«OPEN YOUR EYES, GIRLS AREN’T ONLY OUT THERE BECAUSE THEY LOOK PRETTY ON PICTURES» – RACHIDA AOULAD
Rachida Aoulad is a well-known badass jibber from the Netherlands. She is one of the first ever European female street riders. And this is the reason why we have chosen to speak with her about a certain controversial topic: female snowboarding and money issues.
1. Although you are not new to SBESMag some of our readers are, so could you introduce yourself first, please?
Hi! I’m Rachid Aoulad, I’m 25 years old and from the Netherlands.
2. You have been in the European female scene for many years now. How has it changed since you started snowboarding?
13 years ago when I started snowboarding there weren’t really a lot of girls in Europe out there riding, and definitely not in The Netherlands. I was stuck riding with boys in the local domes. And even though this helped me to progress a lot it’s always nicer to ride with your own kind (laughter). But this changed massively over time and you can see amazing female riders popping up left and right! It’s really good to see.
3. How do you pay for it? Do you have any economic support from the industry to keep being at the level you are at and to travel around?
Honestly, I work my ass off. It’s a though world for female street riders if you’re not doing XGames and all that. I’ve had budgets in the past which made everything so much easier. It is also true that sometimes, as long as I ask, they’re still willing to help out a little bit but it’s “not set in writing”, if you know what I mean. But it’s something to be truly grateful for since there are so many girls out there with nothing.
4. We have seen how certain competitions (like RockaRail) have started giving equal prize money for men and women, which is a great step forward. What do you think we are still missing if we compare it to male snowboarding?
It’s hard to truly pinpoint one thing. On the one hand, it’s understandable cause there are so many more male riders out there than female. So it’s logical that more men are sponsored and up in the spotlight. But on the other hand, there are truly some amazing female riders out there that don’t even have a hardware sponsor even though they massively deserve it. So yeah, who’s fault is that? The rider that isn’t able to travel cause money is tight so she isn’t seen? the industry that looks away and isn’t giving the rider a chance? Do we, as girls, need to change and claim our spots? Or does the industry need to give us more attention? Who knows… Luckily it’s indeed already slowly but surely changing. But we still have a long road ahead of us.
5. Regarding street riding, how hard is it for a girl to actually get some help from sponsors to really be able to focus on her full part and not have to worry about money issues?
I’ve been blessed to have some decent budgets in the past to be able to travel and hit the streets. Because between paying rent and well, life, there’s not really money for me to throw around. Unfortunately I got injured and that set me back quite a bit on that. But right now I’m working really hard to get back in the game. Let’s just say money doesn’t go natural and you have to work for it. Because a budget to travel is nice, but at the end of the month we also have bills to pay, so the struggle stays real for me (laughter).
6. Do you think or maybe know if it is as difficult to get economic support in USA as it is in Europe?
Honestly from where I’m standing it seems a whole lot easier. But who am I to judge, they might work 10 times harder than we over here do.
7. And one last question: What would you ask to the brands if you could speak for all the women that have to work really hard to be able to ride and keep progressing?
Open your eyes, girls aren’t only out there because they’ll look pretty on pictures. Most of them are badass stylish riders and they deserve so much more.
Thank you so much for your time, Rachida. And thank you for being honest. We hope to keep seeing you shredding indoors and outdoors for many more years to come!