What an athlete eats. My interview with Cannon Doll X.

Photographer Sye Williams and I have a funny relationship. He’ll tell me he just shot Linda Honeywell, (the Dolly Parton impersonator), Rashad “Sugar” Evans, the UFC champion, or a female inmate, who’s in for life, and I’ll say, great, but what they were eating?

I’ve been a long-time friend and fan of Sye’s, who’s work visually documents professional boxers and wrestlers, as well as capturing the underbelly of some of American’s most interesting subcultures. A world that is not always pretty, and sometimes downright painful, but he always captures a dignity and beauty that is undeniably real. What people eat, from all walks of life, professional and non-professionals, has always been of interest to me. How they came by their meal, was it a choice they made? Or did somebody make it for them. What are they addicted to, what fuels them, and what do they crave? You would think a boxer, for instance, might eat only carbs. (I don’t know why, but perhaps from watching too many Rocky re-runs, I’ve always thought a boxer is usually swilling street coffee, and scoffing unimpressive cheese pizza slices, all between jabs.) Seth Kelly, the Editor in Chief of UFC magazine, says the answer to what an athlete eats is varied. “I have seen guys that eat six meals a day, measuring out carbs/fat/protein ratios, and there are guys that slam down a few slices of pizza and go out and smash their opponent.”

Sye, who has photographed several boxers (including Oscar De La Hoya for Vanity Fair, and Amir Khan for HBO) started asking around for me and found the following; Boxer Russell Lamour Jr, eats egg whites, the morning before a fight, with pancakes, just to carb up. Then mid afternoon a chicken sandwich or fruit, just to stay balanced so he’s not too full or hungry before a fight. David ‘the dream catcher’ Imoesiri, concocts shakes with his Enagic Kangen Water Machine that makes electronically microclustered H2O water molecules for hydration and detoxification of internal organs and tissue, (!) along with plenty of healthy home cooked meals, some honey bunches of oats, and some almond milk for zinc.

So when Sye sent me pictures of a recent assignment he’d done on the athletes at the women’s roller derby in LA, I had to ask, who was Cannon Doll X? What was Roller derby? What did this sport involve, (were they out to kill each other?) and most importantly, what did Cannon Doll eat to fuel herself, for what looked like a pretty grueling workout?


An interview with Roller Derby’s Cannon Doll X (including what she eats): 

Me: So for me, (the dumb and uninitiated!) this is roller derby right?
CannonDollX: Yes, the amazing sport of Roller Derby
Me: What are the rules, what is it you do when you skate around?
CannonDollX: There are pages and pages of rules, but I can explain how the game how it’s played and some of the things.The game is composed of two teams of five players each: four blockers (one of whom wears a striped helmet cover as the “pivot”) and one jammer. Points are scored when a jammer breaks through the pack, races ahead to rejoin the back of the pack, then attempts to jam through once again scoring a point for each opponent passed. The jammer has 60 seconds to score. No, we can’t use our elbows, or trip up anyone, or anything that is played out in the movies. 
Me: How long have you been doing this? 
CannonDollX: I started in 2006, so for over 6 years.
Me: …and how did you first get involved with it? 
CannonDollX: I worked for a clothing company that used to make the shirt for the LA Derby Dolls, I thought it was some chick punk rock band. The company I worked for was moving into a new warehouse and we were going to have a 70’s party. I decided to go as a roller girl (cause I’d find any excuse to wear my skates). One of the girls that was freelancing for us at the time mentioned she played roller derby. I thought.. NO WAY!! That’s so rock star! I went to one practice and during that time I was there all of 2 hours, I saw this sisterhood and athleticism I had never seen before. I was already sold then BAM! This women coming around the track during the scrimmage part of practice slammed into the wall and her foot went the other direction. My friend who took me, looked at me shocked like this was the wrong practice to take someone you are trying to recruit. I said with a wide eyed excitement.. SOLD! I’M IN! Then the rest is history! I’m still doing this crazy awesome sport! Where you can be beautiful and an athlete!
Me: How did you get your name?
CannonDollX: I made it up! I am a HUGE nerd.. when I say HUGE I mean fangirl status! I have always been a comic geek and well Rogue of X-MEN is who I always felt a relation to, so when choosing my name I knew it had to have an X in it. The Cannon is a relation to two things… 1. I was a big Cannon baller when I swam 2. There is a not so famous X-MEN named Cannon Ball… well being as I am a woman.. or a Doll with no Balls.. I dropped the Ball, added Doll and hyphened in homage to my X-MEN Making it Cannon Doll-X !
Me: Tell me an interesting story linked to your career in roller derby.
CannonDollX: Thanks to derby I have met this amazing community of people, some who have become great friends and others who are family to me. Which have become a great comfort in the recent events of my life with the passes of my mom. I couldn’t have know that playing this great sport would have brought me such joy not just in my heart but my soul.
Me: What do you eat before you prepare for a derby? 
CannonDollX: The day before I eat some either multigrain pasta with a light marinara sauce with chicken mixed in or the same base protein but on jasmine brown rice. I usually avoid a lot of carbs day of a game, but certainly fill up on chicken!
Me: What is the food you are holding in the photograph and why are you eating it?
CannonDollX: Jasmine brown rice, my favorite carb that doesn’t make me feel gross when I eat it, I actually feel energized.
Me: What is something interesting that I need to know about you? Tell me anything!
CannonDollX: I am a single mom, who is just as much of a goof ball as I am a dedicated mother and athlete!


SYE WILLIAMS is a Los Angeles based photographer who shoots boxers, wrestlers, and other professional athletes as well as capturing the underside in LA’s gang territories, skid row and crack houses. Sye’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and ESPN magazines. Sye hails originally from Georgia, where his favorite person to shoot at the end of of the day is still his grandmother, Emma Jean Baldwin Miningham, (who is 90). Before working out, he eats quinea and raw fish but when he’s not, he’d prefer to eat steak.  
Check out his work, here and his blog here
(I love this story Sye did on wrestlers in the Appalachian Mountains.
Check it out here!
To learn more about David “the dream catcher” Imoesiri‘s healthy nutritional plan Usana, click here.  

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