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Struggles of a She-Stunter: A glimpse into Brandy Valdez's young street stunt career PDF Print E-mail
Written by Becky Shimek   

 

brandy homeWe first met Brandy Valdez last March when we asked her to perform a few minutes during a Helmet Hair magazine.com event for women riders, a new addition to the weekend-long South Texas Motorcycle Show. Brandy was the sole female in the state who answered an invitation to compete in the “Extreme Stunt Exhibit” during the show – a pretty ballsy move for any nineteen-year-old, no matter what gender. 

 

Although Brandy did not make it to the final round of the competition, her raw talent scored big withautograph the crowds as they lined up to get her autograph. But she was humble in soaking up the glory; she already knew making a name for herself in this field was an uphill battle. That’s because she needs to be taken seriously. Young, thin, tall, and blonde, Brandy could potentially be any sports marketer’s dream. If you talk to her though, it’s obvious she’s not into the hype. She’s not flashy, she doesn’t wear makeup, and she’s very courteous – traits you might not normally associate with the street-stunting world. Brandy, instead, is banking on her self-taught skill, one of which she’s been honing since she began riding in 2006. 

Since then, Brandy has competed or performed in several different venues, slowly gaining creds along the way. It was no real surprise to learn that Jessica Maine, the most notable female street stunter in America, joined forces with Brandy and Alicia Speck forming “Team Rebella” the nation’s first all-female street stunt team.

 

Growing Pains 

As with all pioneering feats, Team Rebella has experienced their share of growing pains. For starters, according to Brandy, they’ve been stiffed out of payment on more than one occasion. “I’ve been given the run around by 95% of the people that I come into contact with” says Brandy. It was Team Rebella’s debut during the 2008 show, Clutch Control, in Philadelphia where the team got their first taste of deception. “Alicia and I competed in the first ever female stunt competition and Jessica was a judge along with Jason Britton and Tony Carbajal.

legs fly highThe promoter never paid us prize money; he didn’t even pay Jessica for her performance. And the show aired on the Speed Channel.” Another hurdle for Brandy has been location. She lives in Texas while Jessica and Alicia are in California. Brandy missed an opportunity to perform in a Seattle gig because the promoter refused to pay her transportation fees. But spoken like a true professional and supportive team member she mentions the show did go on smoothly with out her. 

Brandy and Team Rebella’s experiences ring a familiar tone with famed Hollywood stunt professional, Jennifer Caputo, whose credits include Mission Impossible III, The Aviator, Catwoman, The Fast and the Furious, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and Ultraviolet.  

“It’s sad to hear about anyone getting taken advantage of…It is an unfortunate thing that does happen quite a bit in this industry especially to those with talent and little knowledge about how things actually work.” 

Jennifer offers a few tips, which you might think are obvious, but given the promise of fame, sometimes are easy to overlook. She says “The key is: ‘Don’t trust anyone’ and ‘Get paid up front.’ Having a signed contract is a definite plus, but another piece of advice is to leave a paper/electronic trail. If all correspondence is through emails and someone outside the immediate circle is covered on them, when it's time to get paid - if not done in advance - there will be proof and a timeline of events and discussions.” 

Her other piece of advice is to get a second opinion. “Have someone call to find out that what is happening is standard procedure. Often things can be nipped in the bud if questions regarding acceptable and standard operating procedures are brought into question. This is particularly important for stunts and stunt performers in two very distinct areas: payment and safety.” brandy 1

Since our conversation with Jennifer, she was moved by Brandy’s and Team Rebella’s struggles and has offered to provide her services. Another positive sign that women are really looking out for each other in this industry! 

Even though Brandy’s excitement about her progress thus far has been dulled from her taste of reality, she remains optimistic. “I haven't been a part of this industry for longer than two years so all I have to do is hope for the best. I have been paying out of my pocket to make it to stunt shows and competitions out of town just to get my name out there and have fun.”
 

 
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