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Catherine Marquis – I’m skating here now, too

If you look at Catherine Marquis’s Instagram profile, you’ll see a lot of laughter. Whether she’s in a DIY bowl, a mini ramp, skating in the streets, snowboarding in the garden, wallridin’ in a Brazilian hotel hallway, or rocking on a cow, the 27-years-young yung_k_t is obviously having fun. From the Swabian Alps to the Arizona Deserts, good times are the order of the day. We wanted to capture them with her.

I talked to Tim Rebensdorf and he told me that you were on the Spot Delivery Tour together a few years ago.

That’s right, we went with them in their double-decker for a week. We started in Slovenia, Pumpa DIY, and ended up in Zagreb at an illegal building spot on an abandoned industrial area. As we made many new friends and a ton of good memories on this trip, we went back to these spots annually since then. We had also built some DIY before that but learned a lot from the Yamato guys.

You also worked on the bowl in the basement in Stuttgart.

Several times a week for two years. We had to excavate and carry out the rubble by hand until we could pour concrete, but the prospect of having a rain spot and a good DIY bowl motivated everyone. There is an older skater who owns two apartments (one has been a shared flat of skaters for decades) and the basement in the house. There used to be a mini ramp in there and he wanted to build something new.

Is DIY your scene or do you also skate street a lot?

I like to skate everything, street, bowl, park, I can think of something at every spot.

"The Chinese party like crazy. They have trampoline dance floors and drum and bass music"

You have your own mini ramp in the basement. How did that come about?

It’s a COVID project because you can’t do much right now and it’s cool to have something like that in the house. It’s at my parents’ house, where I still live part-time, but I also have an apartment in Stuttgart. Because my parents have a big garden, I’ve been thinking about building a mini half-pipe, a mini ramp but with vert.

You’re doing a lot of handicrafts. You’ve also converted a VW bus.

Yes, “Rudi.” I’ve had it for four years now and wanted to convert it myself. It has a bed, folding table, running water, refrigerator, stove… the usual things. I drive it around a lot in the summer. I’ve been to Sweden a few times, the Basque country, and France, surfing a bit, even though I still really suck at it.

Are those skate tours or just trips?

More skate tours. It’s very practical. You can just park at the skate park. When you get used to it, it’s really weird to sleep in a normal bed again.

Looking at everything you do, I get the feeling that you have set up your life exactly the way you want it; and if something is missing, you just build it. You built a mini ramp, you snowboard in your backyard, and drive around in your own bus.

Maybe that’s also a reaction to the fact that I never had anything shoved up my ass. My mother was always like, “Do something that normal girls do!” That’s why I was always forced to build my own snowboard fun park – which was even worse for her because it was even more unnatural. [laughing] By now, however, she is happy that I am the way I am.

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Frontside Crailslide | Photo: Christian Pelz

There are people who are outlandish in order to stand out, but one doesn’t get that feeling with you. You just do what you feel like doing. As mentioned, however, it started with snowboarding.

I wanted to start skating when I was 13, but I didn’t dare. I didn’t have anyone to do it with and my mom was against it. I tried it a bit on my own on the street, but you don’t get anywhere, and I’m very ambitious and need a sense of achievement. Then I just went snowboarding. As a snowboarder, though, you’re always frustrated in the summer, and when I turned 19, I thought I’d just go to the skate park. Then there were a lot of guys in their mid-20s who looked at me stupidly. Then I said, “I’m KT, I’m skating here now, too,” and from then on, I went every day and became a part of the crew. [laughing]

At the moment, a lot of girls are starting out and you’re trying to push that by giving skate lessons.

When I lived in Berlin, I did that at the Shelter – also for refugees and not only for girls. I also organized a session for girls at Stuttpark even though I’m not a fan of girls-only sessions, because I think everyone should skate together. However, there are still many who otherwise do not dare, and there were also 40 girls, more than actually have space in the park. Even some who are really good, whom you have never seen before, because they always secretly skated alone.

You also coach two female influencers.

Yes, it’s a job that I have to coach them for a project which is still secret.

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Caveman Nosegrind | Photo: Christian Pelz

I heard about the project and when it’s released, it could heat up the boom in Germany even further.

Although, that doesn’t necessarily have to be positive. It could be that it creates a lot of posers who besiege the skate parks. On the other hand, they might stop riding scooters. However, they probably already have a lot of influence. You can’t really skate with them in the skate park. Fans arrive and want to take pictures, but nobody wants photos of me. [laughing] You are the first to want a photo of me.

You’re an influencer, too. There’s this Barbie video that has over ten million views.

Yeah, that’s kind of a juvenile sin. [laughs] I had just started skating and met Gabriela Schumann, who was already skating really well, and somehow we came up with the idea.

"When I say, “I’ll do this handrail,” he says, “You’ll die.” Then I get scared."

What was it like when you realized that it was having such a big impact?

It quickly reached a million views and then just kept growing. At some point, I didn’t have it on my radar anymore and wanted Gabriela to delete it, but she wanted to keep it. She wanted to make another successful video and we filmed a few more that went in that direction, but the thing was just kind of exhausted with the first video. She wanted to become an influencer. I didn’t really care about that. I just wanted to go skating with her, but then she went to Brazil anyway and stopped skating.

Let’s get back to snowboarding. You were successful in contests and still stopped.

I was a bit successful in German-speaking countries and won a contest series called Chill and Destroy. I always wanted to become a professional snowboarder, but somehow skating was more interesting. Skating is more fucked up and I like that.

Is that why you’re a Marisa Dal Santo fan?

