Julie Angel / Amy Slevin


Julie Angel, USA

julieangel.com


Julie is the founder of See&Do, a globally ambitious project to promote inclusivity in movement cultures: Changing perceptions of Who does what and where, one photo at a time. 
Artist – Filmmaker, photographer, writer, academic of the world’s first parkour themed PhD, Julie currently lives in Austin, USA, although she originally comes from Plymouth in the UK. Julie states she doesn’t have a bucketlist, instead she embraces life in each moment and claims to like the calm and controlled, not the intensity or drama – something that might be quite rare for people attracted to the action sports lifestyle.
“I like sharing stories about people who move and about movement cultures. I love See&Do: Because it’s not about the elite athletes- it’s about
contributing to a playing field where everyone can be visible and participate.”
When and why did you get in to photography?
“My friend and photographer Andy Day showed me how to use my camera properly for stills, whereas before I used it for filming. I can produce so many more photos in the same time that I would produce just one video edit. Right now photography speaks to me, and I’m listening.”

 

What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
“I like working with artists. I like moving. I train parkour, MovNat (a modern update of Methode Naturelle – running, jumping, crawling, climbing, combatives, aquatics, throwing catching, balancing) and surf whenever I can.”

 

Who is you biggest inspiration in life? Why?
“No single individual could possibly hold such a role when so many are so great.”

 

What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“I think it’s lame in this day and age. Media editors have a lot to answer for. Monkey see monkey do. Monkey don’t see, monkey don’t do.”

 

How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“Visibility- normalize the imagery in a visually dominant society.”

 

What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“That it’s hyper masculinity fades!”
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“They think I’m nice.”

Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are
connected?
“My body is very cool, it’s mine, it works really well, no issues.”

 

Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
“I could write another PhD, but I’m too lazy and there’s not enough space: Too complex and big a question to answer in a small box.”
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“Just move. Health is freedom, movement is health.”
 

Amy Slevin, UK

www.bespokeyoga.org

Born, raised and educated in London (French and Italian at UCL) by South African parents, Amy was always encouraged to challenge herself and try new things.
After graduating from university, she moved to South Africa where she danced professionally until it was time to get a “proper” job, so she returned to London and landed a job at Alexander McQueen. Amy started learning Parkour during this time, working there for three years until her third calling to study Osteopathy came along.
During the osteopathy course, Amy was introduced to yoga and reluctantly practiced a little, and to her surprise she actually started to enjoy it. After qualifying as an osteopath Amy took a yoga course and now I spend most of her time teaching yoga!
 
“I started training Parkour in 2007, after seeing a snippet of people jumping over a wall on TV. I went to a class and I had so much fun. It was incredibly hard work, but amazing fun. I was sore for the following 5 days!  I started training twice a week, then three times, then four, then five… It basically took over my life for a few years! I sprained my ankle and later my shoulder which frustratingly forced me to take time out. I started training as an osteopath, and went through a personal tragedy so I didn’t train at all for about 3 years. Now I spend my time doing as much Yoga and Parkour as possible”
 
What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
"I never thought of doing any other action sports, and in fact, most of them are too scary for me! Parkour just seemed like good, old-fashioned fun and that is what hooked me.  I don’t really consider it an extreme sport, because it is just natural human movement and can be very basic and “safe” too – it’s not only about jumping over massive gaps between rooftops."
 
Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Why?
"My dad. Awww. He is incredibly clever and successful and I would like to emulate those aspects of him."
 
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
"There are fewer female role models because there are fewer female athletes. I think the reason for this is that many “extreme” sports were created by men for men, and appeal to male characteristics – mainly physical strength and an element of machismo. A lot of women might be naturally reluctant to try these sports for fear of not being strong enough, or because the activities seem scary or dangerous. Perhaps women are generally more risk-averse. Male and female bodies naturally move differently and have different attributes – in the same way there are fewer female extreme athletes, there are fewer male dancers, for example. "
 
 
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
"I would be interested to find out!"
 
Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
"Of course there are parts of me I am self-conscious of and would like to change. Not telling what they are, though! Self-esteem is a very complex psychological topic which goes beyond the scope of this text. I will say though, that I do think there is a link between media portrayal of female beauty and low self-esteem in girls. However, I think that would still exist without media influence. To a certain degree, the media reflects popular opinion, as well as influencing it.  Parental/social influences also play an important role in girls’ self-esteem, regardless of the media. And (this is controversial) I think that in some ways there is a positive to this; that we are encouraged to take care of ourselves and keep ourselves active and healthy. Hashtags such as #ThisGirlCan and #StrongIsSexy serve to encourage girls and women to be active and robust, which positively feeds self-esteem. It’s when it goes too far that things may go wrong and self-esteem is negatively affected. "
 
Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
"I think men are perceived as effortless, natural heroes whilst women are perceived as unexpected, unusual rarities, and often sexualised as a result of doing a ‘man’s’ sport. "
 
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
"Don’t worry about not fitting in. The stereotype is overrated."