WSS x KTTP PRESENTS | SHIRTS AND SKINS: TASHA KAI

Dynamic Meta widget allowed only for Posts listing source or in Post context

In this episode of Shirts and Skins, we catch up with Natasha (Tasha) Kai, former USWNT player and member of their gold medal-winning squad. Tasha takes us on her tattoo journey from her very first ink, which, she may or may not regret to the, to her getting tattooed in the traditional Hawaiian method of “bone tattooing”. Tasha is not shy about the way she expresses herself and her love for ink. Enjoy getting to know Tasha Kai. Check out the full conversation and photoset below. 

Follow Tasha on Instagram: @NatashaKai6

photo cred: @idriserba

MAKING MOVES W/ DENISE JONES

Dynamic Meta widget allowed only for Posts listing source or in Post context

We had the pleasure to catch up with our own multi-talented and unboxing leading lady Denise Jones. Born and raised in LA she tells about how football represents a family, culture and a global fashion. How her style is inspired by sports, people and mostly her own journey.

Follow Denise: @youknowdenise

Photo Cred: @stephyperea

Can you share your first memory of football?

I was like eight or nine and one day and my dad, he’s really my stepdad, but he raised me like his own, surprised me with an entire Nike set. So it was like a matching Nike Ball, matching Nike shinguards, matching Nike cleats—pink and green. And I didn’t even like pink at the time, but I was just like, wow. I don’t know how he did this, because my brother and I would have hand me downs or play with like tennis shoes. And so when he came out with this, even my brothers had their jaws dropped and I clearly remember this.

I feel like when you’re raised amongst boys, it can go one of two ways. You’re either like the princess or you’re one of the boys. And I was one of the boys. And so, as we all did everything together, we all played soccer together, we all did swim together, we all did karate together. And so when it was time for soccer, that was like my dad’s like forte.

So I fell in love with the sport, just playing. And then that memory with my dad, because he was the one that taught me how to move up and down a pitch and how to be aggressive in the game, that is probably the first one that I really remember. 

Can you tell us about your football journey?

It’s such a funny story. So after that experience, I was playing soccer heavy. Growing up until like 7th grade. And I remember not really knowing if it was what I really wanted to keep doing. So I took a step back from soccer. And so I played basketball all four years of college. I did swim during like three of those years as well. But it’s so difficult to manage to be a student, being a student-athlete and then also working. Hard to manage it all at once. 

But it’s so funny because during my internship at Power 106 things came full circle with soccer. Because at that point I had gained so much familiarity with soccer, swimming, and basketball. And when I was talking to people at the radio station everyone was passionate about soccer and it was mostly because I want to say like 80% of the radio station, honored jocks, and producers were Mexican American. So it was like something we all connected with. Everyone loved soccer. So that’s where a soccer Sunday started and that’s how I got back into the sport.

Can you tell us about what you do for work?

I’m very well connected in the entertainment music industry. I started in radio, at like a Gospel radio station and then transitioned over to Power 106. It’s the number one Hip Hop station in LA. It was my dream to always be there. So I ground my way into music, from an intern to a producer to the street team. 

Currently, I am the sideline reporter for Lakers nation, a host for Kicks to the Pitch Unboxing and I also host football events when it’s in season. So I do a lot of sports reporting. And recently I’ve also been helping more on the consulting and business development side when it comes to like immersive experiential marketing with companies such as Nike.  

I have a lot of fun. That’s first and foremost. I have a lot of fun and that’s literally number one in all my jobs to make sure that I’m having as much fun as possible. Because if not, it would be impossible to juggle everything that I do.

How would you describe the football culture?

The great thing about sports and soccer, in particular, is that you can connect with so many individuals across the globe. And that’s probably my favorite part about it. It is not just one-sided. There are so many aspects to the soccer culture that some people forget to recognize. There’s fashion and there’s a cool factor to it. There’s a language to it and there’s a community. I love that.

When did your love for sneakers and streetwear begin?

