LA, you’ve done it again—and your sunny streets, sandy beaches and perpetual conjuring of awe-inducing, art-inspiring prevalent activities has birthed yet another talent. She skates, she shoots, she plays video games, she rides with the boys and she lives for the romance moments. At first glance photographer/skater, Sierra Prescott, gives the impression of a downright badass. Post interview, the impression is solidified, and it’s easy to see why this Los Angeles native has us falling harder than Calgary hail in July. Prescott’s reputation precedes her. But don’t take our word for it; take hers.

Your love of skateboarding and photography—which came first?
Photography came first. I was five when I shoplifted a disposable Kodak and began snapping away. My parents took me back to apologize and pay for it, and I ended up getting my very own point-and-shoot hand-me-down. By age ten, I caught the skate bug with the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 game and Rocket Power cartoon. By 13, I had started to combine the two, and kept shooting extreme sports throughout high school and college. Amazingly, I’m still doing both to this day.

How would you describe your photography style?
I have always been into the romance of moments—moments in sports, in fashion, in portraits. I like the in-between, the stuff you don’t normally see—a genuine frozen moment. I try to keep my imagery alive, and make you feel like you’re there. Relatable, and of course, sometimes a little snazzed up.

When and how did you become part of the L.A. skate scene?
Well, I think by simply skating in it. I grew up in L.A. and have always been enamoured by it – from the city to the beaches to the desert. My combo of love for skating and photography led to a lot of location-inspired mini shoots on my iPhone, which, in turn, led to public posts on social media. Keeping up with creating content around my passion for skating led stuff to start happening.

How has the L.A. scene changed since you became a part of it?
It’s grown, man, has it grown. When I started—when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 came out in 1999—skateboarding was a niche. [It was] an extreme niche with a punk mentality, baggy clothes and very few girls, both in my hometown and in the industry. Men dominated, and it was inspiring. Since then, skateboarding has had its cultural ups and downs, and right now, we’re in a massive UP. Skateboarding is becoming a household hobby, and for some, a profession. It’s becoming easier for kids or adults to pick up a board for the first time and explore. It’s not for ONLY the extreme anymore.

As a female skater, have you experienced any challenges compared to your male competitors?
Speaking for myself, no. I never looked at boys as that much different than myself. Just aimed to keep up and keep smiling, but I’m a non-competitive skater from the start. In the realm of competitive skating, the challenges are there. Women as a whole have not reached autonomy within the world of skateboarding, nor equality (yet). Mainly referring to the economic sustainability of the skaters, it’s very hard to live off the sport being a female pro skater. More often than not, prize winnings of a women’s event are half, if not a quarter, of the men’s prize [winnings]. BUT, it’s all a work in progress. There are people out there changing rules to represent a more equal playing field. We all just have to keep on expressing ourselves on our boards.

What do you listen to when you’re on your board?
When I’m on my board, it’s pretty personal. It’s serene and I’m in my head. I’m listening for the sound of the bearings, snap of the tail, screech of the wheels… skate sounds. [I’ve] never been one to put in earphones, but if we are listening to music, I’m always up for some punk/alternative in the background to get me moving.

Where is your favourite place to skate and why?
Anywhere near the beach! There’s something about the ocean air, wind in my hair, the sand to avoid, endless carving through foot traffic… it’s the best. There’s definitely a tangible energy I get from being close to the water; close to surfing (although I’m a wimp about water) where skateboarding [originates]. It just feels right.

What is your signature skate trick?
I think I’ve got two, the Bert-slide and the Boneless. Both tricks originated pre-1990, and are classics in my opinion. Most importantly, they’re VERY fun once you get the hang of them. Jay Adams was a MASTER of the bert-slide, and Mike Vallely a MASTER of the boneless; true skate icons and some of my all-time favourite skaters.


Instagram: @sierra_prescott or @sierraprescottphoto

Twitter: @sierra_prescott

By Avery Lee

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