If a skate company wants to stay in the game for the long haul, they need the ability to pump new blood into the mix as the older heads start to slow down. Deathwish is one of the brands that’s been able to do this successfully, and in recent years they’ve introduced a new era of skaters that keep pushing the company forward like Jamie Foy and Pedro Delfino.
Now, there’s a new name that’s earned a spot on the Deathwish team – Victoria Ruesga. You may have come across Victoria in videos like Uncrossed or Constant, but if neither of those rings a bell, you might recognize her from Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut Booksmart.
Victoria’s skate career is just getting off the ground, but with some serious accomplishments in skating and outside of it, and big cosigns under her belt already, we are just waiting to see what she’s got coming next.
You’ve never really been interviewed by another skate mag, right?
Yeah, I don’t like to allow people to get to know me and get into my head. Like, I don’t want to give them room to judge or talk. I don’t like to do interviews, but I like Jenkem and only real fools read Jenkem, so I’m down. I like to be reserved but whatever, fuck it!
You grew up in North Hollywood so you’ve been surrounded by skateboarding.
Did you see a lot of pros at a young age?
Kind of, yeah. There was this specific time where we would see these OG Chocolate dudes everywhere. We would see Daniel Castillo, Jeron [Wilson], and maybe MJ [Marc Johnson] but we didn’t even know. I knew of Daniel Castillo because he’s short, and I enjoy watching short skaters.
So I did grow up seeing a lot of pros, but here it’s different because you know you’re going to see them again. You’re not trying to be weird around them. I knew that from a young age so I never really said anything to anybody, but I was aware. One time I told P-Rod to move out the way because he was just standing there.
Did he move?
Of course he did! I love P-Rod, he’s from The Valley like me.
Do you get to skate with P-Rod since you’re Nike teammates?
I don’t know him as well as I’d like to. But wow, I’ve never really thought of it like that. We are teammates. That never clicked until now. Do you remember that P-Rod Ice Cube commercial? That shit changed lives!
How did the Deathwish connection come about?
The Deathwish thing didn’t happen until way later in my life. I started working at Val Surf [skateshop] when I was 18, and Andrew [Reynolds] and Jay Thorpe [Deathwish / Baker Team Manager] go in there like every other day [laughs]. Jay I knew from seeing around but I honestly didn’t know he had anything to do with Baker Boys. I was just like, “That’s a nice guy in all black [laughs].”
After a while we became closer and then one day they walked in and it was like Fight Club. They were staring at me and talking to each other all quiet. I was like, “What’s up?” They were like, “We’re going to start giving you boards.” I said okay, they said alright, and they walked right out.
Before Andrew walked out he was like, “Alright, Baker Deathwish for life.” It was like I just got initiated, gang shit! I looked over at the homegirls at the counter and they were all giddy because they knew the deal. He didn’t even ask, he just said we’re going to start giving you boards. “We’ll bring ’em to the shop in the next few days.” I was just like, “Uhh, okay…” That was like four or five years ago. Then they put me in their videos.
“It was like I just got initiated, gang shit!”
Do you feel pressure to live up to the Deathwish reputation?
I mean honestly, when I was watching those videos as a kid, I liked them and I watched them but I knew like, these fools are crazy. And then I grew up and I realized, fuck, I’m crazy too and it’s fine!
But all of the people who were crazy back then are all sober now. They’re all 40-year-old sober men with kids and shit. It’s chill. We don’t have to live up to anything. It’s all changed a lot. Baker Boys isn’t just Piss Drunx anymore.
How do you feel about that change in the brand’s identity?
There’s a lot more money in skateboarding. More coverage and opportunity too, so I think skaters are going to be smarter. There are managers now [laughs]. You don’t have to have a downfall anymore. It’s not like oh you get paid to skate and party and get addicted and have to go sober. That was kind of every skater’s story until like 10 years ago.
