Stunt Performer Spotlight: Michelle Andrews
What inspired you to become a stunt person? In all honesty, I never imagined my life going this route. I didn’t know that stunts or performing could be a career. Before finding the entertainment industry, I graduated from CSUF with a degree in Communications for Broadcast Journalism. Originally, I thought I wanted to be a news reporter or writer, but half way through college I found aerial silks which started a snowball effect for my career as a performer and stunt woman. My first performing job was playing the aerialist role of Gypsy at Pirates Dinner adventure in Buena park, which led to Waterworld, my first experience as a stunt performer. Since Waterworld, I’ve had the opportunity be a stunt double for a few TV and film gigs. This career path is much more suited to my passions and lifestyle than journalism. Even as a baby I was constantly climbing on things, upside down and always moving. At 8 years old, I found gymnastics, picked up the sport quickly, and became a competitve gymnast for USAG/JO, training up to 30+ hours a week toward the end of my gymnastics career. I absolutely loved the sport as well as all other physical activities and professions that have followed. I believe it shaped me as a person and set me up for the life I’ve lived so far. My background and latest experiences have been a catalyst for my inspiration in this industry. Looking forward to seeing what comes next! What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer? Physically, acrobatics, boat driving, rappelling, and some fight choreography. Other skills sets outside of physicality are that I’m a quick learner, I pay attention to safety, and I listen to direction well. Safety is ALWAYS first. What is the best part about being a stunt performer? It’s a lot of fun. I’ve always enjoyed being active so getting to run around and play different roles/ characters for “work” is never a dull moment. Tell your all-time personal favorite stunt story! My introduction into the stunt world was playing the role of Helen in Waterworld at Universal Studios Japan beginning February 2017. Prior to me joining the cast, Helen’s lines were played on a track. For my second year, the company wanted to have us Helen’s try live mic Japanese. It was weeks of hard work and dialogue training with a top acting coach from Tokyo and our dialogue instructor, Brenda. I’m the first Helen worldwide to do the show live mic in a foreign language. I’m incredibly proud of myself for reopening the show in Japanese and the entire Helen cast for being that first group of girls to pull it off! A close second all time favorite was my experience as stunt double boat driver for a movie since coming back to the states. That was my first transition from live shows to film. It’s all been a really exciting process! What advice would you give other stunt people? Again, safety is always first. Stunts and physical works an be very dangerous. Know your skill set and be honest about what you’re capable of doing. Anything else you would like to tell the community about? To train other skills, find an open gym and like minded people to train with! I’ve met some very kind people who are willing to train with me and share skill sets. It’s definitely a community and there are some really great, helpful people/potential friends you can meet and work with!