Laces & Lace: Part 3
Above: Designer and Lingerie Addict columnist, Kristina DeJesus.
We hope our readers have enjoyed Laces and Lace, our look at the incredible women involved in both the intimate apparel industry and Roller Derby world.
For our final installment, we put the spotlight on New York City native, Kristina DeJesus. Kristina is a talented intimate apparel designer with over 13 years of experience in the industry. She’s also an equally talented writer showcasing her love and appreciation of intimate apparel to the Lingerie Addict’s readership around the world.
When she’s not working in the lingerie world, she’s part of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league as a Jeerleader. “Our job is to provide encouragement to the skaters while pumping up the crowd, cheering on the sidelines and performing choreographed dance numbers during the half time,” says Kristina of her role as a Jeerleader.
As Kristina says, Jeerleaders amp up the excitement even more at a Derby match and are incredibly entertaining to watch. I’ve mentioned it before and I say it again, you have to see a bout. With the holiday season in full swing, many roller derby leagues are on break, but most will start up again right after the New Year and we encourage all of our readers to find a league near them and attend a few bouts.
In the mean time, please enjoy our final installment of Laces and Lace with Kristina DeJesus:
Q&A with Kristina DeJesus, La Femme Fatale & The Lingerie Addict
Name: Kristina DeJesus
Company/Brand: La Femme Fatale & The Lingerie Addict
Title: Head Designer & Columnist
Years involved in Intimates: 13
Derby Name: Dita Von Sleaze
Number: No number
Position(s) Played: Jeerleader
Team(s): Manhattan Mayhem, Gotham Girls Roller Derby
Years involved in Roller Derby: 2
I’m a New Yorker with a love of all things fashion related. When I’m not shopping or playing dress-up I also enjoy traveling, reading, photography & dancing. I’m also a huge animal lover & vegetarian with a major sweet tooth!
Could you tell us a little bit about what you do in the lingerie world and in Roller Derby?
Sure, in the lingerie world I am both a designer & a writer. I’ve been designing lingerie in the industry for 13 years for the mid-tier market & department stores. I specialize in all aspects of intimate apparel including foundations, shapewear, sleepwear & hosiery. I also write monthly articles for the Lingerie Addict blog, usually about trends in the market or interesting new products & brands.
In the derby world I am a jeerleader for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby (GGRD). It’s kind of like a cheerleader only way more fun! We are considered support staff for the awesome skaters whom we all love & admire. Our job is to provide encouragement to the skaters while pumping up the crowd, cheering on the sidelines and performing choreographed dance numbers during the half time. Oh, and we get to dress up in cute themed uniforms too!
Above: Kristina’s profile on theLingerieAddict.com.
What came first, Roller Derby or Intimates?
Intimates came first. I was one of six students at the time who chose it as a specialization my second year of school at FIT and I’ve never looked back since. At that time roller derby wasn’t that popular yet and GGRD didn’t even exist. I had only ever heard about it from old TV shows but had no idea what it was all about.
How long have you been involved in Roller Derby?
I started learning about derby & going to the bouts in 2009. I was a big fan for three years and always wanted to be part of the action but my skating ability is pretty much non-existent. So when I saw how much fun the jeerleaders were having I realized that could be a great way to get involved while utilizing talents that were more my speed. Namely jumping, dancing & screaming!
Above: the Gotham Girls Roller Derby Jeerleaders Logo.
How has Roller Derby affected your life?
It’s definitely affected my life for the better. For one, the camaraderie is great both within the squad and with the skaters & other support staff. It’s not only given me an opportunity to meet more like-minded people but also given me a lot of inspiration seeing such strong & empowered women. In addition it’s also helped me to branch out and become much less inhibited. All the running, cheering & heckling doesn’t allow you time for self-doubt and I’ve found myself becoming a lot more outgoing then I ever have been before.
Above: Kristina DeJesus aka Dita Von Sleaze.
What’s your Derby name? How did you come to decided on it?
My derby name is Dita Von Sleaze which was of course inspired by the talented burlesque dancer, model & lingerie designer Dita Von Teese. It felt like the perfect fit being in the lingerie industry & all. Plus being “sleazy” is such a departure from my normal life that it kind of encourages me to get into character & become a little more daring then I ever would normally or professionally.
I know that balance is hard to find. How have you found balance in your life with your work and Roller Derby?
It used to be a struggle for me to balance my work & personal life. But I’ve learned that having other enjoyable hobbies, especially the derby which can sometimes require a lot of time, helps to force me to carve out more of that personal time & dedicate it to something enjoyable, athletic & fun. Granted being a jeerleader isn’t as taxing or demanding as being a skater but it has helped me put things in perspective these last few years and I no longer take things as seriously as I once had. I think I’ve finally found a good balance between the two.
How do your loved ones feel about your work and Derby life? Do they support you? How? In what ways?
Yes everyone in my life supports my involvement in the derby because they see how happy it makes me. It’s always great to see friends & family come watch the bouts & really get into it. Plus it’s an empowering sport for women & healthy in more ways then one. In fact I think if someone close to me was not happy with my involvement in derby then I’d have to second-guess that relationship!
Being in a Roller Derby Leagues is a lot of work and I know that many players where different hats. What dual roles to you play in Derby and Intimates?
In derby we take on a lot but it’s all voluntarily and I love it! I make posters, promote social media, support the skaters, rehearse choreography. In intimates it’s a little different because there are so many aspects of the job. Not only do I design monthly collections, which also require trend research, color development & market studies, but I’m also responsible for maintaining the production process from start to finish, which is a long a tedious process. In this industry you have to learn to multitask & accept the fact that your to-do list will never be laid to rest.
What’s next for you in both worlds?
Well in derby I look forward to continuing dancing & cheering my teams to victory. I hope that the sport continues to draw new fans & grows to become more nationally recognized. As for lingerie I do have plans to start my own business in 2014 so stay tuned for what’s next!
Laces & Lace: parts 1 – 3
Laces & Lace Part 1: Beth Hempton, Kuhmillion Lingerie
In part one of Laces and Lace, we spotlight lingerie retailer, Beth Hempton of Kuhmillion Lingerie. Beth is the co-owner (along with her husband, Patrick) of Kuhmillion Lingerie, an online retro & burlesque lingerie boutique. Full story HERE.
Laces & Lace Part 2: Erica Paul, Dirty Dolls Lingerie
Part Two of Laces and Lace, we spotlight the co-founder of Dirty Dolls Lingerie — Erica Paul. Co-founder of Dirty Dolls Lingerie, Erica’s brand is based in New York and the Dirty Dolls mission is to create vintage-inspired lingerie for women who wear hard-to-find sizes. Full story HERE.
Laces & Lace Part 3: Kristina DeJesus, La La Femme Fatale & The Lingerie Addict
For our final installment, we put the spotlight on New York City native, Kristina DeJesus. Kristina is a talented intimate apparel designer with over 13 years of experience in the industry. She’s also an equally talented writer showcasing her love and appreciation of intimate apparel to the Lingerie Addict’s readership around the world. Full story HERE.