People are just smarter. There used to be more freedom, less money. But I don’t know, I wasn’t there. I’m not complaining about it. I know it sounds like it, but it’s just how it is.
What are some of the best and worst parts of working at a shop?
So I worked in Valley Village, a little safe place in NoHo [North Hollywood] right before Ventura Blvd. It’s a nicer area but down the street, it’s not. So people come in all super bougie thinking I’m going to fucking tie their kid’s shoes. Like, I’m not tying your kid’s shoe, you can check if it fits them. You’re in a fucking skate shop. You’re not in Gucci, are you dumb? I’m not going to pour you any wine. You stupid. Then they get mad.
The best part – you know the fucking best part. The family you get. I was just there last night because I miss everyone. You get to watch the babies from the shop grow up from behind the counter. It’s just another safe spot for all skateboarders. I love it. I love Val Surf. I don’t work there anymore but you’re always welcomed and there’s always going to be someone who you know there. I’m still invited to the Christmas party. Do you work at a shop?
I did, you might know it because it’s owned by Amy Ellington.
Oh, you worked at KCDC skateshop? That’s sick. I was there a couple of months ago just kicking it in the shop. I enjoyed the skate scene in New York. I like it almost more than LA. It’s more communal. You could meet the biggest burliest motherfucker out there but he’ll just be super proper about fools’ pronouns and shit. It’s really beautiful. Out here every other word out the homie’s mouth is, “faggot.” It’s crazy.
The girl’s skate scene out there is sick as fuck. Those bitches just want to skate. They don’t care about their fit, Instagram, nothing. The girls out here make me sick.
So we’ve both been skating about the same amount of time and we’ve both seen the women’s scene grow but through different lenses. What are your thoughts on the growth of women’s skating?
I have to first say, I appreciate it and I think it’s awesome. The growth. I never thought that there would be that many girl skaters. But also, I never gave it any thought. I wasn’t growing up like, “I’m a girl skater.” I’m just a fucking skater. It was never like, “I feel weird. I feel like I don’t belong.” Fuck no, I belong here. I was better than all my homies [laughs]. Or not better but just as good, you know. I saw no barriers or anything.
There’s nothing to hate on though. These girls genuinely like it and it looks like they’re having fun. I’m not going to let people think I’m associated with certain crews out here because that’s not a good look [laughs] but it’s not like I’m trying to put shame on people. I don’t want to go to some girl skate event because I don’t skate with girls, I skate with my homies.
Just because we have vaginas doesn’t mean we have to skate holding hands, you know? Running up to me across the skatpark, like, “Oh, hey!” No. Sorry if it sounds harsh but it’s true you don’t go to the skatepark with your homie and just skate everything with your homie. You need space. You’re there to skate, get the fuck away from me. But I think it’s cool that girls can go skate and have fun with each other. They seem to enjoy skating. You can tell who does and doesn’t enjoy it. Just stay out of my fuckin’ way.
“I’m not going to follow them on Instagram because I can’t stand to see them, but they’re good people and they don’t deserve to get hated on.”
That’s what you’ve noticed out in Hollywood?
Out here there are “It girls” and Instagram girls, and I’m not going to say any names, we all know the names and shit, but in person those people are generally nice and good people. They enjoy skating. I’m not going to follow them on Instagram because I can’t stand to see them, but they’re good people and they don’t deserve to get hated on. It’s like, let that girl do her lil’ shuv-its. Leave her alone, don’t sexualize her, and just move on.
If it doesn’t bother me as a woman it should not bother you as a man. Another man should not be pressed about what some woman is doing. Some of these girls get so dragged on Instagram and it’s like, you’re a grown man. It’s weird. No room for that shit. Like, it’s probably a girl who is doing a shuv-it and they’re hyped and a guy is in the comments like, “Why would the Berrics repost this?” Bitch, look at how happy she is! That’s why they posted it. If you don’t like it, don’t say anything, scroll past it, turn your phone over, and do something. Do the trick better and @ her [laughs].
