Featured Skater: Rainbow Brat #23

Photo by Brie Eloise

She blocks, she jams, she can do it all!  This skater is a dual threat you don’t want to mess with.  Meet #23, Rainbow Brat!

Rainbow is one of our transfers from our neighbor to the North, and she has a longtime derby background, starting in 2013 with the Barrie Brats, a junior derby program in Barrie, Ontario.  She eventually moved to Niagara where she continued in juniors with the Midway Mayhem.  After aging out of juniors in 2016, she went on to play with Niagara Roller Derby for five years,  then skated with the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers for four summers while attending university from 2017-2021. Rainbow got her first taste of WFTDA level derby playing on the Renegade Derby Dames in 2022 while at university for her final year.  After she graduated, she returned to Niagara and eventually made her way to Queen City!  For QCRD’s 2024 season, Rainbow was drafted to the Saucies and recently made it onto the Subzero Sirens. This music-loving teacher is ready to do all the things on the track this season!

Where are you from?

I grew up in Barrie, Ontario which is two hours north of where I currently live:  Niagara Falls, Canada.

Photo by Darren Stehr

What is your day job?

I’m a high school supply teacher! I have a degree in music and can teach science as well, but I love teaching music. A supply teacher is the same as a substitute teacher, if you know one or the other term. So I work for the local school board (District School Board of Niagara), and I cover teachers who are absent. I work in high schools only, not elementary schools, and I can cover any subject that I’d like to! Because of my degree in music, I am qualified to teach music if I were to apply to a contract/full time position. I also achieved enough credits in university that qualifies me to teach science. I MUCH prefer teaching music, but science is cool.

How did you get involved in derby?

My mom’s friend used to play. We went to one of her bouts and I was hooked! I started as a junior in Barrie, then continued in Niagara and eventually aged up and started moving all over the place and playing wherever I could.

What are some of your hobbies outside of derby?

I like to play my instruments, hangout with my friends and family (and dogs), and play video games with my boyfriend.

You mentioned you primarily teach music.  What is your music background like?

Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

Other than roller skating, music is my favourite thing! I love listening to and playing music. I did my major on clarinet, and can play tenor and alto sax, flute, trombone, and guitar. I also took piano lessons from the age of 5 to about 20, so 2003 ish to 2018ish. People always ask me what my favourite instrument is, but I don’t have one! I’m of course the most proficient on clarinet and piano, so I play them the most and love them a lot. I like to play classical music the most, I don’t like to play jazz at all, but I love listening to it!

What is the significance of your derby name and number?

I chose my name when I was 15 and I was on a junior team called the Barrie Brats. I was getting prepared to get my hair braided and I couldn’t decide what colour extensions to use, so I just went with all of them! So I had a rainbow on one half of my head, and black on the other, it was pretty cool! So then I was like Well, I guess I’m the rainbow brat” and it stuck! My number is just the day I was born.

Photo by Brie Eloise

What is your favorite thing about blocking or jamming?

I love all of the positions on the track because they make me feel strong and accomplished and I love working with other cool, strong people and accomplishing things!! It’s a constant strategy and strength game and I love it all so much! 

Who is your favorite skater and why?

Probably Freight Train because she’s a successful Black woman. She is dedicated, she is strong as hell, very smart, strategic… all the things! Her skills are amazing, and she’s also just a really chill and likeable person in general! She’s really freakin’ cool!

Do you have any goals for yourself this season?

Photo by Brie Eloise

Personal derby goals would be endurance and ankle strength.  Otherwise, just really trying to find my place on the teams I am on and have a good time! I’m having a really good time developing my skills right now. I’ve only been skating at WFTDA level for about three years, so filling my “gaps” is a really fun challenge! 

Do you have any advice for new skaters?

If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right! If you’re brand new to roller skating, don’t give up! Even if you decide you don’t want to play derby, you can be a ref or you can have a new active hobby, and both of those things are super cool! If you’re new to derby or a team, don’t be afraid to try all of the things and ask questions.

– Interview by Thrash Bandicoot