This week we’re featuring an interview with @stop_destroya, a roller-skater and budding singer and screen printer based in Portland, Oregon.
How did you get into roller-skating?
It’s something I used to do with my family, there’s definitely a cultural influence especially for black people, where I’m from there’s not a lot of things for young people to do and it’s not uncommon for parents to drop kids off at the roller rink with like $7 which could cover the entry and a snack and if you have a little bit more you can get the glow in the dark necklace, that’s like a status symbol.
So you’ve been skating for a long time.
I’ve been skating for like 17 years, my earliest memories are about 6 or 7. My mom used to skate, I haven’t seen her skate since I was a child, she was super fast, she could speed skate. I also speed skate, there’s a huge community of speed skaters all over the world. It requires a certain technique and rhythm. I only started speed skating around high school and then I did roller derby and then my focus kinda shifted. I just started doing dance skating like two years ago.
So you do all types of skating!
Yeah, there’s been points where I plateaued, but speed skating just requires physical fitness and once you lose that it’s kinda hard. I had a back injury and lost that muscle memory. Dancing is more doable for my body right now.
It’s called dance skating?
You can call it jam skating, that’s what I call it.
What kind of new moves have you been working on?
Oh man, it’s very ambitious of me, I’m working on a two and half minute routine. Right now I’m just trying to regain some flexibility to sharpen up those moves and also working on control, not tipping over. Sometimes I can do a move but it will have a sloppy look to it. So I’m not working on new moves so much but working on sharpening. Have you ever heard of @nastya_nass_? She’s Russian. She’ll be in like a plank and fan kick out, her discipline is twerking.
Do you focus on twerking in your skating?
I try to incorporate some moves that have that element to them but it requires a lot of balance and there’s the issue of people and I don’t want that kind of extra attention on myself when I’m by myself practicing.
So you would say this is your main hobby?
I don’t really have any other hobbies I’ve stuck with like this, I lose focus easily and there’s just always something new to learn, you can never stop learning. I work on music and stuff too, but I’ve only ever really focused on skating. I just wanted to have something to do exercise wise and I just stuck with it.
Tell us about the event you have coming up on August 23rd.
@nicki_jizz puts on an event called “Rolling With My Homos” in Oakland and it’s drag queens on skates, they do death defying stunts and choreography. I just moved to Portland and there’s not a show like that here yet as far as I know but there is a big drag scene so we’re just going to do some short performances and people are gonna come out and watch and skate, we’ll have some music too. I wanted to do something for my birthday.
So you’re originally from Oakland?
I’m originally from Sacramento but I lived in Santa Cruz for 6 or 7 years, it’s about an hour and half away from Oakland.
What do you do outside of roller-skating?
I don’t really like working, I’m dedicated to my side projects. I take singing lessons and my fiance is a classical pianist, and he makes synthesizers and built a recording studio in his backyard. Just having access to a recording studio has opened me up to what’s possible. I also learned how to screen print this year. I’m also going to buy a vinyl cutter which can take vector graphics that you make in Illustrator and basically make a vinyl patch and I also want to get a screen printing machine. I also want to get into sticker making. I have way too many hobbies to count. This last year has made me really serious about my hobbies, I’m trying to work as little as possible. Once I get a vinyl cutter then hopefully I will sell stuff I make.
So this was because of the pandemic?
I definitely just before COVID was on a downward trend and I was working and I wasn’t saving money, I didn’t like my job, I wasn’t connecting with anyone or anything besides skating. It felt so good to slow down, not being in school has also been helpful because when I go back I’ll be a lot more dedicated.
Where were you in school?
Santa Monica College, one day I’ll go back, I was directionless but taking courses in women’s studies and queer studies. It was really fun and I was getting ready to be president of a queer straight student alliance group working with professors to make a queer prom.
Outside of roller skating, your main hobby is music?
I also love cosmetology, I do my own hair and makeup. I love drag and would love to have that kind of performance. I’m really fond of doing eccentric makeup and hairstyles. I just got booked to do someone’s wedding makeup. I met someone at a party and I just said “My dream is I’ll find a seamstress or makeup artist who needs an apprentice,” and they were a makeup artist and they said they were overwhelmed and that’s how I got that job.
Do you do the illustrations for vinyl cutting as well?
I’m learning how to trace things in Illustrator, as of right now my best design strategy is to trace an image and I’ve had great results from that. More like slogans I think of, I’ve got lots of stuff going in my notes app. Or I take photos and trace from that, like an iconic skate pose and tracing til it’s not squiggly and weird. I’ve tried Photoshop but it’s not my thing. I’ve also tried Blender which makes 3D things. COVID taught me to invest in myself. That has been so helpful, you should not work so much and invest in yourself when possible. Just be happier.
Where do you get your fashion sense from?
I just love any alternative type of fashion, I always have. I love a good subculture. Right now I’m really into this hyper pop aesthetic, digital maximalism, the music sounds like a robot having a meltdown. I was an emo scene kid, had Tumblr, had instagram in the early days. Have always been creating mood boards. In high school I had a hippie one, an emo one, a pastel goth one... I really like tribal eyeliner, graphic eyeliner styles. Once I started seeing the overlap between the mod 60s and the tribal cyber aesthetic I loved it. I started following @anythingforselenaaas six years ago on IG and she has 1000% shaped my love for makeup. I've found even more artists like that and just really want to replicate stuff like that now.
Where does your roller skate style come from?
Honestly I just kinda do my own thing so I’m definitely influenced by what I see online, you see what everybody’s doing, I follow about 900 people, I just try to like be ahead of the posts where you see everyone learning the same move at the same time, but I do take pieces here and there. I’m more influenced by dance, I try to be like a ballerina on the skates.
Have you always been into socks?
I love socks and I used to work in a sock store, Sock Shop. They have a brand called Sock Smith that I love. I love my fancy socks.
Leola’s Peachy Socks Picks:
We hope you enjoyed our chat with Leola, follow her on IG for skating videos and more of her awesome personality. If you’re in the Portland, OR area be sure to check out her event on August 23rd, 7-9 pm at King Elementary School, 4906 NE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97211, masks required.