Skater Profile - KJ Forman

KJ (they/them) is the artist behind Luck and Lavender Studio. They designed our “Keep on Rollin” shirt as well as some of our best-selling stickers like “Be a Slut, Do Whatever You Want”. This Spring they enrolled in the Ottawa Roller Derby Crash Course, a seven-week program that teaches roller skating and derby fundamentals.

What made you want to try roller derby?

I have a lot of friends who play roller derby and absolutely love it, so I’ve been into the idea of getting on roller skates for years! What really got me started was when you commissioned me to create some Rideau Rollers merch actually - working with you was the perfect catalyst to get started after diving into some research about the sport while working on my illustration. The culture and community looked so fun I just couldn’t resist.

Are you generally a sporty person? Did you play team sports growing up?

Not at ALL. I have always been notoriously clumsy and non-athletic, so I think a lot of people in my life were surprised when I said I was getting into roller derby. I did play baseball briefly when I was little, but I didn’t like playing with boys so that didn’t last long haha. It’s so refreshing to be learning to play a sport that’s dominated by women and queer people so I feel right at home.

How did you feel when you walked into the first Crash Course session?

I was definitely nervous not knowing what to expect, but the coaches immediately made me feel so comfortable and at ease that my nervousness just turned to excitement. Everything was taken one step at a time, and nobody ever got left behind - everyone was so encouraging and kind that I always left feeling amazing and I just couldn’t wait to come back.

Was there anything that surprised you about learning to skate or play derby?

Roller skating is HARD! Y’all make it look so easy haha. But I think the thing that surprised me the most is just how wonderfully kind and eager to help everyone is. The sport can look really intimidating and scary from the outside but it’s one of the most accepting communities I’ve been a part of. Everyone’s always willing to share helpful tips and encouraging words.

How are you feeling now that you’ve done Crash Course?

Inspired! Excited! Hopeful! I’ve joined the ORD league and I learn so much at every practice. It’s super cool to see how much progress I’ve made in just a few months and I can’t wait to see how much more I make moving forward!

What’s some advice you would give other people who want to play roller derby?

Get into it! The ORD Crash Course is a great place to start for a lot of reasons - they do skate rentals, so if you decide it’s not for you, you don’t have to commit to buying skates. It’s so beginner friendly, so if you don’t know how to stand up on roller skates yet you’re in the right place. If you don’t have a friend to go with, I promise you you’re gonna make friends when you get there. Take things at your own pace and just have fun!!