Photo: Fox Searchlight
RB: We did an episode of The Oprah Show about stepping out of your box, in which four women who felt like they had lost themselves, for various reasons, went out and tried different things to empower them. The first challenge, which was intended to help them become strong women and show themselves what they achieve, was roller derby. What is it about the sport that empowers women so much?
DB: It's a couple of things. I think that you find yourself in a group of women who have a common goal, so there's your sort of tribe aspect, your pack. And then when you go out and do something that's physically challenging and you face those fears, it is empowering. It's a very rough, scary sport, so if you go out there and face it, you just feel a bit more like a badass. It just makes you feel tough and strong and fun. And there's also a bit of an alter ego aspect to it with the names and the expressiveness and the makeup—this feeling of "I'm one thing by day and another thing by night.” It says, "You can't really define me as the one thing; I'm also this." Anything that has that is pretty cool, especially if it's in a healthy, productive way like roller derby. It's a safe, fun, demanding venue that's a blast. It's a really, really unique arena.
RB: Did you spend a lot of time infiltrating that world?
DB: Yeah, we did a very intensive derby camp for everybody so that we could learn the skills and build confidence. And the bonding that happens over that kind of training, you just can't buy that chemistry. It has to be earned by getting hurt together and rooting each other on. So when everybody got out there, they were friends and it was real.