ELLESSE SS23 VISIONARIES: INTRODUCING ROLLER SKATER AYISHA ALLI
Ellesse’s SS23 collection is a kick of sunny optimism in the face of our seasonal depression. Celebrating the themes of team-work, individuality, and the power of getting out there to #BeBold, the campaign involves five carefully selected ‘Visionaries’ from all different walks of life who each resemble a unique aspect of Ellesse’s ethos. Working together as a team in the campaign visuals, they together encapsulate everything the campaign stands for. But who are they?
One of five ‘Visionaries’ is pro roller skater Ayisha Alli, an upbeat and driven personality who brings her quirky talent to the table. Whilst the campaign centres around padel – a sport using rackets – Ayisha’s more comfortable on a set of wheels. We caught up with Ayisha to find out how she got into roller skating, what advice she’d give to those starting out, and what being elected an Ellesse ‘Visionary’ meant to her.
Hi Ayisha, how’s it going? Can you tell us about what it is you do?
Hey, so I am a full-time software engineer and also a professional roller skater. There’s a huge contrast in my two roles, but I believe it brings me balance. One career to Keep me fed and the other for pure enjoyment.
You might now be a pro-roller skater with over 13k followers, but when did you first get into it? Did you know you wanted to go pro as soon as you put on your first pair of skates?
I started rollerskating just before lockdown. I needed a new hobby and my cousin invited me to the skate rink. The first time I put on Skates I fell on my bum and realised that this was not going to be an easy journey. Weeks of Skating and I still could not believe how hard it was. I would look at other skaters and see how effortlessly they moved and honestly wanted to get to that point, but I couldn’t see myself getting there and then lockdown happened. I had all the free time in the world to master this amazing craft and I spent most of my hours practising. Even as I got better though, I didn’t see myself becoming a professional skater but I did want to share my journey to the world so created an instagram page dedicated to roller skating. From then, the page grew and I’m here today!
We’ve seen you skate in some crazy places, from London Victoria Station to Carnival. Do you have a favourite place to roller skate? And where’s somewhere on your bucket list to skate this summer?
My favourite place to skate is probably North Greenwich. Partly because it’s right next to my house, but it also has such an amazing view and when you have your headphones in and you’re completely zoned out to the world it’s honestly breathtaking. It’s like nothing else exists, but you the view and the music. In terms of places, I would like to skate, it would have to be somewhere abroad, like Venice beach in Florida.
Pretty impressive that your IG has a whole section dedicated to roller skating ‘CHALLENGE’s, but what’s the hardest move you’ve mastered?
The hardest move I’ve mastered would probably be spinning. Trying to balance on your front wheels whilst rotating constantly is not the easiest thing to do and I’ve taken many many falls because of this, but I’d say I’ve pretty much got it now and any freestyle I do includes a spin. I also love the way my braids look when I’m spinning.
Obviously padel as a sport is a little different to what you’re used to, given skates aren’t usually involved. Are you as much of a natural at padel as you are at skating?
I think I’m quite average in paddling. I’d probably be really good if I put as much time into it as I did Skating but one thing that does excite me and I think I can speak on behalf of many skaters but it would actually be quite fun to try paddling with rollerskates on. It adds an extra element of thrill.
Ellesse’s ethos is heavily rooted in the idea of teamwork and we know you skate in a team with two others – but do you prefer to skate solo or in a group?
My team has grown far beyond the three of us and I love that we are getting bigger every single day. In saying this, I do prefer a solo Skate simply to clear my mind. I see rollerskating as therapy, so when I’m skating, I kind of block out the world and so no one and nothing really matters, but in moments where I skate with my team I feel comfortable and I feel safe and I love that we are all there enjoying the same thing so I do love a mix of both
From playing padel to chilling by the pool, you and the other visionaries got up to a lot in Ellesse’s BTS shoot. What was your favourite part of shooting the Ellesse campaign in Portugal?
My favourite part would have to be when myself and Levin were shooting the tennis ball picture where everyone was throwing tennis balls at us and we had to remain completely still and in “character” . I’ve seen pictures like that and I’ve always always wanted to take part in such and this was like a dream come true, and I’m so happy how the pictures came out. It was so much fun and I’m happy that none of the balls hit me on the head haha.
As a professional, you must have some top tips to give beginner roller skaters. What number one piece of advice would you give to someone looking to start out?
I would say keep going. It’s so easy to want to quit when things get tough or you feel like you’re not getting it but you have to push through those moments. Only then will you see a significant amount of growth and you will be able to achieve anything you put your mind to. Whether that be skating forward/backwards or more technical moves – you have to keep going! Keep practising and you will get it!
What are three words you think sum up the aesthetics of the Ellesse SS23 Visionaries campaign?
FUN, EMPOWERING, SLEEK
As part of a group of five diverse talents shooting Ellesse’s campaign, you all brought something different to the table. What do you think it takes to be a part of Ellesse’s Community Club?
I think it takes drive and determination. You have to be willing to step outside the box and create what you see as art. Sometimes in life we think there’s a certain way we have to live our life which can limit us but being a part of the Ellese community club means you’re willing to go the extra mile and fight for what is yours and take risks!
Your roller skating fits are a major vibe for summer. Can you tell us about how you’d style one piece from Ellesse’s SS23 collection for a day of roller skating?
I would pair the blue Ellesse shorts with the matching zip up top with some high white socks and my blue rollerskates just so everything matches. I’ll also throw my braids in a ponytail just so I’m comfortable. We have this fair I’m able to completely stretch out my body when doing different skate moves.
What’s a change you’d like to make in the world through what you do?
I would love to see everyone on rollerskates. Whether that be in a ring or Skating down the street. The freedom it gives to me and the stress I’m able to relieve from it, I would love everyone to experience such. When I’m feeling down and upset, I can put my skates on and go for a ride and nothing else matters. And I think everyone should get the chance to experience such a feeling at least once in their lifetime and rollerskating can bring back Joy to many lives.
Check out the full collection at ellesse.com