Yaya Ogun

June 30, 2023

We could not be more excited to introduce you to the absolutely incredible Yaya! Her adventurous and energetic persona seems to magically stoke out anyone she comes across – oh and not to mention she also rips!


What part of California do you call home and have you always been there?

I live in Venice California! I'm originally from Texas, but have been in Los Angeles for a couple of years now. Without a doubt, Venice is the best part of LA (and maybe even California).

What is your favorite part about living in Venice, CA?

My favorite part of Venice is the COMMUNITY. It's impossible to live here without falling in love with everything about Venice-- skating, the beach, the people, the history. I love the authenticity of Venice and how fiercely the locals protect it. I love being able to skate everywhere, the live music that's EVERYWHERE, and how there's so many artists here. It's inspiring and like honestly makes every day a different adventure.

We know that you love to skate but when and why did you first hop on a board?

I started skating at the end of the pandemic, so almost two and a half years now! I've wanted to learn how to skate for like ten years, but with school and then work and then life I never really had time (I thought it would take longer to actually learn). So one day I borrowed a friend's board, went into the drive way and started skating! And I've never looked back, no regrets. But then it took over my life so you win some you lose some.

We also know that you skate for Grlswirl too, can you tell us more about that collective and how you got involved?

Grlswirl is a women founded skate collective who's goal is to get everyone who wants to on a board! Skateboarding is still so new as a sport (less than 100 years old) but there's already an image people think of when they think of skateboarders. Grlswirl is a group of us (one of lots of collectives that have popped up with the same great goal) working to expand the idea of who can be a "skater". More women, more people of color, more LGBTQ, more people and bodies of all kind. I actually got started with Grlswirl after attending one of the group skates a few years ago. Twice a month we meet up, skate somewhere in Venice, and have a really dope event where people can skate, meet other skaters, learn some new tricks, listen to music, eat, and just have a good vibe. It's huge to see how many people come and then how much fun they have!!

What does that community mean to you?

Grlswirl and the skateboarding community is one of the most important pieces of my life. Skaters in general are encouraging, determined, rowdy, and all about pushing through and doing your best. Whether you're pro level or you're the world's okayest skater, you're the one on the board, putting in that work day after day. And that's so true for like every part of your life. I love adventuring with skaters, hitting parks around the country and around the world.

Now, skating aside, what are some of your other hobbies and passions?

Other than skating, I would say my biggest passions are traveling, theater, and writing! I love creating art and I love storytelling (I'm also wildly nosy because I love hearing people's stories). If I had my dream life, it would involve traveling the world, owning a van to roam around America, and living off grid in nature or in small towns all over the world. I usually spend a few months a year on a chaos world tour, but I would love to be able to do more. I also really find importance in mentorship and social change. I'm a member of a non-profit, Concrete Queenz, that brings skateboarding to kids in south LA, and once a week we spend a couple hours with the kids teaching them to skate, taking them to parks around the city, and providing opportunities for them to get to know other parts of life that are out there for them. I believe that with every opportunity or privilege we're given, we should be passing that on to others. I work with other non-profits addressing the housing crisis in Los Angeles, and that's a fast growing issue that really needs attention as well. And lastly, the theater and acting! There's nothing that speaks to my spirit as much as acting does, and it's been like this for me since I was ten years old and learned that I could be an actor as a real job. Stepping into characters, telling stories, being on set or on stage is where I find wild joy.

Do you have a go to comfort food in LA?

My go to comfort foods are easy: 1) Any ANY ANNNNYYYYYY Nigerian food (if I could live in a bowl of jollof rice or egusi soup I would). My favorite right now is Veronica's Kitchen in Inglewood. My next go to is shrimp in any form or fashion. Like I literally LOVE shrimp. God bless shrimp. My favorite shrimp dish is the shrimp pad kee mao at Ekkamai Thai in Venice. And lastly, the queen of my heart, the chili at Hinano's, the best OG local bar in Venice. I can't convince you, you just have to try it. It's quite literally heaven in a bowl.

How does California make you feel?

I love love love living in California. Somehow it feels like it's still the great unknown, even though I live in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world. I love how valued art, culture, and freedom are valued in California. Sometimes I just hop in my car and start driving, and three hours later I can either be in the middle of a national forest, in Baja, or laying out in the desert. I love to do that at least once a month if I can, sometimes with people, most of the time by myself. I love the people, both the locals and the transplants, because everyone is here to be a part of what California is. The mountains, oceans, deserts, cities, and rivers are so amazing to me.

What is one part of California that you are looking to visit for the first time?

BIG SUR!!!! I've been wanting to go so bad, but somehow it's fallen through each time. But it looks so pretty, and I've heard such good things about it! Also, I would love to visit some California hot springs. I've been to some in Idaho and got obsessed, so I would be so stoked to find one in state (bc the drive to Idaho is not light work).