Film / The Muse

The Muse: Rachelle Vinberg, the skater-actress to have on your radar

The star of Skate Kitchen is fast becoming an icon of a generation.

Soon out is Crystal Moselle’s Sundance Film Festival hit, Skate Kitchen: the debut feature film from the director, it’s as real and cutting as her award winning documentaries. Discovering the playful world of the skaters and making them the focus of her 2016 short, That One Day, Moselle found muses in Brenn Lorenzo, Jules Lorenzo, Nina Moran, Kabrina Adams, Ajani Russell, Ardelia (Dede) Lovelace and, our weeks Muse, Rachelle Vinberg. A standout female driven collective in the stereotypical boys club of skate culture, the Skate Kitchen are a ever needed reminder of the importance of inclusion, representation and female power. We caught up with the star, Rachelle, to hear how she found herself in front of Crystal Moselle’s lens, and what it means to be a young feminist voice in the world of 2018 cinema…

Do you remember the first time you picked up a skateboard?

Oh yeah, it was in Canada, where my cousin lived. I saw him skating and I thought it was so cool how he could do tricks with his skateboard, it all looked insane to me. So I asked him to teach me how to ‘ollie’ and he got me aboard.

So did you start skating alone after that?

I skated with him for a week, and then I went home to New York and skated on my own for a long time. Then I met these neighbourhood kids and they were skating, and we ended up skating just me and two neighbours for about three years.

How did the Skate Kitchen collective come about from there?

New York City is like the best place to skate, New York and LA anyway. I lived in Long Island, so the suburbs really, and I would always be looking up NYC videos of skating where I wanted to be. I found videos that Nina [Moran] had posted – the girl who plays Kurt in the movie – and we connected on Instagram, I’d comment on her videos and she’d comment on mine. From there, we ended up meeting in person and then I started going out to visit her like once a month to skate. Back in 12th grade, I was 17, we were out skating together and I ran into Crystal [Moselle]: she asked if we knew more girl skaters, and Nina did, so we connected up.

So Crystal sort of brought you guys together in real life too?

Yeah! We bumped into her on a train and she just straight up asked if we wanted to do a project with her. We made a short film first called That One Day, and we had so much fun on that that we kept hanging out, and becoming actually close friends.

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Fort Greene park cruise back in the summer

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What was it like to share yourself and your life with the world through Crystal and through your character Camille?

It’s amazing, I find it so cool that I was able to be me – or at least a version of me – in front of a camera for the whole world to see. It’s easy to relate to a character like Camille, I think everyone goes through something similar when they’re trying to find their people, or themselves. I guess it was such a literal form of that… It’s cool because all of our real friends are in there, all of the places we actually hang out, when we’re older we’re going to be able to look back and relive all of that.

Were you nervous about sharing any of it with Crystal?

Honestly, no. She didn’t ask me personal questions, I just told her things and it became like talking to your best friend. I didn’t see her as like ‘The Director’ at all.

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Chapstick? 📷: @toby.kenobi

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How does it feel to be a feminist voice for the young generation, especially in skate culture?

It’s cool because now it’s changing, and I’m part of it. I wouldn’t say now that skating is fully male, because there are so many incredible girls. Lacey Baker and Mariah Duran, all these faces showing up on Instagram, pushing girl skating. And its so cool to be a part of that, that people can look up to us, because there didn’t use to be those role models. But it is crazy, because skating is always just something we’ve done for fun, it’s never a competition for us and we’re not the best in the world. But that doesn’t matter, skating is a freedom for us, it’s about being ourselves.

How has your experience been in the current world of film?

I’ve been lucky to work with so many women, and I grew up with the women of cinema. From the composers to the producers, it was all about women. It was like a huge, sister family. Sundance really showed that to me, we were all together in a big house it was perfect. I think I’m lucky that my experience in the world has been positive so far, so I definitely want to do more in cinema.

Check out the trailer below now, and stay tuned for Skate Kitchen’s release in cinemas Friday 28th September. Follow Rachelle Vinberg on Instagram here.

21 September 2018