Janthavy Norton cruised up to our interview with a cheetah-print skate deck in hand, rocking a pair of Vans that had seen their share of empty swimming pool runs. We had decided to meet at Rocky’s photographer Emma’s house in Downtown Phoenix after shooting Janthavy’s photo set around a few of her favorite places to skate in the area.
Her personality can be described as “bottled sunshine”, and her small frame houses a combo of fearless talent and a charitable infectious charisma. She wriggles her nose to adjust her oversized frames and makes pop culture non sequiturs that make you laugh. In general … a rad soul.
Here’s the interview:
Can you tell us where are you located?: Downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Sooo, Lover or Fighter?: (Laughs) Fighter.
What do you do?: Well, I live and work downtown and manage a condo development company, selling modern condos, and on the side I do amateur skateboarding and compete when I’m not working; Also, I’m riding for a local board company that’s based out of Phoenix, and a wheel company that’s based out of California, and a clothing company out of California, and a grip tape company that is based out of Phoenix as well.
I basically skate when I am off of work, then we go out and film, go out and compete and go on skate trips, it’s really fun.
Why do you do?: Why? Oh my goodness this is going to be a long interview with you (laughs) … I skateboard because when I’m doing it, it is like my meditation, So I don’t really think about anything except what I am doing in that moment. I’m really high energy, so I can’t just sit and meditate. Skateboarding for me is ultimately relaxing. It’s a weird form of meditation, it’s really fun. It’s like dancing, I love it, it’s healthy in a lot of ways. If I am happy I can skate, if I’m stressed I can skate, if I’m sad I can skate (laughs) It’s consuming.
Who are you listening to right now?: Oh my gosh – I’ve been on a Blouse kick. Have you heard of them? I don’t even know how to explain it – it’s like a cute girly band; then I was listening to The Growlers and Somersault for a little bit. It’s kind of all over the place. A lot of Neil Young.
What is the best Underground Hang Spot in Phoenix?: Probably, Cornish Pasty. They have a little basement bar, but it’s actually three levels, so like the mid level is just for like more eating, top level has a full bar and pool tables, that’s like when I am getting social, and the basement part is like when I am wanting to recluse. It’s pretty cool. I am really good friends with the bartenders there. It’s fun.
Any advice for the Beautiful Underground?: My advice would be to take any opportunity that ever comes into your life even if you’re scared, because I think everybody is capable of doing a lot, but we just doubt ourselves; And that’s kind of what I do with skateboarding. My current job was just totally new to me and I didn’t know if I’d succeed and now I love everything I do. That would be my advice.
Are you currently working on anything?: Oh my Gosh, soooo I’m working on, we’re doing a non profit: It’s a skate program that teaches the youth how to skate but it’s not really just that; we teach them life skills. I have a whole 12 month curriculum. Last month, we made homeless kits, this month we will be donating art supplies to a local charity, and its gonna be pretty cool. The motto is: Compassion through kindness and empowerment through skateboarding.
We teach them how to be confident how to accept failure, how to treat others, just basic life skills and then helping them to have fun and get into something, some sort of hobby to keep them out of trouble.
And then another thing we do is Girls Progressive Sessions: It’s every other month, and we’ll have a huge private backyard skate session for girls and just teach them how to skate to, but that’s more of a broader age range. We teach anybody from, I’d say, up to 50 Or whoever shows up. It’s really fun that’s what I do “on the side”. (laughs).
The Skate Rising one is Branched out of Encinitas California. We’re making it now here in Arizona to. It’s a project.
Where can we find your work?: It would mainly be Instagram. @janthavy
**After the Interview, Janthavy text me to let me know that she rides for Spinellis, a pizza spot/bar in Tempe, and that she also rides for Gator Skins, a ramp company.