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Snowboarder Gabby Maiden Stars in Stranger Things 2

Unless you have been living in the upside down the past few weeks, you know Stranger Things 2 has long since hit the Netflix shelves. And if you have been paying attention to the snowboarding world, you would also know that snowboarding’s own Gabby Maiden has gone from the the Big Bear streets to the big screen as a character on the latest season of the show. We caught up with Gabby for a quick interview about her strange journey and to find out if Eleven can rip.

We can also tell you that we have yet to finish season 2, so don’t worry about any spoilers, unless seeing Gabby AKA Mick slide on snow is going to ruin the show for you.

Gabby Maiden in the streets of Big Bear circa 2007. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen

Right off the bat, you know we have to ask, what is the “Strangest Thing” in snowboarding?
The strangest thing I remember, because I did it as well, was the bandanas hanging off of our belt loop. Just having it hang off us like a flag.. That was pretty strange. I remember I have a picture of me doing my first indy grab at High Cascade when I was 14 or 15. I had a Volcom bandana just flying and I thought it was so cool, haha. I don’t know how that became a thing.


Gabby playing baseball on set during filming.

For the people that don't know, your family is also in show business right?
Yes, my dad is a musician and his claim to fame is the 70's band Rufus & Chaka Khan. He’s the lead guitarist and vocalist next to Chaka. I could talk forever about my dad because I’m so proud of him. My mom, she’s an entertainment manager. She managed a few people back in the day, but her main focus is our family and it always will be. I also have a sister and a half brother. My sister's a singer and an actress as well. My family is very tight knit, we always help each other out.

So that is where you got the acting bug?
Since I was 5, I wanted to be an actress, for sure. I was a very shy kid, haha. A lot of people don’t believe me when I say that. I tried to pursue acting at that age, but I was still so introverted, I decided to take a break from that dream and find something to help me break me out of my shell. Thats when snowboarding came into play and when I was 12, I started to ride.

Do you still consider yourself active in snowboarding?
I don’t ride as much as I’d like to. I would definitely skate around though, getting from audition to audition. I didn’t have a car when I moved back to LA three years ago, so I would ride the bus and skate everywhere. I missed being on a board and I wasn't able to travel out as much as I used to. Before, I would take random trips out to Big Bear or where ever I wanted, but that wasn't much of an option these past few years. Ive been fully committed to being based in LA, auditioning and working. I think this winter I’ll have more chances to get away and ride again, which I'm excited about.

Anything still catch your eye?
That’s the thing, I think this year specifically, I’ve been starting to get the itch again. I really miss going to all the premiers and just watching what everyone has been up to. I go in and out though. I check out the Too Hard edits because it’s a badass group of women and it’s so nice to see Dangy branched out from when we were in Peep Show. Its so awesome. Always nice to represent and support the women riders.

I was just going through your IMDB. It doesn't list your scorpion. I was a little upset.
It should list that. Did you know Gabby Maiden has the top 10 scorpions of all time?

Who was your crew that you rode with the most?
Marie Hucal, Terra Michilot, Melissa Evans, Desiree Melancon, June Bhongjan, Estee Preda.

Strange or cool?

Bibs: Cool. Id rock one, why not?

Big Air in Olympics: Cool. Super exciting to watch!

Wide Stance: Freakishly wide? Strange.

Pants rolled up above boots:
Cool. Pre and post lace up only.

One-footers: Cool. Wish i had those tricks in my bag!

Quad Corks: Strange. Thats a lot of cork.

Too Hard: Coolest ladies on the block!

Sweatpants instead of snowpants: Ugh.. Strange.

Vlogs: Strange. Seems like a lot of work to keep up everyday.

Burton Step-Ons: Strange… I prefer strapping in.

Stan Levielle: Cool! And hilarious.

Goggles outside hood: Cool. How else do i keep my ears warm and my fro contained?

Lift Ticket Prices: Strange/Cool. Depends on where you ride.

Super 8mm in snowboarding edits: Cool. I think it looks rad :)

Would Eleven be a better snowboarder than you?
Don't think so… But Max might.

Anything you have taken over from snowboarding into your acting life?
That time of my life with snowboarding was extremely important to me. Those were my “college years", when I was really starting to learn about myself, experimenting with travel, challenging myself with snowboarding tricks, terrain and meeting new people. On set, It was so inspiring to watch the young actors on Stranger Things be able to reach such emotional ground. Its so impressive to me. Those years of snowboarding really helped me break out of my shell and get me confidently back into acting.


So you never went to acting school or anything like that?

I take acting classes. I think studying a craft is the most important thing you could possibly do. Keeping your acting chops and instincts fresh and sharp. I feel there is always something new to learn.

Is there going to be a season 3?
Yes, there will be a season 3.

Have you ever been starstruck by a snowboarder?
Laura Hadar. That was when I was 18, first did the Nikita Chikita and started getting flow from them. Laura Hadar was there as a guest judge and I was super pumped. I didn’t win the contest, but what I did win, was Laura Hadar making up a prize for steeziest/stylish rider and giving it to me. I was like, what?! It was this old school army-style Nikita jumpsuit. It was too big for me, but it was so cool! I still have it actually, one of my favorite snowboarding memories.

What about being starstruck by someone in the entertainment business?
If I met Halle Berry, I would just melt. She’s such a talented actress and seems like a strong woman with fun and down to earth energy. Theres a hilarious video I absolutely adore when there promoting Kingsman 2 at Comicon. She's not promoting day drinking by any means, but you can tell that she's always up for a challenge, especially if a man yells "chug, chug, chug!" haha.
Well done Halle.

What should we expect from you next?
I’m a reocurring guest star on the half hour comedy SMILF out now on Showtime. I play Regina, a type A older sister who's a Harvard law student that wishes her sister would be more responsible in life, as she is herself. Catch it on Sunday’s at 10pm. Since filming the show, Ive been home in LA, reading scripts and auditioning for the next fun project that catches my eye. Im excited for whats to come!

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