Her part in Strange World just blew my mind and hypes me so much. She’s the raddest, so gnarly and the style! I don’t think any woman has skated that hard since. She is definitely an inspiration, just like Elissa Steamer.

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Frontside Wallride | Photo: Christian Pelz

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Frontside Invert | Photo: Christian Pelz

You could have made a career in snowboarding, but now you’re doing it in skating, too. You’re in the Olympic squad…

No, I’m not. I got kicked out over a year ago.

What happened?

I don’t know exactly. I was sick at the first real contest and they didn’t believe me. I skated the contest anyway even though I could hardly breathe. Then they said that I wouldn’t like contests, but I like contests because you try things there that you wouldn’t do in a normal sesh.

Do you find that a pity now or do you not care?

I thought it was a pity because I really wanted to do it. They always wanted me to ride bowls and I ride anything – I was also accused of not training in my terrain –, but then it pushed me to ride bigger ramps and learn new things. I thought it was a shame because I was just at the point where things were clicking with the big stuff; and then it came like a slap in the face. Somehow, I’m also glad of not being accused of skating street and going filming now.

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Backside 5-0

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Frontside Air | Photos: Yannick Stechmeyer-Emden

What was it like to suddenly find yourself in an exposed position on the Olympic team? For example, when SZ-Magazin arrived and asked you to present designer fashion in the bowl.

The first question was, “How much are they paying us?” and then it was like, “Okay, that’s enough, I’m up for it.” [laughing] Especially as an Olympic skater, you don’t have any money, because you have to keep a lot of time available for traveling, and it’s hard to find a job that you can combine with that. The 600 EUR in sports aid isn’t much.

It’s certainly an experience when you can be seen in every newsstand in Germany.

My mother was very happy – especially about the fact that I was wearing a dress. That was the final moment of acceptance.

"I don’t give a shit. People can think that it’s like that. People always think some shit anyway."

You said you need time to travel for the Olympics, so it did get you around.

I’ve been to America, South America, and China. China was a great experience. Fortunately, my only one. I don’t eat meat, and somehow, you never know what’s in it there, so for a week I only ate McDonald’s fries. The cab driver who picked me up at the airport kept spitting out of the window and it stunk everywhere. However, they have good spots and all the skaters were staying at the same hotel and we had a lot of fun drinking beer in front of the hotel, and then we found out there was a way to enter the roof on the fifth floor and climb some ladders to really reach the top. It was just unreal having that view sitting in between the never-ending Chinese skyscrapers. The last night, we went to the club mile and the Chinese party like crazy. They have trampoline dance floors and drum and bass music. That was an experience for sure. [laughing]

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Layback Smith

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Backside Sugarcane | Photos: Yannick Stechmeyer-Emden

What did you do in America?

Mostly contests except for the first time when I went to Camp Woodward in Pennsylvania. There are more good skateparks in one place than in all of Germany. Also, I once was on a road trip with my boyfriend: from Cali to some national parks, Grand Canyon, and all that. We even skated a downhill in the Death Valley. I probably liked Arizona the most. I find this barren view of the desert really cool.

Talking about your boyfriend, he’s also a filmer, and I was wondering, are you more stressed when you’re filming with him or with someone else?

With Torsten [Frank], I’m definitely more relaxed. [laughing] With my boyfriend, I just think I don’t want to let him film for that long. I don’t want to stress him. Really, I can need a ton of tries [laughing] and feel like he gets stressed out if I don’t get the trick that fast, which keeps me even further away from getting it; and he often talks me out of things. When I say, “I’ll do this handrail,” he says, “You’ll die.” Then I get scared. Otherwise, I would have done more handrails. [laughing] However, I’m super thankful for his supportiveness in general and for filming so much with me!

He took the seven-hour drive with you to Potsdam, so that you could skate a handrail there.

We finally found a handrail in a video that was small enough that he thought I could do it. Then I took a look at it when I was in Berlin, and we decided to go there. The rail was still high for me and a struggle, but I did it. We then drove back home for seven hours, captured it, and found out that the shot was glitched. We tried to fix it with different programs, and in the end, the cheapest app got it reasonably right.

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Nosepick Drop | Photo: Yannick Stechmeyer-Emden

Your boyfriend also told me that you had an encounter with guns in Palm Springs at the Nude Bowl. What was going on there?

We were just at this bowl from a former nudist camp from the ‘70s that has been filled in and dug up a few times. Then some Mexican guys came with their trucks and machine guns and started shooting around in the desert, but that’s just the way it is in America. They like to shoot around.

All right, that was my final question. I’ll type that up and send it to you to read over before it goes to print.

Not like the Süddeutsche who wrote something in an interview about the Red Bull Rollercoaster contest that I didn’t even say.

Did you contact them again so that they could correct it?

No, that was already in the newspaper and somehow I don’t give a shit. People can think that it’s like that. People always think some shit anyway.

Is there anything that people think about you that is completely absurd?

I think there’s too much to list. Especially regarding those who watch the Barbie video.

With the video, you can tell, though, that you guys are obviously making fun.

That is not so obvious for everyone. To this day, I still get stupid comments.

Comments under the video or also in person?

Also in person. There are a few who keep making fun of me, but by now, I can get over it. Let them think. They’re probably just jealous. Especially those guys who remain insignificant as skaters and can’t believe that I get shoes for free and have a bit of success because I’m a woman and have to do less for it.

However, it’s not like you’re only successful because you’re a woman. It also has to do with how you skate, how you are as a person, and what you do. Especially with Solo, skill was never the only criterion for featuring someone in the magazine. For us, it’s always about interesting personalities.