You’ve seen Ky in Pirates of the Carribean, Thor, TRON, Snakes on a Plane, and X-Men 3. Watch The Avengers, and you’ll see her taking punches as Cobi Smulders.
How do you become a stunt woman?
After watching her reel I was super excited and had to ask her.
How old is too old to start?
“Well firstly, you are never too old for achieving your dreams. I was 28 when I started pursuing a career in the stunt industry.”
She left Australia for Hollywood North to start a stunt career from scratch. Ky told everyone with ears that she wanted to do it, found her way in, and trained her ass off.
She was wonderfully frank about the process.
First you have to find out where the stunt people are. Probably gymnastic gyms and martial arts centres. (Or according to the ACTRA stunt folks I met yesterday, having cocktails.)
Then you train. You work hard learning guns and fighting and gymnastics and martial arts and falls and trampolines and air rams. You get an agent and start learning set etiquette as a background performer. You network and meet some stunt coordinators.
Talk about a non-desk job. Every day you’re learning new physical skills and choreography and flying through the air on wires. But:
“It is very hard on your body and you are heading into a brutal physical period where if you are successful, you will be sore, bruised and injured quite a bit.”
If you’re successful.
As in, when you can leave your day job after 5 years working your tail off.
It’s not a huge surprise. Getting into stunts is hard on you and the community is knit tighter than grandma’s doilies. Only the very determined will make it (and that’s if they’re talented and lucky).
But Stunts Canada calls it “The best job in the world”, and the people who do it are a cross between a family and a frat club.
Ky’s best advice if you want to do stunts:
“Just don’t do it half way. At our age, aiming for a job in this career needed an all or nothing approach.”
What I really love about Ky’s story is she embodies her own advice. Before she started her stunt career, she was an outdoor adventure leader. Before that, she broke her back in a car accident and doctors told her she’d never do sports again and would have to tone down her active lifestyle.
Whatever this woman does next, she can’t help but be inspiring.
When she’s not stepping in for superheroes, Ky’s a survival expert and coach, a blogger, and TV producer & co-host.
Check out her blog, Survival For Women: A Modern Woman’s Guide.