For A Living documents extraordinary women thriving within unique careers. From a professional cuddler to a celebrity exorcist, we explore niche professions that women in the field are dominating.
Stuntpeople are the unsung heroes of Hollywood action films and slapstick comedies. If they do their jobs right, it’s not them we see hanging from cliffs and falling down stairs — it's the actors on the billboards. For Luci Romberg, a normal day at work can involve anything from being set on fire and jumping through glass to hanging from a helicopter and getting blasted by a car.
A stuntperson can earn anything from as little as $10,000 (£7,700) a year to six figures and a million dollars. You know you’ve made it when an actor includes you in their contract, “because production has to come to you first,” she explains. Melissa McCarthy is Romberg’s champion, and they’ve worked together in many of McCarthy’s movies, like Spy and Ghostbusters: “There’s no way I could’ve ever dreamt to work with someone so talented, so funny, so loyal.”
So much of Romberg’s work goes beyond getting hit by cars and fight choreography. Stunt performers, she says, are absolutely actors: “I love to put on the wardrobe, put on my stuff, and then become Melissa.”
But just because she’s brave doesn’t mean she’s entirely fearless. Romberg treats her body like a temple because it’s her asset. “The stronger you are, the less likely you are to get injured,” she says. She adds that the healthier your body, the longer you get to work and the more money you make. “Bravery is definitely important. You need to be tough, you need to know that there are going to be times when you get hurt.”