My love for sneakers and streetwear began actually with basketball. Because it was a sport that I played in high school. So when I was like 14, 15 years old. I remember we were fundraising for these ugly shoes, I think it was like a Shack Shock or something like that. And for my birthday someone surprised me with Kobe’s and it was really awesome because I was like, heck yeah. Like at that moment I recognize the value that comes from wearing something that you like as opposed to wearing something that you don’t like. I started just connecting the dots. If I was happy with what I was wearing and I was happy playing. And I started like really growing into what my look and my fashion is.

How would you describe your style?

So I’m a tomboy. Like, again, I grew up with boys. I’m half black, half Mexican. So I feel like I’m always trying to make sure that I’m interjecting both cultures. In what I’m wearing because people see what you wear first before they recognize who you are. And so I, I love the Hip Hop scene, but I’m also big on like nortenas and cumbias and like bright colors. And so I’m making sure that I’m applying that to what I’m wearing.

I remember my first sneaker I purchase was the Jordan 1 Chicago. And it was only because I felt like the red embraces the Mexican culture part of me. It could have also just been me convincing myself that I was doing this for buying this shoe for a bigger purpose. That was my first Jordan 1 that I copped out of pocket. I still have those to this day.

.

SOCCER FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE W/ SOCCERGRLPROBS

Dynamic Meta widget allowed only for Posts listing source or in Post context

What started as a side project among three friends in college, SoccerGrlProbs has grown into a cultural phenomenon for women’s soccer. Started by Shannon Fay, Carly Beyar and Alanna Locast, SoccerGrlProbs was first started in 2011 during their collegiate soccer preseason. What originally started by sharing tweets that every female soccer player could relate to, quickly turned into much more as they struck a cord that resonated with their core audience. Within a couple of weeks of launching their Twitter page, Soccer GrlProbs was racking up thousands of fans and they were being inundated with requests for videos. Capturing on the trend at the time of such videos as “Sh*t Girls Say”, Carly, Alana and Shannon set out to create their own video aptly titled “Sh*t Soccer Girls Say.” You can see the video here.

They shot this video on an iPad, put it up on YouTube, and the next day the video already had one million views. Clearly the video resonated with people as it was relatable, hilarious and authentic to who the girls are. Their online presence was growing, their fanbase exploding and demand for all things SoccerGrlProbs related was only growing.

Fan requests continued to roll in for more content as well as merchandise. SGP decided to take three funny tweets that they had put out and turn those into t-shirts. Once again demand was strong and the shirts sold out in five hours. Everything that SGP did was working as it struck a chord with a niche group of women which helped to create a strong sense of community among global lady ballers.

Since 2011 (and that first video in 2012) SGP has continued growing their brand and their following and it works so well because they know exactly who they are, their fans know who they are and their success is proof that authenticity matters most. Whether sharing content, telling stories or selling product. Being true to who you are matters.

I’ve seen firsthand the support they have and the passion that their fans have for them and what they do. Years ago we were in a suite in a stadium watching a game. They had tweeted out that they were at the game and within minutes there were close to 100 young soccer players standing outside the door waiting to meet them. This is what SGP means to female soccer players and it is incredible to see what they have built. And even though they are eight years in the game, it feels very much like this is just the beginning for what is to come.

With the Women’s World Cup taking place right now, SGP finds themselves in France doing what they do best. Creating content, meeting new people, sharing their love of the sport and being ambassadors for the women’s game. They were also recently featured on the Fox segment “She’s Next” in which they talked about how girls can exceed beyond the field when they stay in sports.

And that is an important part of this story. Their desire to empower young girls, to show what is possible on and off the field all while helping to grow the sport. When asked what more can be done to help women’s soccer grow in the US, they answered quickly and decisively. They want more people to support the NWSL. The support that is shown during the Women’s World Cup is great, but they want to see more being done daily with fans getting out and supporting the league, the players and their favorite teams. They know that to grow women’s soccer in the US requires daily support and engagement from fans around the country. That kind of daily involvement is exactly what we see from SGP and they are the leaders in helping to not only grow the sport, but to help young female soccer players drive for greatness and achieve their dreams.

Follow SoccerGrlProbs:

YouTube – SoccerGrlProbsVids
IG – SoccerGrlProbs

And their latest endeavor, Sh*t Soccer Girls say Podcast where they talk all things soccer and life on and off the pitch. – Check it out on iTunes here.

 

Photoshoot Cred: @thomvsfrs