The Whitney Gilmore Interview

The Gilmore sisters.

Originally, I interviewed the Gilmore sisters for the Interview Issue of Whalebone. I met these magical humans in a not-so-magical place called Puerto Rico back in 2010 when Stephanie won her 4th world title. Since then, she has gone on to win six world titles and her sister, Whitney, has continued to masterfully manage her career with a creative approach that is not the norm in the women’s surfing world. These ladies think out of the box and glide with ease from the ocean to land around the globe.

So a few months back, Whitney and I sat down on a Malibu studio deck. She has a great approach to life and how to move through it. Since our sit down, we have been already back to our favorite restaurant in France [mentioned in this interview] with a great group of friends, and Angelina Jolie has made some moves. Whitney is a creative force—look out world.

Alright. We are on the deck in Malibu. These are going to be very intense, probing questions. First, I just want to ask, because it’s an East Coast magazine, do you remember your first trip to Montauk or one of your first trips?

Yes. I do. There were a couple of trips, actually. You know what? Our very first one, we were working with Ava Warbrick, on a film with Stephanie. We went out to just sus it out, and see what it was about. Eva had organized a party, hosted by Stephanie, who had never been there before at this brand new place that opened that summer called the Surf Lodge. Alex Frankel, from Holy Ghost, and his Holy Ghost partner were DJing it, and there were some other people there. She organized this huge thing—comped rooms and everything. We were basically out there the opening weekend. Well not opening weekend, but one of the first weekends of the Surf Lodge.


I remember we surfed at Ditch Plains and saw Jimmy Buffet on the beach…with his crazy truck. He recognized Steph and they had a little chat and stuff. It was wild. The following year, we went out with you, for Ruschmeyer’s opening weekend.

Which was so much fun.

That was the best. God, yeah, that was a long time ago.


A long time ago. Robby, DJing.

Yes. That’s right. Robby, DJing. Then, the next time I went back, a girl spewed on my brand new Isabel Marant jeans at Ruschmeyer’s, while walking to my room.

The look on your face when you told us, I was like, “Oh my God.”

That was after Steph won her fifth world title, and we went straight to Montauk for celebrations, press and stuff.

Lisa Cooper was there that weekend.

Lisa was there. Yes. That was so fun.

Good old days, except for the spewing on your pants.

Yeah. I honestly haven’t worn those since, and they were brand new, like the Isabel Marant, the fabulous ones.

What was the best live music show you have ever seen? Where and when?

That is really tough. There have been so many, but one of the best was…you know? It was back in the day, so it was the Big Day Out. I was probably 17, 18, maybe. Shaka, this Australian surf photographer, brought us to Rage Against the Machine and they were headlining Big Day Out on the Gold Coast. Paul Fisher and I were talking about this the other night. He was like, “Remember that time,” I was like, “Yes. I do.” We all got invited to Palazzo Versace to have drinks and lunch with those guys, and then we went and stood side stage for the show. I mean, growing up on the Gold Coast and Big Day Out…it was the event to go to. I was always at them since I was thirteen or fourteen.

Dad took my older sister and me the first year that we wanted to go. Then, a few years later we’re standing side stage and watching Rage do their thing, it was so cool. Meeting Zack at lunch…he was so quiet and reserved, then on stage, he was this crazy different person, it was wild. It was so fun.

Now, basically, he’s your neighbor here.

Ten years on. No, longer than that. Let’s be real…twelve. Yeah, that and also the Cure. I saw the Cure at Brisbane Entertainment Center. In Australia, it’s really hard because you don’t get a lot of big shows. Growing up, I didn’t leave Australia until I was 21, so I’ve done all my travels since then. At the Brisbane Convention Center, they played a three-hour set, and we only got standing room tickets because it was pretty much sold out in the arena. I remember standing there for two hours, on a school night, and thinking, ‘This is insane…my legs are so tired. I just want to sit down and listen, but I cannot.’ I had been standing there and then they went for a whole extra hour. I was like, ‘This is the best and the worst thing at the same time.’

I love that. Okay. This one is really tough. Coffee or Matcha and where is your favorite spot to have either one?

