Lipstick Assassin plays for Houston Roller Derby’s Bayou City Bosse$. Though she was drafted to the Bosse$ last season, a serious car crash prevented her from playing until this season. Lipstick recently sat down with me to discuss her accident and the recovery process she pushed through to play roller derby once again. You can catch Lipstick in action the third Saturday of every month through October at Houston Indoor Sports. Be sure to purchase your tickets early as they are guaranteed to sell out!
Derby Name: Lipstick Assassin
Number: 56 Shades
League: Houston Roller Derby
Team: Bayou City Bosse$
Seasons: 2 on the team one played.
Shelly: How did you hear about roller derby?
Lipstick: My son Zach took me to a game in Bellingham, Washington, his girlfriend at the time was The Killa Sal Monella who now plays for TXRG.
Shelly: How did you come up with your name & number?
Lipstick: I had a contest and told my friends I would buy them dinner if they helped pick my name and I kept getting a list. I’d call my son and give him the ones I really liked and he would say no that’s not it. My husband and I were watching Monk one night and the serial killer was killing all these women and taking their lipstick and they called him “the Lipstick Assassin.” Joseph and I looked at each other and he said that’s your name. I called Zach and said I have my name. He was quiet, and waited, then said that was the name, it’s perfect. My number is the year I was born. My son said my number could be the shade of lipstick also. I used to sell cosmetics for Elizabeth Arden.
Shelly: Was there a particular person that pushed you to tryout?
Lipstick: Blitz, Jersey girl, Sweetie Todd and Bunny B. Trouble, I tried out and I didn’t make it. I was really disappointed. I worked hard and I didn’t make it.
Shelly: How old were you when you first tried out?
Lipstick: I was 51 the first time and I didn’t make it, so I tried out again 4 or 5 months later and I still didn’t make it. I was confused because I had worked on everything that they had told me I needed to improve on and I still didn’t make it. Joseph thought it was because of my age and he was mostly right. They told me the second time I needed to do more land drills. So when tryouts came around again in July, I wasn’t going to try out again but I had several girls who told me I had to try out again. It took forever for the girls to talk me into trying out; it took my husband pushing me out the door for that first night of tryouts. I told him I’ll do it, but I’m not going to make it because I don’t think they want me. I went to my tryout and made all of my times. I remember sitting there for the face to face interview, there were all these people sitting there looking at me. There were past captains, the new captains and they’re all staring at me as I’m sitting there. I remember sitting there and then opening my mouth and saying “I’m back and I’m going to keep coming back till you give me a chance to show you I can do this. I wouldn’t be coming back every time to the try out if I didn’t want to do this or think I couldn’t. I hope that you take the chance on me!”
Shelly: So when did you find out that you made fresh meat?
Lipstick: I got an e-mail asking me to join the fresh meat new girl group. I got on Facebook and asked does this mean I made it? The girls on rec said YES!!!! I was sooo excited I started calling everyone in my family yelling I made it!!!!
Shelly: How did you feel when you were drafted to your team?
Lipstick: When Rebel called my name I was thinking, “Oh my God I’m a Boss, I’m a Boss,” and then it hit me, now the real work begins.
Shelly: I remember hearing about your accident:
Lipstick: It was just two and a half weeks before the season started. I remember the night before Ms Lead came around to hit me and I didn’t hit the ground. She tried three times to knock me down and she couldn’t do it.
I was on my way home from Thursday night skating when I got hit. It was the first night that I didn’t have other girls carpooling with me. I was T-boned by a lady going through a red light while texting on her phone at 60 mph. I remember a white light and thinking WOW this is beautiful and loving. Then I heard a man’s voice booming saying “Ma’am, ma’am stay with me. Paramedics are on their way. What’s your name?” With that I remember turning around and in a split second saw myself in the car and then WHAM felt myself go back into my body and then I felt excruciating pain. I broke 8 of my ribs on the right side in numerous places and my pelvis on the right side also in the front and in the back. I had a collapsed lung, internal bleeding, and 98% of my body had contusions and glass embedded in my eye, face and neck.
Shelly: Did you have any surgeries?
Lipstick: No, thank God, all of my breaks were clean.
I remember waking up in the hospital, and looking up at the doctor (who by the way was absolutely gorgeous) and the very first thing out of my mouth after three days of being in and out of consciousness was, “Am I going to play roller derby again?” He looked at me and his face went solemn. My husband, Mr. Stick, jumped up and told the doctor, “Sorry sir, but she played roller derby you have to forgive her, she is a little different. He said, “Let’s just see if we can get you walking again.” He proceeded to tell me 85 to 90% of the people my age usually don’t live with these kinds of injuries to the pelvic area and lungs. Because I was in such great shape (because of roller derby) is the only reason they think I lived through the accident.
