Crystal, let’s tell the stunt community about yourself first! How did you get into the world of stunts?
As recently shared in a ESPNW Interview, at the time... I didn’t really know much about Stunts. I was in the Entertainment industry mostly booking Modeling/Print Work, etc...
Stunts was one of the very few departments that nobody I noticed discussed really! Learning and understanding the ensemble of how actors and doubles work would come later down the line.
Perhaps Its possible that at times my West African/European ancestry background combined with my skill-sets, and small petite frame shape also helped during that time of needing waaaaay more inclusive and diverse stunt performers on sets.
As I looked around, (off set or on set), I would begin to notice the very limited number of Black Female Stunties!
I was in a local database that showcased talent and performers' skills, height, weight, etc... It didn’t happen right away at all... but soon after, work calls started to come in checking my availability to double for major Hollywood Stars.
After my first few stunt jobs, I knew I was interested in the stunt industry. It Clicked for me. Being able to have opportunities performing a variety of athletic type sport/skill sequences for a living would turn out to be a dream come true for a Native California Athlete like myself!
I love my job.
What sparked the vision for AXTionWear? How did the journey begin?
Overhearing the cries and concerns from my fellow stuntwomen as we would quickly change in and out of our costumes from shared small trailers on film sets.
Consistent conversations from project to project discussing the lack and need of more safety padding options for women. Watching stuntwomen share men’s bulky pads, sticking duck tape and layers of ace bandages all over to hold it all down In places of need.
Stuffing, Squeezing, and trying to camouflage our pads however we can in order to protect ourselves “low-key” while stunting in super skin tight maxi dresses/mini-skirts/form fitting superhero costumes/skinny jeans or leggings/high-Heels/and so much more!
Question: How on earth are are these “BIG BULKY” non-matching stunt pads supposed to hide on me, keep me safe, and not distort the wardrobe or costume look? Eek...
“Houston... We have a problem!” Hmmm....
Immediately I began to research options searching around locally wondering why most stunt pads only came in colors like:
Black/White/and Nude (and only Caucasian Nude complexions available, but quickly discovered not in my Sub-Saharan Dark shaded Brown Nudes).
Before I realized it, I then began taking Dark Brown sharpie markers, brown spray paints, brown crayons, brown dies for clothes, and even tried using tea bags in an effort to create more ways to help blend and make my stunt pads invisible to wear on me!
I was bummed there weren't many options for my size, and skin complexion... leaving me feeling like my Dark image not important enough.
During times of inclusion and diversity on the rise, I’m still literally shocked with the current lack of available protective safety pads in general; especially for a variety skin complexions knowing every skin color in the world has proven that diversity goes beyond the standard confines of White!
At that point years ago, I then told myself and probably a few of my close stunt pals that if there was anything positive I do to help pay it forward to stunt performers with safety options before I retired was to not complain, but contribute to solutions!
Flash forward a few years later...
AXTionWear Safety was born!
Can you tell a story that really highlighted the issue in the industry that AXTionWear solves?
Years back, I had got a call from Mike Owen to double for an actress on “School of Rock” the TV series. It was a little skateboard crash gag over a desk.
I remember it well because my wardrobe in that scene was a skin tight/knee high grey pencil skirt. During each take, the skirt would seriously ride up my thighs every time I flipped off my board, and expose the only safety pad I had available that was small enough to fit in that tight skirt... in effort to help me avoid any blunt injury.
Out of nowhere, the Director appears and says: “I love what you're doing, but we see your pad! Is there anyway you can hide or remove it?"
Needless to say, I would remove my safety pad and take one for the team that Day... but told myself that if I only had my safety pads in my own skin color, sleek, low-key, and camouflaged on me, nobody would have seen anything!
That bruise lasted for weeks... but a new vision and mission of providing better safety options for performers hit.
Moreover... there were many times that actors had to get in the stunt mix of action too with close up shots, etc... and I thought it would be great to have an actor's safety pad pack of knees and elbows only for them instead of stunts constantly sharing our old broken in, sweat ridden stunt pads.
Tell about your brand of stunt pads - what makes them unique, different, and so effective?
AXTionwear is a new full-body custom fit safety protective Pad-Suit with a variety of useful pro options for all men/women/and youth.
A redesigned full-body Protection suit finally ranging in all varieties of natural flesh-tone/nude skin-tones that all performers no matter what your skin color, shape, or size.
Stunt performers can have a custom safety Pad-Suit to color match their personal skin color and body type perfectly.
More performers are consistently running into safety options available that help Add protective support under recent complex wardrobes and tight fitting costumes.
Over the years; especially for women... it was pretty sad listening to hardworking Stunt performers not having more safety pad options available, and endless problems Of safety pads being seen in shots, or even stunt deaths on production sets, etc.
AXTionWear Safety really focused on having an affordable option with simple ingredients, all the way down to the perfect skin color match to help camouflage, and (YES) The AXTionWear Safety Pad Skin Color Match was just the icing on the cake.
Usually, safety pads are to be warn and not seen on film sets with stunt work.
To actually mention the milestones of finally having safety pads in my own natural Brown Skin-Tone Color to help keep me safe was a dream. It was hard discovering a lack Of diverse nude safety pad options on the current market.
AXTionWear provides all talents/Athletes/Stunts/Actors/Performers/etc... from all athletic backgrounds a Super Slim/Low-Profile/Camouflaged Custom Fit towards helping support hiding those unattractive bulky pads in our wardrobe and costumes.
Options are awesome! Now Ranging From X-Small, Medium, Large, X-Large to Plus Size, Youth, and also Little People safety pads.
Order on the website: https://www.axtionwear.com
What I personally love about AXTionWear is the mission: “To provide a full continuum of protective safety pad gear that meets the safety needs of our diverse growing population.” What would you suggest we do as a community to always stay on track with this vision?
High-performances don’t just magically materialize. It takes research, testing, strong communication, mutual respect for your fellow performers, being positive and open to others opinions or insights, having a humble desire to really want to learn and grow as a stunt community by supporting a shared movement with consciously building better clear-set goals that are open to more inclusive and diverse characteristics.
Goal Setting Is the foundation of success.
Here is an AXTionWear testimonial from stunt performer Brenda Lorena Garcia:
"Please see the images below, in which in most of them, I am wearing this incredible safety and protection AXTionWear body suit with pads everywhere. In the images with the yellow sweater and black pants, I also added AXTionWear knee and elbow pads and it is still seamless underneath these clothes!
In the stunt double image, I am wearing AXTionWear knees, elbow and hips, but you wouldn't be able to tell either! So amazing how low profile yet highly protective they are!
In the yellow sweater selfies, I'm wearing AXTionWear elbow pads!
In the remaining few photos, you can clearly see the AXTionWear items fully displayed (on my arms for example).
In the "pregnant" photo from a shoot, I am wearing this same AXTionWear bodysuit! Seriously incredible, safe, and comfortable!
Thank you for everything, AXTionWear! With love!" - Brenda Lorena Garcia
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