How Evan Mock manifested his rapid ascent to stardom

Evan Mock stars on In The Know’s digital cover for October 2021. Read below for his accompanying feature article. You can shop the looks featured in Evan’s cover shoot here.

You’ll know when Evan Mock has arrived because he shows up everywhere carrying a speaker like he just rolled up from the skatepark, which he probably did. The scene for In The Know’s inaugural Muse Issue is a whimsical acid dream with gigantic flowers and fuzzy aliens, and Evan is the pink-haired Willy Wonka mastermind in the center of it all. 

The 24-year-old Aries, entrepreneur and industry muse is a certified vibe curator, playing Queen Latifah, Fela Kuti, Big L, Tupac, Ron G, Chronixx and Skillibeng during the cover shoot. “I’m a Shazam freak,” he later admits to In The Know’s Consulting Editor-at-Large Elaine Welteroth in his cover interview while sipping on an Aperol spritz in his Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme hotel room. “If I hear something that I like, I just instantly Shazam it and put it on a playlist.”

Evan Mock on In The Know’s September digital cover. He’s wearing a Louis Vuitton raincoat, Noon Goons graphic tee, Notte Jewelry necklace, Roxanne Assoulin necklace and a Gilbert signet ring.
Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis

Raised on Hawaii’s North Shore, the professional skateboarder, designer, model and now Gossip Girl star grew up idolizing his parent’s work ethic and dreaming big. So how exactly did this island kid who couldn’t afford skate shoes reinvent a sport and go viral on Frank Ocean’s Instagram, tour with Travis Scott as his official photographer, walk the runway in major Fashion Week shows, star in an HBO Max show and become crowned “best dressed” by Erykah Badu at the Met Gala? 

In his cover story, Evan opens up to Elaine Welteroth about mental health, his rapid ascent to the A-list and how he manifested it all. 

Elaine Welteroth: I have a group text chain with my former interns; I call them my Gen Z council. And when I told them I was interviewing you, Evan, they all freaked out.

Evan Mock: [Laughs.] Oh, yeah? 

Elaine: Yeah, they’ve never been that hype. And, I mean, I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my life, OK? From Obama to Oprah, but they were like, “Oh my God. You’re gonna get to talk to Evan?” They’ve been following up, like, “How did it go? How was he?” So you have some mega-fans out there.

[Evan’s Zoom freezes on him blushing.]

Evan: Sorry, I’m back. We left off on me asking you — you interviewed Obama?

Elaine: [Laughs.] You missed the point, Evan! I’m interviewing you and that’s the coolest thing…

Evan: How?

Elaine: … to any Gen Z person, OK? [Laughs.]

Evan: Well, Obama is from Hawaii as well, so yeah, the two coolest people you ever interviewed [are from Hawaii], that’s it.

Evan Mock in a Liberal Youth Ministry jacket, Liberal Youth Ministry shorts and two necklaces by Notte Jewelry.
Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis

Elaine: Well, first, congrats on killing it at the Met [Gala]! What was that like?

Evan: The only person that I wanted to see at the Met Gala was Erykah Badu. I wore archive Thom Browne, she wore Thom Browne and she was sitting next to my friend Uzi who is a rapper, and he was wearing Thom Browne. So I’m walking by Uzi, dap him up and she grabs my arm and goes, “You have the best outfit here.” And I was like, “What? You are the only person that I ever wanted to talk to here! This is crazy.” Then I showed her the mask. 

Elaine: Wait, I’m secondhand fan-girling ’cause Erykah Badu is the icon. She’s like a mythical goddess.

Evan: You can’t get better than that. 

Elaine: You really can’t. That is so cool. So was there any symbolism behind the mask?

“I just wanna do exactly what I’m doing now, but on the highest level possible.”

Evan: It was from an archive Thom Browne collection from 2012. It was Punks and Poets. My stylist Taylor Okata is also from Hawaii, and growing up in Hawaii, we always kind of rebelled against America. So I think this was a perfect way to tell the story of Hawaii. I don’t wanna throw Captain Cook under the bus, but he came to Hawaii and conquered Hawaii ’cause they had the guns, they had the big ships — Hawaiians didn’t have that yet. And then they threw our own queen Liliuokalani in jail, which was at her own palace. So there has been a deep-rooted rebellion against conquerors and people who would come over that aren’t native Hawaiian. 

Evan Mock in a Lanvin sweater, Lanvin pants and a Roxanne Assoulin necklace.
Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis

Elaine: Hawaii is a huge part of your identity, and I know that you’re half Filipino. How connected do you feel to your Filipino roots?

Evan: The Filipino culture is huge in Hawaii. My mom’s grandparents came from the Philippines on a boat to work in the sugar cane fields. Then my mom worked in the pineapple fields all summer in the blazing heat. So that whole hard-working generation had an influence on me, but I took it in a different direction. I have it a lot easier than they did for sure, so I thank them for that. My parents have always been the biggest inspirations and the biggest supporters for whatever I wanted to do. When I financially couldn’t go buy skate shoes, my mom was taking me to [the] Vans outlet to get buy-one-get-one-half-off Vans skate shoes. So I’ve been working to repay the bill on those shoes from back in the day. 

Elaine: Your ascent has been so quick. What parts of your life now have come the most naturally to you? And what parts still maybe feel a little bit foreign or kind of uncomfortable at times?

