1) What made you decide to start skydiving?
I had recently returned from a combat deployment. I didn’t do anything sexier than build roads and repair culverts in Iraq but re-adjusting was still hard. I was searching for that alive feeling. A lot of people do when they get back stateside. Skydiving turned out to be it!
2) How long have you been a skydiver?
I’ve been skydiving for seven years!
3) How many jumps do you have?
I have over 600 jumps.
4) What container and parachute are you currently jumping? What was your progression?
I fly a Vector 3 and a Sabre 2 150. I started out on a 220! I was probably flying backwards at the time!
5) Do you have any cutaways? How many?
I have three cutaways. I’m a terrible packer, or was.
6) What type of skydiving do you enjoy (RW, big way, crew, FF, swooping, etc.)?
I love relative work formation skydiving and flying camera step! My goal is to become a become a skydiving videographer. I’m also working on head down in the tunnel and in the air.
7) What’s your home drop zone?
My home drop zone is Emerald Coast Skydiving Center!
8) Do you come from an outdoor family? What does your family think of your decision to start skydiving?
My mother is a runner. I grew up running with her every day during the summer from the time I was five. She was my introduction to the outdoors. My family isn’t super excited about the fact that I skydive but they tolerate it! My sister came out to the drop zone for my first skydive in August 2011.
9) Have you participated in any record jumps? If so what were they?
No record jumps yet!
10) What do you like best about skydiving?
I love community building and upholding different skydiving traditions like “owing beer” for first time offenses or pieing skydivers on their 100th, 1000th and 10,000th jump. I also like relaxing and not taking the sport too seriously.
11) What does Team Blackstar mean to you?
Team Blackstar is a growing community that offers a space for skydivers of color to be seen and heard! Our sport is overwhelmingly white and 87% male. Sometimes it’s easy to fall through the cracks or to struggle to find a mentor or folks with similar experiences. We joke a lot about our shared experiences as underrepresented ethnic minorities in the sport—everything from being repeatedly mistaken for tandem students to having to prove yourself at every new drop zone we visit.
I like our family. Our diversity is super important! Together we represent over 270 skydivers in the US, UK, UAE, South Africa, Kuwait, Philippines and Indonesia. We represent another side of skydiving—not the side you’ll see represented in advertisements or in the magazines. Instead of waiting for others to value our history or representation we’re writing our own story. We’re also part of a larger movement to #diversifyoutdoors. To learn more you can check out our sister pages Melaninbasecamp.com and DiversifyOutdoors.com.