Local skate crew Femme Fatale welcomes all

Femme Fatale is navigating stigmas in a male-dominated sport, all while creating a supportive community for every type of skater.

Skater Jenny Johnson “rocks to fakie” on a ramp in Merriam Skate Park on Wednesday, March 31. Johnson is one of the founding members of Femme Fatale, a skate group for women, trans, nonbinary and queer skaters.

Grace Davis, Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Despite what you might see on social media and at your local skate parks, not all skaters are just dudes who wear Dickies and Vans. There is a whole community of dope women, trans and nonbinary skaters, and lately they’ve been making waves in the Minneapolis skate scene.

Femme Fatale is a skateboarding crew that organizes meetups for mostly women, trans, nonbinary and queer skaters in the Twin Cities. The group started in 2017 when local skaters who weren’t part of the male-dominated majority at skate parks decided to band together and create their own community within the larger skateboarding community.

“You would see another girl or nonmale; it was like a magnet. You would run up to each other and be like, ‘Oh my god, who are you? Like, how long have you been skating? Can I get your number,’” said Jenny Johnson, one of the founders of Femme Fatale.

As skaters of all different levels looked to join Femme Fatale, the group began looking for more time to meet without nonmembers present. Familia, a Minneapolis skate shop and park, allowed the group to use the park for themselves for Sunday night skate sessions.

“The people at Familia were super cool about it, just really stoked to see more girls coming out. They let us do after-hours sessions on Sunday nights,which was a huge blessing,” Johnson said. “It’s usually like $500 to rent out the park, and they were like, you just do five bucks a person. If it wasn’t for that, like, I feel like Femme Fatale might not have grown.”

With the consistently scheduled Sunday night sessions, the group has been able to grow quite a following. An early member of the group, Victoria Turcios, said she is extremely appreciative of the group’s accepting atmosphere.

“The gals took me in like family. We all created a safe space to enjoy the sport, whether it was at Familia or other skate parks. It was never exclusive. We didn’t even exclude anyone identifying as masculine/male — all we wanted was people with good vibes and respect for each other,” Turcios said.

Johnson is passionate about skating and how it can change people’s lives. She didn’t necessarily have much of an idea for the group’s direction when it first began, but she has worked tirelessly over the past couple of years, growing Femme Fatale into the community it is today.

“It was a lot less in the first couple years because there were maybe 100 followers. So it was like, we had a consistent thing where … we’d be going to Familia Sunday night, or we might do a ‘watch ‘Skate Kitchen’ on this date’ event,” Johnson said.

Growing that community has been so rewarding, Johnson said, but dealing with the stigma around nonmale skaters hasn’t always been easy for her and the rest of the group.

“My friend had really bad interactions in the community when working at a skate park with the comments she would get speculating how she got the job and at times a complete disregard for her authority,” she said.

Johnson also mentioned that when looking at popular skateboarding Instagram accounts, like the Berrics, there’s bound to be comments saying, “saying she only got posted because she’s hot,” negating the fact that women skaters can establish themselves in the industry through their style or skill.

Above all though, for Femme Fatale member Leah Rezac, the group has done more than just create a welcoming community — it’s made her a better skater.

“The feeling of skating with such supportive and loving people is so awesome, and I really feel like it’s helped to boost my confidence and skating abilities.”