Before Dayna Grant could even walk, her father would tie her into the saddle of a horse so she could go riding. This fostered a love of horseback riding and performance that eventually lead Grant into a career as a Hollywood stuntwoman.
Grant got her first job as a stunt double working on the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. After the crew found out that she could ride horses as well, she started getting hired for more jobs as a stunt rider. She has worked on other major motion pictures, including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Mad Max: Fury Road, and more.
Grant says she loves working as a stuntwoman because every day at work is different.
“When you turn up to set in the morning, it’s the rush of performing something different every day to a whole bunch of people,” she explains. “If I can impress the people in the crew, I feel like I’ve done my job right.”
The stunt double works closely with the crew in every aspect, from aerial performances to full-on body burns. Note: A body burn is a type of fire stunt, where a stunt person is lit on fire while wearing protective clothing.
“Body burns are really exciting and there’s a lot of trust put in other people,” she says. “When I start to feel the warmth, I go down and my team puts me out. They’ve got to make a decision at the drop of a hat, and it could be the difference between your life or not.”
Grant’s worst injury while working happened when a dagger went through her head and, as a result, she went into cardiac arrest. But that didn’t scare her. She was back at work a week later, again wielding daggers.
Grant works on set five days a week, and on weekends, she teaches at a stunt school.
“I didn’t need another income,” Grant says of starting the stunt school. “I did it because I felt like there were people out there that this is their dream, and I wanted to make their dreams come true.”
Grant is incredibly proud when she sees her students go on to do stunt work around the world. She believes that it is a wonderful and fulfilling career that anyone who is interested should pursue.
Grant has one last piece of advice for aspiring stunt doubles, “When you get knocked down and you have those hard, dark days, you just get back on that horse again and just keep going.”
Watch the above video to learn more about Grant’s work as a professional Hollywood stuntwoman.