Growing up in the ’90s, my friends and I always dreamed of becoming movie stars. Was it because we were raised with “Sister Sister” on our TVs and “Lizzie McGuire” posters on our walls? I can’t help but think that seeing actresses on the Disney Channel, who looked and acted like me and my friends, made us feel like we could have TV shows of our own one day too.
But what happens when you don’t see yourself represented in an industry or career — like Hollywood stunts? In 2017, a study released by film researcher Stephen Follows revealed out of 7,303 movies released between 2000-2016, women made up less than 15% of stunt professionals. That percentage is even smaller when race is factored in. Did my friends and I never talk about becoming stuntwomen because we didn’t think we could?
Luckily, renowned stuntwoman La Faye Baker is here to kick down some major glass ceilings… KA-POW! Known as the first African American stuntwoman to serve as stunt coordinator on a big-budget picture (1999’s “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”), she’s stunt doubled for stars like Halle Berry and worked on projects like “Green Lantern.” She is also actively working to make sure women — more specifically women of color — see themselves represented in the stunt world.