All smiles and hair, Gabby Maiden is a happy lady.
Gabby Maiden is a woman of many things. She’s the “first black lady snowboarder,” the daughter of a rockstar, and about seven or eight other things. She’s a determined young lady that not only sits as number six on Yobeat’s top ten black riders list, but also has one wicked front board. More than just a snowboarder, Gabby has always been able to make friends with anyone she meets, just listen to what these fine folks think about her.
“She can sing a damn fine aÂ cappellaÂ song, really, it’s jaw dropping.”- Leanne Pelosi
“Gabby’s cute, she isn’t woman enough yet to be hot, so she’s cute.”- Mike LeBlanc
Yobeat: Your family reminds me of the Jacksons without the drama, is there any truth to that?
Gabby: Well my dad is in a band, a band from back in the ’70’s, called Rufus and Chaka Khan. He’s the lead guitarist and lead singer with Chaka. I guess you can call us the Jackson Five without the drama. My sister is a singer, my Mom’s an entertainment manager, and I wanted to be an actress, well I still do, but randomly I started snowboarding at age 12 and have been going from there.
Yobeat: Your sister is a soap opera star isn’t she?
Gabby: Yeah, the show’s called “Passions.” There is a midget that is present in that T.V. show, and magical powers, and my sister was actually the flashback version of one of the main characters who had a psycho sister who was jealous of her.
Yobeat: What kind of acting do you want to do?
Gabby: Well I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was like five. I just watched movies repetitively, and memorized like everything because I thought it would be funny or because I just wanted to get into the whole acting thing. I still want to get into acting. I just did a film with Ben Fee, and it’s going to be really funny. It’s a comedy, it’s a true story, but I dunno I just like to make people laugh and have a good time and acting is like that.
Yobeat: How did the daughter of a rockstar get into snowboarding?
Gabby: I have no idea. I don’t even know to this day. I went into an industry as the only black girl snowboarder in a white-male dominated sport and I was super shy. I went into it when I was 12, which is a very fragile age, and I got super into this whole thing and super determined on it. I dunno, snowboarding kinda helped me break out of my shell, and my Dad’s musical influences sorta just rubbed off on me and helped me break out with my own style. And these days I’ve just become known as the “first black girl snowboarder.”
Proper front board.
Yobeat: Would you consider yourself the Jackie Robinson of girls snowboarding?
Gabby: Fuck yeah, sure man. I mean Jackie Robinson is the shit man. He did a lot of stuff, blew a lot of minds, but I dunno man I’d just like to be known as an individual. I don’t want to be known as typical. I just enjoy being myself, doing my own thing.
Yobeat: You’ve posed for an amazing amount of Nikita advertisements. Are you a snowboarder, or a model?
Gabby: I am both, no questions asked. There is nothing wrong with having multiple talents. I really don’t care what people think, I’m doing this because I want to and I love it. It just makes me happy.
Yobeat: How many Nikita Ads do you think you have out there?
Gabby: Probably too many. I don’t even know. Since I was 18 I’ve been taking photos, and that was four years ago. So count that, along with all the ads they put into magazines I just don’t even know, I barely even see them. Like, people tell me all the time that they see me and all I can say is, “Thank you.” But I’ve been to Europe, North America, and South America it’s been a lot, and it’s been exciting. I’m stoked that Nikita is stoked on me.
Yobeat: Weirdest place you’ve traveled to?
Gabby: Portugal. I went with Ben Fee, we were shooting next to a dead lamb that was inflated, like a balloon. Ben was just looking at it, and decided he wanted to do a video of it. Now Nikita wouldn’t use it because it was sort of like animal cruelty or whatever, but like we took a photo there, next to the animal, and it was sick. It was fun and kooky and different. These days I show it to people and they still think it’s cool.
Strike a pose.
Yobeat: I heard you had a reality show in the works, why hasn’t it aired yet?
Gabby: Thank god that never happened because I was never into it. I am the type of person who never wants to do a reality television show. Reality shows not only make you seem like a total asshole but also it makes you seem like a fake person. You’re titled as a “TV weirdo” and that’s it. You aren’t even a human, you’re just doing something that’s fake. It’s not real, people say it’s real, but no it’s not real, fuck that. I don’t know who started this, but there was supposed to be a show I guess, I was never going to agree to it though.
Yobeat: What was the theme to your reality show?
Gabby: I don’t even know. I think, from what I remember, it was like three years ago and it was supposed to be about me traveling to different mountains and snowboarding. About the travels of being a snowboarder and what really happens when you travel. How it’s unpredictable and stuff, it was definitely not something I would ever want to do. I was getting suckered into it, but I never wanted to do it, and luckily it was a flop.
Yobeat: If you are the top female snowboard model, who is the top male model?
Gabby: Darrell Mathes.
Yobeat: Who has made more out of their career due to modeling, you or Darrell?
Gabby: Dude, I can’t even be compared to Darrell. He’s not only a babe but he’s also the most amazing rider ever with style. He is a babe, Darrell you know what, you are a babe. He needs to know it.
5-0 with oven-mits.
Yobeat: Do you deserve your status as a snowboarder based on your skill, or has your modeling gotten you to where you stand now?
