Hi everyone. Thank you for joining me on the BIPoC Outside Podcast. I'm Kris Cromwell. And today we're sitting down with Emilé Zynobia. Emilé is a professional snowboarder multi-sport athlete ambassador at Jackson Hole and is coming off the busiest season she's had yet. So let's get into it. Emilé thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?
I'm doing well. I'm so happy to be here and thank you so much for the scheduling maze that you?
and I both went through. It was quite, it's quite a journey.
It was where we got it all figured out and that's really what matters
That is, that is, yeah. How are you doing?
I am doing amazing. It's a beautiful day and I know it's been a great day. Yeah. So let's jump right into it. You moved to Jackson at 13. Was that your first introduction to snow sports?
Yeah. And I, so I didn't quite move to Jackson. I know that in some of my other bio is, it sounds like that was when I first got to visit. And I would go seasonally to my grandparents' house in the summer, and then a little bit in the winter. But yeah, that really was my first experience of nature.
And it's, I can, you know, definitively say that it's like completely transformed my life and has led to where I am now. But yeah, I didn't quite get to fully live in the mountain west until I started college in Montana.
Okay. And what's been your best day on the snow so far.
Oh my goodness. You know, there's like too many. It's funny. I think that's what feeds the powder addiction is that like, it's like, it's more of a feeling than an exact memory, but I think some of the best days I had last year was working on this project and we sort of stumbled into the sort of pillows zone in my backyard and we just sessioned it and it was just, it was Amazing. The snow was perfect and everyone was just like in full like, you know, plunge mode sending. So it was cool.
Amazing. In Jackson hole, snowboarder magazine, you speak of snowboarding as a way to like access your inner play and access your inner child. And, and why do you think that's that's important for you for anyone?
Yeah, I think. It's important for so many reasons. There's like so many layers to it as always. And I think particularly as a Black woman for me and I know that this is the experience of a lot of other Black women and just women in general, that we do not have an opportunity to really have a childhood.
I think oftentimes we're, you know, sexualized at a younger age. There's a lot that goes into, and depending on your family background, you sort of have to grow up faster than your years. That was certainly the case for me. And I didn't really get to engage that part of me. And I think if anyone's on their sort of personal healing journey, the first thing people tell you is sort of connect with your inner child.
And, you know, snow sports have, has been a way for me to connect with my inner child and sort of, you know, get to a pure more essential version of myself.
You're not just playing out there. You're working pretty hard. You've got two films out this season with the North Face alone. So the first one that dropped Ascend has an incredibly important message about reframing disability in the outdoors. Tell us a little bit about that project.
Yeah. That project came about in any pretty funny and spontaneous way that anything happens with Vasu he just like called me and was like, do you want to be on this project.
And I was like, Yeah, sure. I want to go climb and ride Mount Moran with you. And you know, I, while it, to be honest, while I was on that project, I wasn't aware of the full scope and how impactful the message of the movie was going to be because like hanging out with Vasu.
And like, I don't really like see him as a disabled person. You know, this is someone I just like go out into the mountains with, and I'm like, why wouldn't anyone be telling his story? He like a killer skier, but it's been so incredible to sort of watch him work and move through this space and open up and bring more seats to the table for other people.
And people like himself, he's just, it's just, it just feels like such a privilege to be a part of the story. And I'm so grateful that he reached out to me to sort of create a seat in space for me and a space that I don't think would otherwise have, would have, you know, really sought to, to elevate me.
And so he's been such an incredible ally. And so, yeah, I mean really Ascend. It's kind of one of those like sort of beautiful things that you don't fully grasp the power of it when you're in the moment. And it's, it's sort of been cool to watch people's response to it, you know, because frankly, when you work on any of these movies you sort of get caught up in like the like presentation, right?
You're like, am I portraying myself in this right way? Like you can sort of get in your head about it. And the nice thing about working with Vasu on it was that I was never once like overly in my head and it was just like getting to hang out with friends. But yeah, it's it's, been really cool to see the impact it's had on people so far.
