How To Be A Roll Model explores the empowering individuals behind Amsterdam’s youngest skate crew

How to Be A Roll Model (pun fully intended) acts as an “ode to freedom, friendship and straight-up badass female power”, following a group of eight-14 year-olds at their local skatepark, goofing around, testing tricks and bonding together. An uplifting and heartwarming short full of power, just seeing the team skating around and discussing their own experiences, often of being intimidated by skateboarding, immediately offers an alternative narrative to the male-dominated scene. “If you’re a guy at the skatepark, there are tons of different people to look up to and learn from,” says Mérida. “No matter where you are on your learning journey, whether you just started skating or if you’ve been skating for years, there are plenty of people who look like you filling in those gaps from very beginner to pros. The term ‘bridging the gap’ is overused, but that’s what this is.”
However, rather than picking a different activity, Mérida decided to make the footage herself in How to Be A Roll Model; a documentary about Amsterdam’s youngest girls skate crew, directed by Al Lewis and created by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam’s art director Emma Mällinen and copywriter Ane Santiago. “So the next time a girl or non-binary youth was looking for a skate film, they’d find someone who looks like them with an invitation to the skate park,” explains Mérida in the film’s release.
As Mérida Miller was putting together Project Fearless, a Dutch non-profit of after-school activities for girls in Amsterdam, she began to think about what skateboarding could offer. Yet when looking for material, it became clear that “women are a rare sight in skate films. Girls are an even rarer sight.” Mérida couldn’t even find any trick tutorials led by women to share with the girls.