Kate Moss, is she [would do] a big job, but never strayed away from her true self. She always had that ‘I’m going to do what I want’ attitude, ‘you’re not going to tell me differently, I was successful before you picked me up, and I’m going to be successful after you.’ And I’ve just always loved that attitude. So my name was just Victoria Taylor on Instagram, but then I was like, nah if I’m going to start skating and posting my skating tricks, I need to think of something creative. And I was laying in bed one night- I’m not good at making up funny names, and I’ve always wanted to start my own clothing brand so I was going to think of a name to start my clothing brand with too. I think I was high one night or something, and I like Moss, not so much the name Kate. And then I was like, wait, Kate rhymes with skate- Skate Moss.
I just love her. And even when it comes to men and stuff, that’s one thing I respect so much about her is she didn’t really take shit from men either. She was just like, ‘No, you will respect me’ kind of thing. She can wear a see-through dress and everybody respects her from the second she walks in the room. And I don’t really have a motherly figure that portrays that image, so that’s kind of who I look up to. And I knew I wanted to do something in the entertainment industry, and I knew I wanted to look up to someone who never really had a big negative thing in their career, but still held their heart tough and everything and still made it through still successful and kept their image. And that’s what she is.
“Because skating has been a beautiful thing for me, but it’s also been the most treacherous thing for me.”
And also Moss- I love plants, and Moss is a plant that doesn’t need a seed to grow, and it doesn’t need roots to grow. It can grow in the most beautiful places and it can grow in the most ugly and treacherous places. And that’s something that I’ve always identified with because skating has been a beautiful thing for me, but it’s also been the most treacherous thing for me. And my name ending with Moss just reminds me [constantly] that even though some people don’t look at Moss as a beautiful plant or anything like that, it still grows and it doesn’t take shit from anybody and it will go anywhere it wants and it will grow whenever it wants and it doesn’t need anybody else.
AC: That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard. You’ve done your homework. I really have no idea why people pick on you. I’m like, ‘Wow, this girl’s amazing.’ I love that. Because you have a history behind you and what you’re doing, and not many people have that. You talk to guys and they’re like, ‘Uhhh I don’t know, whatever.’ But like, you have a real good energy behind you that’s making real sense to the world and I’m glad that we got to interview you. But one big thing, what was the moment that you were like ‘Fuck it I’m a skateboarder, I’m just gonna do this shit and no one’s going to bother me.’ What was that one moment in your life where you were like, ‘I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks?’
SM: You know, there’s been a couple of times where I felt like that. I’ve had to kind of grow that mentality while going through all the bad things and getting better at skateboarding. I’d say by the middle of last year to the beginning of this year from COVID, because I’ve just learned and sat back and watched- I already told you guys how I took the pandemic, I was like, I’m going to go out and do me, I’m not going to make fun of anybody else for going out and not wearing a mask. I’m going to do what I’m going to do. And since posting a lot of my stuff during the pandemic, I had a lot of people judging me for not staying inside or wearing a mask and stuff like that. And instead of reacting to anything, I really kind of just took myself out of my body and sat back and watched it. And I have finally understood, like how out of control people are in the world. Like a good portion, 98% of people just don’t know what life is about and-
AC: I totally agree with it.
SM: Yeah. And a lot of people are projecting their frustrations onto me. And it’s because, like, I know when I’m jealous of someone, it’s because they’re doing something that I know I can do but I’m not doing it, and so it’s making me jealous. So if I feel that way, then that’s exactly how everybody else feels, they’re mad that they’re not doing something that they see someone else doing.
AC: So what are your next five tricks that you have to accomplish, that you’ve been seeing out there that you want to do.
SM: A big flip I’m going to land by the end of month, and then I’m going to kickflip a five stair, and then backside flip a five stair. And then also- I need to get my regular tricks down on lock, I have them, but not on lock.
AC: I saw them, I saw them. Very stoked on them.
SM: Thank you. And then I almost have nollie heels and switch heels down, and then inward heels.
AC: Awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing it. So by the end of the year I’m going to see a nice clip of that.
SM: You will!
AC: I see a lot of progress between your Instagram and clips. You look way more comfortable on the board, I could see that.
SM: I just don’t understand when people are like leaving comments on my stuff, like, ‘Oh, why doesn’t she have a full-time job?’, or ‘Why isn’t she doing this?’ Why aren’t you asking yourself that? Like, why are you asking me that? Obviously, I’m OK. I’m taking care of myself.
AC: Yeah. Keep your own trick selection because you know, that’s your thing. Don’t let anyone ever get in that way.
SM: I would say men come at me because they think that I’m destroying skate culture. But if I’m destroying skate culture then skate culture needs to be destroyed and skate culture is whack. Because if I’m not accepted, then the whole thing should just die, because that’s the only way that skate culture is going to grow.
“That’s ultimately my dream, is to just keep inspiring more girls to skate because they are allowed to and they should.”
AC: Yeah. I had to accept that when skateboarding wasn’t cool in the 80s and early 90s, when it finally got popular in 2013. That’s just something that you have to accept in life. There’s a lot more girls that skate out there now and it’s so impressive to me. And I’m like, I love it. I’m so excited to see it.
SM: And that’s ultimately my dream, is to just keep inspiring more girls to skate because they are allowed to and they should. And it’s a feeling that every single person should experience… It brings you a different type of happiness you can’t even explain when you land your first ollie, or you do your first kick turn or your first kickflip, like no matter what it is. And the thing that frustrates me is like skateboarders say that skateboarding is like a team… But then when it comes to girls, it’s like, nope, no, can’t have you, you’re excluded.
