A prison officer with a passion for horse-riding, Amy Obiajulu never imagined her hobby would lead to her appearing in a movie.
Here, Amy shares how she ended up filming for five weeks on the Canary Islands for Wonder Woman 1984.
How I ended up auditioning for Wonder Woman
Horse riding is Amy’s passion and her way of switching off after a hard day at work as a prison officer. But she rarely sees other people of colour on the horse riding circuit.
Out of the blue, she received a call from a friend who said a film company was struggling to find mixed-race females who can ride and could she pass on her details?
“A guy from The Devil’s Horsemen, they provide horses for TV and film, contacted me asking me to send some photos and I got an audition,” Amy said.
The audition was for Wonder Woman 1984, and they were looking for horse riders to play stunt doubles for Amazon warriors.
Amy went along for her horse riding audition and didn’t hear back for ten days. But then she was called back for a second audition.
“I turned up and there were three of us,” Amy explained. “I was so excited as I am on the horse circuit and you just don’t see people of colour.”
It wasn’t long before Amy learned she’d got the job – and was asked to take five weeks off work for filming.
“I went to my boss and said I need five weeks off, I’m going to be in a movie,” Amy said. “They just laughed at me and I was like ‘no, seriously’. When they realised I was serious they had my back and were right behind me.”
On the movie set
Amy and the rest of the cast were flown out to the Canary Islands in 2018 for the five-week filming stint.
“I have never done anything like that in my life,” Amy said. “Everything was paid for, we were staying in five-star hotels and there was food on set all the time. We were treated like movie stars even though I was a stunt double.
“You never see our faces in the film but we’d still have our hair and makeup done on a daily basis. It was what I’d imagine it is like to be a movie star.”
But it wasn’t a holiday – and work soon began.
“Filming was quite intense. I am not a stunt person but before I went, The Devil’s Horsemen had to train us in stunts. They said you’re going to have to hang off the side of the horse, you’ll be vaulting on and off the horse, so we had training before we went there. I remember when we did vaulting we really felt the pressure. They make you film over and over again until you get the shot they want.
“At one point, I had a naughty horse who had never been in the sea before, so we had to switch horses. Things don’t always go to plan. We were filming along a cliff edge with a sheer drop so that was quite scary. But it was the best five weeks.”
“When I came back I went back to my day job and I really struggled on what to do next,” Amy said. “A career in stunts is quite expensive and to get on the stunt register you have to be amazing. I did consider it.”
But as it turns out, it wasn’t to be Amy’s only experience on a film set.
“I did have another opportunity,” Amy said. “I thought it was a one-off, but I had a call from a stunt coordinator who got my details from The Devil’s Horsemen. They were doing a pilot of The Dark Tower, a Stephen King novel. I went to Croatia for that for three weeks. But in the end, the pilot didn’t get picked up so it was never out there.”
On whether she wants to do more film work in the future, Amy said: “You never know, I didn’t actually promote myself. If it happens again it happens. If it doesn’t I had that amazing opportunity.”
Working as a prison officer
Amy has worked as a prison officer for 15 years and says although it’s a stressful job she wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Some days it’s the most stressful job but there is always something happening, we are always fire fighting,” Amy said. “But I can never see myself doing anything else, it is what I know I am good at.
“It takes a long time to come down from that job at the end of the day. Having horses is great as you have to calm down. You have to have a hobby or something else to focus on.
“But I do love it. Sometimes if you get through to just one person and stop them coming back to prison, it does make a difference.”
Take opportunities that come your way
Although Amy got into stunts by chance, she learned that saying ‘yes’ can lead to experiences you’d never even imagined.
She said: “Make sure you seize opportunities. There are so many opportunities out there.
“I would say just go for it, particularly to people of colour. On the stunt register, there are only three black mixed-race women, so it’s an exciting opportunity. The world really is your oyster.”