We had the good fortune of connecting with Cindy Whitehead. We’ huge fans of Cindy and have enjoyed working with her in the past – we hope you’ll enjoy our latest conversation with Cindy, this time on Shoutout. Check out our conversation below.

Hi Cindy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I firmly believe that risk-taking is important in both my life and in my career. If I were always to play it safe, going where I knew the outcome would be positive or the answer an easy “yes,” then I’m simply treading water. By forcing myself to take risks, I learn from my mistakes, or on the flip side; I gain something valuable that I would not have experienced or had if I not tried or asked. I also firmly believe in calculated risk-taking – nothing extreme like dropping your life savings into a venture without data to back it up. Every time you ask for something, give a pitch, start a brand, give a speech or put yourself out there – it is a risk. Risk-taking can be scary, but in my opinion, if you want to build something – it’s also necessary. I always ask for what I want, I believe in myself and if the answer is a “NO” then I pivot and move on because that “No” is only for that situation. It does not mean every time I ask I will get that same answer – nor is the end of the line, by any means.

I asked one of my favorite art book publishing companies to publish my book on girls skateboarding – they said “No. the subject doesn’t interest us right now”. I knew this was something important with a time frame that was more immediate, so I was super happy that they communicated their “NO” quickly so I could get onto plan B, which ended up with me forming my own small publishing company and publishing TWO books about women’s skateboarding, The first book “It’s Not About Pretty: A Book About Radical Skater Girls” was written up in everything from VICE and ESPN to VOGUE and MARIE CLAIRE!

Take a risk, because you never know where it will lead you!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started skateboarding in the mid-’70s when I was 8 years old in Hermosa Beach, CA where I grew up, but I didn’t really get serious until I was about fourteen-years-old years old and for my birthday my grandmother bought me a skateboard with the new urethane wheels that had come out. From there, there was no stopping me – from the sidewalks of Hermosa Beach to the skateparks I was hooked. Skating pools, halfpipes, and parks were my passion and at age fifteen I was featured as the centerfold and a two-page article about what it was like to be a girl skating vert – something mainly boys were doing back then. It was probably hard being one of the few girls at the skatepark but I didn’t really give that much thought as I loved skating and was going to do it no matter what anyone thought! I turned pro at age sixteen and traveled all over the USA for skateboarding and met a handful of other young women who were doing the same – we came together at contests and formed long-lasting bonds.

After parks started closing and contests dried up I started working in the entertainment industry as a PA on films and commercials, eventually, that led me to a career as a freelance stylist for advertising shoots and editorial. Soon I changed my focus yet again to work mainly with athletes- pro & Olympic for their endorsement deals – I trademarked the name Sports Stylist® and I work with companies like Adidas, Nike, TaylorMade Golf, Gatorade, and more. My background in sports helps me understand what the athlete is comfortable with and my experience in the industry allows me to also get what the clients want and need.

In 2013 I started taking a hard look at skateboarding again – women in particular and realized that things were not progressing as much as they should have been so many years later – money-wise at contests and lack of visual representation in magazines, so I started a movement and a brand, Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word that helps giving girls and womxn in skateboarding opportunities, funding, and recognition. In 2016 I was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame which also helped give our mission a boost and even more credibility.

We are fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 which allow us to give all the funds we bring in through our collaborations – cruiser skateboards with Dusters California, a rad helmet collab with S1 Helmets, and our in-house apparel line as well as our hardback book, “It’s Not About Pretty” back into girls skateboarding. Currently, we are financially helping Minna Stess, Arianna Carmona, and Jordan Santana, 3 young women on the USA National Skateboard Team for Park, as we head into Olympic Trials. We also co-host the annual Ladies Day Jam at Venice Skatepark.

Our website and social media accounts shine a light on all things involving girls and womxn in skateboarding all over the world. It’s a central place that welcomes all where you can find out who is doing what, and easily access links to contests, results, videos, and more!

If it wasn’t for my career as a Sports Stylist and the amazing clients I have, I wouldn’t be able to run Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word as a fast-moving side-project and funnel as much back into girls skateboarding as we do.

Sleep is elusive for me most days, but I think the next generation of girls and womxn skateboarders are well worth it.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First, we’d head over to Venice Skatepark and meet up with local friends and skate – even if it’s not in the park, a skate on the boardwalk is a must! Venice Skatepark is a park that is known all over the world and there is nothing else like it! The energy, the vibe – hanging out in the sun by the water – it’s a true California experience!

We’d definitely head up the coast to Malibu to Paradise Cove and rent some of their comfy lounge chairs and have lunch and cocktails right on the beach with a swim in the beautiful water. It’s so gorgeous there – simply beyond!

Shopping at Cross Creek in Malibu on the way back to town where you can find everything from bikinis to high-end attire – my favorite spots to shop there are Maxfields, Fred Segal, and Surfing Cowboys – for vintage surf and skate memorabilia.

In town, we’d hit Sunset Blvd to catch a concert at The Roxy one night and if we had time beforehand we’d have dinner under the stars at Gracias Madre – a plant-based Mexican restaurant, where people-watching is supreme.

During the day a visit to The Broad is a must – pop culture abounds in this LA museum so it’s always fun to take people to.

Shopping at Wasteland on Melrose is a must – so many finds in there – you could spend an entire day!

There is a secret spot I like to go to high above Dodger Stadium where the road is lined in palm trees that is a great photo opportunity.

Mornings are for exploring Downtown LA – Grand Central Market and a visit to Egg Slut for breakfast is a MUST. Then a walk around what used to be the old cornfields in DTLA and is now called Los Angeles State Historic Park.

A bike ride on the strand in Manhattan Beach, followed by brunch at my favorite restaurant in the world, MB Post – the bacon cheddar biscuits are so popular they have their own Facebook page – they melt in your mouth. A short walk or ride, up the street, is Lulu’s which is known for its gorgeous lingerie, perfumes, and loungewear.

In Hermosa Beach, we’d visit The Hermosa Beach Historical Society Museum (fun fact, its housed in the old junior high I went to on Pier Avenue, and its also where the cult film, CARRIE was filmed!) as they are debuting a show on the history of skateboarding in the South Bay that I am part of.

Last but not least, we’d head down to the beach in Hermosa to catch a beautiful sunset and listen to some jazz at the legendary Lighthouse.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to send a shoutout to every little girl who gets out there on a skateboard, charges hard, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. You are all badass and you are what keeps me pushing for more equality in skateboarding. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

I’d also like to thank my grandmother who told me I could do anything the boys in my neighborhood could do, and who bought me my first skateboard. I somehow have a feeling she knew where this was going before I even did.

Website: http://www.girlisnota4letterword.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/girlisnota4letterword/

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/sportsstylist

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GirlisNOTa4LW

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GirlisNotA4LetterWord

Other: https://www.shopgirlisnota4letterword.com/

Image Credits
Ian Logan Elise Crigar

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