When you talk about beloved skate documentarians, one of the first names to come up is Giovanni Reda. His doc on the legendary Brian Anderson coming out as gay was an absolute revelation for the industry and received coverage across the globe. His photos of skate culture are epic too, mapping the New York skate scene with the knowledge and eye of an insider. Back in the early 2000s, Reda was a photographer all the best skaters liked; these days, he’s the man they pick to tell their stories in depth.
Reda’s most recent doc is simply called Nora, and it profiles another truly transformative figure in the sport: Nora Vasconcellos. It’s hard to describe Nora without sounding like some dude trying to walk the fine line of mansplaining the different body mechanics of men and women. Maybe it’s better just to state the obvious: Nora absolutely rips. The way she moves, her flow — it’s gripping to watch.
A brief interlude on style here: It’s both about how someone dresses and how they exist in space (in this case, on a skateboard). It can’t be faked or even imitated. Tony Hawk — the winningest skater ever — never had the effortless style of Christian Hosoi (of course Hosoi could never pull a 900, either). The point being that style, whether it’s clothing, sports, acting or music, is hard to define but you know it when you see it.
That’s what Nora has, and that’s what Reda’s doc captures.
“It’s kinda hard to translate to people that don’t skate how important style is,” Reda said in our interview. “Nora has this unbelievably amazing style.”
Naturally, that grace of movement also crosses over with someone’s look and Nora’s appearance is just as distinctive as her riding.
“Every day, I get hit up with people like ‘where do you get your pants?'” Nora says of her famous lavender gear. “And I’m like, ‘I make them.’ I mean… I don’t sew them, but they’re white dickies that I just dye.”
Sounds like something a cool, creative person would think of, right?
That’s Nora — she’s inventive and iconic and completely unafraid to be herself. And that is true style: An absolutely fearless sense of individuality. No wonder a legend like Reda wanted to make a doc about her.