If you were the kind of little girl who loved jumping out of trees, having play sword fights, and wearing costumes, then envy Jessica Harbeck, a professional stuntwoman. Not only does she get paid to be (fake) punched in the face and kicked around, she has a blast doing it. AfterEllen.com talked to Jessica about her work, being a woman in one of Hollywood’s oldest boys’ clubs, and her Best. Day. Ever. Hint: It involves lingerie and a football.
Jessica Harbeck: Stuntwoman
AfterEllen.com: The first thing a lot of people will probably wonder is how do you become a stuntwoman? It’s not like you can major in it in college.
Jessica Harbeck: Getting into stunts is different for each person in the business. I got really lucky. I moved out here with the intention of getting into stunts, after finishing school in Boulder, Colorado.
AE: What does a stunt person major in, in college?
JH: [laughs] I was an English Lit major.
AE: What happened after you arrived in LA with your English Lit degree?
JH: The first movie set I got on, I was doing extras work. After saying I wanted to do stunts, someone said, “Oh, you should meet my friend, Bonsai.” I knew nothing, I was so green. And so, I was like, “OK, I’ll meet Bonsai.” Then, I met a guy named, Charlie Brewer, who truly mentored me and gave me the biggest help. I was lucky, because the way you get in, is to be mentored. He took me under his wing and taught me the ins and outs of the business.
AE: Have you ever been seriously hurt?
JH: Nothing on set. Most of my injuries come from training. I’ve been cut in a sword fight. Nothing serious – a two-stitch deal.