INTERVIEW: Danielle of GRLSWIRL
Danielle, Monroe, and Lucy of GrlSwirl
Designer and GrlSwirl co-founder, Danielle Francine Schwartz, is psyched to be a mom and a skater. And it turns out other women are psyched on it, too. She uses her lifelong passion for the waves and pavement of her Southern California home to inspire her art and her daughter. We talk to Danielle about broadening the female skate community and spreading the stoke.
How did you get involved with GrlSwirl?
I live in Venice, and I've always skated in my free time. Typically with the boys. I got invited by friends to come skate with some rad girls. I didn't know anything about it other than there would be girls skating together in the hood, which is really all it was in the beginning! So I went, and it was pure magic, and I've been a part of it ever since.
What have you learned from the GrlSwirl community?
One thing I think we’ve really made clear is that if you put a bunch of women together to work towards an amazing goal, there is no limit to what is possible. The way we have supported each other and manifested together has been truly incredible to witness. I can't believe what we have accomplished already, both out skill level of skating, and as entrepreneurs.
What do you think is the biggest challenge of being a woman in the skate park or surf lineup?
It’s intimidating to be a girl out there, both because you are usually the minority and because you may not be willing to put your body on the line quite as intensely. But seeing the change in Venice since GrlSwirl started is amazing. It's truly a local revolution. Every time I go to the skate park now I see at least a few girls out there. Sometimes we outnumber the guys when we all go together!
When did you start surfing? How does it compare to skating for you?
I've surfed casually my whole life. Being in the ocean and paddling with the waves gives me a spiritual connection that stands all on its own. I love the beach so much. But technique wise, skating and surfing are closely linked! Especially on a Carver surf-skateboard, which is the skate company we are sponsored by. So I feel like every time my skating improves, my surfing does as well. And vice versa.
What’s it like being a mom and a skater? Are people psyched on it? Do you get any judgment?
Oh my gosh, people are so psyched on it! I’m sure some people have their judgments, but I really don't care about that. I’m being true to who I am and what I love: challenging myself every day and it is thrilling. It keeps a fire burning inside me that I want to stoke throughout motherhood because I think that benefits my kid. And Lulu (my daughter) absolutely loves when I skate around her or roll her around on the board. I've had so many women, girls, and moms, tell me how inspired they are to see that life after motherhood does not mean passions die. It doesn't mean you can't be active, try new things, and learn every day. That is something I am very proud of, and it’s a message I truly believe in.
Practical advice: What sunblock does Lulu use?
It's literally called Unicorn Snot and it has sparkles in it. Sometimes I use it too because I love it so much.
How does being a designer play into your love of skating/surfing?
Growing up in Southern California and living by the beach my whole life, I am super inspired by surf and skate culture. It seeps into my being and of course that comes through in my designs. I design for myself and my friends so there is a piece of surf and skate lifestyle in everything I make, whether its a necklace or a dress. Of course, it's not my only inspiration but it's definitely in the mix :)
When you’re not skating or surfing where can we find you?
Cruisin’ with the fam: Lulu, my fiancée Ryan, and Opie, our crazy puppy. We stay pretty local most of the time.
Who are some women you look up to/inspire you?
Currently, momtrepreneurs. That’s moms who are also entrepreneurs. There are a lot around me, which is so inspiring.
What would you tell women who want to start skating or surfing but feel intimidated?
I would just tell them to go out and try it and remember it’s about having fun. Being a beginner at something always feels a little silly. But everyone is a beginner before they get good….so don't be so hard on yourself!