Tell about yourself and stunts, Jessi!
I'm a Michigan native and started gymnastics at age two. I attended a private high school then graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in business/hospitality/tourism. After graduating, I decided I didn't want a real job and went back to my gymnastics roots, performing in live shows and traveling worldwide until landing in Cirque du Soleil's "O" show in Las Vegas.
It was there I helped start an outreach church called Verve and got my first break into the stunt industry. Soon afterward I moved to Los Angeles to live my newfound dream as a stunt woman.
What inspired you to become a stunt person?
Since I'm from the Midwest the film industry was never on my radar growing up. I didn't know anything about stunts until much later in life, but as a gymnast and acrobat I always loved physical performing.
It wasn't until I had the opportunity to meet and work with some stunt people that I knew that was what I wanted to do, and after performing with Cirque du Soleil it was a perfect next step. Also, my dad is a skydiver so adventure-seeking may be in my blood!
What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer, is there a story behind it?
I'd like to say my reactions and falls are somewhat solid, and my background in gymnastics both helped and hindered that!
Obviously I had my share of hard landings (falling off balance beam or uneven bars) so hitting the ground has never been foreign to me, but because of my Cirque training I had to learn how to sell isolated reactions, stay loose, and not make it look pretty! It took long hours of training and watching the greats do it, but it's the thing I get complimented most on set now.
What is the best part about being a stunt performer?
Meeting new people, traveling to new places, getting paid to do what I love.
Tell us your all-time favorite stunt story!
I was so green when I started that when I received my first residual check I actually called the company and told them that they had made a mistake and had already paid me. The kind lady on the phone had to explain to me what residuals were!
What advice would you give other stunt people?
Take care of each other. Be kind. Stay true to who you are in an industry that tells you to be someone else. Enjoy every minute of the journey. None of us saw COVID-19 coming and we can't foresee injuries, so be wise with your money and take time to think about life after stunts.
Stunt Players Directory: https://www.stuntplayers.com/player/jessi-fisher/