I’m coffee. 100% coffee. Double shot, three-quarter full, small cappuccino. A cappuccino, the way that we do it in Australia, which is a little bit of chocolate on top. I will say I do like the coffee out here, in America, though. There’s a little place in Australia, called Little Marley’s, on the corner. It used to be a butcher shop that they turned into a little hole in the wall. The girls there know exactly what you want. They have five different types of milk, other than cow’s milk. Every time it’s on point. Little Marley’s.

Okay. A backup?

My backup is definitely the Kona Coffee, vanilla macadamia nut. You can get it here at pavilions, but it’s just like pot coffee or drip coffee, whatever you call it. It reminds me, because it’s not flavored, it’s just the beans that have been roasted with vanilla and macadamia nuts, so it’s not sweet. Not flavored. It reminds me of Hawaii in winter because, just like the house brewing the coffee, everyone comes to the kitchen in the morning and has ten cups, and then goes surfing.

Amazing. Because that was Steph’s favorite cup, too. In the house brewing coffee and starting the day with your friends…

Yeah. It’s so good.


Now, who is your idol, or icon? Who inspires you the most? It doesn’t have to be a sport, but anything, anywhere? Since you will have two to three, let me know.

The first one that comes to mind is Angelina Jolie. I know that’s like a standard, but anytime she is printed in something, I read it, and I read every word of it. I think she is so balanced and makes sense on so many important topics beyond the world of what she exists in or is famous for. Reading her last cover about the lifestyle that her, her husband and their kids live, she is constantly on another mission that’s selfless and doing better for the world.

She’s also gone from being the sexy star to the director, to the storyteller. Telling important stories about other parts of the world that sometimes in America you forget exist. It’s easy to get stuck in the world of America, and I think she is doing well in trying to tell stories outside of that. Definitely her. I like how she has shied away from the press and just family life. She seems whole.

She’s her own publicist. She doesn’t have one.

Right. You can tell that. There is something very important, and very admirable, about a woman who has been able to go through whatever they are going through and still be so self…what’s the word? Self-satisfied…that they don’t need all. You can tell they are not trying to grip onto outside worlds. They are so humble…not humble…they are so personally satisfied.

It’s interesting because we come from a really small town in Australia and both of our parents, I feel that they gave up a lot to live this satisfied, simple life, but they are not like…it’s so awesome to go back and see because they are not like driving for this big life. They are just so happy and humble. They surf every day, all day. My mom teaching her primary school kids is like their happiness. They are still together. I don’t know. The simple life, when you can see the beauty in it, is really the key. I think it’s more like Angelina Jolie, not that she is living simply, but there’s just a goodness behind what she does.

I’ve gone through a bit of a change myself with relationships and just trying to figure out where my place was in the world. Steph has a way about her where she always sees the positive side, and that also comes from our dad. She’s not trying to be anything that she’s not. Everything is real.

I would never say this to her, but Steph, my sister…I’ve learned so much from her. I was always the bigger sister. Probably a couple of years ago, I think she and some of my really close friends pulled me aside and said, ‘You’re so erratic. You are so this. You are that.’ I’ve gone through a bit of a change myself with relationships and just trying to figure out where my place was in the world. Steph has a way about her where she always sees the positive side, and that also comes from our dad. She’s not trying to be anything that she’s not. Everything is real. She’s one of those quiet people who sort of sits behind, and says what she thinks, or listens to what everyone has to say, but she has generally already made up her mind of what she wants, or what she thinks she knows.

Then, we’ll just make of it what she will, but it’s not like imposing on other people or anything. It’s just that self-satisfied thing again, where you are happy with who you are, and you are okay with who you are, then the world is your oyster because you can do whatever you want. It made me take a step back and not be the first one to speak, or not be the first one to have an opinion on something. It’s not that it’s not right, it’s just sometimes it’s okay to listen to someone else. I learned that from Steph.

That’s awesome. You have lots of energy which is one of the things I love about you. And you are so curious. My question to you is, how do you actually relax?

I do a lot of alone time. I love alone time. I’ve always done this…put on really loud music, and whatever it feels like, have my own space, and cook. I don’t even want to eat what I’ve finished cooking because I’ve eaten so much through the process. I love to cook on my own and just spend time alone. Traveling alone. Doing a lot of things alone. It’s kind of one of those things.

