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Jerrod La Rue is a Los Angeles County native who has been making waves with their clips in the Bottom Feeder videos, their massive pop and their unique style. Jerrod strapped up the new Nike Be True Dunks to wear test them for us, and afterwards we got to learn more about them.

Interview by Chandler Burton. Photos by Matt Price.

Chandler Burton: So let's start with the most important question, who are you?

Jerrod La Rue: I am a small little pool of water. I am… Do I say my name?

Chandler: Yeah.

Jerrod: Oh, I am Jerrod La Rue. I am from Palmdale, California.

Chandler: So what was your upbringing like in skateboarding?

Jerrod: I started skating because in high school, I was in one of the best guilds in the United States when I played World of Warcraft, and I would have to make my raid time after school, therefore, I would have to run home. I would get made fun of because of… big backpack, nerdy, running home. So I was like, "Fuck, I need to get home faster without running home," so I started skating, and with skating came a little bit more of everything. I became a little bit more popular because I had people to actually hang out with, because before I wasn't fucking hanging out with people; I was just raiding. I had obligations to my guild, and yeah, it was nice, it was cool. I was like, "Oh, this is my first taste of friends, in a sense." They weren't the best friends, but I made friends, and they were sweet, and it was kind of cool.

Chandler: Friends IRL? Because before you mostly had World of Warcraft friends?

Jerrod: Yeah, I had real friends now.

Chandler: That is probably the coolest story I've ever heard.

Jerrod: Yeah, I literally learned to skate because I was getting bullied for running home after school.

When Jerrod lands a 360 flip the ground shakes, and it's hot.

Chandler: Who were the pros or the relevant people in skateboarding while you were growing up?

Jerrod: Fuck, what's that dude's name? There was a Black skater that went pro from my hometown. I can't think of his name. A lot of the people that I skated with were really fucking good. I always felt like my friends were the people I looked up to. Pro skaters that I actually liked when I was growing up were Jerry Hsu, Sean Malto, and Chris Cole.

Chandler: Now Chris Cole and Dane Burman are sending you boards.

Jerrod: Yeah, it is a funny 360 of everything, because Zero was one of my favorite board companies back then.

Chandler: What is a specific skateboard graphic you remember from growing up?

Jerrod: The fucking Zero graphic. That fucking skull.

Chandler: That skull.

Jerrod: That Zero graphic for sure, and then after, when I was trying to shake my scene kid obligations. I was like, "Yo, I have to become a skater, or whatever." So shaking that, I just went straight to Girl. So the fucking Girl bathroom sign.

Chandler: What's your favorite trick to do?

Jerrod: My favorite trick to do is inward heel. It me. Wait, do I have another favorite trick? I think that was my favorite trick. If you asked me this in high school, it'd be varial heel. Varial heel used to be my fucking trick.

Chandler: Queer skaters are popping up all over the place. Who are some that you like right now?

Jerrod: So there's this one, Chandler… Big Nakie.

Chandler: Moe said the same thing, verbatim. No, I'm just kidding!

Jerrod: Duh. Queer skaters, I'm a huge fan of Efron Danzig. Efron's skating is so sick.

Chandler: That's amazing. I mean, same. I'm obsessed. That's so sick that you brought up Efron.

Jerrod: That is talent. That is raw talent. I'm so proud of her. I always hit her up, and I'm just like, "I'm just so proud of you."

Chandler: So good. I feel like her mom, her little gay mom, just over here rooting for her. I'm like, "I love you so much. I'm so proud."

Jerrod: I feel kind of the same way. I don't feel like her mom, because obviously I'm not, but yeah, I feel very supportive. I'm just in the shadows like, "What the fuck? That motherfucking heel flip?" I think she honestly made me want to heel flip more, to be completely honest. Every time she heel flips, I'm like, "Fuck."

Chandler: What does your life look like outside of skating?

Jerrod: Currently, I am landscaping a property in Temecula. I'm almost done. Aside from landscaping, I have been doing plant maintenance and plant sales. So I've been sourcing plants, I've been selling plants, I've been taking care of plants. I've also been modeling. Today is modeling, and yesterday then the rest of the week I'll be doing plant work, so my life outside of skating is plants, modeling, bowling, and video games.

