This year, roller skating experienced a huge boom in popularity. Platforms like TikTok were teeming with aesthetically pleasing videos of dance skating and videos of skaters cruising and basking in the mid-day sun, many of which had gone viral. While it was great to witness so many new skaters come into the community, under the surface of 2020’s summer of skating there was also a growing need for better representation. I spoke with Taylor Oldfield-Zepeda who alongside a small team runs Thicc Skates an Instagram account that is designed to celebrate +size skaters of all races. Thicc Skates has created a positive and inclusive online space that helps to connect +size skaters while promoting the importance of representation to ultimately show that every body is a good body and that your weight does not define your skating ability.
Tell us a bit about why you and your team decided to set up Thicc Skates.
When I started roller skating in the beginning of 2020, I was scrolling through a few different skating hashtags on Instagram and immediately noticed a complete lack of body diversity. All trending posts were of beautiful, thin, light skinned womxn on skates. There had to be other skaters noticing the lack of size representation and at that point, I knew that there was a void that needed to be filled. I have been involved with other body positivity projects over the years and have experienced first-hand the change it can bring. Bodies come in all different colors, shapes and sizes and all are deserving of a platform to show off their skating abilities so Instagram seemed to be the right place to start. With a little help from our followers, an inclusive name was chosen and thus, Thicc Skates was born!
What advice would you give to anyone +size wanting to start skating?
Skating has no size limit, so GO FOR IT! Be sure to wear safety gear and always stretch before getting started. Start slow and listen to your body’s limits. Don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s. What is most important is having fun! Don’t let your size hold you back from experiencing the joys this world (and skating) has to offer.
Why does representation matter?
Showing this world’s diversity allows for all kinds of people to feel validated and seen. Diverse representation lets our children grow up with open minds and the knowledge that every single person is different and that there is nothing wrong with that!
Do you think social media plays an important role in promoting inclusivity in the skating community?
Social media has a very important role. Most of the media consumed now is from our phones. I think that is an extraordinary benefit of growing up right now. You have instant access to people and ideas from all over this world at the palm of your hand. That alone, allows for much more diverse representation. That being said, I know there is a ton more work to do in the online roller skating body positivity community and knowing that is why Thicc Skates was created. From the comfort of our couch (or our wheels), we can show up for and praise the plus size skaters around the world and that is pretty amazing.
What do you see Thicc Skates doing in the future?
Currently, I am working on creating some skate merchandise to sell that will help purchase skate gear for underserved youth in the Portland, OR area! In the future (post-pandemic) I would love to hold body positive skate meetups and events. That is my #1 goal! On top of that, I would really like to gather more plus size clothing and gear resources to offer our followers.