Leal’s young career is already full of records and milestones: In 2019, she made history as the youngest competitor to win an SLS tour stop at age 11 and took second place at the SLS World Championship in Brazil that year. Today, she commands an Instagram following of 6.3 million and pushes the limits of technical street skateboarding. At the Tokyo Olympics, the young skateboard prodigy took home the silver medal in Women’s Street Skateboarding for Brazil. Leal earned her first X Games gold medal in early 2022.
Asked about Leal’s beginnings, her mother remembers: “From the very beginning, she wanted a skateboard as a birthday gift. And I had a friend that used to skate. One day we were walking through the door of his house, and he had a skateboard on the floor. She then asked to ride on the skateboard. He said to be very careful because you're a girl. I had never seen her skate. She climbed on top of the skateboard and started to push down the street.”
Her mother then began taking her to the local skatepark. “She started skateboarding at age 6 at home and then at age 7 she already knew how to skate,” said her mother, Lilian Mendes. That’s when the “fairy explosion” happened: Leal caught the international spotlight in 2015 in a video heelflipping down a set of stairs dressed in a fairy costume for Brazilian Independence Day.
When skateboard icon Tony Hawk shared the video on Instagram, millions of viewers saw and liked the clip – and a star was born. “When I did the heelflip, my mother filmed it and everything blew up from there,” said Leal while visiting the stair set on the episode.
In Brazil, she became known as “A Fadinha do Skate”, meaning “The Little Fairy of Skateboarding”. But most importantly, Leal followed up her viral fame by what is already one of the most prolific careers in women’s skateboarding. She won her first SLS competition at age 11 and has since claimed victories in every top competition on the circuit. “I’m really competitive. I don’t know, it’s not only in skateboarding. Everything I play, like handball at school, I want to be the best,” said Leal on the episode.
The Olympics added an extra level of fame – and another milestone to her track record. Claiming the silver medal for Brazil. “The Olympics wasn’t only my dream, but my mother’s and father’s, too. Being able to make their dream come true, it was super exciting to me,” said Leal on ‘Aspire – Inspire’. “I want to keep having fun, inspiring girls. Helping people not only in skateboarding but outside as well.”