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Roller derby body piercer finds work-life balance on the track

on November 6, 2015

Tiana McGuire’s work-life balancing act teeters between extremes. By day, McGuire is a professional body-piercer at a tattoo parlor in Concord. By night, she becomes “Demanda Riot,” a menacing member of the Richmond Wrecking Belles roller derby team.

At the tattoo parlor, she works alone. On the roller derby track, she is one of 20, skating and slamming opponents alongside teammates.

Berkeley filmmaker Kevin Gordon noticed the gap in McGuire’s worlds. In 2012, he began recording footage of McGuire for “Shine On,” a documentary video series focused on “people with typical day jobs but some unexpected passion outside of work,” according to the project’s Kickstarter site.

He said his goal is to inspire people to live “richer, more engaging lives.” Passions energize your body, mind and creativity and ultimately make you more effective at work, he said.

But currently, Gordon said he is all work and no play. “I think one reason this series has so appealed to me is that I don’t have that [balance] in my life right now,” he said. Filmmaking satisfies a part of him, but he needs to pursue his other pastimes like improvisation and photography, he said, adding, “No one thing in full can complete you.”

The director is trying to raise $40,000 by November 11 to finance the project. On Wednesday night at Brick and Mortar in San Francisco, “Shine On” held a live event to raise money. A variety of acts took the stage, from a banjo-playing school teacher, to a web-programmer turned house music DJ, all promoting the film series and their unlikely pastimes.

On stage, McGuire, who is featured in the second episode in the series, talks about her passion for roller derby. She values the ongoing relationships with her teammates, she said in an interview, something she doesn’t often experience with her clients who rarely return after being pierced.

Moreover, as a piercer, McGuire said she is “dealing with other people’s anxieties constantly.” She takes on her clients’ stress, while roller derby allows her to “shake that off.”

Roller derby is all about intense physical contact, the release of tension as she “hits people over and over again.”

1 Comment

  1. […] Roller derby body piercer finds work-life balance on the track Tiana McGuire, left, a body-piercer by day plays in the Richmond Wrecking Belles roller derby team as "Demanda Riot." Photo by Robin Simmonds. … By day, McGuire is a professional body-piercer at a tattoo parlor in Concord. By night, she becomes … Read more on Richmond Confidential […]

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