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Michelle Steilen AKA Esrogen - How Do You Roll?


Let me be candid, Estro is undoubtedly the most influential Rollerskater of recent times. (and no, Drew Barrymore's character in Whipit doesnt count). Real name Michelle Steilen, the alias Estrogen is collateral from her roller derby roots. Currently in Central California but growing up in Philadelphia, Michelle approached skate manufacturer Reidell with the pitch for the Moxi Skates brand at 25 years old; a manoeuvre which would come to define her as arguably the most successful entrepreneur in Roller Skating.  

Michelle imprinted her name further in 2013 with her bones bearings promo video which knocked up a cool 2.4 million views on YouTube and inspired a generation of female-led stunt skaters shredding the streets and skate bowls of California ...and subsequently the world.

Charming as she is professional, it's nice to see such a seminal character not taking it all too seriously. I quizzed Michelle about some of her hardware, eccentricities and more..

JE - RollerSkateShop



Do you own different skates for different uses? Do you have one pair which you always return to which you would describe as your day-to-day pair?

I almost always use the same pair of skates for Park, Street, Dance, though I have some skates that are set up specifically for the roller rink or a gig. Unfortunately, I'm a roller products guinea pig and the stuff I use typically is in the testing phase and not available for sale, but I will tell you about it anyway.

My go to set-up is a Moxi Jack 2 attached to a Marvel plate with my signature Bones wheels that haven't come out yet (edit; they're out!), Sure Grip generation 1 trucks (not the tall park series ones) and CIB sliders. (from 2005)

My show skates for outdoor dance events are a custom rainbow suede boot attached to 'low riders generation 2' plate attached to dead stock Adonis wheels.

My slider skates for the rink are a pair of Stacey Adams shoes attached to the low rider generation 1 plate - attached to fiberglass wheels.

My 'gig skates' are whatever the job calls for but usually they are an almost brand new pair of Lolly's. I say almost because I don't break out a new pair for every gig.

I stunt doubled Harley Quinn in the recent Birds of Prey movie and for that training alone, I had to make 6 pairs for myself (a skitch pair, a pair to fight (and kick) in, a pair for the wire stunts, a pair to flip in and the two pairs for the filming on set).


Controversial, but do you own any skates which aren’t Moxi?

Yes. I have tap dancing shoe skates that turn into stilts when I blink my right eye. If I blink my left one though, they lower down to the ground. I also have  Pop Out Platforms from the 70's that I save for days that I rob banks. I have just converted a pair of Red Wing moc-toe shoes to skates. I have a pair of Sean Darst THEM Skates that I painted leopard print and used yesterday. I have a pair of Japanese geta sandals turned to skates. 
 
I don't believe there is anything available for sale and better performing than Moxi Skates. 


Gun to your head; what’s your favourite colour Lolly?

Next summers new colours's ;)



How do you store your skates? In a trophy cabinet?… or thrown in a box in the garage?

I attached a photo. They are on display with my favourite antique pairs. I have a cubby for mine and Miguel's gear. 

Michelle Steilen Estrogen's skate collection

 

 


Favourite wheels and bearings to skate?

Bones  



Discipline-wise, what are you doing most of at the moment? 

Dance and park both. When I am waiting on my turn, I practice dance moves.  


What’s your favourite spot to skate worldwide?

In the WHOLE WIDE WORLD? Ah, geeze. That's hard. I love skating with the Colombians, the paths of Paris & the streets of Seoul. 

 

What’s your most frequented skate spot locally?

During the pandemic, my backyard


What’s your most-used method of stopping? (Genuine question!)

Falling to the ground always makes me laugh so it has to be my favourite 



Do you take good care of your skates? Do you worry about the tech & spec? …or a re you just a ‘throw them on’ kinda girl?

Take care of them..... well, they have a lot of coffee stains on them but I like that. 

I am sensitive to gear and NOT compromising. If my brand can't make something that I want to use- and I know that sounds crazy cause it's my brand and I should be able to make whatever I want. .... but it's not the case. Sometimes I don't have access to compounds or molds that work better than what we are ready to make ourselves and I don't compromise- I use what I like. 

 

Any tips, tricks or hacks you use for your own skates?

Sometimes I put my wheels in the freezer so they grip better. Sometimes I add ketchup if they're too slow. 


What sort of skating have you been enjoying watching the most recently?

I love watching kids roller skate and seeing what they invent! 

 

Do you have any rituals/superstitions when it comes to skates?

If I start counting down from 8, NO MATTER WHAT I have to throw the trick. This is for anything; gymnastic flips, diving boards, skating, eating/swallowing medicine, etc. When I realise my mind is preventing me from doing something, I pull that trick out to get it done! 

  

 

Thanks to Michelle. We will donate $250 to Caminos Project for her time.

Follow our website and Instagram @i_have_a_thing_for_skates to stay up on forthcoming featured skaters.

Homepage image by @bryannabradleyphotography



See More from Our How Do You Roll series:

How Do You Roll: Marawa Ibriham

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