AC: Fuck that. Trust me, me and Jaime Reyes, she’s like my daughter. She calls me daddy, and I call her my daughter. Me and Jaime are super tight, and they’re like, ‘What?’ and I’m like ‘Yo, Jaime will kill you in the game of skating, try it!’ You know, I love that.
SM: Jaime is one of my inspos. But also there’s girl skaters that still don’t fuck with us. I’ve gone out of my way like ‘I look up to you!’ Nothing. The egos are so disgusting. With Jaime and stuff, I personally haven’t heard anything from the OGs, from back in the OG legendary times. But like the newer girls, I posted something on Instagram saying like, being an amazing skater does not make you an amazing person. And that goes in every area of every industry. If you’re an amazing rapper, that does not make you an amazing person, and if you’re an amazing actor, that does not make you a good person. Just because you have talent in one area does not mean you have talent in the remaining.
“You can’t control how you look, but you can control how you act.”
SM: Yeah. And I’m so sick of pro skaters acting like this. And I already get shit on, so what is posting something like that gonna do? Do you know what I mean? So I just did it. And then someone took that and posted it saying, ‘being a pretty girl doesn’t make you a good skater’ or something like that. And I’m like, thank you for proving my point. You literally just totally missed the point. You’re close-minded. Because now you’re making it about my looks, I cannot control how I look. You can’t control how you look, but you can control how you act. And it looks like you can’t. You can’t control yourself. You can’t control your thoughts or anything like that. But I can. And that’s something that frustrates you. And if you’re pro and you have a pro shoe, do you know how ugly it is to shit on the same gender of girls that got you there, to even get the shoe in the first place? Like, how dare you talk down to the little people that got you where you are. You should get your shoe taken away if you’re out there making fun of girls that potentially look up to you. You are not even an inspiration at that point. Like it doesn’t even matter skill level, spread love. And if you’re spreading hate, then why are you at the top of the podium?
AC: If somebody somebody doesn’t take the time to understand your background, fuck ‘em.
SM: I don’t have time for it. And if someone’s not asking themselves like ‘man, I don’t even know what they’re going through,’ if someone’s not asking themselves that, then they’re not even worth my energy or time because I already know how the conversation is gonna go.
SM: They’re disappointed in my hustle, but they should be disappointed in theirs because they’re not hustling enough, and that’s why they have to comment on my shit about mine.
AC: And this leads us to our next question, what does it mean to you to be FRANK?
SM: To be real. That’s also another thing that I’m trying to incorporate more into my content and stuff. Being real in today’s society is rare. Girls are being inspired and influenced that investing in plastic surgery is more important than finding out who you truly are. And I think that, you know, hiding your flaws and photoshopping and all that stuff is not impressing anyone, and it’s not impressing yourself. If anything you’re hiding and you’re never going to accept you for you, and no one else is going to ever accept you for you. And that’s what our society is nowadays. I go down on my feed and I can point out what’s Photoshopped, what’s not real. Girls are starting to look the same. I don’t know how it is anywhere else, but in my area girls all look the same, they talk the same, they’re starting to dress the same. And it’s like, do you even know who you are? Like, I’m trying to stress that you need to self-reflect and really find out what brings you joy, and you need to accept yourself. You need to accept your acne. You need to accept your short nose. You need to accept your stretchmarks and your hips and all this stuff.
AC: I love that. Awesome.
SM: Like, if you’re not happy with that while you’re this young, which means you’re the most beautiful that you’re ever going to be and the healthiest you’re ever going to be, then you have a fucking massive problem. And looking up to people who are so unrealistic, like none of us are going to ever get to that level of success or attention. And it’s been hard for me to accept that too, I’ve gone through the same thing. I used to get long nails. I used to get fake eyelashes and stuff. And there was finally a point where I was just like, I fucking hate spending my money on it. This isn’t who I am and I don’t want to impress other people. So I stopped wearing makeup for a long time. I let my acne come out. I’m showing that my ass sweats when I skate. You could get a different angle, but I’m like no, post that because my ass sweats!
AC: You’re working, that’s the shit, dude. I love that, you’re working. Done deal.
“No matter how successful I’m going to get, I’m never going to change myself because I don’t want to lose myself.”
SM: Yeah. And I show my slams, I show me getting mad. I show my acne, I show my naturally curly hair and all this stuff and like that’s what people need to do. Because in a world that’s so plastic, you really need to find authenticity, because now people are starting to question the real people, the authentic people, and it’s like dude, our world is advancing and we can’t keep up with what we are creating. And people are starting to play victims to their own creation. And so now I’m telling you, you are not a victim of anything else other than your own choices you have made. And so if you are unhappy with yourself, you chose that route. So fix it. And I’m an example to show you that it’s OK.
You know, like my tummy isn’t tight. My crop tops show that my belly jiggles when I do ollies, I don’t get my nails done all the time. And I have followed so many influencers and fashion bloggers from the beginning who I could so relate to because they had the same finances as me, they had the same lifestyle as me. And then, you know, they get more successful and then they are so unrelatable. And that’s the number one thing in this whole entertainment industry is how someone is relatable and that’s why they get successful. And then all of a sudden you can’t touch them. You can’t. And I’m really trying so hard to just always stay true to my roots. No matter how successful I’m going to get, I’m never going to change myself because I don’t want to lose myself. I want to stay with the locals, you know what I mean? Like, I don’t go to the big bougie skate parks anymore. I’m not interested in that. I find so much joy with the locals here in California, the little kids that don’t have anything. And I do try to give them wheels, trucks, and boards whenever I can, like I can spend all day with them. Because that’s what real life is like.