V131: Golden Age With Eileen Gu

Olympic Skier, Elieen Gu on being the first person of Chinese descent to win X Games and her plans to leave a legacy that foment social change.

This cover story appears in V131, available for purchase now

V Magazine: What was the spark that first made you want to do what you do?

Eileen Gu: Being the first [girl] on my all-boys team to slide a rail sideways at age 8! My coach and teammates lined up to cheer me on, and that first rush of euphoria after breaking past my own fears was the spark that got me hooked on freeskiing. [In terms of fashion], Paris Fashion Week 2019 was [a major moment for me.] I remember my fellow front-row attendees and the designers of multiple shows celebrating unconventionality, and feeling inspired by the recognition that divergence from the norm should be applauded.


Top Alaïa, Ring Tiffany & Co. Paloma’s Melody Five-band Ring in 18K Gold


V: Was there a moment that was a turning point in your career?

EG: I approach my career with the same passion and love as the day I first discovered it, and I focus on consistency and resilience to help grow continuously.

V: What advice would you give to your teenage self?

EG: Be bold. You’ll wish you did things you were scared of when you’re 90 years old.

V: What’s the most enduring lesson that you’ve learned from being in the public eye?

EG: It’s important to keep the people who care about you close. [The ones who accept] you for who you truly are, and not what you do.

V: What do you remember about your first pair of denim? What made it special?

EG: A pair of overall shorts in grade 5 that I still manage to squeeze into. They made me feel like the main character in one of my beloved adventure novels, and to me represented curiosity, exploration, and the outdoors.

V: What’s a passion or interest you have that people might not know about?

EG: I have a secret food review account…I love to eat and write, why not combine them?

V: What’s the last photo saved to your phone?

EG: A video of my rollerblade training for free-ski jump tricks.

V: If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability, what would it be?

EG: The ability to manipulate time.

Pants LOIS JEANS + V DENIM, Ring Tiffany & Co. Paloma’s Melody Five-band Ring in 18K Gold, Top Alaïa, Belt Kieselstein-Cord, Boots vintage from Paumé Los Angeles; On eyes Diorshow Iconic Overcurl

V: What’s a positive quality you have that you’re proud of?

EG: My resilience and work ethic.

V: What words do you live by?

EG: Someone’s going to do it, why not you?

V: As your cover launches on Fourth of July weekend, what would your message to the readers be? What advice can you offer on how to move forward this summer after the past year we’ve had?

EG: Time is a precious thing. Sometimes, circumstances outside of our control can create uncomfortable boundaries and divisions, but our time belongs to nobody but ourselves. It is up to us how we spend it, what we create with it, and how we grow over it. I will try my best to create joy in whatever way is possible at the moment, take the time to find happiness in life, and express gratitude.

V: If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

EG: To me, life is exciting because of its unpredictability, and I’d like to preserve the fun in making mistakes and learning from them.

V: What’s the memory you hold most dear?

EG: Being told I was the first person of Chinese descent to win X Games.

V: What would you like the legacy of your career to be?

EG: I would like my legacy to be one that highlights the possibility of excellence in multiple fields. I’d like to eliminate the concept that in order to “succeed” in one area, all others must be ignored. I’d like to encourage a healthy baseline of joy throughout life, which stems from multiple different sources. One of which is the desire to give back to your community or create some form of unique, positive social change.


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