Upon graduating high school in 2017, Marie-Louise Nkashama grew desperate for another creative outlet. She had a random thought in her head,
“I really want to go rock climbing.”
Her only preconception of rock climbing was watching Mia Thermopolis climb ropes in the film “Princess Diaries.” She figured it was easy enough. When she arrived at the gym, Marie-Louise found out it was a bouldering only gym. No ropes, no harnesses. Just you, the mat, and some damp rental shoes. She had already paid for the day pass so there was no use in turning back now. And with the first touch of plastic rock, she was hooked.
As she pursued a Film/Television degree at NYU, she pursued climbing in NYC. Her first outdoor climbing experience was in Central Park, her second was in Fontainebleau, France. Having been raised in a multicultural household, she finds ease in traveling to far places. Some of her favorite places to climb are Lander, WY, Bishop, CA, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
In May 2021, Marie-Louise Nkashama became the first black female athlete sponsored by The North Face. She hopes to lead the way in making the climbing industry a more diverse and inclusive space.
When she’s not climbing, Marie-Louise can be found filmmaking, hiking, painting, or hanging out with her dog Maxi. She prides herself on her versatility. She wouldn’t be who she was without the culmination of her multiple passions.
“I truly believe I can achieve anything I set my mind to,” She says, “I have to believe it.
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