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Moe Alvarez is one of our favorite skateboarders in Los Angeles. We have been watching her progress and having a blast with her on shoots for a few years now. To celebrate Nike's release of the second Be True Dunk we hit the streets with Moe to do some skating and asked her a few questions about the state of our herself and inclusivity in our industry from the perspective of someone who skates purely for the love.

Interview by Chandler Burton. Photos by Matt price

Chandler Burton: Let's start with the most important question. Who are you and where are you from?

Moe Alvarez: My name is Moe Alvarez. I'm from the Bay Area. I'm originally from San Ramon, but I lived in Oakland for 10 years. Now I live in LA.

Chandler: Whoa, valley girl. All right. What was your upbringing in skateboarding like?

Moe: My sister worked at a skate shop in San Ramon and it was across the street from a skate park. That's where everybody hung out. I was introduced by my sister to skateboarding. She's a little bit older than me, so she was out there working in the shop, doing a couple of tricks. It inspired me as a girl growing up. I wanted to be like her. That's who I looked up to.

Chandler: What age did you start skating at?

Moe: I tried skateboarding when I was 13 and broke my arm immediately. I forced my dad to take me to the skate park. I begged and pleaded. He takes us to the skate park and then we're there all of maybe 10 minutes and the first thing I tried to do was drop in. I had never done anything before. I ran over to him and I was like, "I got to go to the hospital." He's like, "God, damn it," and he said, "This is why I don't want to take you here." And I have loved it ever since.

Chandler: That's awesome.

Moe: Obviously, I wanted to just conquer doing that, dropping in. It seems so fun, so I just wanted to push myself.

Chandler: And now you're dropping in all the time.

Moe: Yeah, I'm dropping in all the time. No problem.

Moe's biggest ollie to date.

Chandler: Who were the pros you looked up to and who were the relevant people in skateboarding at the time?

Moe: This is a tricky question for me because I didn't really know any skateboarders. I just knew skate videos. I would just see a video in its entirety and be like, that was a cool video. So the videos I watched that my sister introduced me to were Pretty Sweet and Yeah Right. There's comedy in them. Obviously, Tony Hawk was the most recognizable skateboarder, but I wasn't really paying attention to any particular skateboarders.

Chandler: That's a good one, Birdman.

Moe: Yeah, Birdman.

Chandler: What skateboard brands do you like?

Moe: This is a tough one. I love Worble. I love Fancy Lad. I love There. I love anybody doing something weird and fun. I like crews that include other people, everybody. Inclusivity is very important to me. Unity is very important to me because I did not feel comfortable skateboarding until I started going to Unity meet ups. I've always felt so uncomfortable going to skate parks, so uncomfortable. I'd be so nervous. I'd get butterflies. I'd be too scared to do anything because I didn't know what I was doing. But once I started going to Unity meet ups, I started to feel way more confident, way more comfortable, more like we're just having fun.

Chandler: I think Unity really does a lot for a lot of people in skateboarding, especially queer and femme people. It's very important. Obviously, I'm biased, but at the same time, I think inclusivity is super important.

Moe: They would do raffles and I had just started skateboarding. I was so new. I was a complete stranger at this meet up and they gave everybody a raffle ticket. I ended up winning a raffle and people were cheering for me and it was just such a great feeling. I felt like a part of the community. I was like, wait, this is fun. And I won a skateboard, which is funny because I was just going through a breakup and it was painted and it said, "Forget about the boys." I was like, how did you guys know that this is what I needed to hear right now? So it was just this perfect serendipitous moment where I'm like, I'm in the right place at the right time with the right people.

Moe and Jerrod feeling the love.

Chandler: How do you think skateboard brands could be more inclusive?

Moe: It's funny because I feel so included now and I feel like people are starting to feel more included these days. So I feel like we're on a really great path. The culture when I was growing up in the Bay Area and specifically San Francisco, it was a boys club. Even the girls that were in, they were one of the boys. So as a woman seeing another woman, oh, maybe we could be friends. No. They are in the boy click. I can't be in the boy click. They're very territorial, so it was extremely hard. Now I feel like the industry is starting to include people more. We definitely need some more girls on more teams though. It's still a boys club.

Chandler: There are queer skaters popping up all over the scene now. What are some names that are your favorites to watch right now?

Moe: Chandler Burton, Kien Caples, Jerrod La Rue, Marbie Miller, Kat Sy. Kat is so fun to watch!

Chandler: I get so stoked on Kat's parts.

Moe: Kat makes me so happy. I love seeing that style of skateboarding. It's funny and it's silly. It's wacky. It's like…

Chandler: It's camp.

Moe: It's camp! Also, Kien came in and adopted me and taught me everything I know, so have a lot to be thankful for there.

Chandler: What does your life outside of board skateboarding look like?

Moe: My life outside of skateboarding… it's here, it's there, it's everywhere. I have a million different jobs. I am a post-production assistant for Will Smith's production company. I do social media for alternative music festivals. I am starting a grip tape company, Pocha Grip. I just do whatever I like. I like making skits. I like writing. I like working in comedy. I like being the belle of the ball. I also DJ! I have a residency at Zebulon. I do pop music. I've been doing it since 2014.

Kickflips are easy... The switch flip comes next.

Chandler: Do you produce music?

Moe: That's the one thing where I know that if I got into that, I'd probably kill it, but I haven't gotten there yet.

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

Moe: My favorite thing about skateboarding is having fun with your friends, obviously, obviously, obviously. It is so fun to go out and learn new tricks, hype each other up, get outside, be in the moment and be present. I have a lot of chatter in the brain going on constantly. I have a lot of things going on in my life where I'm just go, go, go, go, go. I have so many different jobs. I have so many friendships and when you're skateboarding, you're not thinking about any of that. Not that my life is bad or anything, but you're just in the moment and it feels good to just be with your friends, be there. Those are the moments that I look back on and I'm like, that was fun. When we went to New York, when we went to the abandoned water park, I'm so lucky that I get to look back on that and have those memories.

Chandler: Oh, my God. I'm going to cry!

Moe: I know!

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