A Part of the Fandom: Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres

I have a weird confession.  On weekend mornings, I love nothing more than to lounge and watch figure-skating videos.  I've loved the sport since childhood, when we had a decent few Black skaters - Debi, Surya, and often forgotten Rory.  I did lose interest after a while because the sport reverted to vanilla, but now that we have Mae, Vanessa, and Starr, I'm paying strict attention once more.

One of the great things about our Athletic Sisters feature is that here in the Club, we were talking about Black athletes long before anyone else (read: folks who aren't Black women) cared about them.

It's no different with lithe, graceful figure skater Vanessa James who, along with her partner Morgan Cipres, currently represents France which, if I may point out, has an insanely diverse figure-skating team.  Like, there are two elite Black women currently skating and competing internationally, and they both represent France.

I've recently developed an even greater in Vanessa and Morgan recently for two reasons: 1) Their skating has vastly improved.   2) They've amassed a dedicated fandom.

Their appeal is obvious; they're a successful interracial skating couple and thus an anomaly.  Vanessa is older than Morgan; usually the woman is younger than the man.  They're both ridiculously attractive; Vanessa is an ethereal dark-skinned beauty with a brilliant smile.  Morgan is tall, toned, and elegant, with the face and hair of a model.  They're also refreshingly modern; they're often the best dressed pair and they skate to current artists. And though I doubt they're actually lovers or ever will be, it's an inarguable fact that their chemistry always threatens to melt the ice.

But what I like about them most is how they're racking up gold and silver annually now.  Vanessa and Morgan don't just rely on being the young, good-looking, interracial pair; they've got the skills and medals to back it all up.  Because I'll admit...there was a time when they'd come in 4th or 6th and it was straight up depressing.  But now, they've turned things around.  They've developed a reputation for their jumps, throws, lifts, and an overall style of choreography that's on point.

And they're still young.  Hopefully they'll stick around until 2018, when they'll have another shot at Winter Olympic gold.


  1. I admit..like you,I stopped matching skating because of the very reasons you mentioned.. that it began to revert back to vanilla again.I grew up on Tai Babilona..and yes..she should have been an idol to many but I couldn't. Not that she wasn't a great skater..she definitely was that but I can't stand it when people like Tai make being Black ( or half of her) be a dirty thing and never really seemed that she wanted to be around Black people.So I never considered her an icon.

    I loved Debi( pray for her.She's gone down the deep end) and especially loved myself some Surya Bonaly.Them flips..man how did she managed that in slippery ice? She could have been iconic but the judges wasn't having it.With the exception of Tai,I don't think that Black ice skaters were treated fairly.

    I got to check these guys.I admit,they are a good looking physically and skating wise.They remind me of the modern day Tai and Randi.They look like and interesting couple. I will be checking them during their next skating competition.

  2. I watched the top performance and they were beautiful and clean skaters. Unlike gymnasts, I'm sure they will stick around longer since I have seen skaters (pairs of course) hanging on into their 30s. I think they will need to add some difficulty to beat the Russians and Ukrainians. They have to beat the Russians at their own game and have the skills to pull it off.

  3. Thank you for such wonderful words of praise for Vanessa and Morgan! Please keep watching them, cheering them on and sharing their videos as they continue to change the 'face' Figure Skating in wonderful new ways!

    Enjoy watching their 1st place performances at 2017 World Team Trophy in Japan last week.
    (Short Program - https://youtu.be/BeLyBxe_-s8 )
    (Freeskate - https://youtu.be/xKkVETYgTfs )
    (Exhibition - https://youtu.be/Rsr_i8O1LgE )

    Thanks again! Please give them all your love and support during their upcoming Olympic season!


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