Yeah, it's, it's an amazing film. And obviously we'll link it. Yeah. Um, And the other one that's come out with the, with the North Face is The Approach. And what was it like working with such an incredible group of women?
Yeah. Another like surreal. Like I, you know, it was a big season last year for me. I know a lot of like pinch me moments, you know, like getting to hang out with Ingrid Backstrom and like, you know, sort of like, just be silly and goofy with her and just like, get advice from her. And I can ask her like any question and she's just like an open book and just like, I don't know, the she's just the ultimate, but yeah, the, the team entirely, I mean, you know, to be honest, it was really hard.
It's probably one of the hardest things I've done trying to juggle graduate school and trying to film a movie. And it was really humbling and, you know, I certainly wouldn't go back and change it, but. Yeah, it was definitely like me learning the edges of my limits and of.
self care. But yeah, I mean, it was so incredible, like getting to go out with Brooklyn Bell and be in Alaska with her and that whole crew of women and like getting to be out there.
And like choose our lines like getting a heli, like do these really consequential and high risks. Things like navigating that with a group of people that I felt completely held and safe with, I think is not always the case. When we get to go into the back country or do something more risk adverse. I know that for me, a lot of my time outside has been spent in more male dominated groups and it was a really special.
And transformative experience to be with a group of women who were just all about hyping each other up. Like, I could not say something bad about myself without having like 10 compliments then shot my way, you know, like, yeah. It was just like the ultimate hype, but yeah, The Approach was slightly different, but it's funny because Moran and Approach just felt like the same thing to me in a way sort of like, you know, sort of shelving those in between.
And I was working with Vasu on The Approach to, so it was just, honestly just felt like us going on our own little side adventure. So anyway, rambling. Sorry.
No, you're not rambling at all. We're making perfect sense. And, you know, saying, being with a group of people that is supportive of you, like that's important in every space, but in the back country with the additional safety risks that takes that's so important.
Yeah, I, I. didn't have a lot of opportunities before to sort of practice the skills that I've think I've spent a lot of time learning. You know, I've taken multiple Avy classes, I've done my woofer refreshed at many times. There's all these things where I've like been sort of done the workshops. I've educated myself, but I've never trusted myself.
And to trust yourself, you sort of have to practice. And it sort of takes being in a group of people who are willing to let you practice or just like, do you know, I know, you know, this, like, come on, like you, you got this. And, and, and that was like the cool thing about even being with Ingrid. Cause I think a few of us in the group, I mean, we're like, you know, a few of us are younger.
We're coming from a different generation a little bit. And I think at times we would sort of look to Ingrid to give us the answer. And she was like, no, you, you know what you need to do. And so just like having someone reminding you that you can trust your intuition is just, it's just so essential. I don't know.
Like we question ourselves so often, you know, I think particularly as women and, you know, there's a lot of sort of, you know, I sort of subversive ways in which that then gets, you know, projected back onto us in certain conversations or the questions that are asked of us. And, and so it was just really cool to just have that sort of environment and space where people are like, here you go, go.
You know? So that's to say there were a lot of times where I was scared cause I was making my own decisions, you know? Yeah. So.
This season, we are seeing exponentially more diversity in films. And I mean, I'm, I'm not young. I've been watching these things for a long time, but with the films that you've been in, you know, with Connor Ryan Spirit of the Peaks coming out, Warren Miller, Warren Miller, 72 exponentially more diversity.
Do you think that's indicative of a shift in the industry?
Geez. I sure hope so, but you know, if history has taught any of us, anything is that, you know, it really takes perseverance and strong allyship. And then also just strong self-advocating in order to make sure that this isn't a trend and just a passing thing. I hope that we continue seeing this expansion every year, you know?
Until it actually feels like representative space, but there's so much that has to be done to even get there because the barriers to outdoor winter, specifically winter sports is not strictly gear. It's, you know, it's like an education. It is a culture that you have to be able to navigate and, you know, it takes, that takes a lot of financial capital, you know?
