It’s Who You Know…London Rollergirls Olivia Coupe

7 12 2009

“You don’t  have to be a bad-ass, but if you have a whinge someone will yell at you to Harden the fuck up! I love that!” Olivia Coupe – London Rollergirls

I recently wrote a preview for Le Cool on the London Rollergirls roller derby league’s opening day. As a result I had the pleasure of interviewing star player Olivia ‘Liv or Die’ Coupe, who plays for the Ultraviolent Femmes.

MyMetropole: Thanks for answering some questions for us Olivia! First question is semi-obvious: How did you first get involved in RollerDerby?

Liv or Die: I first heard about roller derby in 2006 through my first job working in a production house in Auckland, New Zealand.  One of the programmes I was working on was thinking of doing a piece on New Zealand’s first league the ‘Pirate City Rollers’.  I was too shy to go by myself and it wasn’t until a few months later that I saw my first game and was hooked.  When I decided to go travelling and then to relocate  overseas I had 3 criteria and one of them was that the country had to have a roller derby league.  So I moved to London and joined the London Rollergirls.  Playing Roller Derby is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

MyMetropole: How does London’s roller derby league compare to others around the world?

Liv or Die: I wouldn’t be surprised if London has one of the most diverse roller derby leagues in the world.  We have women and men from all around the globe – loads of Americans, Antipodeans such as myself, French, Spanish.  We’ve played leagues all over the UK and more recently in Stuttgart, Germany.  Our All Star teams London Brawling and Brawl Saints remain undefeated and we recently won Roll Britannia which was Europe’s first ever Roller derby tournament.

MyMetropole: The season opener is tonight, what are some big events to look forward to coming up this season?

Liv or Die: We’re really excited to have two huge events next year – We have a game with the Texas Rollergirls’ Hustlers on 20 March 2010 and in April we’re flying over to New York to train and play with some of the U.S.A’s top leagues on the east coast.

MyMetropole: Sounds like London Rollergirls are really on the rise internationally. Let’s talk about getting knocked down now – do you girls suffer crazy injuries?

Liv or Die: Injuries?  Sure, like any sport the risk is certainly there,  but I’ve come away lucky.  I’ve had a black eye and a broken toe but nothing too serious.  Our league is really conscious of safely at every practice and we have designated trained safety persons for each session.

MyMetropole:But certainly you have to be a BAC (bad.ass.chick) to play roller derby, no?

Liv or Die: There’s no set personality type needed to play derby and you certainly don’t have to be “bad ass” :). Attitude doesn’t always equate to skill but it helps to be able to push yourself and do things that scare you.  Roller Derby doesn’t leave much room for complaining. Sometimes you might have a bit of a whinge at training or you’ll be in a really bad mood but someone will tell you to harden the fuck up and snap you out of it which I love.  I don’t consider myself very bad ass at all but when you’re in the game and you land a huge hit on a girl and she goes flying it’s the best feeling when the crowd goes nuts!

MyMetropole:Hell yeah! I can imagine that it feels great when the crowd goes wild!What are the fans like?

Liv or Die: Our fans are just as diverse as our league.  All ages from kids as young and 4 to grandparents.  A lot of our regulars are rollergirls from leagues around the UK, particularly Romsey Town Rollerbillies, Birmingham Blitz Dames, and Rainy City (Manchester).  A crowd averages around 200-300, partly limited due to us outgrowing our venue.  We’re always on the lookout for venues to train and bout in, which is really difficult to find in London.

MyMetropole: What about when you’re out on your own away from the fans. What are your favourite London locations?

Liv or Die: I’m a bit slack when it comes to seeing London.  I’ve got a couple of local restaurants in Brixton where I live that are really cheap and really good – so good I don’t want anyone else to know!

MyMetropole:Alright, then we won’t drag that out of you…So, how do people react when you first tell them you play roller derby?

Liv or Die: Most people seem really amused. I think they’re expecting some inked up rockabilly punk or someone a bit more imposing than myself.  We have all types including those of course!

MyMetropole:So, what is your ‘type’ then, What do you do?

Liv or Die: Film type. I’m a film editor working mostly in beauty/fashion.

MyMetropole: I see what you mean about roller derby girls having a variety of backgrounds. I never would have expected beauty and fashion film editors on knocking down the competition on four wheels!  So, mandatory MyMetropole question: Who inspires you?

Liv or Die: I don’t have any role models but I’m inspired by other women who achieve things or push themselves.  It makes me want to get out there and do the same.  I like having roller derby because I think it gives me a bit of an edge .

MyMetropole: Cheesy last question: How has taking the plunge to begin as a roller derby player changed your life?

Liv or Die: Over the years roller derby has given me a place to stay in a city where I knew no one, it’s allowed me to get into countless gigs and events for free, play sport internationally and it’s how I got my job which is a huge one!

Olivia ‘Liv or Die’ Coupe plays with the Ultraviolent Femmes, who had their first game of the season on Saturday night They lost to  the Steam Rollers, which is home to one of the league’ s superstars Jessica aka Sky Rockit,who was awarded both rollergirl of the match as voted by the crowd, and MVP as voted by the Ultraviolent Femmes.

The London Rollergirls have  6 games this season, 3 are closed door bouts not open to the public. For more information and schedules visit londonrollergirls.com.

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