Invincible Interviews: Female Trickers Speak Out, Part 2
What’s that? You wanna get more of the inside scoop on the female tricking experience?
Well, dear reader, I’m glad you said so. Because it turns out that this topic is way too big to be covered in just one post. Although Tori Yo Fecteau and Ashley Adams gave us some fascinating insights in Part 1, I decided that we all needed to find out a bit more to round out our perspectives. With that in mind, I contacted Gaby Macias and Tricia Guarin, two talented tricking veterans of Euphoria Tricking who were happy to add some crucial wisdom to the conversation. And off we go!
JP: Sooooo who are you and stuff?
GM: My name is Gaby Macias, I’m from Arlington, VA, and I represent DMV Trickers and the CFC (Creative Form Crew). I first started tricking in 2005 shortly after starting Tae Kwon Do. I currently train in the DMV area and work in a martial arts school where I teach Tricking and Dance Fitness. A few friends and I created a group called Euphoria to spread our love of tricking by making awesome apparel and hosting gatherings.
TG: My name’s Tricia! I started regularly training in the summer of 2010. I currently train in East Windsor, CT, and I’m on Euphoria, but we’re not really a “tricking team” per se. We’re a group of trickers who push to break stereotypes and share our love for this sport. We want to help the community to break boundaries and push themselves to be the greatest they can be.
How did you first get into tricking?
GM: I used to want to do martial arts when I was a kid, but my parents couldn’t afford to enroll my brothers and me in classes. When I was 12 years old, my uncle and grandma were able to enroll us in Tae Kwon Do and pay for our tuition. Unfortunately, by then I was old enough to think I was “too cool” for martial arts, and I quit after my first class. While my brothers stuck with it, I started getting into A LOT of trouble at school. After a year of getting into trouble and losing my parents’ trust, they forced me back into TKD classes. I fell in love almost instantly the second time around. I used to be a huge fan of Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles and Dragon Ball Z and somehow forgot how cool they were as I got older. After a few months of this newfound TKD passion, my instructor invited me to take a special “Creative Forms Class” aka Sport Karate and Tricking. As soon as I learned my first few tricks, I fell in love with the sport and have never stopped since.
TG: I first got into tricking because my friends found it online and started doing it. I was around them often when they trained, but I assumed I wasn’t capable because I’d had minimal gymnastics (3 months) and martial arts (1 year) training. Then one random day in 2008, I was at the gym with them and was hyper and fearless for some reason. So I learned butterfly kick, and then they got me to throw btwist. I landed and was in total shock… I felt the high for WEEKS. I’ve been addicted ever since!
What do you love most about tricking?
GM: What I love about tricking is that there are no rules. It’s a form of expression. There’s no wrong way of expressing yourself, so you can create whatever you want with it. There are always new tricks being performed and new boundaries broken. There’s an infinite amount of possibilities for a single trick alone, and that’s beautiful to me.
TG: There are too many things I love about tricking! I love proving myself capable and helping others find that in themselves. I love pushing my limits and getting stronger. And I love meeting new, amazing people from completely different cultures, making friends from all over the world!
Was it weird at first to be surrounded by dudes all the time? Is it weird now?
GM: Not at all! I found it more weird that most dudes hadn’t seen a girl trick before. My whole life I’ve been the only girl. I’m the only girl out of three siblings and one of very few in my entire family. At school I had a lot of girl friends but always found myself playing rough with the boys, and I gravitated toward more “boyish” things like superheroes and explosions. I was always considered one of the boys and never thought anything of it. I never really saw a difference in gender when it came to things, I just figured if we had similar interests then we’d be cool. As an adult, I realize growing up that way was a blessing in disguise because I never had a standard set for being female. No one thought less of me for being a girl or gave me special treatment. I learned if you wanted to do something then you do it without excuses, regardless of gender. It wasn’t until I started tricking and getting recognized when I realized being a “girl tricker” was a thing. Today when I’m at a session or gathering, I think about Tricking. I don’t care who’s there because I’m there to trick.
TG: It wasn’t something I noticed because I grew up around boys. In my early days, my siblings and I were mostly around my dad. He would take us to his basketball games, where he would get EXTREMELY competitive. I think that might’ve drawn me toward playing sports during recess, while the other girls played house or something. My all-girls high school was actually weird because I was surrounded by girls! But my friends outside of school were mostly boys because I was into video games. Then in college, I went back to playing sports with the guys.