Actually, I had a friend the other day say to me, ‘You have a way about you.’ I got in trouble for not getting back to a friend soon enough, or whatever, including her in plans, and my other friend said, ‘The thing is that you always seem like you are waiting for another, like a better offer to come along.’ I said, ‘It’s so funny,’ because in my head, it’s never about a better offer, it’s actually about the fact that, really simply, I’d rather spend the day by myself.

I don’t want another person in my space for the day, but I don’t know how to politely tell a friend that. Especially one that I haven’t seen for a long time. If my weeks seem busy, or whatever, I just want a Saturday on my own…where I can cook, I can drink as much coffee as I want, I can read whatever I want, go surfing if I want and I’ll bump into people along the way and have a great day. But at the end of it, I’m happy.

It’s no stress when it’s just you.

It’s no stress. One of the best things I’ve learned is that no plan is the best plan. It’s the best. It’s the best way to party. It’s the best way to travel. It’s the best way to do anything, but you have to be very happy to go with the flow, and personally satisfy, to be able to do that.

Danny DiMauro had brought up to me, because I guess I said it to him years ago, I was like, ‘Stream the periphery. If you want to hang out…’

One of my most hated things, and I was talking to Steph about it the other day too, is going to a dinner with 10 or 12 people at the table. I also was brought up, our parents drilled manners in so hard to us, that it’s like I never want to be rude to someone by not engaging with them. I never want to make someone else feel, at the table, they are not as important as the other person, or whatever, but you just don’t get that quality time. Quality time is hard to come by these days. One-on-one or with four people, and you just get such a better moment from it. Less is more.

Rum days… @stephaniegilmore #MIKOH @oleemamiller @kalanimiller thanks for the ‘kini !! x NamasteBitchez

A photo posted by whitney (@whappenabatch) on

I mean, you do the big dinners and stuff, and they can be really fun, but it is that thing that I always finish feeling like, ‘Oh, shit, I didn’t give enough time to that person.’

Less is more should be our motto. Let’s put a four person rule on everything.

Time and conversation.

No more than four.


Okay. Now, this one might be tough for you. What is the dream trip that you have not taken, yet?

Colombia—I want to go. I read an article recently about the style and the parties and the stuff down there. Speaking of not wanting more than four people, but in a situation where they are all strangers, that is so fun, then I could have as many as possible.The style and the vibrance and everything down there. The islands offered and the drinks and everything. Yeah. Give it to me.

Okay. Speaking of drinks and things. Favorite meal…restaurant? And it could be a hidden gem, like where in the world, and you’ve lived in several places so that it could be more than one.

The first one that pops to mind, because you can never go wrong, Rubirosa, Mulberry Street, Nolita, New York. You cannot go wrong.

The old hood.

The old hood. The vodka sauce. Pizza, with mushroom and onion, I could make my own. Then, the salads there. That’s funny. When I first went there, because it was the first neighborhood I moved to, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. There was something so different about it, and so great about the salad compared to Australia.

Then, I realized something. They served the lettuce and the salad and all the ingredients at room temperature, so clearly the ingredients haven’t been refrigerated. They hadn’t been and they tasted like they’d came straight from the garden. They hadn’t been gone through all the keep things cold on a really hot day. But in Australia, you get a lot of salads served to you. The lettuce and the tomatoes taste like they’ve been in a cold room for a long time, and then you’re kind of getting it straight, and it is hot in Australia…

Okay. Rubirosa.

Also, down in Basque Country in France. There’s a restaurant on the beach I’m going to have to find the name for you…

La Tantina. The fish place?


Best place in the world.

Yes. Exactly. Everything there. The calamari. The fish. They always serve the whole fish.

La Tantina De La Playa.

Yeah, it’s something like that. It’s in the Basque. It’s not in that main little section of Guethary. It’s a little further up [in Bidart]. So good. The last time I was there with… Kelly, Kalani, Catlin Rawlins and Jimmy Buffet.

Awesome. At the most random place. No one would ever know who you were. Well, maybe Kelly, because he’s the surfer. Now, favorite app? And this kind of works in with the next question—how do you waste time in an airport? Because usually, I’m on an app, wasting time at an airport.