Chandler: That goes right into our next question. So let's talk plants.

Jerrod: Oh, God.

Chandler: You love plants, right? What's a plant that you've spent the most money on, and what's your favorite plant?

Jerrod: I do love plants, yeah. I have an Anthurium that doesn't cost as much money anymore, but I think I bought it for $590. It's called an Anthurium Veitchii, and at the time when I bought it, it was that motherfucking plant. You could not find it anywhere, and I found a decent one. I found an incredible one for a good price in my head, so I was like, "I'm going to fucking do it”.

Chandler: What's your favorite plant?

Jerrod: That's always so hard. I think about it a lot. The plant that I think has the most significant meaning in my life is a plant that I bought in 2016. I remember I had $32, in my bank account, and this is a plant I'd been talking about, I had it on my Pinterest, and my Tumblr. I went to some random plant place in Chinatown, and it was just in the corner in the back of the plant store, and it just looked so unhappy. For some reason it wasn't out with all the other plants. It was just chilling back there, and I was like, "Oh, how much for this plant?" And she was like, "$22," and in my head I was like, "Damn, if I spend $22 right now, I don't know when the fuck I'm getting paid next. I don't know what the fuck I'm going to do for money, or for food”. But it was just calling to me. I just felt like this plant was just going to die in the back in the dark all curled up. It just wasn't looking healthy, so I bought it, and when I brought it to my house over the next few months, it was just thriving. It grew so much, it was trailing everywhere, and it was the plant that I wanted for so long, and I ended up making money literally a week after that. So it was kind of just the perfect thing, but it just reminds me a lot of a very specific time in my life, and how I chose to save something instead of surviving, in a sense. I was like, "We're going to survive together somehow," and we did, so I think it repays me with just beautiful foliage and everything. And I've had it now for like six years.

 Chandler: How do you feel like the skate industry can be more inclusive with queer skating and femme skating?

Jerrod: I think just giving people opportunities to be themselves on a skateboard, and not have to be so mainstream about it. I think a lot of times when femmes and queers get their opportunity to shine, they have to still show up so much, and it's like, if you're trying to be inclusive just be inclusive like, "We want to give you this opportunity because we just like you," and not, "We want to give you this opportunity because you're an incredible skater”. It shouldn't have to deal with the validation of everyone. It should just be, "Oh, I like the way you dress, I like the way you look, I just like you, therefore, I want to give you this opportunity." So I think that should be more of the direction with inclusivity in general, because I find that even with big companies, it's kind of like, well, if you have a huge following, you automatically kind of go way up on their list, like "We don't really care what you look like, but you have 100K followers, so you must be cool”. So just drop all of that. Do you genuinely like this person? You do? Cool, give them the opportunity, because they'll show up. When someone's given an opportunity, obviously, they're going to want to do their best no matter what, and that shows volumes. That really is what takes things to the next level, because you're giving someone an opportunity that doesn't necessarily have it always, versus someone that always has it. They're going to be fucking performative, which is still good, good for you, but it's just different.

Chandler: I feel like companies like to fit people into a box of what their vision is, instead of just letting the people create for themselves and represent themselves. But I guess it’s understandable on both ends.

Jerrod: Yeah, just let people do them.

Chandler: What is your favorite thing about skateboarding as a whole?

Jerrod: Honestly, I like the physical pain aspect of it. There's this weird masochistic release that I get from it that I never thought that I needed. I think just in all aspects of my life, I have such a beautiful balance with my plants, I have such a beautiful balance with taking photos, and writing, so the calm and leveled aspect of my life is already accounted for, and then skating is just fucking slamming your body into a wall, slipping, hitting a little rock, shooting fucking 10 feet from your board. It's just so raw and unforgiving, and I'm not breaking anything, thank God, but I get hurt. I get bent. I'm bruised up, I'm fucking scraped up, I'm dirty as hell. Something about all of that is so rewarding, because I don't have any other aspect of my life that's like that, and the release from that is just… there's nothing really like it. I'm sure there are other things for other people, but I really like the abuse that skating gives to me, in a weird way.

 

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