Estro Jen Interview: Queen of Badass


Estro Jen is a force; entrepreneur, athlete, roller derby player, hot pant enthusiast and street skate superstar. Founder of Moxi Roller Skates (the cutest, most practical and exciting quad skate brand around), Estro is bringing back quad skating, and showing us how it’s done. She’s been blowing people’s minds with her ultra badass skate videos for some time, and iLivExtreme caught up with her to go over some recent highlights (as seen on her Instagram feed).

 

Here we have a video of you scaling a near vertical track at San Pedro Shred skate festival. What did you get up to while you were there? And were there any physical limitations to being on quad skates compared to a skateboard?

Estro- There is one common physical limitation I hear from others skateboarders, but I disagree with it. 

Skateboarders often say “But your wheels are connected to your feet! You can’t bail!” (They mean huck or kick the board while running out of an unsuccessful attempt at a trick or something). 

If I don’t succeed at what I’m trying, I fall. To the side of my butt. Every time. I want to say to them… “At least I know what’s gonna happen”. Thank goodness I don’t have to choose whether to run or fall! 

My falls aren’t planned but they are generally always the same. Safe and controlled. 

Against clear blue skies, the next picture shows you mid-trick at San Pedro Shred. I notice a lot of guys floating around the shot, and not too many girls. How does it feel to be part of a really male dominated sporting environment?

Estro- Special.

I used to play it down when I was younger: “dress more like a boy” at the skatepark, get up really fast if I fell so nobody saw me, made extra careful not to get in anyone’s way (cause I feared if I got in someone’s way I would hear “Of course, it was the girl that made me fall”), made my own rule to not date any skaters so that I could return no matter what.  I kept my head low and focused on the skating. Now that I have lots of skate friends that are females, we share these old thoughts with each other and it is comforting to know that insecurity is natural and can be overcome.

If other people are skating, that is what they are there for.  Assume nobody is there to teach you or become your friend. Whether you are a male or a female, just don’t get in anyone’s way. Eventually, you will get what you came for- to learn how to skate. The better I got at skating the more confident I became with the environment and the people in it. I have always received respect in giving it. 

Not to discount that being a female means anything to me because it does. If other young girls see how much fun I am having by pushing those lonely thoughts away and skating with confidence, hopefully they can, too. Expect NO special attention because you are a girl. Expect nothing, just skate and be gentle to yourself. 

The next image is from May, where you’re showing off one of your signature moves: the hand stand. As an ex-cheerleader and gymnast, how easy was it to transfer these skills to quad skates? And would you have any tips for skaters who don’t have this background?

Estro- Yes, it was easy. I used what I know how to do and made it happen with wheels on my feet. If I had any advice for anyone who doesn’t have this background, do whatever feels natural. Creating your own style is fun and it doesn’t come from copying others. You can copy people and do what they do but enjoying it your way will get your further faster. Most of the time when Moxi Skate team is sessioning together we are saying “Hey, whats this look like? Is this something? Can you do this? Is this hard?” To us, we are making it up.

Next comes a big thumbs up from LA Weekley, where you were showcased on The People’s List. LA, as we’re all aware (and are jealous about) has a skate culture going back nearly a half a century.  What are the best things about living and working in LA? And what difference does it make to your skating and business?

Estro- Thank you!  The single best thing about living in CA is the SUN! The sun makes everything easier. I am from Philly and loathed the winters and hot summers. You can skate, work, film almost anywhere anyplace when the sun is always shining. I ran my business without a car for 6 years. 

Now we have one of your amazing Moxi skate videos, which features a number of really rad girl skaters. Where do you find all of these amazing skaters to hang out with? And what would you say to girl skaters who don’t have any other girls to skate with?

Estro- It’s easier to teach a girl to skate than to make a girl a friend. These girls are legitimately my friends. Who are all amazing, talented, kind people and it took years to collect them.

