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Affinities: Skate Like a Mom

A crew of mothers find freedom on eight wheels—and get to feel like kids again.


Molly Craft (left) and Christie Collins.

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Nicoletta Petrova (left) and Joelle Boismenu.

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Marsha Rose.

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Emelia Howard.

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April Taylor.

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Yvetter Renee.

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Miko Marks.

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See all the Affinities photo shoots here.

“I think as moms we carry so much on our backs,” photographer Smeeta Mahanti says. “There is something kind of badass about skating. It’s a time when you can just let it go and be free.” Mahanti, a mother of three, was introduced to the world of roller-skating mamas through Instagram when two friends, Joelle Boismenu and Nicoletta Petrova, started a casual crew called the Oakland Rollers. As soon as Mahanti saw a video of her friends and fellow moms weaving down the street, their hair blowing in the wind, she knew she had to photograph them. “I’m an ’80s kid, and it just takes you back to being a girl, when you laced up your skates and you rolled down the street.”

The Oakland Rollers meet every Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the end of Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. You don’t need to be a mother to roll with them, but Mahanti sought out the skater moms to photograph. “When their kids look at these photos 10 or 15 years down the line,” she says, “it’s not just a mom that they’ll be seeing, but this moment of youth and joy and confidence.”


Originally published in the October issue of San Francisco

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