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Vanessa Konte for SOLO

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Vanessa’s been on our radar for a while. Her name pops up in edits left and right and we had her film a “One Minute SOLO” for us in the past. Every time you bring up her name to someone, they’ll tell you how rad they think she is. She’s gathered some loyal supporters and has been productive despite getting unlucky with a couple injuries in the recent past. Yet, she’s never had a real stand-alone video part or an interview. When we approached her about filming a part for us and getting photos for the mag, she wasted no time and went straight to work – knowing the tight deadlines we were up against. This interview takes place somewhere towards the halfway point of the filming period and little do we know at this point that, the next morning on a mission to get another photo, she’d end up rolling her ankle and putting the process on hold. By the time you read this intro, Vanessa, being the hard worker that she is (when it comes to skating at least, her studies may or may not be a different story), has hopefully made a full recovery and is on the hunt for some last-minute clips for the part, airing on our channels soon.

Usually, I wouldn’t do this chronologically, but since you’re somewhat new to the more international stage, give us a little intro of where you grew up and how you got into skateboarding.

I grew up in a suburb of Munich, Germany, and started skating when I was around 14. I had a knockoff penny board and used to skate on an old airfield near my house, just cruising up and down the strip. On the other end of it was a skatepark and, at some point when it was empty, I tried it out.

How did you get your hands on the penny board in the first place?

Back then, longboarding was pretty in, but I preferred the penny board. I think I saw it on YouTube and went to buy one from my allowance – €40 straight from Amazon, but I used it a lot. I even did my first drop in on a penny board.

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Ride on Crooks to Fakie

Was that when you were still a horse girl?

No, I was a horse girl when I was like nine. I had classes but only for a year. I was into it though, I had horse toys, the horse backpack, and everything.

Who were the first people you skated with?

In the beginning, I didn’t want to skate with anyone, I was too embarrassed. I used to get up around seven to go to the skatepark. It was often wet or frozen, but you had about two hours until other people showed up. I had two other friends who wanted to start skating too, and during Easter vacation, we went to the park for two weeks straight. At some point, I didn’t mind the other people at the park anymore. When I was older, I used to drive my scooter into the city and found two girls that skated with me all summer.

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Switch Pop Shuvit

Did you move into Munich at some point?

No, I moved straight to Barcelona. I really wanted to move out from home, but I didn’t have the money. Living in Munich is expensive.

How did you decide on Barcelona?

Because of skating. I was in a WhatsApp group with girls I met during contests, and they were asking if anyone wants to join in for a Barcelona trip. I went with six people I barely knew, but I met so many new people here, so two or three weeks later, I came back by myself to see everyone again. Since then, I was sure I wanted to live in Barcelona, learn Spanish, and skate.

Did you learn Spanish there?

I bought a language book and had a mini au pair job in Lanzarote, but I mostly learned it by being here. You have to be able to speak to people and barely anyone speaks English.

Were your first couple trips already filming trips or was it more about hanging out at MACBA?

Until a couple years ago, I didn’t really have a concept of going out skating street spots and filming. It was more about checking out parks and hanging out at MACBA – maybe a spot here and there.

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Backside Boardslide Shuvit out

"The last couple of weeks felt like being on a trip that just wouldn’t end."

Since this is basically your first real solo project, how has that been going for you?

I’m into it, I’ve been working towards it for a while. It’s pretty much how I’d imagined it to be. We’ve been filming for a month now, and it’s not a lot of time to get it done. I always heard people say they’ve been filming for a year for their part, but I only have like three months, and I can already tell halfway through that it’s physically and mentally exhausting. I kind of lost the balance, I really needed a break now. I couldn’t focus as much. The last couple of weeks felt like being on a trip that just wouldn’t end.

The week we were shooting, it just so happened that we had a big girls crew tag along as well (see Queso Queso gallery). Did that motivate you more?

It’s cool when you go to a spot and you know everyone is down to skate because they’re working on a project too, compared to going to a spot with just a filmer. It felt like a little trip, basically an illusion of being on a skate trip.

Vanessa2

Boardslide to Nosemanual

Who were the first people to support you?

2018 was the first year I went into Munich to skate. One of the girls was organizing a contest in our local park. I won the “unsponsored” category, and first prize was a year-long sponsorship by Planet Sports. When it ran out, I never heard from them again. During COVID, Titus Munich hooked me up. At some point, Robotron and Vans came along and, for a while now, I have been getting support from Cleptomanicx. I’d say Titus was actually my first support.

No, we’ll go with Planet Sports.

Titus!

When you’re not skating, are you studying?

Technically, I am studying. Well, not technically – actually. Media design at an online university. I knew I wanted to study, and because of COVID, everything was online anyway. I knew I wanted to travel a lot, and this way, I can go on any trips that come up and move to Barcelona.

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Frontside Heelflip

Do you want to work in that field or see what could happen with skating?

Right now, I like how things are going. If I could make a little money to live off of skateboarding, I would continue like this. I’m also interested in working in other parts of the skate industry through my studies. I like filming, design, making layouts with photos and I’m also into editing.

Would you edit your own part?

Last year, I had a “One Minute SOLO.” I edited that myself, but I don’t think anyone knew. I know people were hitting up the filmers about how they did the colors and stuff.

Guess we messed up your credit then, sorry…

If I have a vision in my head, especially if it’s my own project, then I want it to be the way I want it to be. It is weird to edit your own part though, if you put your face into it in slow-mo and watch it a hundred times over. I love editing skate clips, maybe you can put my contact in here somewhere.

@VanessaKonte for all your editing needs. You’re not much of a self-promoter then if you struggle to put your own face into an edit, are you?