And, and so, yeah, you can have all the gear donated to you in the world, but there's so many other barriers to entry. So I do hope, you know, that we continue to see more folks in this space. But yeah, I mean, even for myself, I think I'm sort of in a wait and see.
I think that's fair. I think that's a safe space to be in.
Yeah. I mean, because, you know, frankly, you know, I will be the first to say I can snowboard. I can go down some good slopes runs like with confidence, but I am certainly not the best. And I can't wait to see that like brown melanin face being the best. I mean, we certainly have them, like, you know, we have Zeb Powell, like there are a lot of people coming up who are incredible athletes and at that elite level, but you know, like this might be a controversial thing to say, I know that Zeb.
And I know for myself that I had a proximity to whiteness that allowed me to be in these spaces that lent me the social capital, the cultural capital to have access. And I know that that's not the case for, you know, A lot of people of color, a lot of Black people living in.
inner cities, you know, it's like,
there's a lot more structural obstacles than there are that are obvious, you know?
Yeah. Does that sort of speak to what you were saying in Coming Home and you were talking about how representation isn't enough.
Yeah, absolutely. Because you know, I, in my background, I certainly, you know, Prior to 13 living with my mom, she was a single mother. We lived in the inner city. We, you know, we lived in shelters, things like that. Like I had had a taste of that, what it meant to be sort of in a cycle of some degree of poverty, but, you know, I got lucky I was handed a card which I sort of say in some of the pieces I've written that gave me an exit strategy and that was white, wealthy grandparents who I absolutely adore and love.
But you know, that's not the case for a lot of people. They don't have the rescue card. Yeah.
I completely identify with what you're saying, you know, I'm Black biracial, and I am, I have light-skinned privilege. You know, I'm a, I'm a very light-skinned person and I, you know, have experienced other privileges as well. So my experience on the snow is certainly not indicative of others in my committee.
Yeah, absolutely. And I hope that that doesn't get lost. And I think that's why, you know, I think every time I'm in sort of a space, I try and acknowledge that privilege of mine. I'm like, do you not think that I'm the poster child for this? Because I am not, you know, that isn't to say that, you know, I think probably proportionally Black and brown people in this space do come from a level of hardship.
You know, it's a sort of a spectrum, you know, more often than not, but, you know, yeah. I don't know. That's, that's a whole other, other thing. Yeah.
And, and while I really appreciate you saying, like, you know, don't hold me up. I'm not the poster child. I have had opportunities that others haven't. No one sees. Your exit card or your economic background when they see your face and they don't know you. So you are certainly breaking down cultural barriers.
Yeah. Yeah, certainly. And yeah, I mean, I've, I feel really honored to be in that space to have been at sort of the right place, the right time to have these opportunities. I mean, it, it's interesting cause I remember being 13 and 14 learning how to snowboard for the first time and in the winter, I would just watch snowboarding movies, like all the time, like just wishing I could be that good and thinking like that was so out of reach for me, like I would never ever get the chance to like ride a line in Alaska or like, you know, there's still other bucket lists, like, but to check off, but yeah, I it's.
It's been an incredible journey to be able to be here right now. It really does speak to that, that whole idea of like, do what you love and it'll come. You know, I remember before I got into grad school, I spent, I think like probably a better part of six years, just sort of snowboarding, you know, and then getting work in the summer and saving up money.
And, you know, frankly, no one in my family thought that that was going to like produce this, you know, like opportunities to get paid to snowboard, which has been so, rewarding and just feels like such a full circle moment to be able to be in this space. And honestly, I think it's kind of like, I dunno if you have suffered from this, but it's just like hard to celebrate it a little bit.
Like it's like, you worked so hard to get somewhere and it's almost like it's not real, you know, but yeah, I. I'm still sort of, I guess that's all to say. I'm still sort of taking it all in. Yeah.
And it has been a lot. That's just, you know, a few of the projects you've worked on in the super recent past, you've been working as a professional snowboarder for a while, and I'm in Environmental Writer. You had been saying that you feel fairly comfortable identifying yourself as a writer, but not necessarily as comfortable identifying yourself as a snowboarder.
Yeah. That's funny.
