Interview: Brigid Rae
Photographs: Jade Pattenden

Brigid Rae
Spencer O'Brien

Favorite compliment you’ve received about yourself:

That I’m a good friend, also anything about my freckles.

Self-confidence, self-sufficiency, community-building, these are just a few benefits from sports involvement. How has your involvement in sports been influential in shaping the person you are today?

Snowboarding has shaped my entire life, it’s given me leadership skills, my work ethic and drive as well as shown me the world.

You’re both vocal and active regarding climate change issues. Being Indigenous and someone who spends so much time outdoors, did that play a part in you reflecting on your relationship with the land and how you can protect it?

Of course. As an indigenous woman who spends her life in the mountains, I feel a strong responsibility to do my part not only personally but publicly. Like everyone I’m a work in progress, but I do my best and am learning and working hard to minimize my footprint all the time.

Each season athletes want or need the newest equipment and gear, but with 85% of clothing ending up in a landfill this type of consumerism contributes to climate change. What are tangible initiatives that can change the way the snowboarding community consumes equipment and gear?

Purchasing quality gear that will last longer than one season is a good place to start. A lot of brands now offer repair programs for outerwear and there are a ton of amazing initiatives to donate used products like Indigenous Life Sport Academy, who help get native youth into the sport.

As an Indigenous woman who is excelling in professional snowboarding, a predominantly white and male environment. Did you have that “wow moment” where you understood and recognized the impact of your success?

I guess the Olympics put it in perspective a little bit and allowed me to have more of an impact. I think the biggest moment for me was a few months ago when everything exploded with the Black Lives Matter movement. It made it very clear how important it is for me to not just recognize that I’m Native but be accountable to it and do my part to carry on this incredible culture.

Being a role model comes with a lot of responsibility. Did you feel pressured into that role or do you welcome the responsibility of being a role model and the power that comes with it to inspire and influence change?

I think I’ve always welcomed it. Sport has changed my life and I’ve always wanted to share that with others.

How do you remain authentic to yourself and others?

I’ve got good friends who keep me in check. I also try to always remember why I fell in love with what I do and keep that as my focus.

Using our latest collections campaign as a mode, we interviewed and photographed 6 people here within our Vancouver community. These voices are loud, these voices and bodies are bold, these bodies and voices are tired, they're grieving, they’re healing, they’re celebrating, they’re resilient, and they’re a conduit for change, each on their own trajectory to see a change and shift in power.

Each person that spoke with us selected a charity to support. Spencer has selected Nations Skate Youth & Indigenous Life Sport Academy. If you are able and choose to make a contribution (big or small), email us your receipt to hello@wolfcircus.com and receive a 20% off discount code between October 1–6.