How Briana King’s Display Only Welcomes an Inclusive Space for Skateboarding

For Briana King, every day begins with a scream. “It’s like a lion waking up in the morning,” she says with a grin. “I just happen to be loud. It’s a release.” The uninhibited practice has ripple effects throughout her day. As a former introvert, skateboarding pushed the Los Angeles native outside of her comfort zone and propelled her to a deeper sense of purpose. Today, she helps other skaters master their craft and find community with her TikTok tutorials and her travelling skate meetup, Display Only.

After an ill-fated first attempt as a pre-teen that ended with an injury, she didn’t get back on a skateboard until she moved to New York City in her mid-twenties. “It took an entire year for me to feel confident just going in a straight line on flat ground,” the model, actor, skateboarder, and community organizer recalls. 

When she finally landed her first trick, the feeling was euphoric. While on a group skate from SoHo to the Lower East Side, she noticed her friends hanging onto the back of a truck. At the time, she was still a beginner. “I thought, ‘I can’t do it. I don’t want to get hurt.’ But then I thought, ‘Dude, I just have to send it’. So I pushed so hard and held on to the back of the truck like all the other girls.” Suddenly, Manhattan’s cacophony was brought down to a hum. “You can’t hear anything that’s happening around you in the city. It’s just you and all the skateboard wheels,” says King, who counts brands like Dior, Calvin Klein, Golden Goose and Mejuri as collaborators. With Display Only, which is geared toward women and the LGBTQ+ community, she hopes to create a space for enthusiasts and experts alike to experience this for themselves.

At the meetups, King is both a cheerleader and a coach. “I always give a pep talk beforehand,” she muses. And since the first one in 2018, establishing the right vibe has been key. The first thing you’re bound to notice at one of King‘s meetups is the outfits. Typically, at a skatepark, toned down fits are the norm—attracting attention means more eyes on your mistakes. At Display Only, that’s not the case. King attributes the over-the-top outfits to the inclusion-oriented vibe—skaters can feel confident showing up as their most authentic selves. 

Oftentimes, she’ll see attendees come alone to their first meetup, then carpool to the next one with their newfound skater friends. “It’s really just a safe space and some of us happen to be skateboarding,” King says. “People come back [even if] they don’t ever want to skateboard again, they just want to be in a place that makes them feel good.”