Feel different after the last season
I think I still have a hard time identify myself as, as a professional snowboarder. I think that's because of a lot of internalized perspectives of what it means to be an elite or just an athlete. And you know, obviously that's steeped in a very particular privilege and a level of whiteness that, you know, you were able to like start when you were two or three.
Like, I know so many people in Jackson, it's like an like in any mountain town where it's just like, yeah, I've been doing, you know, they have like the classic photo of them at two their little like French fry pizza and their little thing. You know, it's a little thing connecting their skis and I'm like, that's amazing.
But that's also that, wasn't my story. I didn't really get to snowboard until I was in college. And, you know, I. We sort of need to reframe what it means to be in this space, because I think if we keep holding onto these specific ideas, never going to allow the level of equity needed to bring everyone into the frame.
But also at the same time, you know, frankly, I've gotten bored watching like all of the crazy feats that like, whatever competition, this or that, like, I don't really care anymore, like sort of in it for the feel of it. And I hope that everyone, and I think that's sort of more of what I'm like sort of advocating for people because you know, a lot of my life is framed around winter and the.
Thinking about the environment in this sort of, you know, big picture way. And for me getting out into the snow is also this vehicle for play, but it's also this vehicle of like motivating me to take care of the environment around me, knowing what is at risk of being lost and, and sort of like connecting with nature in that way.
Okay. I like that. So how, how would you recommend, or how would you say we could encourage or model to women, particularly women in underrepresented groups in outdoor sport that it's okay to claim your space? How do we overcome that imposter syndrome?
Support, finding groups of people that want to elevate you and uplift you. And I think, you know, putting out movies. like The Approach , you know, and being like, there are all levels represented here, and this is a sick movie because everyone deserves to be in this space. Not just people who had the opportunity to go to the winter school, to like, be the best or like, you know what I'm like that it's amazing.
But at the end of the day, it's like hard to identify, but it's like me, any of us looking at, you know, love the U S a gymnastics team, like Simone Biles all day. But like, it's just, it's so hard to relate to a, to a certain level, you know? And then you don't really know what you're even watching. Like, I can't name any of the maneuvers they're doing so.
Yeah. So I, I think, you know, creating more content, sharing, different narratives, I think that's going to chip away at the culture, you know, I also think people are just hungry for something different. I think people are, are at a moment in time where they want something substantive, you know, I think Instagram in particular is sort of the space in which it's like, it's just, you're oftentimes just looking at really perfected and curated things and even pain is curated, you know?
And so I think it's just, you know, I think film and visual storytelling is just such a wonderful way to sort of expand the picture a little bit and you know, it, it was really, I feel really lucky to have been a part of such a beautifully produced and put together movie and all the sponsors that sort of.
You know, haphazardly threw their hat in the ring to help support it because, you know, it was, it was an opportunity for me to learn how to be in this space too. I was learning how to film while filming, you know, it's not like I, you know, and you were saying like, I haven't considered myself a pro snowboarder.
I honestly, I didn't get, start getting paid to snowboard until the summer of BLM and George Floyd. So, you know, I'm, I'm actually trying to catch this learning curve to be able to operate in this space with confidence. Because I wasn't seen in this space until almost, you know, yeah. A year or so ago.
Going back to coming home. You said that you were surprised to discover. Like a yearning for companionship of other women of color in the outdoor community. How does being in community with other women of color change the experience?
It's I think this sort of, yeah, this is sort of another piece of why it's so important to see ourselves represented. Like as much as I, I have plenty of white friends, I like adore my friends, but we come from very different lived experiences and I can never relate to being in their shoes. But like when I see someone like Brooklyn setting herself up swallowing the fear, if she has any to like launch off of something, like I'm like, oh, oh, I can.
Yeah. Like maybe I can get It together to do that too. And it's like, I don't even really know if I'm communicating it. Well, it's just, there's something that clicks in your brain subconsciously like that. I'm seeing myself over there. Okay. Now I can envision myself maybe hitting that lip and like building up the courage and confidence to do that too.
