Grls Untamed: A Copenhagen-based All Girl Community and Sisterhood Empowering Womxn Through Skateboarding

It’s all about love, empowerment, and a safe space to learn and fail for the Grls Untamed skate community

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Gratitude is attitude when you ask Emily Thelander, founder of Grls Untamed, whose mission is to empower womxn through skateboarding and who truly believes that learning something new like skateboarding in a safe and supportive environment, can help liberate womxn to conquer their fears and insecurities in life.

We caught Emily for a chat on how to build your life on what you love and thrive on, why skateboarding can be life changing and where she gets all that spark to uplift others – check out the interview below!

empowerment | grls untamed | Skate
Emily Thelander

Hey Emily – Tell us how you came up with Grls Untamed?
I’ve always wanted to be a skater girl but never imagined that it would happen. It turned out that 2020 was the year of unimaginable stuff on many levels. I completely fell in love with surf skating this summer and it made me so happy and confident. I made a pact with myself that I would stop any girl on a board and ask her to join my skate sisterhood. It was a success.

The community and support are growing quickly. Are you surprised?
I’m just grateful. I feel it. It’s effortless. It’s growing organically. What I sense mostly is that we uplift ourselves together and therefore can uplift others.

Is anyone welcome and where can we find you?
Grls Untamed is an All Girl community and a sisterhood. The main mission is to empower womxn through skateboarding. EVERY WOMXN can feel safe and welcome. I truly believe that learning something new like skateboarding in a safe and supporting environment, can help liberate womxn to conquer their fears and insecurities in life. We have an Instagram account and we also have a group chat for those who want to connect more.

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Is there anyone in particular who you’d credit as truly inspiring, and why?
My kids are my biggest inspiration without any comparison. They are brave and honest and wise. I’m also inspired by people living off the beaten path. And I look up to people who choose love before anything else and who’s not afraid to show up for themselves. Love is the number one most important thing in life.

What made you interested in skateboarding?
For me skateboarding represents freedom, self worth and power. I wanted to drink the Kool-Aid. It’s also closely linked to a “California vibe and mentality” that I personally need in my life. I have noticed that it matches up really good with the growing Scandinavian surf culture.

How would you describe the Grls Untamed crew?
I have met very confident womxn, who doesn’t know what the fuck they are getting themselves into…but they know they have too! I have met shy womxn, who normally don’t show up alone, but who show up for themselves here…because they have too. I have met womxn who have never been on a board, but who just need some support and a safe space to learn…because they are skater girls by heart. I have met so much love, openness, support, cheering, willpower and unmasked womxn, and this sisterhood is still so new. It was founded late august this year and I’m blown away.

empowerment | grls untamed | Skate

What has Grls Untamed taught you about friendship and helping each other?
When new girls are joining our group skate sessions they often ask me fore hand, if they can ask for some help actually getting on the board. I always try to accommodate this, but sometimes I’m busy talking, meeting new girls or just skating. Then I take a look around and I see some of the “old” girls supporting our newcomers. It’s beautiful. My heart fills up my chest and claims it’s space and true size. That is how I want our society and world to be.

How has skateboarding empowered you?
Skateboarding has been life changing for me. It’s following a “journey” I have been on these past couple of years and somehow it has become the most beautiful opportunity for me to get the emotions and the grief out through my physical body. You can work with yourself mentally and spiritually, but I do believe that our life experiences, small and big, happy and challenging, also can be “stuck” in our bodies and nervous system. It just feels like “my thing”, you know. It’s not a struggle. We have a right to ask for a life with less struggle and more happiness.

What is your latest skateboarding accomplishment?
Skating the bowl at Fælledparken SkatePark! Grls Untamed provides us with healthy competition. I look at the girls and I feel proud. I can see the progress in every one of them each time we meet. I make sure that we slowly and in the right pace learn new stuff.

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How do you feel about skating with boys? Are they welcoming?
I love skating with boys haha! I think most of them think it’s cool that girls skate too! I haven’t had any negative experiences so far, but I’m also not focused on this matter. At all.

What is the biggest challenge and win when making your way into a male dominated field like skating is and has been?
Again, I’m such a newbie to skateboarding and I allow myself to go into it without any prior attitude or concern. My only concern is to do it. To dare it. To fail. To fall. To succeed. To feel weak. To feel strong.

What are your hopes and dreams for Grls Untamed? Any exciting future events coming up we should look out for?
On that last note though… I want for the entire sisterhood to show up at a skate park next summer and just rip the bowl, haha! We have so much awesome stuff coming up! We’re planning skate/surf/yoga retreats for next year in collab with Surf Søstre which will be beautiful and we’re working on building a surf skate park in Copenhagen! Stay Tuned!

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Just out of curiosity, what’s the worst skating injury you’ve ever had?
I have kissed the ground a few times. Nothing bad. We wear helmets at the parks. I overstretched my knee pretty bad a while ago. That was super painful and gnarly but it’s not holding me back.

If you’d have to share something you truly stand by and would want everyone to know, what would it be?
Grls Untamed is a community for the community. We work towards mentoring, fundraising, supporting organizations and creating awareness around anything that can make our planet a better place. If you have an idea that can empower, inspire, benefit or support, please reach out to us.

Are you so lucky that Grls Untamed is your actual job, or what other work do you do?
I’ve been working with healing, health and nutrition since 2000 and today I do 1:1 sessions as a personal life guide ( www.blessyou.dk ) and I teach Kundalini Yoga. Grls Untamed has a lot to do with my life’s purpose. Which is to uplift people and help them find the inner strength, healing and joy needed to live their life to the fullest. I’m very
curious about different ways of life and I’m very passionate about living a highly conscious life.

On the same note I love dressing up and showing off and recreating myself. So as an addition, I have founded a 100% sustainable clothing brand for womxn together with my dear friend, Anja Poulsen, whom I admire a lot. It’s called Sky and The Moon and it’s basically all of the styles that we were missing in our own closets but made with deadstock fabric. It’s our way of honoring Mother Earth and womxn. I’m very proud and excited for the launch.

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When you close your eyes what do you wish for?
I wish for a society and a world that rests on a foundation of love. And I don’t mean in a “Hippie, Let’s all make Love and peace” kind of way. For me there’s always two ways in life. A way of fear or a way of love. This is a huge question for me. Haha. And one of my favorite subjects, so I can go on for hours. But I must say I wish for inner peace and self
love for all humans as a reflection of an outer worldly harmony.

When you wake up each day what is the first thing you think of?
I try to wake up to the feeling of gratitude and of excitement for what every new day will bring. It requires dedication and hard work. It’s a choice I make to think positive and to feel worthy of all good in life.
When you think of what makes you happy, what is it? I’m happy when I have the people I love around me. My children, my family and my good friends. I also feel very blessed and grateful for the community and real sisterhood that Grls Untamed has become. I’m happy when I feel free. I love adventures that include nature, good food, music, movement, laughter and insights.

empowerment | grls untamed | Skate

And last but not least, what’s your best advice for girls who are starting out something new, but are not sure whether to trust their gut and follow through?
Take a moment with yourself. Sit in stillness. Breathe. Deeply. Ask yourself, is this new desire coming from within me? Or from outside me? If no answer, repeat every day, until you get the answer. Do this with everything in your life.

Kirstine Engell is a freelance writer in the Girls Are Awesome fam. Learn more about her and her work by visiting her Instagram or her website, KirstineEngell.dk.

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