Ms. Superpark 2019: Interview with Nikita Clothing’s Jenna Kuklinski
Five years ago, Ms. Superpark touched down at Mammoth Mountain for a week of springtime sending. Nearly 100 women lapped the Unbound Express as they launched, tweaked, floated, pressed, buttered, and blunted everything in their path. Jenna Kuklinski was on site experiencing the event for the first time and covering the daily proceedings with the SNOWBOARDER crew–you can read her take on the riding and riders to watch out for here and here. Flash forward five years and Jenna has continually deepened her connection and contribution to the women’s snowboarding scene. Now, as the Marketing Manager for Nikita Clothing, an infamously inventive brand, she is at the helm of creating and collaborating on projects, events, and activations that help to push women’s snowboarding, and snowboarding in general, forward. For the return of Ms. Superpark, Nikita is supporting the event, the latest in the brand, and Jenna’s efforts to strengthen the community. – Mary Walsh
First off, what is your role at Nikita and can you tell us a little bit about Nikita’s involvement in snowboarding the past few seasons/currently?
Of course. My roll at Nikita Clothing is Marketing Manager. I work with the team riders, on our events, content, the product development and design team as well as spend a lot of time on basic things like shipping tasks and storage unit Jenga. It's a small team that works with Nikita, but it's a cool one. Right now, Nikita is excited to be to creating more welcoming and progressive events that grow the community for females in snow and skate.
Nikita is and always has been by women for women and that's the driving force behind all that we do. A year ago, we kicked off our very own G.W.R. (Girls Who Ride) event series which combines a coached progression session with an afternoon jam that's open to any and every girl or woman who wants to join. We also promote both snowboarders and skiers in the industry, working with amazing athletes in both areas; talk to riders and shop employees for product feedback; and generally work to hold a deep connection to the community that we create for. We want to bring women up, together, and help contribute positively towards growing the awareness and community in women's snowboarding.
What’s your view on the current state of women’s snowboarding right now?
Women's snowboarding right now is getting to be a really cool landscape. Over the past few years I've had the chance to see and be involved in so much that has helped bring women up in snowboarding. From being something that had to shout for attention–literally working to grab people's eyes and focus them on female riding, a lot of inspired work and snowboarding has come out of it. It's not strange anymore to hear about women's crews of female-driven projects or have a female Olympic snowboarder be a household name or, more importantly, that the rosters of main movie projects now prominently feature both male and female names. I think that's the end goal, really. Women, girls, and riders in general are realizing it's about bringing your friends up with you, joining together and making a place for ourselves instead of talking about how there's nothing out there for us. It's about supporting your friends, riding together and having fun.
What projects, ideas, riders, events, etc. get you excited?
Oh man, I get so excited about anything that comes from a person or place that is passion-driven. This could be a lot of things: a snowboard movie, an individual rider, whatever. They don't have to be perfect and most likely they'll be something outside of the norm, but when a person or project is propelled forward by their personal drive to do something for the love of it or because they vehemently believe it needs to be out in the world, that's what gets me excited. The energy is electrifying and infectious. You can't ignore it.
Your first Snowboarder Mag event was Ms. Superpark at Mammoth Mountain five years ago, correct? How was being a part of Ms. that year?
Yea, the most recent Ms. Superpark was my first SNOWBOARDER Mag event! That was such a cool experience for me. I knew about Ms. Superpark and followed it for years and then to actually be there and see it all go down, I was high for weeks after getting to go to that. It was new, overwhelming, inspiring and just so fun. Seeing the riders and hearing the names of people I looked up to riding around me in a park built just for them and highlighting what they can do was surreal. At the end of it I vowed I had to get to the next one, and here I am, five years later, getting to make that happen.
Any moments/tricks/stories stick out from that year of Ms?
Simply being at Ms. Superpark was exciting enough for me, but I also had been given the opportunity form you and Pat to interview the riders around me that I thought were pushing the envelope. That was beyond anything I'd first thought I'd get to do. I also remember everyone in the JetPack crew riding around and filming at the time bringing pool floaties up to the top of the mountain so they could float in the spring slush pond that was forming below the lift at the top, and then getting to follow all of the photo and video recaps as they came out every evening or morning and that was something they put in their edit–that was them doing what they wanted to do creatively and they had the freedom to do it in that space.. That was so impressive to me, to see the riders throwing down for their tricks and lines and then the SNOWBOARDER staff turning around after capturing all of the content all day and putting it out within twenty-four hours. I think this was where I started to pick up on and experience the vibe of what a serious work ethic was.
How do you feel Ms. Superpark fits into the greater snowboarding landscape?
Ms. Superpark is like a magnifying glass, terrarium and bullhorn all combined into one event centered around female snowboarders. Throughout the year, everyone rides separately, works on their own projects and will come together in small instances, but most of the time it's on a per-project basis and won't involve a ton of people.
What do you think makes this season a fitting time for Ms. Superpark to return?
The desire for more representation of women in action sports has grown significantly and Ms. Superpark coming back this year just adds more fuel to the fire. The riders are hungry for it, the public wants to see it–it's the perfect storm for the reintroduction of this amazing event!
Why is supporting Ms. Superpark a good fit for Nikita?
It's a no brainer for Nikita to support Ms. Superpark. The event represents everything that Nikita stands for and more, and is serving the girls and women who are out here pushing themselves to always be improving in their riding, while at the same time helping to further highlight and forward the female representation in snow. The ladies are out here and they want to be riding and we want to help make that happen as much as possible.
When you were growing up, prior to joining the industry ranks, who were the riders that inspired you and made you want to be in the position you are now in?
I have to say, Jess Kimura and Desiree Melancon have been and were always riders that have inspired me. They've been the ones who went hard and pushed themselves relentlessly and they were the female names that I saw when I opened a mag or saw an ad that featured a female.
Who and what inspires you now?
I hope this doesn't get old, but it's really the riders and people in the industry that are here doing what they do because they love it that always inspire me. I could start naming names, but (and this isn't a bad thing) that would take me a while and I'm afraid at the end of it I still wouldn't be able to get everyone the recognition that they deserve. There are new individuals coming into the industry all the time that add more fuel to the fire and I hope it continues to evolve and grow in the way that it is now. The only constant is change and it's a continuously exciting, challenging and invigorating thing to be a part of. It's tiring and it wears on you, but it attracts some of the most amazing people.
What are you looking forward to most about Ms. Superpark 2019?
I'm looking forward to seeing all of the female riders out together in one place. The creativity and innovation in the riding and how each rider individually interprets the features is what I can't wait to see.