It's it feels like a very, like, I don't know a mind trick in a way, you know,
makes sense. It's like going back to what Henri Rivers says the NBS president. He's like, if you can see it, you can be it, but you need to see it first.
Absolutely. And so I honestly, haven't really considered that, you know, it's like I can intellectualize that impact of representation, but it's been, it's been crazy to feel like I'm a part of that with like a shared group of people and yeah. I feel very lucky to be in this space and hopefully I can be someone that can inspire other people.
Well, you certainly deserve it. And you've certainly earned your place in this space.
Switching gears and talking about another space You've got a BA in science, honors, environmental studies and now you're a masters candidate at Yale in environmental management as well. So how does your career in academia inform your outdoor career and vice versa?
Yeah, it's, it's kind of become this really beautiful synergy and coming to Jackson or sort of alluding to earlier, it really influenced my desire to study the environment because I had mostly lived in inner cities. People weren't like waving and saying hi, and you know, it, it was just a very different experience and it didn't always feel safe.
And this was like a place where I felt safe and, and that also feels like very dark and convoluted too, because it is a predominantly white space. Right. And, but as a kid, you're not thinking about race as much. You're like, oh, I feel okay here. Like, I don't feel like something's going to get me. And so I was like, whatever, this is this whole beauty, this whole skyline, like seeing, like hearing the birds and like, I want this and naively, I was like, I'm going to go study the environment.
Cause this is how you live here. Right. But no, if I wanted to live in Jackson, I needed to study finance. That's a joke, but, but stepping into it, it wasn't like I ever thought twice about it. Like, oh crap, like this isn't for me, it felt like coming into this like moment of the veil lifting and like understanding the world at such like a more intimate and intricate level.
And I think so much of like studying ecology and thinking about, you know, sort of the way resources flow. It's really informed all of my thinking. And even being in this space, I think I kind of forgot your original question, but
But you managed to answer it.
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. But I think that was sort of what I was getting at.
So, professional in snow sports. Masters candidate at one of the most competitive universities in the country. How do you find balance?
I don't, I I will go 90 until the wheels fall off. No, I, you know, and, and that's been tough. I mean, I, like I was saying, you know, I, I really mean it when I, the last year was really challenging trying to juggle all these things and really feeling like. I was at the end of my limit. Like I couldn't, there were days I couldn't even send an email.
Like I had to get my boyfriend to send an email for me. I was like, I can't like, I just like it's too much. And I think that happens, the burnout happens. And there are things you can do to sort of take a step back and take care of yourself. But like there just sometimes aren't enough bubble baths.
Like there's not enough meditation. Like sometimes it really just depends on having a support system and surrounding yourself with people who are going to be down for you when you're in those moments and are willing to sort of be with you in it. Cause that's not always the case, you know? But Yeah, I felt really lucky to have an incredible partner who was willing to like, help me organize my brain and like do all these things, because there were definitely moments where I was like, the yoga isn't working, this isn't working, you know, I'm an avid like I love therapy all day.
Like once a week, we're here, but sometimes you just go through challenging times, you know? So, that is all to say that I think balance is an ebb and a flow. And if you can make it through some of those more difficult times and like be willing to say no to things, I think part of my problem last winter was I was saying yes to too many things because you, you get this sort of scarcity, right?
Like we're not used to having all these opportunities come to us. So I'm like, I better take every one. But but I think, yeah, actually if there's something useful there it's being able learning how to say no.
Yeah, that's, that's incredible advice. I've never learned to take it, but you know, those help.
Yeah, you can intellectualize these things all day, but it is like a whole nother thing to live it, you know? But yeah, there's some, there's some really powerful tools out there and I think that was one of them for me..
So, you have worked with the bureau of land management. You've researched conservation. That's what you're studying right now. What have you learned about competing priorities in outdoor spaces in public land?
Oh, interesting. Okay. Yeah, is it. That it's really convoluted and that there's a lot of power tied up. I, when I worked for the bureau of land management, I was based in Boise, Idaho, and I was doing habitat assessments on these like massive grazing allotments. And it was just interesting to sort of be in it.
