If you have had any interest in the female UK skateboard scene, you surely know filmer, photographer and Rogue Skatebords founder Jenna Selby already. And if you don't it's about time to hear her story!
Interview by Anna Langer
Skateboarding is just one of those things that calls to you
Skateboarding is just one of those things that calls to you! It’s not something you can really explain. When I first started I was out rolling everyday around the streets, up at the local park or just thinking about it. When you look at inane objects in the street you just start imagining what you could do on them. When you are on your board you just don’t think of anything else (especially when you’ve got my tunes on too) – it definitely takes you away to another place. When you land a trick you just get this feeling. I equate it to why I love photography so much - it’s much the same.
I first set foot on a board when I was 19 – late on compared to most riders. When I went to college at 16 I started getting more into Hardcore, Hip Hop and Punk – I went to clubs and gigs in London and there I met some of my closest friends one was a girl called Dee. She’d been skating for 10 years previous. Dee was probably the most sarcastic person I’ve ever met but was really funny with it too – she kept going on at me to get a board and in the end I ordered an 8.5" deck from the states…it was almost the size of a boat! At the time my trousers were some ridiculous size (like 2 dresses sewn together) so I couldn’t see my feet when I was riding and the crotch was down to my knees with most of my arse on show! It was pretty fashionable to wear dog chains as well and me being the person who takes things to extremes wore 3 of them – one was an industrial chain my dad had. You got some pretty fun ‘dog chain’ shape bruises when you fell over – it really hurt and all I think now is ‘why??’... Ahhh those were the days haha! I also remember when Chad Muska started wearing a backpack; overnight everyone I knew started wearing one too. They were the good days.
I used to be pretty daunted by guy skaters – especially when you went to a park and it seemed that everyone would stop and stare at you and then ask you if you could kick flip! That were the days before YouTube and a girl skating was just not the norm – I guess we were a bit of an anomaly. I have found that guys who skate or work at the mags have all been very supportive of what we’ve done with Rogue or just me as a skater in general. Obviously men do like to show off, the amount of times I’ve been trying to learn a new trick and some guy will come along and just do it in front of me! But there you go, they won’t change...
That were the days before YouTube and a girl skating was just not the norm – I guess we were a bit of an anomaly.
Rogue Skateboards came about in 2005. I’d been skating for Gallaz and Carhartt previously to that and although it was amazing to be sponsored, the coverage we got (if any!) left something to be desired. Mainstream magazines would only focus on the health aspect of riding and coverage in the main skate mags was pretty much non-existent. I’d met some incredible female riders on the comp circuit and it was the thought that if you brought these girls together in a team you would be more likely to get noticed and also have the control over the coverage received. So I set up Rogue. The original team was comprised of Lucy Adams, Maria Falbo, myself, Laura Goh, and Sadie Hollins – the girl who could do any flip! We used to meet once a month at different places around the country and invite other female riders to join us. It can be quite daunting being the only girl in the park so we wanted them to have the opportunity to skate with other girls and hopefully be inspired by it.
I wanted to start work on a new film called Scratch the Surface. The idea was to make 2 films one a skate film covering 12 top riders around the world and a second documentary. I went over to Ecuador with the Poseiden Foundation to kick it off. I spent a month there touring and filming with the American pro riders, and filming with the local girls. On the last night whilst we were sleeping the house was broken into and all of my equipment; cameras, laptop and hardrives (which contained the back ups) were stolen. It’s taken me a long time to get over losing the footage and images; there were some shots I remember being the best work I’ve ever shot. Unfortunately the equipment also wasn’t insured. Although I hope it wouldn’t ever happen again I have had to work myself into a position that I won’t be quite so affected if it did.
On the last night whilst we were sleeping the house was broken into and all of my equipment; cameras, laptop and hardrives (which contained the back ups) were stolen.
My biggest goal and the thing I think about everyday is to make Scratch The Surface though. I don’t want it to be just a skateboarding film but also a documentary about the lives of different female riders around the world. When I was in Shanghai I met a girl who had to make the choice to leave home at the age of 14 so that she could carry on skating (her parents didn’t approve of their only female child doing it), ever since she has supported herself. I also met a girl in Guayaquil, Ecuador who shares a small house with her extended family. She can’t afford to buy anything new for her skateboard so relies on hand-me-downs. She absolutely ripped! It is really these stories that I am interested in telling. It is amazing to see how skateboarding can touch people and how they wouldn’t have their life any other way because of it.