Rise and Grind:
The Up-and-Comer Talks to Rawiya Kameir About Skating for Supreme and the Importance of Staying Hungry
- Interview: Rawiya Kameir
- Photography: Alexis Gross
There are plenty of accomplished skaters she can count as her peers, but Beatrice Domond is the first—and, so far, only—woman to land on Supreme’s trendsetting skate team. Domond’s come-up, like that of practically any other American twenty-something, is well documented: click through the 128 videos on her YouTube channel and you can watch her growing up. There she was in 2008, putzing around a suburban driveway in Palm Beach County learning to skateboard. In 2010, filming pixelated board set-up vlogs. And then, here she is 11 years later, landing legitimate tricks, with the style and panache of a world-class skater.
After years of sending gritty, self-recorded and edited clips to lauded skate videographer and Supreme associate Bill Strobeck, the 26-year-old Florida native began manifesting the rewards of her tenacity, first appearing in Strobeck’s film Cherry and eventually moving to New York in 2017 to skate full-time. Her sponsors, which include Vans and Fucking Awesome, are as elite as it gets.
Despite her success, Domond still wakes up at 6 AM most days to hit the park. Her discipline, she says, is more the result of her focused, ambitious Capricorn nature than a requirement of her sport. But she is conscientious about balancing out her perfectionism with fun and curiosity—she recently began teaching herself to play an old-school pocket synth and has developed a years-long interest in learning Hebrew, ever-present on her Instagram account. And when she was recently ambushed with a helicopter ride during a video interview with the skate mag Jenkem, she gamely accepted the challenge.
It’s springtime and New York is slick with rain. For a city whose infrastructure is literally crumbling, a downpour can be an inconvenience at best and a nightmare at worst. For Domond it means forced respite, a rare day spent inside, instead of making communion with a bunch of friends and a trusty board. Over the phone, Domond is warm, open, and willing to process the wild experiences of her past few years with a complete stranger.
What were you like as a child?
Quiet and rebellious. I think that's why my mom put me in acting and tennis, and art, so I could be more open. I always had something up my sleeve. As I got older, I'm not rebellious anymore. It all goes into skateboarding.
You first saw a skateboard as a prop when you were doing school photos. Do you remember what drew you to the board instead of the football or whatever else was there?
I go on how I feel. When I see something, I just know I like it. It could have been like a hockey stick, but it happened to be the skateboard. I went home and asked my dad for one and he got me one, but, you know, a Walmart one. Then it’s like, you go to your mom and she gets the real one. I was grateful for both [boards]. I have them in my house and I'm like, “How did I even skate this for three or four years?”
Sometimes you have to make do with what you have.
Definitely. You know the base plate that connects the truck to the board? That broke off and I thought it was okay to tape it and glue it back together and still skate like that. And now I look back, I'm like, “That is insane.”
For a lot of people their early interest in skating is because they were looking for a community.
Now as I'm growing up, I get why you go skate with your friends. But growing up, I was just like, “I can have some time to myself.” I didn't really like talking back then.
You reference this quote occasionally: “Pain is temporary but if you quit it'll last forever.” What is its significance to you?
I mean, it's hard in the moment. You're in pain or you don't have any money or you’re hungry but if you can come out of that and be like, “Yeah, it is temporary because everything is temporary...” I used to think high school was the end of it. I remember [missing] my friend Gabby's party, and crying so hard and being like, “This is the end of my life.” And now I'm like, “Who's Gabby?”
There is something about skating in particular that requires this specific faith where, among other things, you have to have faith that when you go up in the air, you'll land in synchronicity with your board.
Yeah, skateboarding is life. Not in the sense that it's everything, but that it teaches you life lessons. My mom would tell me, "Do it like skateboarding." Whatever I'm doing outside of skateboarding, put what I have from skateboarding—that drive, that passion, that persistence, the ability to not quit—into my school work, put that into my basketball games or put that into learning something new.