Cause this was when the whole Bundy situation was happening in Oregon. And, and it's interesting to think about how people talk about, you know, sort of civil servants who work in different agencies as like, like lazy or like uninformed or like cheating the system. Like there's all these things, right.
And it's not right. Like every, so often you'll run into that one individual, but you're going to run into that one individual everywhere. But I think, and, but I guess that's all to say that it was really surprising to see how sensitive our agency was to public perception and, and trying to keep a specific group of people happy, which was largely ranchers and you know, yeah, it was largely ranchers which is like very, yeah, I think it's just sort of goes back to the point of who has power in these spaces and who, who they're sort of structured to benefit.
Yeah, but then, you know, okay. Moving onto, you know, thinking about, you know, land?
and decision-making in a place like Jackson, it's like a, sort of a different amalgamation of things. It's, you know, it's about wealth and influence in that way. But each is like, sort of tied to sustaining like a level of like white superiority, which is interesting because it's not necessarily like, you know, white collar and white collar, you know, but And in Jackson, it's, it's been, it's been interesting.
I mean, it's really frustrating, frankly, because I have been able and luckily enough and like fluent enough to code switch, to move through different circles of privilege and wealth and, you know, talk to some of these people. And oftentimes what I find is the people who can afford to be in these spaces.
Certainly I don't think have the moral or ethical appreciation for the natural world of someone who I think should be able to live in these spaces. I don't think, I think, you know, just because you can buy and develop like that ultimately is what decides. Right. And so for me at times, it's incredibly frustrating because it is such a treasure like Jackson and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
It's one of the last intact ecosystems in the lower 48, but who is it being preserved for?
Or preserved from.
Yeah, exactly., so it's, it's incredibly heartbreaking actually at times, because you don't know if you can fully influence that change in a lifetime. And it takes being able to sort of have and get to, and then hold those keys of power in order to create that change.
But even then they're like these invisible forces like development for the, for the most part. And the fact that like real estate, you know, because people are so worried about regulating or zoning real estate, it's like, well then real estate just gets to be hands free you know, and it just happens without any sort of guidance or, or creation of community.
And I think that's one of the things I've seen in Jackson. That's been really sad and I've seen it in a lot of communities. And then in the mountain west, which is that yeah, you sort of lose the essence and the character as people move away and are, and are pushed out. I love Jackson. It is probably the place that I know most intimately from.
was sort of like a natural world perspective, but I don't know if I'm always going to want to be there because I, we all need community.
I think community is so essential to living a good life. And if I can't access that there, you know, you gotta go find it And create it somewhere.
And it gets across the entire mountain. West is people are pushed out because of economics and then replaced with second homeowners and the lights aren't on, you know, nine months out of the year.
Oh, my gosh, where my grandparents live, I walk along the river and there's tons of houses, blinds down most of the year. I mean, I lived in this neighborhood that was a third and fourth home neighborhood for people. And it's not unusual to like go to the, to the coffee shop and have the people sitting next to you talking about their multiple homes.
Like that is something that I overhear and, and yeah. I mean, it's heartbreaking, really thinking about how these lands were stewarded by Native tribes and populations for so long. Yeah, it feels a bit dystopian at times.
It really does. It really does. We experienced the same thing in our little town that we well, we live with friends when we're there, they're there all the time, but. So we're not as bad, but I still feel a responsibility to that community and a responsibility to, you know, do everything I can to minimize the impact of the way that we interact with it.
Yeah, it's interesting. I just got asked to be on the board of directors for our Jackson hole, land trust, which is, you know, honestly been on a board. That's been dominated by a very specific demographic for a long time. And so. That for me, feels like an opportunity to sort of dive in and sort of see how open people are to listening, because this is a, you know, an organization that has a lot of power and has exercised a lot of power and, and in my community.
I hope that you take it. I think that you would be an important voice.in that space
yeah, yeah. The challenge ahead, you know?
I mean, it feels like you have a lot of time on your hands, right?
