What it takes to be a stunt per­former

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES & SERVICES - Laura Tri­este

SKID­DING around in race cars, sky­div­ing in a corn suit and play­ing a dead body float­ing in freez­ing wa­ter – it’s all in a day’s work for Talayna Moana Nikora.

The stunt per­former, pre­ci­sion driver and ac­tor of­ten has lit­tle idea of what to ex­pect on set but is al­ways up for a chal­lenge.

She cred­its her stunt­man fa­ther Rangi Nikora for the sense of ad­ven­ture she has had from child­hood, spend­ing week­ends do­ing gym­nas­tics, fit­ness cir­cuits and horse­back rid­ing.

“I had my first mo­tor­bike at five and I jumped off a 3m div­ing board be­fore I was one,” she says.

“All of the kids wanted to play at my house.”

Her dreams of fol­low­ing in her fa­ther’s foot­steps were put on hold af­ter he died when she was 14, but Nikora never strayed from the film in­dus­try she grew up in.

Af­ter years work­ing as an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor, ac­tor, safety of­fi­cer and traf­fic con­trol su­per­vi­sor for Who Dares – the stunt and safety ex­pert business founded by her fa­ther, she re­turned to her roots and got her stunt grad­ing in 2009.

Nikora soon found her­self hang­ing up­side down in a car ex­plo­sion as Kate Ritchie’s stunt dou­ble in the TV drama Cops L.A.C and has since per­formed stunts in feature films in­clud­ing Gods of Egypt and A Few Best Men. Get­ting to work on Mad Max Fury Road in 2014 was a high­light, along­side peo­ple who worked with her fa­ther on Mad Max Be­yond Thun­der­dome in 1985.

“That is the job that I hold dear­est to my heart,” Nikora says.

While it is a lot of fun, Nikora says be­ing a stunt per­former takes more than a fear­less at­ti­tude.

“You’ve got to do gym­nas­tics classes, driv­ing classes, Kung Fu classes and keep your fit­ness up,” she says.

“Stunt per­form­ers are highly trained ath­letes and peo­ple are get­ting fit­ter and faster than ever.” More in­for­ma­tion at who­dares2.com

Stunt per­former Talayna Moana Nikora has a ca­reer that is on fire. Pic­ture: Cat Sweeney

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