We all find the action, supernatural, sci-fi genre pretty interesting, and watching the action sequences in such movies or series just blows our minds, doesn’t it? We as an audience get impressed by the efforts done by our favorite actors, and the entire team behind the movie/series. But, we rarely think about the stunt doubles who make the action scenes look effortless, making our jaws drop.
Meet Lori O’Connell, who works as a stunt double in the Vancouver film industry. Stunt double/woman – now that’s a word that we rarely get to hear, see, know about the job.
The profession of a stunt performer is pretty badass but it comes with its own set of risks that includes severe bodily injury and in some unfortunate cases, death of the person.
Lori O’Connell has been working as a stunt double/performer in the Vancouver acting industry for many years now. She is a trained martial artist. Along with this, she holds the rank of 5th degree in Can-Ryu, which is a modern form of Jiu-Jitsu. Lori also loves to explore the outdoor world doing activities like kayaking, hiking, scuba diving. Not only this, she maintains a blog focussing on keto diet recipes – as her Instagram bio says, she is a fat fuelled nature ninja indeed!
She has performed as a stunt double in some of the most popular series such as The Haunting Of Bly Manor, Supernatural, Once Upon A Time, Siren, etc.
Recently, Lori came out as bi-sexual over Instagram with a post update, which is huge! More power to you, girl! The best part about her coming out is that her husband is really supportive in this case. A couple truly made in heaven, isn’t it!
The Voice Of Woman team is here today shedding some light on the life of none other than the adventurous, the impressive Lori O’Connell. Read this to know all about her- her work as a stunt double/performer, some of the craziest stunt scenes that she has done, her take on the keto diet, and her coming to terms with her sexuality.
You have worked as a stunt woman in several TV series and movies. How has been your journey so far in this profession?
I have been doing stunt work for the Vancouver film industry since 2005, but it’s only been in the last 5 years that my career has really taken off. I truly love the work that I do and I am always learning new skills. In my career, I have fought and fallen down several times in different ways. I have also done a lot of freediving and breath-hold water stunts.
A couple of my more notable jobs include stunt doubling Dani on The Haunting of Bly Manor, some wire gags stunt doubling for Regina (the Evil Queen) on Once Upon a Time, and stunt doubling Ryn, the main mermaid on Siren.
Watch Lori O’Connell in action, by clicking here.
Doing stunts is quite risky and life-threatening. How do you keep yourself safe while performing dangerous stunts?
Being a stunt performer is all about taking calculated risks. I don’t feel that I am ever doing anything unsafe for me. Admittedly, I have a vastly different skillset from the average person, but I would never accept a job that I feel would be dangerous for me due to the lack of knowledge or skills required.
To decrease the risks of performing stunts, I stay in good shape, keep my skills sharp, but also have a wide variety of pads for protection.
What is the craziest stunt action you have ever done?
The three biggest stunts I have done are as follows:
- A car hit in Siren.
- A full-body burn for Twin Pool.
- An explosion wire pull for the new mini-series of The Stand.
What is the worst injury you have had to endure while working?
The worst injury I have ever gotten was a separated shoulder. I count myself really fortunate that I have had very few major injuries.
What are the prerequisites to becoming a stunt woman successfully?
You should at least have a high level of expertise in one of the core competencies of a stunt performer (i.e. martial arts, gymnastics, driving, etc.). You should also have a threshold for handling discomfort, have good general body awareness, be able to listen well and follow instructions, and not scare too easily.
There’s a lot more to it than that, of course. I would recommend that anyone who is considering a stunt career, must read this.
You have a blog on the keto diet, and your recipes look yum! Please share some tips on how to try the keto diet for beginners.
Do your homework. It’s a big deal to make such a significant change to your diet. It may not be right for you and your body, but even if it is, there are a lot of factors that contribute to converting to it successfully. Read books and blogs, listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos and learn everything about starting out before you give the keto diet a shot.
It is always the actors who get the praise for the action sequence and never the stunt doubles. How do you deal with this?
I’m not in it for the fame, so it really doesn’t bother me. The people and productions I work with respect to my skills, as well as the actors themselves for the most part. This is more than enough for me. Plus, I love and enjoy what I do. That is rewarding enough.
You recently came out as bisexual. We would love to know about your journey from the time you had doubts about this until now.
It wasn’t a question of having doubts. I had fully repressed my bisexuality until I figured it all out recently through a lot of meditation, journaling and personal reflection.
I know it’s a bit strange to come out at my stage of life, being married to a man and all, but my choice to do so was to honour my true self and to help reduce bi-erasure that commonly occurs in our culture.
To read about my whole journey, check out my blog post.
According to you, what is more difficult – coming out to yourself or the world?
Being that I repressed my bisexuality for decades, coming out to myself was by far the bigger challenge. Once I had done it, it was only 3 weeks later that I came out to the world.
Your advice for all women who might be doubtful about their sexuality?
Listen to your intuition. No one can tell you what your sexuality or gender identity is, except you. By knowing and accepting your sexuality and gender, you can live more authentically as your true self, regardless of whether you come out to the world.
Please share a message for all our readers at The Voice of Woman.
Be who you really are and share your gifts with the world. This is how we can live a truly inspired life.