This is so lame, but CNN and Times. They are my favorites. It’s just a really good way to keep up with what’s going on in the world because so many people, you’ll talk to them about what just happened, or something that just happened, and they’ll have no idea, and it’s like, ‘What?’ Instead of having Instagram tell you who liked your last photo, you have the world news.

The news.

Tell you what’s going on in the world.

I read The New York Times every day. I get the print one sent here just because I’m such a weird ex-New Yorker.

I love that.

@casey_egan Numsaii !

A photo posted by whitney (@whappenabatch) on

I love the print. Style sections. You can always come over. It is here on the porch.

I just brought the latest one in.

I love it. Okay. Here’s the last one: a guilty pleasure that people would be surprised to know about you? Other than you being a detective.

One of them, and I know they are going to make fun of it, but it’s funny. I’m a long distance runner. I grew up running, and it’s one of those things that you…I don’t do it, I mean, I do it to stay fit, but I also know that once you get to a certain point with running, and your cardio, that it’s not like you’re keeping your body. You are not losing weight or something by doing it. It’s purely for a meditation and a daydream. It’s running on treadmills.

It’s not even outside. I love running on treadmills. I love having the music of the moment. For me, whether, it could be classical, it could be old Nirvana, it could be whatever, or the latest hip-hop. I kind of almost repeat the same song over, and I don’t do under ten kilometers, so I always keep it at the ten kilometer mark, and you just daydream. I stare off into the distance and spend so much time daydreaming. I used to do that a lot as a kid. I used to go to bed early, specifically to spend an hour dreaming, while I was still conscious.

Conscious dreaming, I don’t know what you call it. Yeah. Before I would go to bed, because I would just think of all these things, like situations, or make up conversations in my head with someone that I really want to have in the future, or something. I swapped going to bed early for running and doing it at the same time.

That’s amazing. It’s interesting. You can get a treadmill, and you travel a lot, so you can always find a treadmill.

There’s a hotel room. There is always a gym nearby, or someone with a treadmill. Yeah. I think that’s the thing. The other thing is that I hate the sun on my face, and I spend so much time in the midday sun surfing, so if I can avoid it for anything else, I do. I’m not an early riser. I don’t like waking up early at all. The only other time of the day to exercise outside, to do a really long run outside, is late afternoon. Sometimes that’s nice, but the treadmill you can do it whenever you want, however you want. You can do it at 11 p.m. at night. In New York when I moved over to the West Village, I was just up the road from the printing house.

I would go at 10 p.m., three nights a week, and just run and then jump in the sauna for a bit because I think they closed at 11 p.m. Or, maybe I would go at 9 p.m., and then be out by 11 p.m. That was my, yeah, people would be like, ‘What are you doing tonight? Do you want to come to dinner?’ I was like, ‘No…I’ve got a plan.’

Because it has views up there, too. You see New York and you can just zone out.

That was amazing. Zoning out. There’s a gym over here in Malibu now that has treadmills that you kind of gaze off into. You don’t look at the beach. Do you remember it? I think the one down where you want to go is better.

You kind of just stare off into the distance and I’ve always been a starer too. I stare off into the distance and then just daydream while you’ve got whatever music…really loud. It has to be really loud. I actually think I might have done damage to my ears.

My gosh. This has been awesome. You’ll see when this comes out, you and your sister have some similarities, even though we’ve done this separately…

Yeah. Right.

It’s kind of cool to watch how it weaves, but then there is stuff that is completely different, too. Anything you want to say to our East Coast friends? The crew.

I miss it and I want to come back. Everyone says, ‘How do you feel about moving out of New York?’ I’m like, ‘It’s one of those incredible places that you’ll always miss when you are not there.’ It’s unbelievable. The city, and then you’ve got this vibe, like the vibe we’ve got now in Malibu, is similar to Montauk. Mind it, there is a lot more, in a concentrated area of Montauk, but…

It’s that same neighborhood fun, especially during the week in September and stuff. We’ll plan a trip back.

Please. Soon.

Done. Thank you for doing this today.

Keep up with Whitney + her ongoing creative magic at her Instagram, @whappenabatch.