When you have two friends, one is from Stuttgart and one from Barcelona, who both happen to be skateboarders, the obvious decision would be, to go skate in Barcelona. The two following individuals decided to do it the other way around and skate Stuttgart. Hence, we’re happy to share with you: „VAMOS AL LA Stuttgart“ a video filmed by Christian Pelz and produced by Torsten Frank. We decided to get some behind the scenes information on the project from Andrea Benitez and Catherine Marquis, the main characters in the video. Read down below, to find out what both of them have been up to in Stuttgart and what they‘ve got in store for us in the near future.
Intro by Moritz Alte.
Interviews by Roland Hoogwater.
Photography by Gonzalo Gonzalez de Vega.
Hey Andrea hope you are well? First question, how did this all begin?
Hey, I‘m good thanks, how about you? So, Catherine and I had been running into each other at contests for a while, but we really became friends in Nanjing China. At some point, during the event, we ended up having beers in the streets together. We talked about a lot of things, but the conclusion was, that we should get together, skate and film some stuff. We felt, that our styles really fit together even though, she is rather known for skating transition and I am more of a street skater. So the short version is that she talked to Torsten (Frank) and I talked to my TM in Spain. they both liked our idea and arrangements were made. Things looked to go quite easy, but my first flight got cancelled and as a result, our trip went from 6 to 5 days.
So you lost a day?
Yes, that worried me. I thought to myself, what can I do within five days? I did get the money back though and in the end, the result was pretty satisfying.
What was the crew like and how did Paddy (Patrick Zentgraf) get involved?
The squad consisted of Chris, Cathy’s boyfriend, who filmed, as well as Gonzalo, Lea Schairer (no tricks in the video) and Rosa. Gonzalo actually lives in Stuttgart and he just came with us to chill and took some photos. I actually didn‘t know Paddy before, but now he is my bud (laughs). We became friends after just minutes. He is really cool, he was pushing us to skate at our best.
Looking at the video, it seems like you guys had an amazing time but what was the vibe actually like?
It felt super pure to me, we just went skating together and we didn’t plan that much. My mindset was basically like, go to Germany, film some clips and skate spots that I like.
Did you like the spots? Stuttgart is quite different from Barcelona, don’t you think?
In Barcelona, we have spots everywhere, but I liked the spots in Stuttgart. They were not that far from one another and the type of spots we skated were fun spots, stuff you can get creative on. Except for that last hubba, that was kind of high. It was getting pretty late and I was super tired, but when I got there I really wanted to get the clip. The try that I landed, a few old people walked by and they started cheering for me. The whole thing was pretty funny, because it was a small village, in the middle of nowhere.
What was a highlight for you in Stuttgart?
Too many things happened, but there was one that stood out: We were out in the cornfields taking pictures for my mom and the car was parked. I left my coffee open in the car and then a car came driving up. Cathy got stressed and moved the car. And all I was thinking about was, that my coffee got spilt all over the car. But Cathy came back and did not say anything. So I went to check the car and my coffee was still there, in exactly the same position, I left it in.
This might be the first Adidas backed video project focussed on women in Europe right?
Yes, it is, they did projects in the US though. But this one is special because we created this ourselves, nobody told us to do anything. It is all us. I feel like that is the state of women in skateboarding right now, we are starting things and building structures as we go on.
Do you think that the Olympics are a good platform for female skaters to present themselves on?
The Olympic games as a platform are a great opportunity, equality for women and men (equal pay). But a lot of this is about time, I think, it just takes time. I choose to ignore the bullshit. Through the years, I‘ve broken many bones and entered many discussions, even with my own family. I also almost failed my studies. All of this because of skateboarding. Just like all skaters, I suffered a lot and loved it. That is what makes me a skateboarder. It is one of the things, that I am sure of.
Are we going to see a second part to this video?
I have been very busy since this trip to Germany, I went on a tour with Asiplanchaba (a female-focussed skateboard website) and we filmed a little video for that. And after that, I flew to the states to film for Bones. But yeah it would be sick to do a second part.
