Amanda Seyfried, 24, is the UK’s leading female parkour athlete. She has starred in adverts, including being stunt double for Ellie Goulding in Nike’s 2014 ad campaign. McDonnell has also performed as a double for Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil.
As a stunt performer, it’s important to be able to distinguish between perceived danger and real danger. Often, our brains tell us that something is dangerous because it’s outside our comfort zone when, in reality, we’re safe.
I wouldn’t perform a stunt if it was outside my capability – there would be no point in putting myself at risk for one job and not being able to work on a future job – but I do have to work outside my comfort zone from time to time. On commercials, there isn’t always a stunt coordinator, so I have to decide if the location and stunt is feasible. I know my capabilities really well, though, so this doesn’t take me long.’
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The majority of my work is performing as a parkour athlete in commercials. However, I’ve also worked as a stunt double on TV and in films. I also competed on series one, two and three of Ninja Warrior UK and was the first woman to make it to the final of the show. That was definitely a career highlight.’
I’ve worked on several films. I worked in the stunt department on Assassin’s Creed. I was also brought in as Milla Jovovich’s double for the laser-room sequence in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which is an iconic scene from the film. I had to jump, flip and somersault over moving lasers. ‘Earlier this year, I also worked on a Russian film called Selfie, which involved a lot of running and jumping from a rooftop in Moscow during the winter! The stunt coordinators on movies make sure the stunts are as safe as they possibly can be.’
I have an unstructured fitness routine, as I’m often away working. When I’m in the UK for a while, I’ll go to the gym four to five times a week to lift weights and do a very small amount of cardio. My downloadable Par‘core’ workout on shockabsorber.co.uk contains some essential moves (think burpees and kettlebell swings). When travelling, I tend to do bodyweight training. I need the right gear for my job. The new Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly Bra (pictured, above), for example, allows me to try moves while feeling supported but not weighed down.’