If you saw Whip It and were immediately inspired to pick up your own skates and join your local roller derby league, you weren't the only one.
But if you're still on the fence, let Bonnie Thunders of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Star team help you make up your mind. We followed Thunders — her chosen derby name — with cameras in tow to get a sense of what it's really like to be a derby girl. Is it as intense as it seems? As cool as it seems? Yes, and yes.
Thunders has led the Gotham Girls All-Stars to win six Women's Flat Track Derby Association championships. "Roller derby is chaotic and beautiful," Thunders says in the video. But don't be fooled into thinking that chaos necessarily means violence.
"People often ask if [roller derby] is violent," Thunders says. "I think fighting is violent. [Roller derby] is very aggressive. We're women who are powerful and are gonna do it the way we want to do it."
So what does it take to make it as a derby girl?
"It's just always about pushing yourself to do more than you think you can," she says. "I don't ever want to sell myself short, I want to maximize my potential, and if you don't have that mentality or that drive, you don't make it in Gotham Girls."