I guess we are going to be seeing a lot more of you in the future then?
Yes, good things are coming, I‘ve been skating for so long, for like 15 years. A lot of things are changing now, I am doing my last course before I finish my studies and I will officially be an electrical engineer.
I will keep my fingers crossed, thanks for getting in touch Andrea!
What can you tell me about this project you did with Adidas, how did it come together.
The idea started at the Far N’ High contest in Paris (both remember it differently), where we met each other for the second time. In Paris, we skated the city together and basically hung out the entire time. At some point, we started noticing that we have a lot of the same sponsors, which led us to think of the video idea. We stayed in touch and Andrea planned to visit me in Stuttgart.
As a friend visiting a friend?
Yes and then she came up with the idea to ask our sponsors for support. Initially, Torsten was supposed to film the clip but since he was on a Trip, Chris got involved. Torsten then suggested that we could include Patrick Zentgraf in it as well. Which was cool, Paddy likes to be involved in these sort of things.
Is there any standout moment of those 5 days that you want to talk about?
Andrea‘s mother watches German shows on television and we passed by a cornfield and made us stop the car so she could have a little photo shoot. (Landdoktor/Schwarzwald Klinik)
You also mentioned something about a song that you recorded for the video?
Yeah, we recorded one together, but unfortunately, it ended up not making the cut.
So, are there plans for you to return the favour and visit Andrea?
No solid plans, but we do want to visit her in Barcelona, it could be cool to do it as a series. We‘ll see, it is always fun to do stuff together.
Will Chris be involved too?
Yeah probably, I can’t seem to get rid of him (laughs).
What is he up to these days?
He‘s sitting next to me and is editing a video. I am also working on a new VX part with, which will be finished soon.
Chris, can I ask you, how does it feel to be out there, getting clips with your girlfriend?
Chris: It is very interesting to see what she can and is doing nowadays. It isn‘t like at the beginning where she would quit sooner. Filming her can be a test of patience because she wants to do crazy tricks and progress all the time. She‘s not that easily satisfied.
Catie: I never gave up (laughs). But I will admit that I threw a fit, got angry and at times cried when I could not land a trick. So it was crazier than he is portraying it as (laughs).
A question for you both, did you ever consider doing a couples part? It might be corny but it could also be cool.
Chris: We did think about it but as you said it could get too corny.
Catie: We did film a lot, he films me I film him, but he never wants to take the time to edit his
Chris: I like to edit her stuff more than mine. But we did think of making a video with both of us in it but a shared “couples part” sounds a bit too cheesy.
Talking about contests, just like Andrea, you‘re involved with the Olympic Games, what does that Olympic experience mean to you?
Free travel basically. They approached me and I liked the opportunity, who would say no to that? It can lead to new experiences and opportunities, that I might otherwise not have.
Understandable, but what does that mean, what do they expect from you?
Well, I basically have to skate more contests. For example on 22nd October, I’m flying to the US, to skate in a contest. But it definitely has advantages. After the contest, I’m going to stay in the states for a bit and have some time to skate and have cool experiences.
R: What do you think about the current state of girls in skateboarding? Do you think this project/video that you guys created can be seen as a milestone? For me it doesn’t really matter, I want to skate with people. Even though Andrea, Rosa and I are girls, it was not a choice or a statement it just happened.
Gender isn‘t a conscious factor in skateboarding for me.
Maybe that is the way it goes? Filming a video with the homies, as you did, is a core factor of being a skateboarder don’t you think?
Personally, I think filming is the most enjoyable. On the contrary, contests can be rough at times. I was pretty frustrated during the German Championships, but a lot of the times big contest can also be fun.
I try to skate both, street and bowl.
Even though people see me as a bowl skater, at some of these contest I have placed above some of the other “street skating” girls. For instance, in Nanjing (China) I was the highest placed German woman, in the street event (laughs). The point is that I want to skate it all. I even skate vert, when I feel like it and other days I will focus on learning new flip tricks. It depends on my mood and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself.
Thanks, Cathy I think that is a nice quote to end it on! Thanks for getting in touch with us to do this interview.