This year the team is choosing a new team of the most skilled skaters we can find so that we can focus on running the brand. You can find out more and enter by visiting my website and using the hashtag #moxiskatetryout.

My advice is, POSSE UP! Start your own skate team in your town! Inspire yourself with hashtags like #moxiskateteam and #chicksinbowls and remember, if your skate besty is more besty than skate mate, make more skate mates if you want to skate.

Black and white, punchy and totally rad, the next video shows you backflipping the flip outta a half pipe. What is your best trick? And where is the best place that you’ve pulled it?

Estro- The hardest thing I did was drop into a vert ramp for the first time. My favorite trick is the shoot the duck. I guess others would say my best tricks are my back flip or front flip. I was fortunate enough to have a friend take me to Camp Woodward to learn the backflip. I was pretty sore after teaching myself to front flip. 

From May, we have a video showcasing some of your street skating skills, including grinds. I’ve noticed that the trucks you use in these videos are pretty damn wide. How many different trucks do you use, and what for? And what’s your favourite set up?

Estro- I have several sets of wheels and 3 pairs of skates. After running a shop for 5 years, I don’t take pleasure in maintaining my skates so I have a pair of Moxi Skates with outdoor wheels that come stock with narrow trucks for recreational skating. I have a set of Moxi skates with Powerdyne Reactor plates for roller derby. I put 108mm Paris skateboard trucks on my standard Powerdyne Revenge plates. I don’t have a favourite setup. I stick to the brands I like: Riedell, Powerdyne, Radar, Bones, Paris, Adonis, S-One, Skater Socks. 

Honestly though, I have seen GREAT skaters skate is the crappiest skates. STEER AWAY from buying skates from any chain sporting store. Roller Skates are sold in specialty shops. Be patient when it comes to gear and get skills first.

Splat! Next comes a wonderful video showing that even the best of us don’t always land on our feet. What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had from street skating? And was it worth it?

Estro- My worst fall was when I unsuccessfully fell from a 40 foot ditch into the ground at full speed while filming for the Bones video. I was very worried about my innards. I rarely seek medical attention and luckily I was walking just fine after a few days. Since I didn’t land that, I would say it wasn’t worth it. 

I have a 22 in metal rod through my femur from a motorcycle accident when I was 16.  I face amputation if I break it again so I’m actually really careful, and try only what I am almost positive I can do, but some things are harder to break down than others. Generally, I start from the bottom and work up to the top but that time I did not. 

An amazing pic next; a snapshot of Moxi skates featured in Vogue magazine. How did Vogue get hold of Moxi for their 70’s inspired spread? And what does this mean for the brand, and quad skating, as a whole?

Estro- We have actually been in Vogue a couple of times in addition to Glamour, Self, InStyle, US Weekly, Rolling Stone, Harper’s Bazaar and many others. I used to work as a Public Relations Director so I reach out as best I can to spread the word. Other times we are contacted (like in Vogue’s case) where they simply emailed us from our contact page. Roller Skates make for a fascinating photo shoot and we have the resources to outfit our favourite projects.

Finally, my favourite video of the lot; you busting some moves at Breaking Trucks, the first quad skating contest in a decade, held in Malaga, Spain. In the image caption you proudly announce that you came second, beating all of the boys but one! What did it mean to take second in this competition? And how did the boys take your win?

Estro- The reason why I said that is because there were only 2 girls competing and originally, the organizers put us into a category of our own (that dang special attention)… I requested to skate with boys because I didn’t think it was fair that we had to skate separately. The other girl, Patria Trisia won 3rd so together, the women took the majority of the podium for the amateur competition. We felt good about it and the guys were really proud. 

Keep up to date with Estro Jen on her instagram feed, and don’t forget: if you’re a girl skater there are plenty of inspiring women out there doing it the hard way, so just strap on those skates and start reading the bible of badassness from epic skaters like Estro Jen. You’ll be shredding it up in no time.

Estro Jen

Estro Jen takes on the megaramp- image by Rich Filipowicz

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