Skateboarder and photographer, Sierra Prescott spends her days cruising down the Venice Beach boardwalk and power sliding through tourists and local gawkers alike. We had the opportunity to catch up with her to explore her passions, the freedom she finds in skateboarding and the importance of remaining true to oneself.
A Pasadena native, Prescott grew up active in competitive sports and freelance photography. She was chosen to photograph the Kentucky Derby at 17 years old, worked countless jobs with local newspapers, earned her degree and then eventually began working for established fashion photographers throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
Finally, she decided to stop working for others to concentrate on “her own thing.” Prescott began building her own portfolio by reaching out to those in need of a good photographer. “It’s hard—you have to really hustle. I had nobody to lean on but myself,” she said. “I had to make things happen and build my own clientele. But I realized that my passion was all I needed.”
She learned to simplify her lifestyle by asking herself: “what do I need?” The answer to her own question gave her a new perspective and a sense of freedom and empowerment. “It’s all part of the struggle—the journey and the climb to the top,” Prescott said.
Inspired by Rodney Mullen and Jay Adams, Prescott transformed her creativity into the skateboarding lifestyle and took to the skateboard like a natural athlete. She loves the fluidity of the 70’s style of mainstream tricks, she mentioned.
“Skateboarding freed me from convention,” Prescott said. “Getting noticed as a girl skater in a
male-dominated industry is not easy.” As a result, she has learned to respect the boys who make it to the top in skateboarding due to the competitive nature of the sport.
Social media has been a huge platform for Prescott and has connected her to media jobs and the gradual morphing of her career. “It has opened doors for me but has also complicated my life,” she said. “It’s a love-hate relationship. With the popularity comes responsibility and accountability. The career has become a type of ‘work’ for me. I have to be more aware of everything in order to stay grounded.”
Prescott said she has more fun creating abstract content and collaborating with other people but does not want to focus on the outcome. “I know what the creative experience feels like… and that feeling is more important than trying to force a certain result,” she said.
Her Instagram posts consist of skating photos from around Los Angeles and she has gained over 40,000 followers. Prescott said she does not post her own work though because she relies on her website for personal publicity; keeping her Instagram representative of her love of skateboarding. “I want to live creatively and keep my work to a couple of channels,” she said. “It’s not about what I do… but who I am.”
Creating photographs and skateboarding go hand-in-hand for Prescott, both evoking a feeling that can’t be duplicated. It’s like trying to capture lightening in a bottle, she said. Social media opens doors to her many followers and she gets a strong motivation by knowing others are inspired by her tenacity, passion and commitment, Prescott said.
At present, there is no end-game goal with skating—no prize or final destination for her. It isn’t about competition or accolades. To Prescott, it’s about the pure feeling skating brings to her soul that motivates her.
“It’s a lifestyle—a purpose,” she said with a wry smile.
So, what is her best piece of advice?
“Life is yours and yours alone. Whatever you put in—you will get out. If what you are doing is not making you happy, then stop and do what does. Passion, peace and satisfaction should always dictate your path.”
Favorite skate spots?
Venice Beach for the alleys and eclectic style. I would love to skate in Hawaii and Spain.
Orange is the New Black, Weeds and Family Guy.
West Coast or East Coast?
West, I feel like Lana Del Rey right now.
Fav thing to do when not skating?
Eat and watch basketball. I love the Shaq and Michael Jordan days.
Words and images by Hayley Hill