The Modern Skater

24 May 2017

Photographer Cecilie Harris
Words Brogan Anderson
Special thanks to IMPOSSIBLE

Our stomachs ache from the multitude of giggles and bemusement; a long, tiring day uplifted by the sheer joy and charisma that is Luke Rapata (AMCK Models). Absorbed in the world of skateboarding, his passion is precariously on the edge of obsession. He talks about it with such enthusiasm. His belief in his skills so strong, without a falter, despite only just recently recovering from a nasty fall. He's itching, impatient to get back on his board again, but don't ever ask him for a game of cricket.
Absorbed and engrossed by his never ending charm and wit, you can imagine that he's definitely the kind of boy your mother hopes you'll bring home through the door one day. He's very much within the moment, forever young within each day. Refusing to neglect his childhood passions, yet holding onto his future desires with such certainty and determination. He knows where he's going and he possesses an initiative that is going to get him there. No time to sit around waiting for the future, instead charging at it with full speed.

Relationships today are not quite the same as they were before, and we tackle the tricky discussion of avoiding ex partners on social media and avoiding drunken phone calls. His warm energy manages to turn even the most delicate conversations into a delightful feast of hilarity. Immersed in the world of science, life's simple pleasures are exactly that. Luke's philosophy is to simply accept the world as it is.

How would you describe your generation?
Fucking hell, you start strong don’t you, haha? How would I describe our generation… complicated. I don’t know, I’m just trying to be deep. You might have had some really philosophical boys in already.

What are the good things?
I think everyone is a bit smarter than their parents were. On average, we are smarter than the majority that was 50 years ago, you can’t really deny that. Literacy and numeracy skills have been rising steadily. We’re good with technology, be it a good thing or not. I think our generation is quite liberal and open and, I can’t speak for a lot of people, but I think, as a whole, we are not very racist and we’re quite accepting of other people’s sexualities and stuff like that. Our generation is kind of the first one to be very; ‘everyone is cool’, with less discrimination and racism.

On the flip side, what do you think are the downsides?
Well, ‘cause there are so many people in the world, competition is really fierce, and living in London everything is expensive. You have all sorts of industry leaders here and people who are very well educated, so you’ve got to be really good to be the best in this generation. The standard on average is higher, it’s a lot more obvious in the capital.

You’ve lived in London since you were six years old, how do you think spending the majority of your childhood growing up here affected the way you are today?
Quite a lot actually. They’ve spent a lot on skate parks in the last 10 years in London, and that really pushed me into it with all the resources being here. It was so easy to get round as a kid with the tube and stuff, you have a lot of freedom to chose what you want to do, away from your parents, there’s always something to do. Yeah, it gave me a lot of freedom, to chose what I want to do rather than have to play football, because that’s the only thing to do in more suburban areas. Actually, in the suburb I lived, it would have been bloody cricket. Cricket. What kid wants to play cricket?

Your dad is half Māori, half Chinese and your mum in half English, half Finnish, how do you think that affected the way you were raised?
My dad’s parents are Mormons in the Mormon church. He had a very strict Mormon upbringing, so my dad was one of the brothers that didn’t want to be a part of that and left, and I think now he doesn’t want to do the whole strict religion parenting. My mum was a ballet dancer, and from the time she was 17 she was touring and was probably a bit wilder than other people her age. I feel like they’ve seen a lot and factor that in I think. They were very lenient with me growing up, but then really strict with my sister, which is weird. She couldn’t go to the shops till she was 14 or 15, and I was allowed to cycle around the park when I was 10. I think it was because there was a backlash from the teenage daughter going to Marylebone, there was a backlash that comes with that. I think it was damage control mainly.

What sort of things are you passionate about?
Music and skateboarding. That’s about it. I play guitar and I like blues and jazz, reggae, house, garage - everything. At the moment my favourite’s are Nao, the English girl, she’s good. My all time favourite is BB King.

We’ve met a lot of skateboarders today.
I’m the best one, haha. I’ll beat all of ‘em! I’ll take them all, one by one. I don’t know who you’ve seen, but I’ll take them.

Who are you?
Luke. Me.

