As part of International Women’s Day 2019, we are celebrating remarkable women working in film and TV – Amanda Foster is one such woman. Having first worked as a model and actress she went on to become Britain’s only Black Female Stuntwoman when she completing her training in 1997. She has worked with directors Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle and Steven Summers and doubled for a whole host of names include Halle Berry, Beyonce, Whoopie Goldberg, Vivica Fox, Naomie Harris and Nia Long. She has been honoured by Screen Nation, Screen Actors Guild and received a Taurus World Stunt Award. She was also the face of the national No.7 Age Defying Serum campaign featuring in adverts and posters across the UK. Karla Williams recently caught up with her to talk about her extraordinary career.
Why did you decided to become a stunt woman?
I have worked in the film industry for over 30 years. I started as an actress in theatre and went on to work as a background artist (extra) for 10 years. In the early 1990’s I was working on a film called Patriot Games where a huge stunt scene was taking place. I found out there were no black stunt woman in the UK and decided to train to become the first. Being a single mother of three, it took six years to complete my training. I qualified in 1997 and have been working as a stunt performer ever since.
You have had an incredibly successful career, appearing in over 250 films, TV commercials and video productions and spanning 30 years in the industry. What does it take to maintain that level of success?
I believe we all measure success in different ways. Working as an artist can be inconsistent with very quiet periods. It can be frustrating waiting for the phone to ring for the next job. It is important to believe in yourself even if others don’t.
What have been some of the challenges you have had to overcome in your career?
Being the first black female professional in any arena is similar to being put up front on a battle field. It is not about the title. It is about what you have had to endure whilst trying to kick down that door and secure your place within a system that does not like change.
What has been the most memorable project you have worked on and why?
The No7 campaign was the best as It was a celebration of mature women doing their thing. It’s rare to be seen as myself as I am always dressed up as the actress I’m doubling. So, it was great to get the opportunity to be seen and celebrated for my 50th birthday!
What has been the greatest achievement in your career thus far?
The fact that I am still here! I won a Taurus World Stunt award for doubling Halle Berry on 007 film Die Another Day, a Screen Actors Guild award, Screen Nation Vanguard award and was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. All of which I’m grateful for. Although I truly believe my greatest achievement was finishing my training. Six years is a long time. There were times I just wanted to quit, but with so much at stake, failure was not an option.
What advice would you give to other women who want to be a stunt woman?
You have to be prepared to take knocks. There is little glamour in it. There is no guarantee of work once you’ve qualified. Do your research and if it’s what you want. Go for it!
If you could change the film and TV industry in one significant way, what would that change be and why?
I believe its society that needs to change. The only way we can do that is by working on yourself. Be the best human being you can be.