We all know about the Bengals, Reds and Bearcats, but what about kick-butt womens sports? Emily Joy, aka "Sk8 Crime," is part of one of those teams – the Cincinnati Rollergirls – and she still finds the time to lend a serious helping hand in the community. This jammer not only talks the talk, but walks the walk (and can do it in skates).
Cincy Chic How long have you lived in Cincinnati? Anything keeping you here?
Joy: I was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in the summer of 1982 and have lived in Cincy my entire life. I grew up in Norwood, graduated from Norwood High in 2000, and then moved to Oakley. I started working on my Bachelors in Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati in the fall of '01… Six years, four apartments and many relationships later… I am now living in Clifton, sculpting my senior thesis project, working part-time as a security guard, singing with MUSE- Cincinnatis Womens Choir and becoming a badass roller derby girl. As for the future…its all up in the air. I had planned to move to Portland, OR after finishing my degree, but then I met the most amazing woman and fell head-over-heels in love. This is not to say that I wont move eventually, but for now…my plans have definitely been postponed.
Cincy Chic: How did you become a member of Cincinnati Rollergirls?
Joy: Near the beginning of last year, I heard from a friend that a roller derby league was starting up in Cincy. I remembered my dad telling me about how he used to watch roller derby as a kid, and always thought that if I had a chance to play, that I would have to take it. When I was younger I wanted to be a speed skater or an X-skater and that passion for skating has stayed with me, so when I heard a league was starting up, I e-mailed the organizer for more information. Up until that point, I had always skated on roller blades, so a week before the first practice, I bought a pair of quad skates and taught myself how to skate on them. Now, I am starting my second season as my alter ego "Sk8 Crime," a jammer with the Cincinnati Rollergirls.
Cincy Chic: What is the roller derby all about?
Joy: Essentially, derby is about skating fast, scoring points by passing other players and using your body to block the other players from scoring. Jammers are the speed skaters who have to maneuver their way through the blockers and back around again and again in order to score points. Meanwhile, the blockers are knocking around the jammers so that they cant score points. So you take some awesome women, add cute uniforms and attitude, then put them on a fairly small track with very little protective gear and tell them to skate their hearts out… thats roller derby.
Cincy Chic: What do you like about being part of Rollergirls? Any future plans for the team and league?
Joy: I love being a rollergirl because derby is an amazing sport for women of all ages, sizes, athletic abilities, backgrounds, etc. All you have to have is a little bit of determination and you can play…Ok, so balance is good too, but we can teach you that. I also love the fans. I get e-mails from women who have been inspired by my skating skills and want to join a league, men who recognize and appreciate my talent for taking women down, but mostly children who love my signature mohawk, squirt-gun and the Sk8 Crime stickers that I hand out. Maybe someday I will be able to be a professional rollergirl, but until then, I am just excited to be skating at the Cincinnati Gardens this season (May-September).
Cincy Chic: Besides the derby, what else are you involved in?
Joy: Outside of school, work and derby, I somehow find the time to sing soprano with MUSE, go to local protests against social injustices and organize drives for the YWCA Battered Womens Shelter.
Cincy Chic: When you get a chance to take off your skates, where is your favorite local spot to hang out?
Joy: When Im not busy with my own stuff, I either go to Dirty Jacks (5912 Vine) or Arlins (on Ludlow). Those are the bars that my girlfriends band, PIKE, plays at most frequently. Since I am her biggest fan, you will often catch me rocking out in front of the stage, or selling merchandise…depending on the night.
Cincy Chic: How you like to use your Fine Arts and Womens Studies degrees?
Joy: Right now I am working on my senior thesis project for DAAP. I am incorporating all of my feminist theory from Womens Studies into the large-scale sculpture that will be shown at DAAPWORKS in June. The sculpture part will be about 20 sets of breasts, cast in rubber and mounted on the wall. All the breasts will be different because I am taking molds from actual women, and 1 in 8 of the breasts will have a ceramic piece embedded in the rubber to represent the statistic of how many women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. In addition to the breasts, there will be a video documentary of women talking about their experiences or issues with having breasts. Its my goal to counteract the objectification of womens breasts that we see in the media, and to show women that they are beautiful and wonderful no matter what their breasts look like.
Cincy Chic: In your words, what is the beauty of being a woman?
Joy: I find beauty in how I redefine what it means to be a woman. I create my own standards of beauty and femininity, and in return, I have a better self-esteem. So, essentially, beauty is really about loving yourself the way you are and not compromising to make other people happy.
Cincy Chic: If you could get one message to every woman, what would it be?
Joy: Join Roller Derby! Kidding. Seriously though, just love yourself and find strength in the diversity of women around you.