Have you ever felt stereotyped or judged for being female?
GM: Not in the beginning. I started tricking for about two years underground before I started meeting other trickers. At that time, no one thought any more or less of me as a tricker, I was just Gaby Macias. If I landed a new trick, I was congratulated. If it was ugly or I wasn’t trying my hardest, they would tell me to do it again and better. If I ate shit on a trick, my team would laugh at me as I tried again. It wasn’t until I started meeting new trickers, around 2007, when I noticed I didn’t have to try as hard to get attention. It was a mix between being part of a rising Tricking community and being the only girl. There weren’t many known girl trickers at the time and I realized I was placed on a pedestal because of my gender, not because of my skills. I could do a shitty aerial or tornado kick and the whole room would go wild. I hated that because I knew I was capable of so much more. When more women started blowing up in the sport I realized I was part of something powerful. I was motivated to train my hardest and prove to the world that girls could trick too. I stopped caring about being the “first girl to ___” or to be the “best girl tricker.” I want to be recognized for my skill set and not my vagina. Today, I can’t stand “girl props.” But I understand there are many people who have yet to see a girl with a diverse skill set, and I found it to be my responsibility to show it’s possible. That’s actually how Euphoria got started. To show the world Tricking stereotypes don’t exist, and the best way to do that is by training your ass off and showing the world what you’re capable of.
TG: Definitely! Especially when I first started tricking and going to events… Back then, since there were basically zero girls tricking or putting themselves out there, people would assume I was just a “groupie.” I was extremely shy and new to it all, so it seemed like I didn’t do anything. When I did do things, of course I was awkward and uncontrolled. There were certain not-so-pleasant people that would put it on me that I sucked because I was a girl. Their gist was, “You’re only here for boys, you’re not going to get better than that, you’re incapable, you’re going to quit, etc.” But it’s like… RELAX. I suck because I’m new. EVERYONE looks like this when they first start! So I ignored them and stuck with it, and the same thing happened to me as happens to everyone else: I got better! Sometimes it’s as if people don’t believe that happens for girls.
Is “girl tricker” a term that you’re okay with? If not, what would you prefer?
GM: Of course! It’s a defines me as a tricker. It defines me in the same way as being a Latino tricker, a short tricker, a martial arts tricker, a DMV tricker, or a long-haired tricker with dreadlocks defines me. I am many things, not just one. Overall, I’m a tricker.
TG: I get that it’s a way to describe me sometimes, but I feel it’s often unnecessary. 98% of the time, I’m offended by the way that it’s used. It’s like we’re put in a whole different category, like we’re not actually trickers, we’re not actually tricking, we don’t follow the same rules of physics, we’re from another planet, we have extra limbs, we have three eyes, etc.
I get that females in this sport are rare, but so are people with purple hair. And you don’t see someone going AMMAGAWD FIRST PURPLE-HAIRED TRICKER TO LAND CORK!! As if people with purple hair have a disability that makes them special or something, like they had to work harder to get that cork. Well, maybe they did or maybe they didn’t. But that’s what I want people to understand… EVERYONE has different strengths and weaknesses, and just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean my body is the exact same as the girl next to me. This is why I don’t understand why we’re all categorized into one group. It’s probably easy for you to look at any other male tricker and see what tricks would be stronger for him, but harder for you, and also vice versa. It’s as if people are blind to that when it comes to girls. “ALL girls are flexible, ALL girls can’t jump…” Naaaahhhhh. Tricks vary per PERSON, not by sex. So the movement I’d be about is one where females count as actual trickers, rather than just “girl trickers.”
Do you get hit on a lot?
GM: In and outside of tricking, yes. I can’t walk down the street without getting cat-called. In tricking, being a girl who can do a couple of cheat kicks apparently makes you everyone’s “dream girl.” But I’m happily in a relationship and am confident in my man and myself. If people hit on me, I take it as a compliment and nothing more. It’s when people get disrespectful when I have to do something about it. For example, in high school a guy thought it would be okay to grab my ass, so I followed him into the boys’ bathroom to beat him up.
TG: Yes… But that’s like girls all the time I think. I probably got hit on more before I started tricking, but that’s because I went to more places than just the gym!
Do you feel that guys and girls trick differently? Do they approach tricking differently?
