Posted on April 08 2015
This Week's Wednesday Woman is the amazing Ky Furneaux ~ based in LA, she is an author, stunt woman, TV Host, survival expert and guide. Read about how she challenged herself back to fitness following a terrible car accident, before becoming stunt woman to the stars.
Bardega: Ky, can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into stunt work?
Fy Furneaux: I was always a really adventurous kid and grew up mostly in small towns in South Australia. My first job was being an outdoor guide and I ran rock climbing, sailing, kayaking and hiking courses for all types of people from corporate groups to juvenile offenders. Whilst I was running a course with a bunch of school kids one day and playing a fairly physical game, one of the kids suggested I become a stunt woman. I had never heard of such a career but it sounded interesting so I decided to give it a go.
I flew to Vancouver in Canada because there was a lot of film work happening there and wandered around asking people for information until I met people who helped mentor me to become a stunt performer.
I chose to train in fighting as all the girls my height there were gymnasts and I thought it would be better to be different and stand out. After a year of training hard, I was fortunate enough to land a job on a series called Dead Like Me and that's where it all started.
Bardega: What is it like working in what is considered a male dominated industry?
Furneaux: I grew up buddying around with my dad and all my jobs and hobbies have always been in male dominated fields. To be honest, I didn't even notice this until just recently. I have never felt the need to compete with men; I have always just strived to be the best person I could be in whatever I was doing, so I don't think it was strange for me at all.
Sometimes it feels a little unfair in stunts when you are doing fight scenes and falling down in skimpy outfits that don't hide pads, wearing slippery high heels and the male person you are fighting is in a suit with a whole rugby kit of stunt pads under their outfit, but that is really just part of the challenge of the job.
Bardega: You were involved in a bad car accident that left you bed ridden at 19 - what gave you the motivation and determination to prove the doctors wrong when they suggested your mobility would be impaired?
Furneaux: I was so active before the accident that the idea of the life the doctors suggested I might have after the accident seemed like a life I didn't want to live. I have always had a pretty positive outlook on life and am very stubborn so I decided I would see for myself what was possible or not.
As I pushed my own rehab and limits, I realised that what the doctors had suggested was really a worst case scenario, not the only option. With every small victory I had, it drove me to see how much further I could push it, and I never found my limits.
I also had a great support base. My mum and dad always believed I could do whatever I dreamed of and my friends really surrounded me and supported my road back to health.
Bardega: You have doubled for several superheroes - which was your favourite and why?
Furneaux: I love doubling superheroes. Lady Sif from the Thor movies has been my favorite character to play. I doubled Jaimie Alexander for a full 7 months with rehearsals and filming so I got to really immerse myself into the character.
I loved wearing the old style armour, standing in the costume with a sword ready for action made me feel like I could take on the world! The cast and crew were fabulous and I loved working with Kenneth Branagh, he is such a lovely man.
I got to do some amazing stunts that are rare for a female to get to do. Lady Sif had the most action in the movie, apart from Thor, and I ended up winning a World Taurus Stunt Award (the industry Oscar equivalent) for the Best Female Stunt Performer in the world for the stunts I did on the movie.
Bardega: Congrats! What and who inspires you?
Furneaux: People who are uniquely themselves inspire me. I love seeing people dancing with abandon or singing at the top of their lungs.
Seeing passion in someone for something they believe in inspires me and watching people overcome incredible odds to achieve their own greatness inspires me.
Bardega: What advice would you give a younger Ky?
Furneaux: I would tell her that everything the Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen song says is true :). And enjoy the moment.
I think I spent a lot time looking forward and striving towards my goals but I needed to spend a little more time appreciating everything about the moment I was in.
Thanks to Russell Stuart for coordinating this interview.