After spending almost 2 weeks there, I was released from the hospital 10 years to the day my daughter died in the very same hospital. I remember feeling like I was really living my life for her now too. Even while in the wheelchair I went to every single practice. I will never forget the first time I went back to practice, everyone started cheering and stopped skating. They all came over and started hugging me and then Ms. Lead and Speedo looked at Mr. Stick and said, “We’ve got her now.” They wheeled my wheelchair out on the floor and wheeled me around with all the girls going around on the track. They were all cheering me on. It’s a moment in my life I’ll never forget. I still get choked up to this day just thinking about it. The love from everyone there was just overwhelming and amazing.
Shelly: I remember doing intros the night you got up and walked for the first time. You told me because I was introducing you and didn’t want to alarm me. The team didn’t know. What did the team say?
Lipstick: During the intro as I walked out on Kane’s arm, I could just see their faces lighting up. Afterwards the girls came over and hugged me. It was the best surprise!
Shelly: So did you have to try out again?
Lipstick: No they kept a place for me because I was at every practice, and I worked hard at getting back. It has not been an easy journey getting back either. Then again, I have never been about easy! I’ve told the girls though not to keep me on just because they feel guilty about the accident. I did not want to bring the team down. If they needed to replace me they could but they didn’t. To this day I still have residual pain. If a practice has been really tough I usually have to call my husband on the phone from the car to come peel me out and help me into the house and a warm bath with Epsom Salt. I wear a Lidoderm patch on my lower back for some of the practices so that it numbs some of the pain. Some days are good and then others, well, let’s just not go there.
Shelly: Does your team know?
Lipstick: Not really, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Plus, I do not want to be sidelined so I just try to ignore the pain. Usually after really warming up I am good to go. It’s when I stop and cool down that it’s hard. I get stiff, although a lot of snow ploughs do me in.
Shelly: Do you take anything for the pain?
Lipstick: No not really the patch on my back once in awhile or I may take an Advil, but I would rather just live with the pain. I have never been good at taking medication.
Shelly: What motivates you to keep going to practice when you know you’ll be in so much pain?
Lipstick: You strap on the skates and build up that sweat. You look around and see these amazing women with you, and then you think, ”Yeah this is why I’m here.” This is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I was in the military for four years.
Shelly: How did you feel when you played your first game against Spindletop?
Lipstick: It was like being high, euphoric and scary all at the same time. It was amazing! I wanted to cry, scream at the top of my lungs, at the fact that they were letting me play. Here I was 50 something, just been in an accident, just been released for contact (I threatened the doctor) and they were going to let me play with the big girls! I felt I finally had arrived. Derby is such a different sport: It’s hard and the game is constantly changing. It’s become such a mental game too. You use every part of your brain and body to play the game. Where else do you see that in other sports? As a blocker you play offense and defense at the same time.
Shelly: Was there anyone who encouraged you?
Lipstick: All the girls on the league encouraged me with e-mails, and they came to visit. Rebel and Booty were extremely encouraging. Even Misty and Carmen called me and gave me pep talks. Both of them said you’re going to come back and you’re going to kick ass. Misty has told me that I’m looking good, which is a big deal because she doesn’t just dish out compliments. When she tells me that I’m improving I know that I am. Carmen said, “You’re going to be a force to reckon with when you come back because you’re heart is there.”
There’s times when I think I should hang up the skates, but then I think no, I can’t let that lady take my dream away from me — plus, I’ve got too many people depending on me. This has become bigger than me; I do this for my daughter and everybody out there that has difficulties and roadblocks. I have to show them that no matter what your roadblocks are, never give up.
I have a mission and it’s to spread what happened to me, to give others inspiration that life is worth living. Live it to the fullest as if every day was your last day here. I find I don’t get as angry as I use to. When you hear people talk about the bucket list, well just go out and do it. I don’t want to grow old and have regrets in my life.
Shelly: Is there anyone you want to thank?
Lipstick: I have to thank my husband Joseph and my son Zachary, and my dad; they are the most amazing men in my life. All three of them are loving and encouraging. They support me in everything I want to do.
Shelly: I’ve heard you referred to as a hero. How does it feel to be a hero?
Lipstick: I don’t deserve that. I’m not anybody special.
Shelly: That’s what makes you such a great hero.
Lipstick: I’m just a normal person.
Shelly: You’ve gone through so much and you still have such a great attitude, when it could be so easy not to be.
Lipstick: It’s not a conscious choice, it’s just who I am. It’s a lot easier to be happy then to be sour.
What keeps me going is the fact that my daughter can’t. I live my life for her because she can’t live it. I try to experience everything that I think she would enjoy. If she were here she would have played derby and she would have been a Psych Ward Siren.
Am I a team player? Yes. Do I like to have people make a fuss over me? No. I like to get out there, blend in, skate and get the job done. If my being in roller derby can motivate one person to follow their dream and don’t give up, then I have done my job.