Alicia White, 34, shares her amazing story with Take 5…
I sipped my cuppa and sighed.
“Long night,” I said to my colleague, Lorna.
It was 2016 and we were both working as paramedics, where we’d endured countless physically and verbally violent patients.
On this occasion, two patients had spat in our faces, a record low for a Friday night.
When things got tough, we’d often reimagine our life outside of the emergency services.
“You should be a stunt woman,” Lorna said.
“Is that even a real job?” I laughed.
After seven years as a paramedic, the burnout associated with being an emergency worker had well and truly set in. On an average shift, we would witness some of the best and worst days of people’s lives. Pivotal life moments for our patients were just one of many traumas witnessed by us in one shift.
But Lorna made me think.
From the age of two, I was training in Judo since my grandad John was the owner-operator of the local club. By five, I was competing for national titles.
After he passed away at 62, I took some time away from martial arts but got back into zen do kai, a form of mixed martial arts, as an adult.
Fighting, along with training in aerial arts, was something I enjoyed to blow off steam after work. Whether it was administering adrenaline or chasing after it, I knew that an office job simply wasn’t for me. So being a stunt person sounded perfect.
After my shift ended, I googled stunt courses and discovered The Stunt Academy on the Gold Coast.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
At 28, I decided if I was going to do this, it was now or never.
So I set about making it happen.
Within three weeks, I’d taken extended leave without pay from work and moved over to Queensland to do the course.
Over the next couple of years, I learned how to fall and absorb impact, how to fight at a distance and make the “hits” sell it to camera, I learnt wirework and parkour, and even how to be set on fire.
It was physically demanding, but I loved it.
In my first paid role, I was cast as a double for an actress in the TV show Harrow, where I was knocked to the floor and tackled by security.
On a trip back to Perth, I reconnected with an old schoolmate, Brett, and we hit it off since he too worked in the film and tv industry.
“I’ll come visit you in Queensland,” he said.
Within three months, he’d moved over to live with me. And not long after that, we were engaged and pregnant with our first child, Lockie.
Soon after, I returned to stunts and was asked to perform in Baz Lurhmann’s blockbuster movie, Elvis.
“A solid, yes!” I told the stunt coordinator.
Wearing a 1950s dress, I along with other stunt women, was tasked with storming the stage where Elvis was performing.
It was hard to believe that I was being paid to do this!
While stunt work comes in ebbs and flows, I decided to combine my two loves and set up a first aid training business called Action & Emergency.
As a mum, first aid suddenly seemed so much more important to me. It made sense to teach the community how to look after them when I couldn’t be there.
The knock on effect was huge. It’s not just my kids taken care of, it’s everyone else’s kids too.
In November 2019 we moved back to Perth to be closer to family and friends.
Our work meant that we would still have to travel but thankfully if one of us was working, the other would stay home and look after our boy.
One day, while Brett was working on a whale documentary out at sea, I got a call from a stunt coordinator.
“Are you free next week? We are filming Thor Love & Thunder in Sydney,” he said.
“Absolutely!” I lied. With the work just days away, I created a roster of babysitters and left a note on the fridge for Brett to come home to.
Gone to Sydney to work on Thor, Lockie is with your mum. Back in two weeks, it read.
In September 2022, Brett and I had our second son, Lando. On maternity leave, I focussed on building my business in Perth. I was even a finalist for an Australian business award.
As Lockie grows up, he too is turning into quite the adrenaline junkie. He’d often take a hard tumble from his bike as I watched on.
“Are you okay buddy?” I’d ask.
“I’m good,” he’d mutter, sticking his thumb up in the air before saddling back up for the next round.
When strangers meet me, they’d have no idea that I am a stunt performer. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now, I’m pretty good at being knocked down but even better at getting back up again.