Don’t call me crazy and No, I’m not going to beat you up!

StuntwomanStereotype

I reject the typical stuntwoman stereotype.

When I meet men for the first time and tell them I’m a stuntwoman, they often think I’m going to do something crazy and unpredictable or beat them up. You can see it in their eyes; it’s as if they immediately start thinking of ways to prove their hardcore strength and awesomeness to me, in case I might threaten their coolness or masculinity.

I’d like you all to know this: Stuntwomen are as unique and different as our individual creative outlets, physical endeavours, and personalities. I can assure you that we are not all the same and we do not fit neatly into a little box.

One of the bravest things anyone can do in a world of judgments and stereotypes is simply to be, without apology, their authentic selves. Don’t ever let anyone put you in a box. Feel free to genuinely express yourself and reject typical stereotypes, no matter what work you do.

I can’t speak for any other stuntwoman but personally, I don’t resonate with the image of the butch daredevil or extreme adrenaline junkie.

I have never performed a stunt that I thought was crazy or reckless. If I think something is unsafe or reckless in any way, I would turn it down.  (Not like that has ever happened yet, lol)

Just because I do extreme dangerous things doesn’t mean I am reckless or crazy.

Those who think bungee jumping, sky diving, rock climbing, falling off buildings or crashing cars is crazy don’t have a full understanding of the training, preparation, and protective measures that are taken to ensure safety. In modern filmmaking, stunts are all about safety, not insanity. Every stunt is carefully planned and prepared for with a great deal of consideration to prevent injury.

Yes, stunts are dangerous. They wouldn’t be considered stunts if there were not a possibility of getting hurt. Cuts, bruises, burns, road rash, sore muscles, and hair loss are all part of the job. But with proper rehearsal, skill, and professional experience, the danger level and chance of serious injury is significantly reduced.

I fully understand the stuntwoman stereotype and I know where it comes from.

The talented and successful stuntwomen who preceded me are my idols and I look up to them with great respect. When stunt performers first started in film, there were no women. Instead, stuntmen would put on a wig and dress up like a lady to double the actress.

The stuntwoman 20 or 30 years before me had to work their asses off to prove not only that they could do the stunts as well as a man, but that they could do the job better than a man when doubling a female actress. This is where the stereotype of the hardcore, crazy, badass stuntwoman came from. Those old-school tough and courageous ladies not only successfully achieved the role of stuntwoman, they defined it for the next generation, for females like me.

As a modern stunt performer, I am very much a woman.

Yes, I love playing rough, wrecking stuff, getting in fights, and crashing cars. But after a hard day’s work, I still love taking a bubble bath with candles and a glass of wine to wash away all the mud and sweat. I train, work, and play with the guys all the time and I’m comfortable working in a male-dominant atmosphere.

I can BE one of the guys but I am not a guy.

At the end of the day, I want to be treated like any other self-respecting, confident woman. I can be unapologetically feminine at times, meaning I’m sensitive, emotional, and creative. I like to get flowers on occasion, get my nails done, wear a dress, and after a long night of dancing in heels, I wanna foot rub, dammit!

Remember: There is always a lot more to a person than meets the eye. Everyone can appreciate the time it takes to truly get to know someone on a deeper level. By crashing through the stuntwoman stereotype, I am peeling away all the layers of preconceived notions of what I am not. Therefore, I am paving a path for you to discover who I really am.

Are you willing to consider all of who I am? It is possible to be a professional stuntwoman who is also health conscious and environmentally aware. I am an extreme adventurist, a fitness enthusiast, a student of martial arts, an artist, an avid gardener, a spiritual being, an animal lover, a beginner guitarist, an average cook, a creative writer, and a beautiful, proud, feminine, confident, and mature woman all at once.

Having said all of that, you will never really know me until we’ve shared a bottle of wine and you no longer hear my lisp. We’ve confided in each other about a part of our lives, you can see past all of my many imperfections, you’ve looked beyond my profession, and into my soul.

Then you can say, with a smile, that you, indeed, know the Fenix Fallgirl.