Barbie and Moco on Fears, Sponsors, and Taking Time to Breathe

by Marta
Barbie and Moco

Throughout April, Barbie and Moco traveled through Europe to give full day street skating workshops. By their side was Moco’s partner Pablo with whom she runs the project ‘plan de finde’ and who documented the whole journey. The idea was to share more than just some techniques of skating. They put the focus as much on the mental aspects and talked about motivation, frustration, fear and visualization.

But this trip was not just about workshops. After more than two years of being stuck in Argentina they really longed to get on a plane and connect with the scene. Especially Barbie, who had been on the road for almost six years prior to the pandemic. Even if the break was a needed one – to rest her body and mind – hopping from country to country had an impact on her. In this interview both share some very personal insights about their journey of becoming the skaters that they are today.

On their day off in Berlin we had the chance to meet them for a long chat, homemade pizza and a very special photo shoot at Sara’s wonderful private space with a tricky narrow DIY ramp.

How was your travel so far?

Barbie I was very emotional and excited to come to Europe because it’s been two years of quarantine. So when I got here, I didn’t feel like sleeping or anything. I just wanted to be out and about.

How was quarantine for you for the past two years?

Barbie It was good for me. I needed the break because before Corona I was traveling a lot for five or six years. A different house every month, different people, different energies. My body was hurting too so I needed the rest really bad. Having some peace and staying with family was also important. But after two years in the same place, I was going crazy and I was craving to be on the road again because skating is my mission in life.

Moco, how was it for you? It’s probably your first travel in a while, too.

Moco I think I haven’t travelled in six years. I did small trips in Argentina, like a weekend or something. A few months ago, we went for five days to Rosario and it was really cool. But life was difficult. My mom was really ill. She passed away two months ago. A pipe in my house broke. So, I was in a mess, l didn’t have water and one week before the trip my daughter got high fever. And I was like, ‘OK, world, I get you, I’m going to stay home’. It was a lot of stress and no skating at all. This made me a little bit afraid. My body didn’t feel strong. When we arrived in Barcelona it was really cold and rainy all the time. So, the first days were a bit stressful but once we came to Berlin it was all different. The sun was shining. We got bikes and I felt the strength coming back.

Why did you pick Barcelona and Berlin for the workshops?

Moco We picked Barcelona, because for Barbie it’s her home.

Your second home?

Barbie Yeah … or even my first.

Moco And, we chose Berlin because I really love this city. I work with Adrian from Rockstar Bearings and he told us to come whenever we want. He lives here part of the year, so we stayed with him. Berlin has this vibe I really love. I came here about eight years ago and it’s the only place I’ve traveled where I said, ‘OK, I could live here’. Never been here in the winter though. But the city feels like freedom.

Yeah, maybe you should test it out in the winter before you think about moving….

Moco It’s not a plan to come here. It’s just a feeling.  

Barbie Germany is always an option because we know many people. We know you, we know the vibes. And the brands like Chaya who support us, are from here. We are always welcome here. 

Are you happy with how the workshops went? 

Barbie Yes, I’m really happy. I had the idea to not only share the technique of roller skating. I really wanted to talk about the feelings that people don’t talk too much about, and motivation, frustration, fear and visualizations. It’s very mental and really important. I really felt that we connected with the people from the start until the end.

So you wanted to make it different from the typical classes where there is a big event and you hurry from one-hour class to the next?

Barbie Yeah, we never talk about the feelings and the fear that people want to overcome. But the fear is always with us, it is like a friend, not only something bad. Moco and I compliment each other very well. She has the energy to manage a class with a lot of people and I’m more of a calm person. Moco has a lot of crazy energy. 

Moco Barbie takes time to breathe. 

Barbie I learned this from years of skating. I didn’t used to be like this.

What changed?

Barbie I used to be a very nervous person. I didn’t know how to breathe. I didn’t take time to visualize. And this is the reason why roller skating is not only a sport for me, it’s a lifestyle. And I want to share my perspective with people too.  

Barbie, do you remember the time when you started to change, when you learned to breathe and to visualize?

Barbie It didn’t happen overnight. It was a constant change with the years and I’m still changing. I try to be better every day.

Moco You read a lot. 

Barbie I was curious. I wanted to know more about myself and why I used to be so nervous. So, I started to read books about synchronicity and different types of energies that would help me interconnect with other people and life in itself. And then there were people I met and who helped me along the way.  

Moco It’s not magic. I see her put a lot of work into becoming better and understanding herself. She works for it. But she’s not forcing herself to do so. It’s her innate curiosity that pushes her.

