I was a little thrown off when I saw that e-mail in my inbox. “Steph Gilmore in Vogue” the subject read.
“Who cares?” I thought.
But then the longer happy hour went on, the more it sunk in. This matters. This is no normal surf magazine, no usual picture of the Australian phenomenon, this is Vogue, the one and only. Quiksilver wasn’t kidding when they named her as a brand Ambassador. Because not only is she an Ambassador for them, but she is also one for the sport. Especially the women’s competitive realm. How the magazine chooses to portray her here is the one of the few glances most of the general public get into women’s surfing.
So on the way home from dinner when we stopped at the corner store for more drinks, I perused over to the magazine aisle, picked up a copy of Vogue and when the cashier gave me a funny look. I quickly placed a Hershey’s bar on the counter next to it and said, “My girlfriend had a bad day.” Psyche!
By now, my friends are interested. We get home, drinks are opened, so is the magazine, and after many flipped pages there she is…
Carefully poised, standing between the front two seats of a vintage Ford Bronco, Stephanie Gilmore stands with one hand on the roll-bar, the other in her hair. A board and wetsuit stuffed in the backseat. The caption lists of all things, the type of make up she is wearing, shampoo in her hair and the prices of the swimwear she dons. Roughly $217 worth.
We are accustomed to seeing the 24-year-old, four-time World Champion carving across Gold Coast faces, but this two page feature shows her softer side. Discussing everything from her love for collecting vintage stringed instruments to her work for the Quiksilver Foundation.
“Thats not so bad,” I thought to myself.
A little femininity in our sport never hurt anyone. After all, is it not a beautiful dance with nature?
And Gilmore is nothing if not living proof that this combination is a working one. Currently she sits atop the World Tour rankings, hunting for her fifth World Title, with two event wins and top five finishes at the other four events. She is no stranger to the podium, with 20 World Tour event wins.
Poised atop a Ford Bronco or standing proudly on the podium Steph Gilmore not only wins us over, but sells the rest of the world on women’s surfing.