Never have I ever, in my years of interviewing, had a subject themselves reach out to confirm our appointment. But the day before we were due to meet, I got a text from ‘maybe: Beatrice’: ‘Hey, just making sure tomorrow at noon is still good for you?’ A small move, yes, but undoubtedly a Beatrice one: she proceeds with purpose, cuts out all the fat, lands exactly where she wants to. Beatrice is a 26-year-old professional skateboarder, and her story begins literally: she picked up a skateboard for the first time in elementary school, when it was one of the props offered to her during picture day, and never put it down. Now, she’s among the most accomplished in the culture and the first woman on Supreme’s skate team.
Back in New York after decamping for Florida during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beatrice and I met in Manhattan one long weekend. Fate smiled on us in a New York way—the wait at Cafe Mogador, our original plan, was too long, so we trekked to Dimes Square, a bite of the Lower East Side that is frequented bythe types of people we used to call ‘hipsters’. (I ran into all my friends.) Dimes, the restaurant and main meeting place of the mini neighbourhood, sits directly across the street from Labor, a beloved skate shop. The block was closed to car traffic, which meant that skaters had descended: a wooden ramp lay in the middle of the street, a sprinkling of boards catching air at any moment, a line of patient skaters snaked outside of Labor. Beatrice and I got our food and picked a table, then switched to another, in order to get out of the sun. Beatrice speaks firmly but softly; I kept inching my recorder closer to her, worried that it would pick up more of the ambient noise—wheels smacking back onto the asphalt after descending from a ramp, clusters of people around us yelling over lunch, a small dog right behind us that wanted to join in on his owner’s conversation—than her voice.
The dog never interrupted us, but his owner—Dev Hynes, of Blood Orange—did. ‘I’m sorry—I love your skating’, he said to Beatrice. ‘I love your music’, she responded. They exchanged pleasantries, messages of mutual admiration. After Dev wished us well, Beatrice revelled in the scene for a minute: wow, that was fucking sick. A beat later, she was disappointed: she didn’t ask for a picture! He was still standing on the corner—would it be crazy to go over and ask for one? We went back and forth. Beatrice had just listened to one of his songs that morning, right before we met. It was too crazy to pass up. We ran over, camera app already open on our phones. While Beatrice and Dev got into formation for the shot, she said, ‘I can’t believe I get to take a pic with you’. He volleyed it right back: ‘I can’t believe I get a pic with you’. I snapped the photo.