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A Woman You Should Meet: Gemita Samarra

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First things first: how does one become a stuntwoman?

A lot of people ask that. I think it was because of my childhood. My parents were in the circus and I was always training with my brother. I started off with a lot of underwater tricks. I got into it professionally through a sports agency. I saw a post that they were looking for an underwater model/actress. I didn’t actually know that stunts could be a part of the job until it was suggested. This all happened a few years ago when I was 17 and I just started training like a monster right away.

When you say you were working underwater, how long can you hold your breath?

Back when I was training for it, it was about three minutes and forty seconds. I was aiming for the four minute mark, but I had some lung problems when I was small so it could be hard. I didn’t want to push it. I’m getting back into it now and I’m hoping to get to four minutes and beyond. I’ll be doing a lot of stuff with sharks soon and it’s a lot easier to dive with sharks if you’ve not got a lot of gear on you.

How was working on ‘Spectre’ as the lead actress’s stunt double?

It was amazing. It’s the job every single stunt man or woman has ever dreamed of. The one you want to do is Bond. It came about really quickly, I auditioned and was told I had it within a week. It was an amazing experience. It was the longest film I’ve ever worked on in the sense that filming took nearly a year.

Are you a Bond fan?

Always. Pierce is my Bond because he was of my generation. I’ve always been a massive fan of the movies.

I know you can’t tell us a lot about the stunts from Bond, but what would you say was the craziest stunt you’ve ever done?

That’s hard. There’s crazy fun and crazy injurious. I’ve gotten badly hurt from really boring stunts. Just hitting my head on the roof of a car. Or I can jump off a building and be fine. Nothing seems that crazy or dangerous because there are so many safety precautions taken. Things with fire might be the craziest. But there’s so much safety behind it. I’ve done a lot of car work, horse work and a lot of underwater work which is always fun. I just worked on Tim Burton’s new movie and it was so cool.

What’s been your worst injury?

I had my shoulder reconstructed a few times now from just displacing it so many times in the last few years. I’ve broken a lot of bones, but nothing on my face. Ankles, legs, arms, wrists, collarbones, ribs, shoulder bones. But honestly, a lot of that has just been me training for stunts, not even doing them properly. Trying crazy things I shouldn’t be trying.

You mentioned an upcoming project with sharks. What’s that going to be about?

I’ve been writing a documentary for about a year now about the swimming of sharks. I’m trying to get as close and personal as I can to show that they’re not as scary as people think. It’s turned into a much bigger project now about poaching and hunting. I’m aiming to be underwater without a lot of gear. It’s more freedom.

You’ve worked on some crazy projects. Which would you say was your favourite to be a part of?

Surprisingly, Game of Thrones. I thought it was going to be manic because it’s such a big production and there are so many people working on it, but it was the calmest set I’ve ever been on. That’s my favourite acting experience. Stunt-wise, of course I’d have to go with Spectre. I still can’t believe I got to be a part of such an iconic piece of film history.

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