GM: I think everyone tricks differently. There are no two trickers are exactly alike. The way I approach a trick can be completely different from the next tricker. To me, it’s how you manipulate your body type that will help you understand tricks, and once you fully understand how YOU work, that’s when you succeed in your Tricking goals.
TG: I feel that every TRICKER approaches tricking differently. We all come from different places, different backgrounds from ALL OVER the spectrum, with varying strengths and weaknesses. For example, Gaby and I have opposite strengths and weaknesses. Once when I tried using Gaby’s advice on a trick, I felt like a marionette whose strings were cut, and I instantly collapsed. I was like, “What do you mean kick there?? Muscles exist for that motion?? In that position??” Whereas another time, I was learning from Pat Chu, who has the exact same inflexibilities I do in the back and hips. When he explained things to me, it was way easier for me to understand what was going on.
Why do you think tricking is such a male-dominated sport, and how can we get more females involved?
GM: I believe tricking is a male-dominated sport because men are the ones who made it popular. Men set the tone early for what tricking can evolve into, and men release more content for the world to watch. I believe the best way to get more women involved is for us to do the same. People are inspired by those who are like them. The female population is growing because more women are being consciously active in tricking. If more women put themselves out there at gatherings and/or online, the more we will grow as a whole.
TG: I feel that after a certain age, most societies discourage girls from pushing themselves physically. Girls are told they’re weaker, they’re fragile, they’re going to get hurt. So I guess the solution to that is… GET THEM WHEN THEY’RE YOUNG! As a kid, I never listened when grownups said I shouldn’t be playing so rough with boys. Luckily, the boys didn’t treat me differently because there I was not proving any of the stereotypes right. I feel that because of the way they treated me, I was able to grow with them physically.
Obviously there were a few things they suddenly became better at when the T-juice came (arm wrestling), but that’s when I learned to use my strengths and weaknesses to accomplish the same goals. I would always think, if my friends could do it, then I could do it . I feel lucky growing up with this mentality because it allowed me to keep building my physical abilities and never use my gender as a crutch. But I know I’m not the most physically skilled female out there. I’m also definitely more on the lazy spectrum. So why aren’t there more girls out there killin it? It’s easy to forget that other girls grew up believing that they were incapable.
A way we could help more females get involved is to help everyone become aware of how they treat females. Most people have grown up in a society that tells them to coddle females when they’re doing anything physical. So think about it, what happens when you coddle a kid all their life, even when they’re definitely old enough to take care of themselves? They never learn! Humans are adaptable creatures. If you force them to figure out how to survive, and they want to survive, they’ll survive. If a female grows up thinking it’s normal to be strong, she’s going to be strong.
So… LET A GIRL GROW! People need to stop telling a girl she’s good for a girl, stop giving girl props, stop letting her do something incorrectly just because they think she’s incapable of doing more. If she’s doing something wrong, tell her how to do it right! Otherwise she’s not going to improve, she’s not going to feel the high from landing a new trick, and she’s not going to fall in love with tricking.
What do you wish male trickers understood better about female trickers?
GM: First, it’s okay to be honest with a girl about her tricks. You don’t have to be rude, but if you saw a guy doing the exact same trick the exact same way, think to yourself if you’d be as impressed and how you’d react. Second, no girl reads a marriage proposal online or all the kissing/heart emojis and feels like you’re the man she’s been looking for her whole life. Lastly, girls who are serious about Tricking appreciate the feedback and constructive criticism. If a girl asks for advice, she genuinely wants to know how to do a trick better and not necessarily get in your pants.
TG: Pretty much anything I could say would be understood better if guys took these steps before interacting with a female tricker:
- If this tricker had a penis, would you still be impressed by her tricks?
- If this tricker had a penis, would you be saying this same sentence to her?
- If “yes” to both of these, proceed with the interaction.
Also, marriage proposals via social media instantly put you on a girl’s creeper list.
What is your next tricking goal?
GM: I’d like to travel the world and finally attend my first international gathering. I’ve been to so many gatherings in the US and have been tricking for so long that attending an international gathering is way overdue.
TG: Land ALL the cheat twist variations! 🙂
Any final thoughts you’d like the world to know?
GM: I appreciate having Tricking in my life. It’s helped me develop into the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the opportunities it has brought me. Thank you all for being awesome! Gaby loves ya! <3
TG: Spam love & happiness.