Q&A with Catalog Cover Artist, Destyni Swoope

Q&A with Catalog Cover Artist, Destyni Swoope

It’s 2020. You’d think by now we’d have flying cars, alien best friends, and gender equality, but before those dreams come true, science has more to discover, and we’ve got more to conqHER.

In the meantime, Eastbay continues making history of its own. For Women’s History Month, Destyni Swoope designed our March catalog cover, becoming the first external artist to do so. If you’re on our catalog mailing list, you’ll be able to see her cool art in person, but her inspiration and her story are equally amazing, so we decided to talk with her about Eastbay, her art, and women’s empowerment. Here’s what she had to say:

Destyni Swoope, artist, leans against a graffit wall.

Q: What was your experience with Eastbay growing up?

A: Growing up as a young athlete, I anticipated getting the Eastbay catalogs in the mail. It was like the sneaker bible! Back then, my brother and I would circle and star all the things we wanted and leave it out on the table in hopes that our mom would feel generous and buy us something. Haha! It was fun to see the gear that our favorite players wore and then be able to copy their swag. Eastbay catalogs have always been a huge part of the culture; I don’t know too many people who didn’t love flipping through them as a kid.

Q: You said you were a young athlete, what sports did you play growing up?

A: My love for basketball began when my older brother introduced it to me. We shared a room most of our younger years, so I naturally took after him and embraced hoop culture. I started playing with the kids on my block, and eventually my family signed me up at the rec center where I played through high school. I had coaches, but my father was the one who really pushed and supported my desire to play – we practiced and worked on my game constantly. When I got older, he even took me to the gym to play games of 21 with grown men on the courts to really put me to the test. That’s where my drive and love for basketball flourished.

Q: So, as a former youth athlete to now being an artist, what life advice would you give to young Eastbay athletes?

A: I’d say, always let the passion you have for your craft lead the way. Be open to learning experiences and remain a student of the game, because, outside of the game, you’re a student of life. The fundamentals and skills you learn in your craft follow you into life. Embrace your inner beast and constantly reach for perfection. A great high school coach of mine drilled this into my head saying, “MTXE,” which stands for “Mental Toughness, Extra Effort.” I found that this follows me outside of athletics in my journey as an artist. I strive to always reach higher and put my all into each opportunity.

Julie Ertz: Attacking Adversity

Julie Ertz: Attacking Adversity

Julie Ertz can’t remember a time when she wasn’t completely enthralled by soccer. For the 27-year-old midfielder, it’s not just a game, it’s a way of life.

“Growing up, I just fell in love with the sport right away,” Ertz said. “I felt the most me when I was out there playing on the field.”

In 2017, she was named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, and going into this summer, Ertz is expected to be a key component of the 2019 national team. She’s known for her ferocious tackling skills and uncanny ability to find the back of the net on set pieces.

But Ertz wasn’t always an international superstar. In fact, only a couple of years ago she was playing a completely different position.

Nearly a year after she burst onto the scene as a 23-year-old center back for the 2015 national team, Ertz was benched, forcing her to make a decision — she could either sulk about her demotion or put in the hard work to mentally and physically overcome the obstacles in her way.

“As an athlete, you see adversity all the time and those are the challenges that either make you or break you,” Ertz said. “For me, that was through injuries, not playing, and being benched. What I learned from that experience was that adversity can be your best friend if you allow it to test your character and who you really want to be.”

Ertz didn’t just battle back to regain her spot on the team, she completely reinvented her game and became one of the best defensive midfielders in the sport today. That willingness to change her position and the grind she went through to achieve greatness is a testament to her reputation as a teammate and fan favorite.

“I always wanted to be a versatile player because I loved the sport so much and thought each position could teach me something different,” Ertz said. “I want to be the best teammate I can be and so, for me, versatility means being reliable for my teammates. Whatever they ask of me, I want to do.”

Ertz also knows that being a successful female athlete comes with extra challenges and obstacles. She credits the generation of female soccer stars who came before her and recognizes that they helped lay the foundation for players like her to become national icons.

“As I got older, it was huge to watch the women who paved the way for me,” Ertz said. “Seeing those women push boundaries allowed me to dream and that’s the biggest thing I want to thank them for.”

Now that Ertz and her teammates are the face of a new era of women’s soccer, she’s embracing the opportunity to continue the legacy of being a role model for the next generation.

“I just want to let every young, aspiring athlete or person know that whatever your dream is, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t go for it,” Ertz said. “Any boundary can be a new boundary, and it’s important to know that we’re behind you and that you’re not alone.”

The Ultimate Training Partners: Zach and Julie Ertz

The Ultimate Training Partners: Zach and Julie Ertz

When it’s time to take your athletic career to the next level, finding a training partner will hold you accountable, so you can excel in your sport. Professional football player, Zach Ertz, and professional soccer player, Julie Ertz, encompass all that it means to be the perfect training partners and the ultimate team. Even though the two play different sports, they are always working hard together to be the best they can be.

The power couple has worked tirelessly to become the best possible athletes they can be. For Zach, his goal is to continue being a great teammate, especially in a game that’s so reliant on teamwork.