Well, you look at yourself for a couple hours and maybe you need an extra style shot. By the end, I felt a little weird. I guess I’m not much of a self-promoter. I barely post selfies or anything on my Insta either.

How’s your skate knowledge in general?

I didn’t really do my homework to be honest. I grew up so far from the skate industry, I mostly watched tutorial videos on YouTube. It’s hard sometimes. Someone will be like, “Yo, that’s this ’n’ that guy who did whatever trick in some video,” and at this point, I’m not sure if I should just agree, so they don’t have to explain it to me again.

I do that more than I should too, to be fair.

I’ve watched all the latest bigger releases, like “Baker has a Deathwish II.” You can’t quiz me on anything though.

Vanessa

50-50 drop down to 50-50

Talking about quizzes, what are your go-to spot distractions?

Crossword puzzles. On my first tour, I got one of those crossword pads and brought it everywhere. I also started drawing the spots from where I sit and watch, works better or worse sometimes. Or I just chat with people, drink coffee or maybe a beer, depends.

Tania [Cruz] is just texting me, I asked her for questions for you. She says you should let people know about your hobbies.

I love playing guitar, I just don’t really have my setup here yet. I would love to make beats and things too, just can’t get my guitar linked up to my computer just yet. I like anything creative, really.

Tania says you’re an undercover student.

I’m supposed to be a full-time student, part-time skateboarder, but sometimes it switches. I’m doing too little sometimes, but I’m into what I study and I definitely want to finish it. Tell her, “Sos tremenda.”

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Frontside Noseslide

"I hope I don’t get stuck in Barcelona. If anyone feels like I do, please come and get me."

What’s your go-to karaoke song, Helena [Long] wants to know?

“What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes.

Do you live the party lifestyle Barca is infamous for?

It comes and goes. I just go to bars sometimes. If I do it too much for a couple of weeks, I always feel like I need to get my life sorted again. If there’s people here on a trip, you’ll sometimes end up in a bar more often than you would like to, but I’m not one to binge drink anyway. I hope I don’t get stuck in Barcelona. If anyone feels like I do, please come and get me.

Do you have any influences when it comes to skating?

When I started skating, I discovered Fabiana Delfino. Plus, there was a series on YouTube around Nora Vasconcellos and Nicole Hause that I used to watch, just going around L.A. skating. Otherwise, I don’t really have any specific person I’m a fan of. I’m not a big fan girl in general, probably because I don’t really know anyone. It does have an upside though. If I talk to someone and it doesn’t vibe, then that’s just that, the skating doesn’t matter. I actually met Fabiana at an event before I really knew about her. I only knew she was one of the invited skaters. She was super nice to everyone, really good vibes. Afterwards, I checked her Instagram and realized she was quite the big deal, but she was super down-to-earth.

Fabi does take some mean slams. How do you deal with that?

Before I broke my collarbone, I didn’t really care. The first time I was in Barcelona, I was pointing out stair spots left and right. Afterwards, I got a bit paranoid, but it got me into skating other stuff, like roll-on grinds, which are super fun. It got better after a while, but since I discovered manuals and stuff, stairs didn’t really attract me anymore. Now it’s really a day-by-day thing. Sometimes I’m scared and some days I really don’t care and love to jump down stuff and don’t care if I eat shit. Depends on the psyche. I recently injured my ankle, but it was less stressful coming back from that mentally.

Always gotta build the confidence back up. What’s your favorite type of spot these days?

Definitely a good-looking roll-on spot. If I wasn’t still a little in my head from the injuries, I would say a good-looking set of stairs, too. Anything that’s fun and creative definitely suits me the most these days. My favorite spot is the hip from the frontside heel photo.

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Switch Kickflip

"Can I even say that? I gotta gatekeep my food spots."

You got those so good. Is frontside heel also a favorite trick?

Frontside heel, switch flip, and switch shuvit.

Well, we checked them all off the list for sure. Favorite food spots in Barca?

Can I even say that? I gotta gatekeep my food spots. No, Paloma Blanca for sure, Bo de B has a great sandwich. Anything that’s a lot of food for little money. I had one more, but I can’t think of it.

The empanada spot we took the girls to?

Ahh, yes. I could go to the empanadas in Raval every day. Empanadas with queso y vegetales or queso y queso.

Where else could you see yourself living?

I only wanted to be here through winter. Munich seems a little dead at the moment even though all my homies are there. I was thinking about Cologne or Hamburg, but outside of Germany, I can’t really think of anything. Berlin is too much. However, winter in Barcelona is the best, I keep forgetting it’s only early February.

Would you move anywhere you could go snowboarding?

I’m on such a budget, snowboarding is too expensive. I used to ride a lot but with my parents or school. My board is from like 2010. The last time I went, my bindings broke.

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Switch Pop Shuvit

You said you don’t want your skating to be celebrated because you’re a girl.

It’s hard to explain. I love “girl skating” and it’s underrepresented and not celebrated enough. For myself, however, I’ve never felt secluded in skateboarding. I wouldn’t want to be the girl for the quota. I don’t really want to be featured because someone is missing a girl, and on the other hand, I also don’t demand space because of me being a girl. I try to remind myself to do tricks that are not just cool because I’m a girl, but because it’s a good trick regardless of who would do it. At this point though, I think the level has gotten so high, it’s not like you get hooked up because you’re the only girl skater from your city anymore, because by now there’s at least five. I hope you get what I mean.

And when it comes to trips?

It’s always about the personality. It could suck to be on a girls-only trip, too. If you don’t get along, you don’t get along. I’ve not had any bad experiences, so it’s not like I need another girl on the trip. Could be cool, of course, so you can talk about certain other things, but I think I’m pretty easy. I can talk shit for four days in a row. Fifth one might be harder.

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