Stunt Performer Spotlight: Tanika Lopez

Featured Interview With Stunt Performer, name.

Tell about life before stunts, Tanika!

I was born in Riverside as a military brat, but I grew up in Gary, Indiana.  Yes... where Michael Jackson is from.  I went to Purdue University and graduated with a Mathematical Science degree.  I moved to California and worked in accounting before I shortly went into the entertainment industry.  I later on became a wife and mother of two.

What inspired you to become a stunt person?

I did not become inspired to be a stunt woman until I actually became a stunt woman!  I did not know much about the world, nor did I think I could be apart of it. One day I was asked to do a stunt job as a swimmer.  After the job was over, I realized I loved it and began asking about more information.

What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer, is there a story behind it?

So, it would be my height.  That’s how I got my first job!  I’m 4’10” and under 100lbs, child size.  I used to hate this about myself, shopping in the kid’s section.  My license said I was 5 feet for a while, don’t judge!  Child doubling is in high demand!  I am also trained in MMA/Karate.

What is the best part about being a stunt performer?

The more I put into it, training, the more opportunities I have.  This is the first career I have felt in control over.  I want to do flips for a stunt?  Learn how to flip!  I want to do weapons, learn them!

What advice would you give other stunt people?

Focus on what you are good at, and become better.  You learn more on the job than anywhere else.  There are some great stunt people that want you to succeed, I’ve learned from many of them.

Anything else you would like to tell the community about?

The stunt community is so supportive! I started this career later than most, after kids too!  At first, I was not encouraged to do this. I was so out of shape!  They pushed me and cheered for me along the way.  I thank them all!