“Even when I got on the stunt register there was still blacking up”

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OPENING UP on the BBC award-winning Sista Collective podcast British stunt actress Amanda Foster painted a bleak picture of life on set when she first sauntered into the business 23-years-ago.

In Coronation Street I doubled up with Shobna Gulati… it was her exit from the show, The Rovers was on fire and she falls down this grated metal staircase wearing this tiny mini skirt and tights

Amanda Foster

The proud mother says while she has since seen things change for the better in that time, in a lot of respects, there is still a very long way to go.

Foster started her career after being told there were no black women registered as stunt women in Britain back in the ‘90s.

Describing how she pushed through six years of training then working as single mum and being determined to make a success of herself, Foster’s story will inspire everyone who sits down to take it in.

In the latest instalment of the Sista Collective podcast, Foster talks about her career working on over 200 films and discrimination in the industry including how white people are blacked up to double for black actresses.

Asked by the Sista Collective if she still sees blacking up happening today Amanda said: “Of course. Oh, my God. Come on. Listen, I really don’t want to start going into politics of this thing, but yes…

“Do you know how many times actresses have told me that they’ve asked for me specifically [to double them for a film] and they are told ‘No, no, no, no. Amanda’s working’ and I’ve never even had a call. I’m sitting at home twiddling my fingers like.

“It’s been going on for years and that annoyed me immensely and I voiced my opinion and that worked against me as it does, because you ‘shut up and put up and be grateful.’  

Amanda Foster at the 3rd Annual Taurus World Stunt Awards at Paramount Studios, 2003

“But no I’m not grateful. I dragged my kids around six years trying to get these qualifications.

“I’ve got them and some of the people that are working haven’t even got qualifications because they’re connected to this one or that one.”

Talking about how stunt women often have less protection than men, Foster said: “It depends on the costumes but women are usually scantily clad in high shoes and pretty little skirts and things…. you have to take the brunt of the fall in what you’re wearing.

“In Coronation Street I doubled up with Shobna Gulati… it was her exit from the show, The Rovers was on fire and she falls down this grated metal staircase wearing this tiny mini skirt and tights.

“I had to smash and take the brunt of it all … the way down the staircase in this tiny skirt. Yeah, I mean, women do take the knocks, but it is what it is.”

The Sista Collective is a BBC England, BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Sound’s production offering candid conversation by women of colour, for all to enjoy.

It is executive produced and presented by Jessie Aru Phillips who is joined weekly by co-presenters Simone Riley, Letitia George and Aminata Kamara, together they talk and have fun reflecting the true diversity of the black British experience in the UK.


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