A group of roller derby skaters, real estate agents and a trainer meet in a bar. Yep, it sounds like the beginning of a story with a punch line, but on Wednesday afternoon a motley crew of loving teammates, co-workers and friends assembled at Poor Phil’s to watch Oak Park business owner and Chicago Outfit Roller Derby skater Erica “Busty Broke’Her” Cuneen on a pre-recorded episode of The Queen Latifah Show.
When Cuneen and three other Outfit team members rolled on set to show Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, some of their roller derby moves, Cuneen’s friends whooped and applauded while sitting at a group of small circular tables pushed together with drinks, food and baskets of popcorn scattered across their surfaces.
A friend commented that everyone just acted like the Beatles came on screen. “They wanted a show about bad ass women who do it all,” said Cuneen, a mom and owner of Beyond Properties real estate in Oak Park.
So, not the Beatles. But a team of aggressive, professional women with a certain rock star quality.
The team’s communication manager, nicknamed “Loose Cannon,” pitched a proposal to the TV show and eventually a film crew came to tape the Outfit practicing in July. Then about two weeks ago Cuneen and her teammates flew to Los Angeles for the live taping.
“She was really down-to-earth,” said Cuneen noting how the actress, musical artist and talk show host introduced herself as Dana not as Queen Latifah.
The team taught Owens a basic stance—legs shoulder width a part, knees bent, chest out—and then a whipping technique used on the track. Owens donned a black helmet, elbow and knee pads and skates just like the Outfit skaters.
Before joining Outfit in 2010 Cuneen skated with the Oak Park group Derby Lite for about two years.
Cuneen said she hated exercising but felt as though roller derby was something she could do. “It’s more of a fitness skating class,” said Derby Lite creator Barbara ‘Queen B’ Dolan, where women are both taught how to skate and get a team experience without the competition.