And who is Luke?
Chinese, Māori, English, Finnish. Who am I? I don’t know, this is the hardest question… Pass? I have three lifelines left, right? Can I phone a friend?

Yeah, you've got two more lifelines left. How would you describe your current lifestyle?
I live at home, I’m ‘modelling’, but that often just means you’ve got loads of spare time. I’s great, I’m at home making music all day.

How would you like that to change in the next five to ten years?
Hopefully move out of my parents house. I want to get a job as assistant engineer at the studio I’m interning at - that’s what I want in the next two years, preferably the next year. I’ve been interning six months already.

Who do you think are influencers of your generation?
There are a lot. Brands like Supreme, Palace, all the fashion brands with the Hypebeast culture, and then all the big American pop stars like Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Beyonce. Yeah, tonnes of musicians and all these celebrities - those are the biggest influencers I would say.

Who influences you?
People at the studio, they influence me. That’s where I want to be next. They only hire a certain type of person there, so I want to have that sort of demeanour, and to earn money off of something that I love. That’s my goal.

How do you think social media affects this generation?
People prioritise superficial things and think those very important, like looks, aesthetic, style, appearance, and I think it lowers people’s self-esteem with people comparing themselves to others. It makes break ups so much worse! My mum explained this to me when I broke up with my ex; when she broke up with her boyfriend back in the day, all you could do was send a letter or try to call them on that one phone the house had and that was it. If you didn’t want to see them, you could never see them again, but now you have to delete them off Snapchat, block their Insta etc, there are so many avenues for that. You have to see their face on everyone’s profile, it’s so weird. You’re always reachable. That drunk, vulnerable moment, people just grab that phone.

Do you think it’s a good or a bad thing?
Good, I think it’s good. You have every bit of information that you would ever want in your pocket at all times - with two cameras. And a microphone! What else could you need?

What do you do to make yourself happy?
I was going to say something so inappropriate just then. Smoke, go skate, play some guitar really loudly. That’s about it really.

Would you say you were an emotional person?
Not particularly. A little bit.

Do you feel comfortable sharing your emotions? Do you cry?
No, I do not. I do cry, I have cried in the past. And present. I was 'this' close when you asked me who I was earlier.

How do you handle stressful situations?
It depends. If it’s confrontation I’ll meet confrontation, but usually I’ll just go for the whole ‘de-esculate’. People usually say stuff they don’t mean when they’re angry, it’s easy. There’s no point getting into an argument, you have to pick your battles with certain things.

With mental health being such buzz word these days, is it something that’s quite close to your heart?
It’s not something personal to me, but it is more of an issue with people our age. Social media and stuff impacts people’s perceptions of the world. It is important, especially for boys my age. I think it’s very important, people don’t talk enough about it. People are more willing to share that they’re depressed on their Insta Stories, but I don't think people genuinely discuss stuff that really effects them in the moment. If something actually genuinely happened that was upsetting, they wouldn’t deal with it then, would push it under the rug and go on with it.

In modern society, we feel like gender identity has become a lot more fluid - what are your views on that?
This is a massively touchy subject, you can massively offend an entire group of Tumblr with a couple of words. I’m all up for anyone doing whatever they want, I think that’s fine. On the Internet, where we spend most of our time, there is a big section that is dedicated to ‘social justice warrior videos’. It’s kind of like the far right of Youtube taking the piss out of transgender people and those fighting for their acceptance, I think it’s a bit dark and a bit horrible really. People have gone one way showing who they are and being really honest with themselves, and then the ultra-conservative side of the internet are fighting against it. It’s all a bit fucked up. They’re discriminating really blatantly - montaging discrimination together - I think it’s a bit disgusting really. People should be able to do whatever they want, it’s their life.

In terms of gender roles and masculinity, how do you think they are changing?
I admitted about that one time I had cried, I just had something in my eye. In our parents generation, I think it would have been a lot less accepted with boys admitting that they were crying and things like that, and I feel like feminism has really jumped into the public eye lately, which is completely fair.

You mentioned that your dad came from a Mormon family, are you in any way religious or spiritual?
No, I live in the age of science. I’m not really very spiritual.

What is the dream?
Grammy award winning engineer at Metropolis Studios.
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