When scrolling through your social media feed in 2020 you may have stumbled across videos of women effortlessly gliding across parks and sprinkling our feeds with some much needed moments of joy. Roller skating has regained some popularity recently, with searches online for skates skyrocketing and roller skaters building a name for themselves within the digital world.
Roller Girl Gang - originating from the desire to create a community for skaters - aims to use their platform to make the plunge into the world of skating a little less daunting for people wanting to take up skating as a new skill. Using their initiative to promote the physical and mental benefits that roller skating can provide, as well as sparking an interest in skating,
Roller Girl Gang have created a community where skating lovers - old and new - can come together to support and uplift one another.
Alongside her musical career and life as a passionate creative, Holly Brazil also has a prominent role within the Roller Girl Gang Team. We caught up with her to talk about building a community of skaters, creating an inclusive environment and starting out within the roller skating community.
Hey Holly, when did you join Roller Girl Gang?
I joined Roller Girl Gang in spring of 2019, going to open skates and the pop up shop before I started classes on the summer intermediate courses.
How has Roller Girl Gang been navigating the lockdown and the inability to have in person lessons?
It’s been hard, something amazing about skating is the community and skating with other people, so I really miss the together aspect of skating. BUT in summer I did lots of skating outdoors in small groups, finding new spots for skating outdoors and just being able to spend time with other skater babes that I hadn’t seen since lockdown in March!
Why do you think it is so important to create a community for girl skaters?
I think it’s so important because it’s such a male dominated sport and community. Without that confidence of that amazing community having your back that makes you less scared to show up to the skatepark and just do you in front of all the boys that dominate the ramps. Having that safe space to mess up and learn with loads of amazing people that want to see you succeed and everyone’s learning together just makes you have a better attitude towards growing, learning to laugh at yourself rather than beat yourself up.
What is the best thing about the community that has been created through Roller Girl Gang?
The best thing about the community is all the love, you simply can’t feel alone when there’s so many badass skaters in your corner. It’s so easy to make friends as well, everyone’s nervous, everyone’s trying new things, you don’t need to break the ice, it’s gone the moment you put on your skates. Everyone’s so supportive, there’s no judgement, it’s a community where you instantly feel you belong.
You’re also the front woman of the band Artio, has your love for skating fed into your musical career?
I am the front woman of ARTIO, the Roller Girl Gang queeens come to our hometown shows. I get the honour of representing such a diverse and amazing community on stage. Being a musician I think the rhythm carries over into Roller Dance and vice versa, and both the Artio community and the roller girl gang community is so deeply rooted in music and supporting and uplifting women and people of marginalised genders that it’s just something beautiful to be a part of both.
How does Roller Girl Gang ensure that their community is inclusive and accessible?
Roller Girl Gang ensures that their community is diverse and accessible by welcoming everyone. The shop is such a welcoming place that it draws people of all communities in, and when they see the skater socks with the Trans Flag and Long Sleeves that day ‘Skating is for EVERY body’ it just makes people feel accepted, included, seen. And that’s such an important part of skating, and building a community. In the classes, beginners courses allow everyone to go at their own pace, advanced classes there’s people of all levels, all walks of life. Having the permanent shop has made such a difference as it allows us to bring new people into the community, as we can’t do classes due to Covid restrictions.
What advice would you give to any girls wanting to begin roller skating?
I’d say to anyone who wants to skate, whatever gender they are, be ready to laugh at yourself. Be ready to go over moves over and over again, because the moment you get it is such a rewarding feeling. Don’t be afraid, odds are everyone feels a similar way. Get yourself knee deep into the community, watch YouTube tutorials. Definitely follow Roller Girl Gang on Instagram, and if you’re in the area, come to our shop in Leeds Corn Exchange! Trust yourself, wear your pads and a helmet, go at your own pace and enjoy it. Whatever level you’re at, you’ll be accepted, supported and loved, keep on rollin, baby!
To see more from Roller Girl Gang and all the exciting things they're getting up to check them out on Instagram!