This is one for the “yeah, that makes sense” files: Heather Graham, who memorably played Rollergirl in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, has started a TikTok account. The one and only video on it so far is, of course, of her on roller skates.
Entertainment Weekly spoke to Graham ahead of the video’s launch (yes, we now live in a world where magazines can get an advance on somebody’s first TikTok) and it sounds as though she and many of the app’s current roller girls are a sort of ouroboros of inspiration. Here’s Graham on the video (filmed by her boyfriend):
“During the quarantine, there’s been these girls on Instagram that have been roller skating,” Graham explains to EW before the debut of her roller girl TikTok @imheathergraham, which you can get an exclusive preview of above. “I just look at these girls and they’re having such a great time. They made me feel like, ‘That’s so fun! I have to teach myself how to rollerskate again.’”
And here’s influencer/actor Ana Octo, one of TikTok’s most visible rollerskaters:
Coto can’t thank Graham’s role as Rollergirl enough for exposing her to that quintessential vibe. Coto often posts tutorials for her fans that are empowering, asking her followers to be in control of their beauty. “Heather was the first time I saw roller skating as sexy,” Coto says
[...] Before the interview, EW asked Coto to watch Graham’s first TikTok for initial thoughts. “I think she looks so amazing. I loved the hair flip,” Coto says. “You can tell that her boyfriend did a really good job [with the camera] because it was pretty smooth.”
Speaking of pretty smooth:
Of course, neither Heather Graham nor Paul Thomas Anderson invented rollerskating, and nor are they responsible for its current popularity. After rollerskating surpassed sourdough starters as The Thing People Consider Trying During Quarantine (see also: embroidery, lasagna, buying Murder, She Wrote merch on Etsy), it also sparked conversations about the whitewashing of skate culture. Here’s just a bit from a great piece from Mashable on the subject:
[A]lgorithms are far from the only culprit. Over the past few weeks, people from every online skating niche have proven just as quick to suppress racial equality in social media’s biggest new trend.
“The reason I get upset when people say so-and-so brought back roller skating is because, for most of us, roller skating never left. It’s something that literally has kept communities together, kept people together, keeps kids from getting into bad stuff,” says Ahmad Dunson, a California-based skater with 14,000 followers on TikTok who grew up in Ohio and attends those annual national skate parties. His most popular video calls out the blatant disparities in who succeeds on the app, with another pointing to the overwhelming whiteness of it all. “Saying that roller skating only just came back is demeaning when there’s so much history, when it’s meant so much to so many people for such a long time.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean Heather Graham rollerskating isn’t cool, because of course it is. She’s Rollergirl. And she’s out in the sunshine, getting fresh air and exercise with another human being! We should all be so lucky.
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