Are you skating full time now? Has getting paid to skate changed your way of living?
Yeah, it’s very weird. I was living with a roommate but then I had the means to live by myself so I moved into a nicer place earlier in the year.
I had my mom over and I was all tired from moving and she bought all this food. Then she started telling me all this cute stuff, “I’m so proud of you” and all that. After she left, I fucking sat my little ass in my new place by myself with a western bacon cheeseburger and cried my eyes out. I couldn’t believe it. Nobody starts skating for that reason and then you have all these people being so proud of you. It’s just so strange.
Has your mom always supported your skating?
Hell yeah. I grew up with my mom. My dad lives kind of far and he never really “got it.” He still doesn’t “get it.” He’ll be like, “So what’s up with school?” I’m like, “Dad, I’m not going to school for at least the next three years because I’m in this shit.”
My mom does get it and she’s so proud of me. She’s always been supportive, taking me to little contests as a kid, posting little Facebook pictures and stuff. My dad, all he understands is that I can get free shit so he’s always sending me little wish lists and asking what’s up. My mom has always supported me, but look at me now I damn near get to support her! I’d do anything for her. I love her.
You said, “I’m not going to school for at least the next three years” – is that because that’s what you have left on your contract?
Yeah. I did go to school for a little while before that. I went for two years for addiction studies so I could become a substance abuse counselor. I enjoyed it but I had to finish school early to go film a movie [laughs], but I was fucking doing it. Night classes, morning classes, taking the fucking bus there.
I can’t wait to go back to school though. I want to have something to fall back on. I got a plan. You don’t have to be 18 years old to be in college. Everyone in my classes was 30-40.
The movie you had to film was Booksmart, right? Were you trying to get into acting at that time?
Nah, no. Not at all. Mikey Alfred is from The Valley and we grew up together. Booksmart used the same casting director as Mid90s and they hit up Mikey, “You know any skaters?” So Mikey hit me up, but I didn’t have his number saved in my phone so the text was like, “Hey I got this gig. Go to this place and this time and I’ll email you a script.”
I don’t do auditions, so I was like, “What the fuck? I don’t know this number. Somebody is going to set me up and kill me. I’m not going.” A couple of days later I checked my email and I saw that Mikey had sent me the script. I was like, “Holy shit that was Mikey!” I felt like I just tainted the homie’s name. He just came out with a movie and he’s all big time and I made him look shitty because I didn’t go. I hit him up “Dude!! I didn’t go. I fucked up. I thought you were going to kill me!” I explained it all to him and he was like “Dude, you fucker, you made me look bad. Go tomorrow. I set it up for you.”
I thought I was doing Mikey a favor but it turns out he didn’t have anything to do with the movie and he was just doing me a favor. I thought someone was going to kill me, like a setup to get sex trafficked or something, but I got the role.
Would you be in another movie if the opportunity came up?
It depends. I enjoyed the movie and the whole thing, but afterward, I kept meeting more and more disgusting people. Not like nasty but like people who think they’re the shit who aren’t. It’s kind of like skating but way worse.
Do you mean like the stereotypical Hollywood type of people?
Yeah, kind of, but like, I’m not trying to flex but fucking Princess Leia’s daughter and Cuba Gooding Jr.’s son was in that movie. Then there’s this girl who is just like me, never really been in anything. I guess she was like a model, and this fucking bitch bro, she was tall as fuck and I’m short as fuck. I had to talk to her because I had to be friendly and she would look over me. She probably is used to being able to do that to people but I would be like “Aye, I’m speaking to you big dog.” I would call her big dog and she was always like, “Oh my god!” Meanwhile, Olivia [The Director] is over there in sweatpants eating a Cup Noodles and you’re over here being a weird-ass big bird bitch. It was gross.
People’s egos are just disgusting and that was where I first saw it. I did like little acting things for a year, but after COVID I was like, “Fuck yeah! I don’t have to do that anymore.” But if the opportunity was to come up and it was something that I could back, yeah sure, maybe. I want to be in a Scorsese movie and then just never do a movie again. That’d be my shit.
