Valeria recently joined @lgcireland on Instagram for a live conversation on the origins of LGC globally, her nonprofit’s amazing humanitarian work, and everything from spirituality & finding your purpose to her favorite quarantine homemade meals so far (vegan rice paper wraps!).
Okay, so before I start this recap, I must say with no shame of sounding like a fangirl (truth is, I am!) that Valeria is probably one of my favorite human beings on the planet.
I started longboarding after accidentally stumbling upon a Longboard Girls Crew video and thanks to the beautiful mysteries of the universe, ended up meeting Valeria a couple years later in Rio de Janeiro, where we invited her to be a speaker at a female empowerment event I was helping organize.
Valeria is probably one of my favorite human beings on the planet.Isabella Motta – LD.World Dublin Ambassador
We became friends and I was stoked when she invited me last year to be the ambassador for LGC Ireland. So add that to my innate introvert-ness and inexperience at hosting Instagram Lives (this was my first) – I was super nervous!!
Let the live stream begin
But of course, with her love, authenticity and beaming smile, Valeria immediately put me at ease and we got started talking about the origins of LGC back in 2010 in Madrid.
They were a group of friends who were skateboarding for fun, and slowly started noticing it wasn’t very common seeing women skating together at the skateparks.
In fact, most of them were the only one or two skating with a group of men. One day they decided to organize a skate session with their group of just women and the vibe they felt that day was simply different – the energy, the sense of freedom and especially the camaraderie was unlike anything they’ve ever felt before.
They started shooting videos and posting them on a page on Facebook and before they knew it, people from all over the world were watching LGC’s videos – and the movement begun. As she described on the LGC website:
“We put female longboarding on the map, got some international media attention and started not only gaining recognition for women but achieving a bigger goal: getting thousands of women around the world into the sport and breaking social stereotypes while doing so. Eight years later, Longboard Girls Crew (LGC) has grown into the biggest community in the action sports industry and one of the biggest female communities in the world, acknowledged in more than 180 countries with official crews and ambassadors in more than 60.”Valeria Kechichian – Founder of Longboard Girls Crew
For our Irish crew, which is less than a year old and we have beginners asking all the time if they can join, it was super interesting to hear from her how it was never about how good you are – but about having fun together and supporting each other to challenge yourself, learn something new, and just enjoy it!
Inclusion means INCLUSION
I asked her another frequently asked question in our Irish social media channels: are guys allowed to join? Valeria responded that YES, OF COURSE! The crew is open to everybody, all genders, nationalities, ages, sexual orientations – everyone!
LGC is all about inclusion but also about respect and camaraderie – so first and foremost it is supposed to be a space where women feel safe and respected as they come together to have fun.
We then spent some time reminiscing about Valeria’s visit to Dublin last year for our first official meetup. She was here to speak at a @women_in_the_digital_age event organized by a mutual friend of ours and we scheduled the inaugural LGCireland event to coincide with her visit. We had no idea what to expect – in fact, we were estimating 3 or 4 people to show up at most. To our surprise, 15 people showed up and Valeria said that hands down, her favorite memory of Dublin was the special vibe of excitement, newness, and curiosity on that meetup.
She then took a career question from another amazing human being well known to the longboard world for leading incredible longboard camps, @valeriya_gogunskaya and gave lots of useful insight about how she managed to build a career for herself in the longboard community by becoming a speaker for talks and corporate events, working with brands, and leading the LGC community worldwide.
A view on being open about yourself and to others
One of my favorite parts of chatting to Valeria, which is the hardest to capture in a text-form recap, is always her openness to share about her personal and spiritual journey – the authenticity, humbleness and love with which she does so is super inspiring.
She was not afraid to take some hard questions about her past, about relationships, and about finding your own path by trying new things. We talked about her hashtag #idonthaveahouseletsabuseyourfriendstour (strongly recommend checking out this post to see what that is about) and about how important it is for us to listen to ourselves and the signs of the universe and acknowledge the collective spiritual awakening that is happening around us as we speak.
Valeria frequently shares on her Instagram messages that I have no better way of describing than “food for the soul”, the kind that make you feel hugged when you need it most and that never fail to make you feel you have a friend walking beside you on your own journey, even if from miles and miles away (here’s an example).
I hope this captures a little bit of our chat, this is all my brain remembers after the adrenaline high of hosting my very first Instagram Live haha – if this got you curious to find out more, strongly recommend following her on Instagram @valeriakechichian for upcoming lives and virtual soul hugs.