Photography credit: Hnotk Design & Photography

Photography credit: Hnotk Design & Photography

Maul Tease #9, Suicide Shifters

What prompted you to get involved in roller derby?

I lost my father to brain cancer, and then went through a bad break up with my boyfriend, and I was looking for something to help me find my inner strength. I was actually part of knitting group called "Sweet Stitching Bettys" in Ft Lauderdale, FL and one of the girls played roller derby. After I found out about the sport I was hooked. This was 2009. 

How did you come up with your derby name?

I am an animal lover and work with a rescue group. All of my pets are rescued. One of my dogs was a Maltese named Winter. She was an awesome dog with a strong will to live. She was in a wheel chair for a while but learned to walk again. My derby name Maul Tease is named after her.

Do you have a favorite derby memory?

One of my favorite derby memories is from my first bout in 2010. I skated with the Gold Coast Derby Grrls. My mother flew in from DC to watch. I was scared and nervous but skated my heart out. At the end of the game I skated over to my mom and asked her what she thought. "You got knocked down a lot", she said. "But at least you always got back up. Haha. 

The sport seems highly physical. Have you ever gotten injured?

My worst derby injury was a broken rib. It was during a scrimmage. I was skating in a pack and a bunch of us fell. When the jammer came by she kicked me in the ribs as she fell over me. I didn't realize my injury until after the game. It was pretty painful and I was out for about a month. 

What's the most rewarding aspect of playing the game?

To me the most rewarding part of derby is the self confidence and inner strength that you gain from it. I also love it when little girls ask for your autograph after a bout. We are roll models showing girls that you can do anything as long as you don't give up. 

A big misconception is that all derby players are "tough broads" and not at all feminine. What would you tell them?

I have heard a lot of weird misconceptions about what type of women derby players are. I like that derby girls redefine "feminine". Playing a full contact sport doesn't mean you don't like to wear makeup or skirts or high heels. I am a teacher, and people are always surprised that I play derby. But we have professional jobs, families, etc. Being a girl doesn't mean we can't be tough. 

What are your non-derby hobbies/activities/hidden talents?

I am an artist. I paint, draw, and am always making something. I mostly paint pet portraits. I also am a certified special fx makeup artist and enjoy doing horror makeup. I am also in the process of starting a nonprofit animal rescue. 

If you could choose one skill in roller derby to perfect in an hour, what would it be and why?

One skill I would like perfect is my hockey stops. I look like a clumsy ballerina not a tough hockey player. 

If you could go back and talk to yourself as a newbie skater, what advice would you give her? 

If I could talk to my Fresh Meat self I would say, "I'm proud of you, and don't give up. Everyone struggles". I cried many times on my drive home from practice thinking there is no way I can do this. I felt like I was the worst skater, and everyone else was picking things up quicker than me. But I was determined. I'm glad I stayed with it.