Barbie Yeah, I believe people come into my life for a reason. That’s the thing with synchronicity. You are on a path and you will meet people who will help you and you will help them in their path. The first person that appeared in my life was the reason I started to skate and so on. I learned to become a little bit detached and let go of people. And then life pulled me with them again. It’s so crazy.

This sounds spiritual. Would you say you are a spiritual person?

Barbie Yeah, I think I am. But roller skating is always by my side.

Moco, are you the same way?

Moco For me, it’s all teamwork. When I really started to skate better and do other things, it was with Pablo. He is my team. I learned a lot from him. We met a few years ago and he said, ‘OK, we can do something, we can film’. So we went for it. He has his own power and his own things, and I have my own power and my own things, but everything that is happening lately with roller skating, all the trips, all the videos, the brands, it feels like team work. I don’t feel it’s just me. It’s ‘Plan de finde’, (Spanish for ‘weekend plans’). We push each other. This makes our art better. My path is maybe not as long as Barbie’s but I really appreciate what I have. And I don’t want to be detached. I totally understand her way but for me it’s different.  

Barbie Sometimes I’ve been alone on other continents. When you are alone you are open to new people and new experiences.

Moco Our paths might be different but we think alike on many things. For example, if you can imagine it and you’re open, life is going to bring it. Maybe not in the way that you imagined it or how you planned it, but if you can visualize it the opportunities will come and help you on the way.

Barbie You have to have a dream but don’t  put all the expectations in the result. Because if you put all the energy on the result and you want it all to happen in a certain way, that’s not good. You destroy the dream.

Moco It’s not for the result, it’s for the trip.

Barbie And for the love. Not for the money, not for the people. This love will grow inside of you. It’s not in the environment. The material things come along if you do it for the love.

Starting the workshop day in Berlin with a chat about fears and expectations.
Final workshop in Geneva

Do you guys have goals then with your skating? It sounds like you just go with the flow. Moco, did you have a goal with “Plan de finde” or was it just start it and see how it goes?

Moco We just really love to do this. I think traveling and filming is a goal. Film other people, not stay stuck with the same crew. It’s just our art. Pablo and I were friends before we were a couple.

But you met through skating?

Moco Yeah, we met and the plan was to do what we are doing right now. Pablo came to me with the idea to film roller skating.

Why roller skating? He’s a skateboarder. This is unusual.

Moco He saw it before it really started to happen.

Barbie I think this is impressive for skateboarders. We are skating the streets and are kind of doing the same.

Moco Something that Pablo tells us a lot is that he couldn’t believe how fast he gets stuff on film with us. In an hour time I have a whole video. He taught me how to see the streets before I was able to do so myself. When we go out skating with girls here or in Argentina, we give them ideas of how to do lines so they can learn. By doing this we plant the seed and open their vision.

Dream Team: Moco, Pablo and Barbie travelled together to Spain, Germany and Switzerland

Quite often you see roller skaters not knowing how to get creative in the streets.  They get somewhere, and the first thing they say is, ‘I don’t know what I can do here’. That’s so different from skateboarding which started in the streets a long time ago.

Barbie Skateboarders have the culture. And we had the opportunity to skate with people who showed us the lines and they helped stimulate our creativity. And we watch a lot of videos and we try to do the same with the girls now. We help to push the culture of roller skating, and we want to stimulate the creativity. But it is important that people watch a lot of videos too.

Would you say that you can also watch skateboarding or inline skating videos?

Moco Yes of course, because the physics are the same. I mean, it’s another instrument. But with your legs you do the same. The jumps are the same, the turns with your shoulders are the same. You just have to watch it that way.

Barbie At first, I watched a lot of videos of skateboarders. I used to study the style how they jump gaps, stairs or slide rails. Nowadays I watch videos with, trick techniques, because I want to try new tricks on bigger spots. I think we have to use creativity to push roller skating to the next level. That’s what I’m trying to do now.

Moco It’s a bit tricky. Some might say, they don’t have the creativity. But the thing is you get it with time and also by asking yourself, ‘How can I do it?’ instead of telling yourself you can’t. It’s okay if you only jump in front of the bank and then go up and then do a 360. 

Just get rid of the thought that you immediately have to do the crazy trick. Maybe you do the crazy trick in a year at this spot….

Barbie … it’s training the brain too, not only the body.

Let’s talk a bit about your sponsors such as SkatePro, Chaya, Bont and Rockstar Bearings. How important was it for you to have them? How much did they help you on your skating journey?

Barbie They helped me a lot because I am from Argentina and this makes a lot of things difficult. With their support I was able to travel and connect with people from other countries. I think it’s important to expand my passion. I met many people who wanted to help me by incorporating me into their brand. Thanks to them I am here.