How does one go from having a clip in Cherry to officially skating for Supreme? What were those years in between like?
I was in school and I would just skate and make my little videos and send them to Bill [Strobeck]. And I would just keep skating and an opportunity would come up. There's no secret thing. You just skate, you keep skating, and that's it. I was watching interviews and they would say, "You just skate, kid. If you love it, it'll come to you, you'll be great." And I'm like, “Dude, no way. You're doing something and you just don't want to tell me.” It's so sad because I thought, “When I do something like that, I'm going to tell kids what's up, help somebody out, you know?” Sometimes people forget when they get there, like, “Dude, you remember how it was to be a kid hungry. Give some insight, give us some hope.” But it's really just skateboarding. You just skate and if you really love it and you do it for the right reasons, people will see that and it'll open its arms to you.
There is something that's really special about being able to pursue a hobby without having the goal of even monetizing it. We live in this world that makes us think our hobbies all have to be hustles.
I mean, that's how I got into [skating]. When you're younger, before Instagram, you pick up something, it's okay to not finish, or it's okay to just keep it to yourself and have a little thing for yourself. Now we all think something has to be a hustle, or for Instagram followers.
There’ve obviously been elite black skaters forever but it feels like there’s this unique moment where it’s not just individual skaters, but collectively black culture is pushing skate culture and style.
We’ve been here for so long but with the internet, we can show ourselves. People don't have to market us, we market ourselves. Like, Kareem Campbell, Stevie Williams, Devin Calloway all have this impact and brought this different flavor to skating. I was just talking to Ian Reid the other day. He was telling me that they would tell him, “Oh that's some white boy stuff.” But all the OG skaters that came out of New York, they were all Spanish or black. They didn't want to market us. As sad as that is, now it's like, “You have no choice. Either you can help market us and make a little money, or we're going to do it ourselves and take all the money. That's on you, dude.” Black people have always been amazing.
As you've gotten older and have had the opportunity to see new places, how has your relationship to your own identity evolved?
We went to a Christian private school and my brother went first, because he's older. One day my mom was there—it was like the second year he was going there—and she's like, "Wait, what?" She realized he was the only black boy in the entire school. So we grew up very sheltered, never had a racist experience, grew up very distanced with it. As I grow up now and go into the world, wow, it feels kind of crappy. It's kind of gnarly, I'm just now learning. I'm just now opening my eyes and taking off my blinders, so it's new to me.
The world kind of tells us that our relationship to our blackness requires oppression. Obviously racism is very real, but everyone's path is different. How does it feel to be, as you say, taking the blinders off?
It's new, it's exciting, but it's sad because this world is so heavy. It makes me kind of choked up. I love to help and I love to give and now I’m in New York and I see myself walking past a homeless person. I feel like it's changing me, but you can't be perfect and that kind of messes me up too. I want to help all these people, but I just gave three people money. I have to walk past this guy with the sign and one leg, and it hurts my heart. In Florida I didn't have to experience that. So I'm going through the battle of, “Am I really this person I thought I was?”
A lot of people get to a point where they don't even see homeless people anymore.
Yeah. I've seen it. I'm like, “Will I be at that point?” It just really hurts because then you start thinking you don't know who you are anymore. You know, even the smallest things, like I usually go to bed at eight when I'm back home and now I'm out till 10 and I'm like, “Is this me? Who is this person?” There's nothing to do past 6 PM in my hometown where I grew up. I'm really learning at this point and really just discovering. I don't like change often, so I'm fighting myself. But it's okay to change. I'm in the process of figuring out what kind of person I am.
Rawiya Kameir is a writer, editor, and critic with work in a bunch of places.
- Interview: Rawiya Kameir
- Photography: Alexis Gross
- Styling: Amelian Kashiro Hamilton
- Hair and Makeup: Nena Melendez
- Photography Assistant: Story Beeson
- Styling Assistant: Lauren Geiger