Meet Mimi Knoop
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Meet Mimi Knoop – X GameS medalist /creator of hoopla skateboards / multimedia artistWhether she is dropping into a bowl, designing for Hoopla Skateboards or traveling the globe to share her experience as a pro skater, Mimi’s days are action packed. As one of the top female ramp/vert skateboarders in the world, this girl exudes energy! SKATE - As a five-time X Games medalist and winner of the 2008 Pro-tec Pool Party, how do you encourage girls to avoid intimidation in this male-dominated sport?
Well, it’s just like anything; if you love to do something, then don’t let anyone stop you from doing it. That’s usually what I tell the girls that ask. Most of the pro girls that skate have gotten past the intimidation factor – but for the newbies that’s what I would recommend.
What inspires you to travel and promote skating? I just love to skate. I have skated off and on most of my life (since I was about 8). Traveling is often times a perk and also a great way to meet new people and introduce them to girls’ skating too.
You recently traveled to Iraq and Kuwait to skateboard. Can you tell us about the reason for your visit and your experience there? Yes, I went to Kuwait and Iraq in March. I was asked to go by a sports group that organizes goodwill tours for the troops over there. My dad was stationed in Iraq for seven months back in 2005. He ran a hospital in the middle of the desert. We are super proud of him for it. So, it was important for me to go. It was an amazing experience and also a demanding one. We had to fly to different military bases almost on a daily basis in military aircrafts in a war zone. I got pretty sick on some of the flights, but seeing the smiles on the troops’ faces made it all worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Tell us a bit about your experience with Babes on Boards and the 2011 Shreducation. Babes on Boards was started by my friend Lori Peltier in Houston, Texas. She has run the event for the past four years, and I have been to almost all of them. Her event really encouraged girls in Houston who had never tried it before because of intimidation, etc., to come out and skate. It gave them the confidence to give skating a try, and now a lot of them from the first clinic are really good! Most of them kept up with it and love skating now. The TWS Shreducation (now called “Shred 101”) was also a great event put on by Mahfia and TWS in California. It basically was a clinic set up for women/girls that work in the action sports industry to come out and meet us pros and also learn how to skate. Many of the ladies had never even stepped on a skateboard and by the end of the day they were hooked! Hoopla Skateboards donated a bunch of completes, so we left them for the girls and now they skate all the time.
As a co-founder of The Alliance and sport organizer for the professional women’s skate events at the X Games, what other events can female skaters look forward to since the drop of the X Games’ women’s vert? Well, we have a lot of ideas right now and we are working together to put them into motion. We have some meetings with ESPN coming up, along with some other stuff. Basically, if you want something done, sometimes you have to do it yourself! We hope to create a series of fun events throughout the next year that will bring some more opportunities for girls that want to skate.
ART & DESIGN
How has skateboarding influenced your artistic side? Skating has influenced my artistic side subtly, I guess. They are two in the same. I have been doing both for so long, it’s hard to think of them separately! Basically I would say skating is my physical/emotional outlet, and art is my mental/spiritual outlet. So they definitely influence each other by both having no rules and extreme freedom of expression.
How was your experience during the DIE POSERS DIE! – “The Nonconformist” Exhibit? I was super hyped at the DIE
POSERS DIE show(s). Alva invited me to contribute to the first one back in 2009 and then the second one this past spring. If you look at the names of the skaters showing work, mine was definitely the oddball name on the list! Thanks, Tony! It’s always an honor.
What inspires most of the art pieces you create? I guess I just see how I’m feeling at that moment and then start with one thing – whether that’s an animal or a color or a mood or even a line – and then just see where it takes me. Most of my work has little premeditation.
What kind of tunes do you typically like to jam out to while creating your art pieces? All kinds of stuff…punk rock to rap to Native American flute music. I go all over the place! What experience or person has shaped the way you think the most? I would say moving around a bunch growing up shaped the way I think a lot…and traveling more when I got older. Every thing/place has pros and cons; it’s your attitude that makes the experience in life.
Are you planning on exhibiting any new work this year? Of course! You will have to wait and see… check my website for updates and new work here: www.mimi-knoop.com
As a co-founder of Hoopla Skateboards, tell us a little bit about your brand (hooplaskateboards.com). Hoopla began with Skate One (manufacturer and distributor of brands such as Powell-Peralta and Bones Wheels) wanting to get behind the ladies in skateboarding in some way. My business partner Cara-Beth Burnside had a few conversations with them in the beginning, and they decided to create a brand together. I came on board soon after and was responsible for creating the brand name and logo, and was also heavily assisting in brand management and art direction with board graphics, the website, etc. It has been a great experience and we are so stoked on Hoopla!
How did you meet Cara-Beth Burnside? I met CB a few weeks before I entered my first pro contest (the Soul Bowl 2002?). She was there when I dropped in on vert for the first time – and right afterwards, she talked me into entering Soul Bowl two weeks later! We always have fun skating and pushing each other to progress, and have always worked well together on projects/business.