Did you get paid well for Booksmart?
Yeah, I guess when you’re a first-time actor and it’s like your first movie ever, you get a certain amount. My mom figured that shit out because she saw a video of Millie Bobby Brown saying how much she got. I got the same amount as her – as a start! I’m not getting bread like she is now but like season one episode one of whatever that shit was called… Stranger Things.
It wasn’t much but it was like $13,000 or some shit. That’s some SAG shit though, like, here’s your amount, the more of a movie star you are the more you can get. Then the cool part is that COVID hit the next year so those internet sales went up!
Do you still get royalties?
I still get quarterly checks. It’s a couple of hundred bucks but it’s still a couple of hundred bucks. I’m good at saving my money. This shit is not going to last forever. I saved all of that money from the government. When everyone had to quit their jobs and went on unemployment I just didn’t touch that money.
What made you want to learn about substance abuse in school?
At the time I was out of work, not skating, fighting with my family, and a lot of people close to me had drinking problems. Personally, I never did hard drugs or anything but I smoke a lot of weed and drink a lot. So I stopped smoking weed, stopped drinking beer, and went to school for a little. It was just time for me to do something so I just tried it out.
Substance abuse is all over skateboarding. I’d get off of school and go to North Hollywood skatepark, and I would see fools that I’ve known all my life just shooting up. I just got out of a four-hour class about this shit, and I come straight to this? Literally, I’ve been skating at that park since I was 11 and I’ve watched people destroy themselves.
Yeah, seeing someone you grew up with getting into heroin is a horrible feeling.
That shit is gnarly, but that’s where we are right now. Just try your best to not do that stuff and keep your friends off of that stuff. Get anybody you can off of it.
When I went to school, that stuff made me real pussy, like being mad compassionate, and mindful of a lot of people and their feelings [laughs]. I think I felt that way because I got more information on the real science behind the brain and how people fall into it. I would catch myself smiling at everyone and it was kind of nice.
Long story short, You never know what someone is going through so you need to give equal life to everyone. Even a little smile can make someone’s day that much better. It’s happened to me before where someone is nice and you’re just like “Damn man, I needed that today.”
What’s up with the bandana around the neck? Is that your signature look?
I guess, but fools be biting my shit. I used to roll up my sleeves and now every gay girl rolls up their sleeves. I’m not a gay girl, I got a boyfriend, so I’m gonna unroll my sleeves. Then I started tying up my button-up shirts, everyone ties up their button-ups, so I threw all of mine out.
I started doing the bandana thing during COVID because everyone had theirs in the front, so I just turned mine around. I put my shit in the back and the knot in the front. But I try not to make it a thing. But if I forget it, I’ll run back into the house and grab it [laughs].
Do you think people are going to start biting that?
No, and I don’t think anyone does it on purpose [laughs]. I’m just messing around. It’s everyone else’s world. I’m just living in it.
NERDING OUT WITH THREE RARE DECK COLLECTORS
If you ever wanted to reclaim a piece of your childhood and cop that one deck you saw in a CCS catalog, hopefully, this will be a solid place to start.
A CHAT WITH LUDVIG HAKANSSON, THE OLDEST SOUL IN SKATEBOARDING
The man loves to read Nietzche, skates in some expensive vintage gear, and paints in his own neoclassical-meets-abstract-expressionist style.
THE FRONT BLUNT HAT IS BACK… AGAIN
We know we sound like the boy who cried wolf but this might, just might, be the last chance to get your hands on one.
SKATERS RECOMMEND THEIR FAVORITE SKATE PANTS
We hit up some pro skaters and Jenkem contributors known for their 'fits to offer recommendations.
“CHROME ZONE” IS THE LATEST NYC HOMIE VIDEO YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
Babe, stop Cyber Monday shopping, there's a new Sam Zentner video.