Do they help you with travel expenses?

Barbie Yes but I use my savings too. Because I have a brand and other projects so I do not depend on them. If they help, it’s perfect but if not, I do it anyway. I really like to work with them. We are like a family.

Both Chaya and SkatePro are like family?

Barbie Yeah, we talk every week and we are in contact all the time. I love my sponsors. But I am not skating to get sponsors. Many people skate just to get a sponsor. But what happens when people expect sponsors, they lose the mission and the desire. If you do this for the love, the sponsors will come.

You just mentioned you have new projects. You started your own clothing brand recently. Tell us about it.

Barbie I was going crazy during quarantine since I couldn’t skate. I needed to do something that had to do with roller skating, you know? So I started to think. I realized I had many skateboarding brands in my closet. And I really wanted to have something that had to do with roller skating. That’s when I came up with my brand Barbara Patin. It was crazy how the people supported me from all over the world. I am so proud of this.

Do you have a designer or do you design the things yourself?

Barbie Okay, it’s crazy, but when I go to sleep I get into a lucid state. Once I relax, the ideas start to come. The process is magical. I then contacted people who can grab these ideas. To be honest, I was nervous to do that. I invested my savings which I kept for traveling to Europe, but I got so much support from the roller-skating community, so at this point I want to say thank you to everyone!

Moco Having sponsors was great because I’m always broke. I don’t manage a lot of money. I always flow through life. I do a lot of stuff, I’m really into art and design. But I never really commit to anything; unless it’s roller skating. I’ve done design since I was 14. I did drawings for books though I never took it like a job. The economy in Argentina is really fucked. I used skates Barbie gifted me because mine were broken. When I started with roller derby, I wanted some Bonts. And I remember how I checked online and said, ‘Fuck, I can’t buy these.’  So, when they asked me whether I want to skate for them I was like, ‘Wow!’ I never imagined this would happen because it’s not why I skate. Even without sponsors we would keep on doing it. I like to combine all the things that I know, like graphic designs, filming and editing, it’s a whole package. So, when Adrian from Rockstar Bearings reached out to me a few months ago because he wanted me to join the team it was really great. We also started to work with him doing animation stuff for the brand. Now I do things for work that I used to do for fun. 

It’s great that brands are hiring roller skaters.

Moco Yeah, I’m really happy with that, because we can do it all. And art is as important as the skating. I’m really happy that I can do a little bit more as the economy is so difficult.

The scene is so big in Argentina but as you said the economy is problematic and not many people can afford fancy set ups.

Moco Yeah, there are all these skaters who ride broken stuff.

Barbie We got used to skating with what we have.

Moco We skate with holes in our boots, some girls have different sized wheels.

Yes, I see the skaters from Colombia or Argentina skate with used up skates and they rip, whereas here you see many skaters spending hundreds of Euros or Dollars on the perfect set up as we think we cannot skate without all that fancy stuff.

Barbie This is the reason why we say the skates don’t make the skater. 

Moco I think the reason why there is so much fire in Latin America is because we don’t get much material stuff. We don’t get good phones. It’s not about pictures with my beautiful skates, it’s just “skating”.

Barbie When I was five or six years old I was a figure skater and my mom couldn’t buy me better skates. And I was crying: ‘Mom I need skates, I want skates.’ But she told me, ‘A pair of roller skates doesn’t make the skater. Now go skate. You can do it.’ I was, ‘OK Mom.” And I am so grateful for this lesson. I really want to get the message out that if you want to skate, you can do it in any kind of boot. Don’t have excuses.  

Moco Pablo and I filmed people who taped their skates. Do you know Selena?  Last time we went skating, she did a really big ledge and her whole plate came off. I have a picture. She fixed it and she tried again.

Barbie Nothing is impossible if you have a dream. If you have a conviction, you can get everything in this world because the world is abundant.

What are your next plans?

Barbie In mid-April I go to Blading Camp, then I’ll be in Woodward and give classes, then I move on to Quad Cup in Santa Ana. There are so many events in the community right now. And I want to be everywhere.

Are you coming back to Barcelona in the summer?

Barbie I want to but right now I don’t know where life will take me.

What about you Moco?

Moco I’ll be back to Argentina to be a mom (laughs). No, I don’t have many projects planned. I want to film a part. I got a new fisheye on this trip. My old one got a bit blurry. (Laughter) 

Barbie I think that new proposals will come.

Moco I’m not expecting anything. I just want to go back and edit all the things we filmed… and then just keep on living.

Thank you both!

Interview by Marta Popowska
Photos by Pablo Villavicencio

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