The founder of mahfia.tv, a network of pro female athletes, artists and action sports industry influencers chats progression, passion, and the need for girls specific platforms and content, holding our torch up high!
Interview by Anna Langer, photo by Johnny V.
The best thing about action sports is that they are creative. There are no rules so you can do whatever you want and express yourself however you feel. Everything about being on your board is a form of self expression and it's really freeing. I've always had a passion for anything creative which is why I decided to combine my two loves with MAHFIA.TV: action sports + videography. Plus it's just ridiculously fun.
I grew up playing team sports and going snowboarding and skating with my friends on the weekends. I love anything that involves being active because you don't have to think too hard about it, you just go out and do it. When you accomplish even the tiniest thing you feel like you are on cloud nine.
At first I sucked at snowboarding but once I put my time in and got better it became the most fun thing in the world and I never wanted to stop.
My parents took me skiing as a kid in Lake Tahoe and I tried snowboarding for the first time when I was 12 years old. I sucked pretty bad at first but I was determined to stick with it and get better each time. Once I put my time in and got better it became the most fun thing in the world and I never wanted to stop. There were no skateparks in my town back then so my friends and I got into longboarding and we'd find hills to bomb around my neighborhood. When I got to college in San Diego I joined the snowboard team and got to ride Mammoth all winter long and also got into wakeboarding and surfing a bit too.
The idea for MAHFIA came about when I was working at Osiris Shoes managing the girls team and marketing the girls shoes. I met pro riders Vera Janssen (snow), Melissa Marquardt (wake) and Karen Jonz (skate) and we'd always talk about ideas for what the industry was missing. I was learning about marketing, graphic design, photography and team management and meeting some awesome girls in the industry who were killing it. In that time I learned that in a male dominated ego driven industry, the most successful people were those who work hard to make things happen without looking for attention and recognition. This is the motto I always lived by so I thought to myself, I want to start my own company where I can choose to work with people who are the same as me. The name MAHFIA was a nickname for my group of friends (girls I worked with) that one of our co-workers gave us. We'd hang out on our lunch breaks and fill each other in on what was going on and it helped us be efficient at our jobs. I learned that the more friends you have on your side the better you can be at your job. Often times, girls like to be competitive and cut each other down but being part of a team my whole life taught me the importance of having people around you that you can trust -- to share the good times and to get through the bad. When I decided to start the company, the name MAHFIA just seemed to fit perfectly. I wanted to create a platform for girls like us who are passionate, work hard to reach their goals and are "killin it softly" at what they love to do -- on and off a board.
In a male dominated ego driven industry, the most successful people were those who work hard to make things happen without looking for attention and recognition.
I think it's important to have both female specific platforms/brands and additionally, females having control at brands that are trying to sell girls products because girls know better than guys what they want to wear, what they want to see and how they want to feel. Often times, brands or media outlets controlled by males portray women/female specific products in a way that they think is ideal and end up completely missing out on reaching girls like us.
Don't get me wrong, it's not about girls only or girl vs boys and it never has been - we need guys doing what they do to push the sport and drive the industry. I think I can speak for more than myself when I say that the support and inspiration from the guys is crucial. It's our dads, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, co-workers and guy friends who have helped us get to where we are. But when you have a magazine that runs one action shot of a girl out of hundreds of pictures, or only pictures of girls modeling product but not really doing anything, it's hard to get inspired to go out and shred. "You can't be what you can't see" --if you can't see someone who looks like you doing something, it's really hard to imagine yourself doing it. On the flip side, if you have a magazine that has lots of images of girls ripping you can really get stoked to go out and try it. Same thing goes with advertisements, web videos, etc.
One of the best things about skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing is that progression has always been an integral part of the culture. In my mind, influential people and brands truly and actually supporting females in action sports is just another form of progression. Those who don't support it or understand it are unfortunately boxing themselves in as not progressive.
"You can't be what you can't see" --if you can't see someone who looks like you doing something, it's really hard to imagine yourself doing it.
If I could change one thing about the world, I would make the ability to travel internationally more accessible and affordable to the majority -- it would be a norm. If more people got to experience the diverse cultures around the world we'd all have a more open-minded and appreciative perspective on life and others. As humans we need new experiences in order to grow, evolve and become better versions of ourselves. With the luxury of technology nowadays, it is all too easy to live a monotonous life where real life unique experiences are rare and few and far between. Action sports has never been restricted by borders and cultural differences and that is why our culture is so unique and amazing.
Watch new videos weekly of the MAHFIA crew! #killinitsoftly