Thu Ngo is a former roller derbyist who goes by the name Viva Glam. Since the writing of this post, she has retired from active skating due to a knee injury but still actively volunteers for her league.
What is Viva Glam?
My name is Thu, but when I strap on my skates, I’m known as Viva Glam. I’m a derby girl – I play women’s flat-track roller derby.
Unlike the roller derby of the 70’s, there is no elbowing, tripping, or fighting – modern-day roller derby is full-contact and it is the real deal; the women who play it are true athletes. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world right now, but derby is still considered underground/alt, and we constantly fight to be seen as a legitimate sport. We do everything ourselves: skaters not only train intensely to compete in bouts, but they also take care of the business of running their leagues, handling finances, publicity, sponsorship, and recruitment themselves, in addition to whatever their lives entail outside of the sport (school, career, children, etc). We don’t get paid for it either – everyone involved in derby, from the skaters to the referees to the non-skating officials, is there out of love for the sport and the community.