Gabby: In all honesty man, me getting to where I am now is my personality, my modeling, and the fact that I try as a snowboarder. I am willing to try, take a chance, and try to do things that I haven’t done before. Life isn’t just about snowboarding, it’s about being an individual and doing your own thing, that’s what snowboarding should be about.
Yobeat: Do you think you could have reached this point if you were an ugly white girl?
Gabby: Why are you asking me these questions? If I was an ugly white girl? I don’t know, probably, I dunno probably not. Dude this is so fucked up man. Ok, if I was a girl, not generalizing if I was white, because you said that not me, but if it was me as a personality then no probably not. That is an awful question, that is fucked up, how do you answer that without sounding like an asshole!
Yobeat: Who did you look up to growing up?
Gabby: Laura Hadar and Mikey LeBlanc. I loved Laura’s style and her uncaring approach. And for Mike LeBlanc it’s just a no brainer. He’s not only the smartest guy alive but he is a well developed guy dealing with a clothing company that he built, and he is one of the most stylish snowboarders ever. His whole lifestyle was just really inspiring for me, and Mark Frank (Montoya) too. For the same reasons.
Yobeat: Most important thing to happen in your snowboarding career?
Gabby: I don’t know, but I do know the most awesome thing. This past year on my 20th birthday, in San Diego. It was the Runway premiere for “See What I See.” I had shot with them but I didn’t think it was going to be in the video. I was just hanging out with them. So I go to the premiere three months later and I look up and I see my miniature part, like three shots, but it was probably the sickest thing ever because it was my birthday that night and it was a surprise. Everyone was like, “We wanted to tell you so bad but we wanted it to be a surprise!” and it was just the coolest birthday present and the most awesome surprise I could ever have. The first part I ever had, even though it’s not a full part, that was just the most awesome part of snowboarding for me.
Junk show in the junk yard.
Yobeat: Best thing to ever happen in your life?
Gabby: I would say, seeing Obama as President. Obama as the president is probably the sickest and most amazing thing that could have happened in my lifetime. I watched the inauguration with my Dad’s band, who were rehearsing for a trip to Japan, and we were hanging out and the drummer, Darrell, was looking on his computer and everyone was like crying. Everyone that was there was African-American, black, whatever and everyone was just like, “Gabby this is like, this is history and ya ya ya, this is in your lifetime.” I was just like dude I see it, people don’t understand but what Martin Luther King was talking about years ago was what this is right now.
Yobeat: As an African-American lady what does it mean to you to have an African-American president?
Gabby: Means a lot to me. Sure people can say that people voted for him because he’s black and all that stuff. But no dude, it’s the fact that he is this guy who has pretty much gone into this business of doing things that is not typical. He just took a chance and kept bettering himself, it’s inspirational. He is inspiring so many stupid young people, most of which are African-Americans, who previously were doing stupid things like drugs or being in gangs or that shit and now they know they can actually become the President of the United States. Like this guy is living up to those expectations, the idea is tangible now. He did whatever he had to do to become the President of the United States.
A large amount of estrogen induced whining went into getting this shot, and most of it wasn’t from Gabby.Â photo: Alex Mertz
Yobeat: How do you feel about female snowboarding?
Gabby: I think it’s going in an awesome direction. You know why? One woman, one girl, has given me hope that there is someone out there that is not only the most kindhearted and most legit person, but also doesn’t give a fuck, and that is Marie Hucal. She is by far my favorite snowboarder, I’m not even going to lie. I saw her the other day riding HCSC and she fucking killed it. I think Marie is the one inspiring girls to ride right now.
Yobeat: Future plans?
Gabby: I don’t know. My friend Ben Fee is always telling me to get out of snowboarding and pursue my acting career. He thinks I have more to offer than just snowboarding. But I can’t get away from this lifestyle, so I don’t know. But in the future I’d really like to pursue an acting career, and a legitimate modeling career that has nothing to do with snowboarding. The sky is the limit, but I don’t really have a plan. Having a plan is stupid in snowboarding. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, someone could just ask you to go somewhere or do something.
Making blue look good. photo: courtesy of Nikita
Yobeat: Why can’t you get into Canada?
Gabby: I can’t cross the boarder because during the 4/20 games (Grenade Games), that took place in Whistler this past season, my filmer had a DUI. He didn’t bother to tell me until we got to the boarder. He was completely confident that it would be fine, and I knew he wouldn’t get in. He wanted to try to cross. So my mom is with me, we get to the boarder. I’m driving, I go into the wrong lane, we go through, get stopped, and then we go inside the boarder patrol place. So King Kong is playing on the television inside, the filmer can’t get in, surprise, they let me and my mom get in. Now, I had something on my record for sneaking into a jacuzzi when I was 18. So they didn’t want to let me in but they did, because they “trusted” me. Then the boarder patrol asked my filmer one last time if we knew he had a DUI and he’s all like, “Yeah, they totally knew.” He said it so calm, it was so fucking stupid. So once he said that we got asked back up, and we had to deal with that situation. At this point they thought my mom and I were smuggling him into Canada. So then they decided to not allow us into Canada. So I’m supposed to take this form to the Canadian government and prove that I’m not a criminal, and until then I’m not allowed into Canada.
Gabby: Loyally dedicated to Nikita and Celtek.