Corbin Harris Interviews Lizzie Armanto

Making It Look Easy

We asked 30 people who we admire to each interview one person they admire. That’s the concept behind the Interview Issue presented by Design Within Reach.

Pro skater Corbin Harris chose pro skater Lizzie Armanto

Corbin Harris: Let’s start with one that I know might be a little boring for you, but what is the first time you ever found skateboarding and then what was the time that you actually knew that you were going to do it for the rest of your life?

Lizzie Armanto: It was more that my brother wanted to try this thing, and then I was like “I’ll go to the park with you.” Because my mom would just make us do everything together. I had no real interest initially.

I was the older sister and pretty much whatever he did, I had to do or vice versa. My mom worked full time so it pretty much on us, and we’re on our own. But she took us to the park for our first time and signed us up and got us going. Then pretty much from there on it was like a little competition between my brother and I. It was like, who’s gonna do this first or that first. Like going down the bank. Later on, I knew. I feel like in the beginning I was just doing it with somebody and it was fun to do, but at one point I saw this person skating the bowl at my home park and they made it look so easy. When I saw them skating, it clicked. If that makes sense. Looking at what they were doing, I was like, “I can do that!” It made sense in my head, but at the same time, I was terrible. I wasn’t good at all. But watching someone who was so good, they did it with such ease. Everything makes sense. It flows so good. I knew if I kept trying, I would get to that point. It could be that easy.

I was like, “I can do that!” It made sense in my head, but at the same time, I was terrible.

CH: At a point when you were younger, you probably had friends who have gone through this, people like you break their arm or hurt themselves in skating, or BMX, or whatever it may be, and are like, “I’m never gonna do that again.” Do you ever have any of those moments, where you’ve kind of hurt yourself and thought I maybe can’t do this?

LA: I would always be scraped up, but there wasn’t anything super huge. If that makes sense? Knock on wood, I haven’t broken anything. I’ve seen people that have but I feel like it’s poor situations or poor choices. You know what you’re capable of. There have been times where I’ve been really hurt. When I got the most injured was when tore my TCL. It wasn’t until then… That’s when I got serious about it. I basically hurt my knee, and then I got serious, and I told my mom I don’t wanna go to school anymore. It was when I was hurt. And she was saying I should take more classes. And I was like, “No, I need to focus on skating. I need to get better.” That was the turning point for me that made it to where I was pursuing it professionally. I was still doing contests and stuff, but you do contests growing up and you’re like, “Oh, this is fun!”

CH: Let’s talk about the new video part with Birdhouse and Saturdays. Were you happy with the part you put out?

LA: Yeah I am so stoked on how it turned out. Jason did an amazing job. I feel like it’s one of those things where you always want more. But I’m super stoked on what I have right now. That video was simply amazing. I am so blown away.

CH: What’s it like traveling with the guys, as a woman, the only girl in the mix, being with Jaws and Clint and the whole crew. It seemed like it was a seamless operation. They just treated you as a skateboarder and it was just another day on the road.

LA: Yeah, I feel like we’re all really tight. So it’s not… In the beginning, I was definitely way more shy, but we’ve all grown together. And so when we all get together… It sounds really dumb, but I feel like we’re superheroes. When we get together we’re this awesome force. On everyone’s own, everyone is super awesome and in a different way they have their thing. Then together it can be chaos. but in a good way. I feel like everyone knows it’s a good time. Every trip I’ve been on, I look forward to it.

You don’t ever expect to see yourself on the cover of a magazine.

CH: Let’s talk about the moment where all the guys surprised you when you made the cover of Thrasher, and your mum was there as well with your pro-board. What was going on inside your head that night?

LA: You know when you’re in a place and then the strobe lights happen and it’s just one thing after the next and you can’t recall the movement in between? That’s what everything felt like. I’m late. I can’t really skate. And next thing I know I’m there and I try to skate and it’s not working. Tony [Hawk] trying to finish the live feed but then he wants to say bye. And I was like, “Yeah whatever, I want to ice my elbow.” And then Tony is coming over. And the next thing I know I am handed the magazine—and it looked photoshopped, because you don’t ever expect to see yourself on the cover of a magazine, especially the bible of skateboarding. And then Tony hands me the board. At that point, it was just blank screen. “Oh my god what is happening?” I saw my mom and I just started crying.

CH: Was achieving the cover something you thought maybe could happen? I know a lot people would never say that they want it, or are going after that goal, but was that something that you had a goal of? Or no, you just didn’t even think it was in the realm.

LA: It was one of those things, it’s not really possible- I mean it is possible, but you don’t say it’s possible or you’re trying to achieve that because there’s so many people that are deserving of that. Especially when you know your cards.

CH: What’s your motivation outside of skateboarding?

LA: I look up to my friends. Especially for filming and skating. I go off what I see. If I am able, I put that into my mix. But I feel like I am greatly inspired by my friends. Birdhouse, everyone on the team is a big part of that. And also family.

CH: Where do you think you see yourself in skateboarding in the next ten years?

LA: With the Olympics coming up, I feel like I am a candidate to be a part of that. I do not know the steps until we get there because I think it’s way more in depth that I have any idea on. But I am definitely interested in the Olympics. My dad lives in Finland and he called me to say he wants to go and show his support, which is amazing to me. That would be really cool to give my dad that opportunity.

CH: What could everyone look for from you in the near future?

LA: I’m working on a Vans collection. I am in the process of designing the shoes. Just a color way. But I have some freedom to do designs and stuff, so I am taking advantage of that. And then we’re gonna do clothes stuff. So I’ve been really looking into clothes. Oh! and I just booked a ticket. I’m gonna go to Iceland, so that’s exciting. Iceland looks awesome.

From The Interview Issue

Presented by Design Within Reach