Oh my gosh. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, I, at the end of the day, like I love looking at maps and sort of thinking about land use and, and, you know, and being able to be a part of the conversation is definitely a responsibility. I I'm really excited to possess.
At Yale, you know, in your free time, you are also the co-director of the environmental film festival. What strategies do you use to curate content that is educational while continuing to be engaging
Well, so, okay. I'm now the former I've passed that hat on, but you know, it's like a group effort we will sort of go through and separate a bunch of give everyone likes sort of a bin of films to watch. And then from that they choose however many they think are sort of good to, for the whole group to watch.
And then we do a group watching and move through that. And it's a very like democratic process where we sort of watch a film and then we sort of discuss what we like and what we don't like. And so in that way, that's sort of how we curate it. It's always, every year is sort of representative of sort of the like tastes and preferences of the group that's leading, which is kind of cool.
It means that it's like, sort of its own fingerprint, but you know, There are times where themes come up and are repeated more often than others. And so then we'll sort of focus on sort of that zeitgeist and what the moment is telling us and try and bring in speakers that can speak to these issues.
And so honestly, the most exciting part of the film festival sort of happens when you begin to sort of look for experts or activists or people who are influential in.
these spaces to bring them to campus and, and sort of have these conversations about the film. Yeah. And the topic.
No, that's really cool. You're not just a snowboarder. You're multi-sport, you're a yoga instructor, a cyclist. Tell us about the Full Circle Expedition.
Hmm. So I, and no longer a part of it, but I can speak to it. Because I was sort of a part of putting the pitch together. And that was one of those things where I said, I, I said, no, cause I was coming off of a really tough winter and I said yes to it. Cause I'm like, oh my God. Yeah. And then I was like, honey, you are so tired.
And you think you want to put the hardest thing in the world, on your plate for you to have to do next year, the beginning. I was like, you need to, you need to not do that. But anyway. Yeah, no, I, I think Full Circle is going to be an incredible project. I think it sort of speaks to what you were sort of talking about earlier where this moment in time.
Some, not all people of color, beginning to be more represented. But is that support genuine? I really hope that Full Circle gets the funding that it deserves. The, this is a team of people who have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are. They are absolutely experts in their field. And it's really disheartening to sort of have been a part of the process of trying to get this project funded.
And you're talking to brands that sort of, you know, put up the block square and like talked the talk, but all of a sudden they're not walking the walk. And I think there's this thing out there that I'm really wary of. And it's, it's the sort of dominant narrative that all people of color and all Black people in the outdoors are beginners.
There are people who have been in this space for a long time and. Marketing and content creation is really glomming onto this idea that Black people are new to this space when we've been here. We just haven't been marketed in this space. So, that's not to say that we've been here in large numbers, but that there are people here who are operating at an elite level and deserve to have the sponsorship and support.
And, and, you know, that is to say that it's also very frustrating because, you know, I think there is a lot of sort of space allowed for other spectrums of athletic ability in particularly in the white space. I see all kinds of ability, but that's not the same case for Black and brown people. I find that there's a level of exceptionalism.
That is sort of needs to happen. And I've talked about this, I'm sure you know of Faith amazing Faith love her. She, yeah, directed Ascend and I've, I mean, I've talked about this with so many people in this space actually, but it was really disheartening because we all are people who have.
Worked really hard. I mean, Faith also went to Yale. She went to Yale, undergrad. I mean, she is like 10 times smarter than me. Like Yale, undergrad is no joke. Those kids are like on another level on another planet. But that a lot of us have Ivy league degrees. You know, you think about L urbanclimbr.
Like she, I shouldn't think she went to Harvard or something. What she like went to an Ivy too. Like all of us even I'm like thinking of everyone's name and, and sort of missing, but there people had gone to Stanford. Like there, all these people who have like, had to, to work so much harder to get any recognition.
And I felt that that was in part the case for me, you know, I am going to be honest. Like I love Yale. I love the institution of Yale. But at the same time, I honestly can say that I got as good if not a better education at a state school. And it wasn't until I got Yale on my resume, that all of a sudden the doors opened, and this is sort of the