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Tough-as-Nails Roller Derby Nail Techs

Nail techs by day, derby divas by night, these rough and tumble women know the meaning of “work hard, play hard.” 

NAME: SkellaDonna, A.K.A. Amelia Zvolanek, nail tech
TEAM: Masters of Mayhem Roller Derby
POSITION: Pivot
SALON: Nail Addiction, Abilene, Kan.
BIO: I’ve been doing nails three years and have been playing derby four years. I decided to do derby because it’s a sport that really does need all shapes and sizes of people. I always say it’s not about IF I break a nail, it’s about WHEN! Derby has allowed me to be myself through my nails because there are other derby girls who enjoy my style, and this allows me to create unique and wild nail art instead of having to stick to mainstream, cookie-cutter styles. Right now, my own nails are stiletto, but most of the time they are short and square, and they are always painted black. The hardest part of getting started in roller derby is showing up to that first practice. Don’t talk about it — do it! There are actually quite a few women in the beauty industry who play roller derby; I think derby tends to attract artistic people and we fit the bill.

NAME: Brooke A. Nail #10, A.K.A. Lauren Denny, nail tech
TEAM: Desert Dolls Roller Derby League, Team Pretty H8 Machine
POSITIONS: Blocker, jammer, pivot
SALON: Gimme the Shimmers, Glendale, Ariz.
BIO: I have been doing nails for the past eight years, and I’ve played derby for about four years. The absolute best part of roller derby is the sisterhood and being able to be yourself with no judgment, no matter how weird or crazy you are. My teammates and opponents are like family. I used to be very introverted but with the help of derby, I now have no problem speaking up. Derby bouts feel a lot like rock concerts, so it got me used to having a crowd around me and helped me get over my stage fright. This has helped me so much with being an educator for Young Nails because in derby I got accustomed to people watching my every move. I wear my nails short except for when I’m teaching at shows —  then I do pretty wild and crazy stilettos. I would tell anyone who wants to start playing derby to go for it. Just make sure you have good insurance because the risk of injury is always there. Playing derby also gets you a lot of new clients. I like to schedule my girls by their derby names, and it’s definitely a fun day when I see all derby girls on my schedule!

NAME: Fonda Bruises, A.K.A. Rhonda Kibuk, nail tech
TEAM: Hot Metal Hellions
POSITION: Pivot
SALON: The Purple Pinkie, Ford City, Pa.
BIO: I’ve been doing nails 13 years, and I played derby three and a half years. I retired at the end of the season in 2009 and then refereed for two seasons. I love the fact that roller derby embraces all sizes and shapes. It was empowering to not be expected to act like a lady. I loved that you could knock someone on their behind and they would get up and say, “Nice one!” I had wanted to play roller derby since I was seven and watched it in the ‘70s on television. When I got the opportunity to try out at the age of 39, I jumped on it, despite the fact that the average team member age is late twenties. Derby was a big influence in my salon going from pink-and-whites to color, glitter, and outrageous nail art. During derby I wore my nails natural and shortly manicured so I wouldn’t accidentally hurt my teammates during bouts. I would tell anyone who wants to play derby that they should understand that it’s a huge time commitment and will usually take up at least two evenings or more of your salon time. It’s a very good way to exercise without it being a chore. Playing derby, you will be exposed to people you may have never met otherwise, and they will become lifelong friends.

NAME: Dea Tha Dead, A.K.A. Dea Martinez, nail tech
TEAM: Hell Rio Rollers
POSITIONS: Jammer, blocker
SALON: Polished Elegance Nail Salon, Del Rio, Texas
BIO: I’ve been playing derby since 2010. The past year of being a nail technician and having my derby family support me makes my job that much more fun. Derby adds variety and spontaneity to the nail art I create and how I relate to my clientele as well. Typically after a bout, derby players are bombarded in a good way by the public, and are self-made mini celebrities who get to sign autographs in the program. This is where I advertise my nail shop. For any nail tech considering joining a derby team, my advice is to always keep your business cards handy and make sure your nails — as well as your fellow derby girls’ nails — are on point at all times. You will build a clientele, especially at the bouts. I wear my own nails as flashy, funky, and peculiar as I can; the more attention my nails get, the more attention I get, and the more opportunity I have to build my clientele!

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