Malaysian stuntwoman Fiza Fukazawa is kicking down doorways in a male-dominated trade

“Oh you are able to do stunts?”; “We’ve by no means had a lady do stunts.”; “Can a lady actually do it?”

These had been among the many feedback Nurul Hafiza Mohd Sakri was greeted with on her first day on the job as a stuntwoman.

“I saved quiet. I didn’t need to say that ‘Sure, I can do that or that.’ I wished to show myself by way of my work, not my phrases, ” she recounts her early beginnings as a stuntwoman to StarLifestyle.

Recognized professionally as Fiza Fukazawa, the 32-year-old has spent the previous 5 years piercing by way of this veil of scepticism, maybe stemmed by the truth that a lady doing stunt work was nearly unparalleled within the native leisure trade for a very long time.

She has since gone on to carry out stunts for varied native blockbusters together with Polis Evo 2 and Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba.

“I by no means considered being a stuntwoman, ” says Fiza, who stands at 1.58m tall.

She began out as a dancer. “I didn’t get the chance to additional my research. After SPM, I needed to instantly begin working to assist my household.”

After secondary college, she educated as a part of a Chinese language dance troupe for 4 months earlier than making it on her personal as a contract dancer.

She spent the subsequent decade or so establishing an organization that provides quite a lot of performances – from dancing to fireside performances – to company occasions and events. “I actually loved my work. I used to be very blissful for these 10 years.”

However an accident modified all the pieces.

In 2012, whereas making an attempt a hearth respiration efficiency (the place performers spew out a blast of flame), one thing went fallacious and Fiza suffered burns on her face.

Her adopted daughter was over a 12 months previous on the time and with a number of obligations weighing on her shoulders, Fiza broke down.

“It was my second day on the ICU and I began crying. I considered my future. I didn’t know what my face will appear like after this. I’ll must do one thing behind the scenes, ” she says.Many looked down on her abilities initially but the dancer-turned-stuntwoman is proving her critics wrong.Many regarded down on her skills initially however the dancer-turned-stuntwoman is proving her critics fallacious.

Beside her dance background, Fiza had earned a black belt in karate at 14, even representing her college on the Sukma Video games.

“I believed to myself what may I do this was inside my talent set. That was how I turned to stunts, ” she explains.

Fiza started to hunt out methods she may break into the stunt trade.

“After a few 12 months, my face healed utterly and I began going for castings. They had been on the lookout for actors however I went anyway to make connections.”

Progressively, she made inroads into the stunt group and landed her first stunt job.

“I began with actually easy stunts like falling off stairs and hand-to-hand fight. In fact, while you’ve simply began, you’re not going to be paid nicely, so I continued dancing on the facet, ” she says.

Fiza describes her job scope: “I take orders from the stunt director. He already has a choreography in thoughts and he’ll inform me what he desires me to do.

“From his directions, I’ve to think about what it’ll appear like within the scene and apply it. If I can’t think about it, I ask them to exhibit for me first.”

She says it often takes two to 3 takes to nail the scene.

“As soon as, there was a scene the place I needed to be thrown on the bottom on the finish of a battle choreography. The stunt director wished it to be excellent so I ended up doing 12 takes!”

Some doubted her capability to make it within the male-dominated discipline however Fiza says it solely fuelled her resolve to excel. “So I made a decision to sharpen my expertise and add to them.”

Fiza used her personal financial savings to enrol in stunt academies in Australia and the USA.

“I additionally labored on getting a skydiving license in Australia and scuba diving license domestically. They value lots however on this trade, you want to have all these licenses. You by no means know while you’ll get an motion film that requires them.”

At this time, she is ready to do stunts involving vehicles, wires, weapons, hand-to-hand fight apart from skydive and scuba dive.

Fiza financed her own skydiving course to make sure she has all the skills she needs to be a stuntwoman. Photo: HandoutFiza financed her personal skydiving course to ensure she has all the talents she must be a stuntwoman. Photograph: Handout

Her physique of labor contains worldwide productions like American motion collection Strike Again and China’s big-budget catastrophe movie Skyfire.

Regionally, Fiza was a stunt double for Nabila Huda, who performed a journalist in 2017’s Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba, and Raline Shah, who performed a highly-capable cop in 2018’s Polis Evo 2.

She says having extra sturdy feminine characters in Malaysian cinema additionally imply extra alternatives for stuntwomen.

“If the character within the film is a lady, it is smart to have a lady as her stunt double.”

Extra importantly, Fiza believes the rise in these empowering feminine figures broadens the illustration of ladies in movies.

“It reveals that girls aren’t simply seen as housewives. They are often cops, they are often something they need to be.”

Since starting her profession as a stuntwoman, Fiza has seen three different ladies becoming a member of the trade as nicely.

“Once they ask me for recommendation, I’ll share what data I’ve. And if there are stunt jobs that I’m not capable of tackle, I’ll advocate them to my contacts.”

Requested what recommendation she would give different aspiring stuntwomen, Fiza provides: “If anybody doubts you, you simply ignore them. Solely you understand your strengths. You simply present them what you are able to do and when you’ve confirmed your self, they’ll go, ‘Wow!’”

“So now once I get on a film set, individuals say, ‘Oh sure, you’re that stuntwoman.’ And that makes me blissful.”

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