My first experience of roller-skating was a somewhat rocky experience. As a gangly child with the tendency to bruise like a peach, I found myself unable to whizz off confidently like my more daring younger brother. Clinging to anything within reach for stability, it would be an understatement to say that I took my time. Even when I did eventually get the hang of my new clunky wheeled boots, I very much doubt that I ever managed to make skating about look as carefree and effortless as I had previously imagined. To this day I still find the image of coasting about wearing some snazzy skates appealing, but can’t help but fear a repeat of my childhood days.
The Californian’s are known to cruise around on their speedy footwear, sporting year round tans and tousled beach hair; but, here in Surrey I’d more likely find myself falling in a crumped pale heap as an obnoxious Range Rover driver inconveniently puddle splashed me. However, whilst covering a dreaded Sunday shift this weekend, my colleague and I watched in awe as a ten-year-old girl skated around our small fashion boutique workplace with complete ease. She even had flashing wheels. Not wanting to openly admit how impressed we were by someone less than half my age, we waited until she had rolled out onto the high street to exclaim how much we secretly wished we were tough enough to play roller derby and share our mutual love of the film ‘Whip It’.
Whip It imdb
When the Drew Barrymore directed film was released in 2009, I eagerly anticipated what I thought would be a replacement for my overplayed copy of ‘Juno’, due to Ellen Page once again playing the lead role. The screenplay was even written by professional roller derby athlete, Shauna Cross. Admittedly, the film didn’t make it as quite such a firm favourite as hoped, but the styling was impeccable. Costume designer Catherine Marie Thomas of ‘Kill Bill’ fame, dressed quirky, grungy girls who replaced the typical Hollywood dolls we’re used to watching. The band of comedic actresses toughened up even further for the roller games in bold retro athletic shorts, high socks and two heaped spoonful’s of attitude. When you revisit the film, keep an eye out for plenty of nineties’ inspired tie-dye and Crayola coloured hair, which have both been revived recently. Sassy Juliette Lewis is on form as the badass rival ringleader, standing out to me as the utter antithesis of my past self whilst donning a pair of old school skates.
Whip It imdb
Perhaps over the summer after watching a few more ‘Whip It’ reruns, I will take the plunge and finally purchase a pair of the retro inspired roller skates that I consistently add to my wish list board on Pinterest. In my mind I will embrace this season’s neon trend, channel the roller girls spirit and overcome my wobbly baby deer phase. I could even take inspiration from the nonchalant skater who drifted through my work and sport some seriously standout wheels. Come to think of it, maybe I should make sure I get hold of a pair of skates that sport some go faster stripes too, because after all, I’m going to need all the help I can get.
By Sophie Seymour