Think back to your favorite movies and we guarantee that there are some action sequences. Although there are some actors that do their own stunts, most enlist a stunt person to make the scene truly look and feel as next level as possible. This month's cover girl is celebrity stuntwoman and athletic personality, Jessie Graff.
Jessie has been in a number of movies and TV shows. In addition, if you're a fan of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, then you have seen her crushing courses on this TV show as well while donning a Wonder Woman costume. We spent an afternoon with her shooting her for our
cover and this energetic woman showcased her athletic ability while also sharing anecdotes how she got into the business, where we have seen her as well as how she has honed her craft over the years.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was your journey to becoming a stunt woman from childhood to actually selecting this career?
JESSIE GRAFF: I wanted to be a super hero, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena Warrior Princess. I loved the physical part most, but didn't know that stunts were a separate job, so I always thought I'd be an actress. After majoring in theatre in college, I learned that the actors don't usually get to do their own stunts, so I immediately researched everything I could about stunt people. I read every article I could find, studied the stunt player’s directory, and found
out where stunt people trained. Then I got photos, made a demo reel, moved to LA, and signed up at every gym in where I could find stunt people. Then I copied everything they did, learned everything I could, and eventually, earned my place in the community.
AM: What type of training does one engage in order to become a stunt woman?
JG: Fights, falls/wipeouts, weapons, parkour, gymnastics, rock climbing, every style of martial arts, wire work, rigging, trampolines, bicycles, air rams, Russian swing, high falls, scuba, sky diving, cars, motorcycles, fire burns... There's so much to learn!
AM: Obviously, you're in great shape, what workouts do you suggest for great abs, glutes and arms?
JG: I organize all of my workouts into a 3 day cycle of push day, pull day, and leg day. It allows me to push each muscle group to the limit, and give it 2 days to recover, while I'm training the other 2 main muscle groups.
I suggest FORGETTING about how you want your body to look, and choosing workouts based on what you want to be able to do, and how you want to feel. If you want great arms, get hooked on rock climbing, gymnastics, or calisthenics. Set goals like climbing at a certain difficulty level or learning to do a kip on bars. Then do all the drills, progressions, and strength training to get those skills, and make a new goal 1 level higher. Want great glutes? Work on, bounding agility obstacles, improving your vertical jump, or learning parkour. When you get passionate about a hobby that requires those muscles, every workout is more inspiring, and there is no end. If you want an 8-pack, and you get there, how do you stay motivated to work out and eat healthy? How do you maintain it? But if you succeed in your goal of 10 pull ups, great! New goal: get 12, or 15 or 20.
AM: What are your go to foods between your travels, working out etc?
JG: I always carry B-up protein bars and roasted seaweed with me, because fruit/carbs are easy to find, but protein and vegetables are harder to grab on the go. Basic structure of any meal is 1-2 servings protein, colorful vegetables, 1 serving of carbs or fruit, all on top of a huge pile of dark leafy greens.