Okay so when you think of delicate artistic creativity you may not automatically think of burly roller girls but perhaps you should. The reason for this comes in the form of your local roller derby team- the magnificently talented Hellfire Harlots.
Not content with being Nottingham’s premier roller derby team, clocking up an impressive resume of wins, both locally and internationally, these girls are harbouring an impressive amount of creative skills.
So what is roller derby exactly I hear you cry?
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last 4 years and have missed the huge roller derby revival, here is a brief overview: it’s a full contact sport played on roller skates, predominantly by women (though men’s involvement in the sport is growing) and there is no ball involved. Points are scored by the team’s “jammer”, each time she passes an opposing blocker legally.
But this is not roller derby 101. This is an introduction to the creative goldmine that is contained within it.
Roller derby is completely organic and is hailed as one of the few DIY sports, so it stands to reason that so many arty types are drawn into it. Due to lack of funding for this young sport, leagues are ran by skaters who produce the artwork, promote the brand and put on large scale fundraisers to raise cash for necessities such as travel. Nottingham’s Hellfire Harlots are no different and could not have survived without the input of their core creative team.
So who are these hard working ladies I’m positively gushing about? Well, why don’t you meet them? We’ll be introducing two of the Hellfire Harlots each week for the coming month.
Emma ‘Coco de Maul’ Allen
Hailing from Newcastle, Pin up and wedding photographer Emma Allen moved to Nottingham five years ago after travelling down sporadically to work after discovering both the richness of opportunities here and the ease of commuting to other areas.
As well as running two photography companies and collaborating with local make up artist Miss Moo on a make over business, she is a major contributor to her league and has provided the fantastic photographs featured on this page.
She’s a Hellfire Harlot veteran and has skated with the team from their first bout four years ago, taking just a brief but well-earned break from skating after getting married last year.
You’ve worked as a photographer for a few years now, what’s the best day you’ve ever had?
Any day where a client smiles because of something that I have created.
You moved here from Newcastle predominant for a work- a huge testament to the richness the city has to offer. Do you think there is enough help available for creatives living in Nottingham?
In Nottingham there’s a huge growth in support, what with the creative quarter and the projector programme at the Broadway and numerous others. We’re quite privileged in this city!
What is the best thing about being a creative in Nottingham?
The vibrancy of the people who live here means that what we do is appreciated.
Who do you most admire in Nottingham, creatively?
That’s a tough one as I admire so many people for giving their art and creativity to the city. Charlotte Thomson-Morley for a very long time has been an inspiration.
You can check out Emma’s stunning portfolio at lunaphotography.co.uk.
Amy “Hooli Hell” Hoodinott
Though Amy is a relatively new face to the A team line up, her tenacity and exuberance in both the sport and her contributions to the league are worthy of considerable awe.
She might have a baby face but don’t be fooled! Her spirit both on and off the track is a force to be reckoned with.
A graphic designer by trade, Amy spearheaded the recent paper doll recruitment campaign with her fantastic drawings promoting body positivity and feminism of all shapes and sizes- a cause close to the hearts of Hellfire Harlots.
When she’s not doodling or training, you’ll either catch her sewing up a storm with her quirky creation Hoolio the Owl or touting her wares at craft fares up and down the country (as featured in Amy’s headshot)
I’ve drawn since I was a little kid so I think it was inevitable that I ended up in a creative career.
What was the best day you ever had in your job?
There’s not really one day, in my job many days work towards one goal so I always enjoy the day where you get to see the final piece or product. It’s always great when you get to see your work on a shelf in a shop too, I still want to tell everyone it’s my work.
What made you decide to do what you do?
I’ve always made and designed things so when I discovered this could actually be a job I never thought about doing anything else.
What are your career aspirations?
One day I would like to use my design skills to help a cause, to use everything I’ve learnt to help people (or animals). Maybe working in a charity organisation. I would also like my own company but I haven’t decided exactly what that would be yet, there’s still time before that I’d like to work abroad for a bit.
To find out more about Nottingham Hellfire Harlots, including recruitment, sponsorship and upcoming events log into hellfire-harlots.co.uk.