Evan: I think the most foreign thing to me would have to be maybe people just waiting outside of your hotel room to look at you. In Barcelona, in Milan, in Paris, it gets weird. Everything else seemed to be pretty natural. I manifested probably 98% of the things that have happened in my life so far. So I think that’s a huge thing. Manifestation also kind of just goes into being confident and having a vision. 

“I manifested probably 98% of the things that have happened in my life so far.”

Elaine: What does manifesting look like in practice for you? 

Evan: I feel like I think about most of my ideas right before I go to bed. If I’m really feeling it, I don’t go to sleep. I keep my eyes closed and constantly have my mind going. Then I write it down. And then the next morning, I’ll read it. Saying it out of your own mouth is really important as well. And being completely serious about it.

Elaine: So did you manifest Frank Ocean posting you on his IG that day? 

Evan: I actually did. [Laughs.] It wasn’t anything that I was like, “Oh, gotta wake up — Frank’s gonna post me in a week!” But I was saying, “Man, I really feel like this is gonna be a big year. I just wanna do exactly what I’m doing now but on the highest level possible.” That next morning, Frank posted that video on his Instagram. I didn’t even know he had an Instagram. 

So it was crazy to think that all it took was an Instagram post after all this work put in for years prior, wanting to do the things that I’m doing now. But all that it took was this one video, taken by one person, seen by one person, and posted by one person. I think it’s destiny in a way, but it’s also serendipity. And you can’t script that.

Evan Mock in a Lanvin sweater, Lanvin pants and a Roxanne Assoulin necklace.
Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis

Elaine: Are there any moments that still feel surreal, like, “This is crazy, how did I get here?” Are there any rooms that you still feel a little uncomfortable in?

Evan: I honestly always thought I was gonna be in that circle. It was just a matter of when. I’m a real people person, and I know how to talk to people. Everyone is a human being. Everyone breathes oxygen. We can all hang out. So it was never a crazy realization of, “Oh, you made it.” It’s just been a wild ride.

When I went to the Met Gala, I had to write down all those stories that I had with people and conversations. Like, “You hugged Elon Musk at the Met.”

“Crazy to think that all it took was an Instagram post after all this work that you put in for years prior.”

Elaine: What were some of the memories you wrote down from the Met, other than that you hugged Elon Musk? [Laughs.]

[Evan pulls out his journal.]

Evan: Um, another story was Venus and Serena Williams came up to me and they’re like, “Love what you’re doing for the sport. We love your skating, and we see what you’re doing.” I guess they’re just fans of athletes who change the game, and my friend Nyjah [Huston], who was probably one of the best skateboarders in the world, happened to be there as well. And so I brought them over to meet him and they were just freaking out, and we were freaking out on them.

Evan Mock in a Liberal Youth Ministry jacket, Liberal Youth Ministry shorts and two necklaces by Notte Jewelry.
Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis

Elaine: I love it. So what’s your perspective on the evolving conversation around mental health in sports and how important do you think that is?

Evan: It’s the most important. I’ve had a couple of friends that have passed through suicide. I think the most important thing is to just address it and just get down to it. Like, if you see them, you know, just not being themselves, and then, you’re just trying to cheer them up, but you’re not asking what is actually wrong. It’s really important to seriously check in on your friends. Like, “Dude, we’re homies here. I’m not judging you, I just wanna really know what’s going on with you?” I think it’s really important to actually pull them aside. You don’t have to do it in front of anyone. You can do it one on one, obviously. So, I think it’s great that people are talking about it more.

Elaine: And what about you? Do you have an outlet? How do you process all the changes in your life?

Evan: I talk to a therapist for sure, and he helps a lot. It’s self-care and finding yourself and seeing what makes you tick and what gets you to be the best person and best version you can be of yourself. I wake up and just see how I feel. I don’t have a set routine. I skate. I just try to take it slow, and talk to my mentors and talk to people that have been through it already, you know.

Elaine: Who would you say are your mentors at this stage in life that you turn to?

Evan: I grew up with older friends. I never had friends my age, so I think that helped as well. Like, whether they knew that they were a mentor to me or not, I was learning a lot from them. It would range from my cousins to my older brother and my older sister. People that you can attract without having to force anything are pretty great mentors for me at least. Having a mentor to me is like having a shortcut to life. I think having a mentor is like having multiple different parents.

Elaine: It’s so true!

Evan: They’ve been through it. They know exactly what you’re doing. They have the cheat codes. They’re playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 on the old MacBook Pros and telling you cheat codes.

Evan Mock in a Lanvin sweater, Lanvin pants and a Roxanne Assoulin necklace.
Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis

Elaine: I love that metaphor. So now we gotta talk Gossip Girl. I know you went back and watched the original Gossip Girl, and remarked that Blair was this white girl boss who had all these little minions, and they were all people of color, many of them Asian. Your character is obviously not a minion — far from it — so what does it mean to you to represent Asian Americans in this reboot, and for your character to really offer a different perspective and a different storyline than what we’ve seen in the past from the original show?

Evan: I think it’s great. I feel very lucky to be able to represent our Asian community and just be able to be on a stage that hasn’t always been there for us. So, I just really hope that I am representing well. And I hope to see more Asians in lead roles as well.

I’m just super blessed and honored to represent being able to do anything that you wanna do. And if you don’t skate, I hope I inspire you to take the trash out for your parents every Saturday or something. Like, just stay motivated.

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If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s September cover story featuring Brandon Blackwood!

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