Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:42:54 GMT
L-R: Dee Bryant, Olivia Summers and Angela Meryl
The first-ever all-female stunt driving team, AWD (The Association of Women Drivers), has launched in Los Angeles with a trio of seasoned female stunt drivers sharing over 15 years of professional stunt driving experience in 500+ commercials and more than 300 films and TV shows. The collective is made up of Olivia Summers, Dee Bryant and Angela Meryl, and offers a diverse range of expertise across all styles and types of driving as well as stunt coordination, working on projects for such top clients as Lexus, Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW, Nike, Pepsi, Jeep, Sony, Adidas, Ford and countless others. Altogether, they have doubled for top celebrity talent including Beyonce, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Vivica A. Fox, Kristin Wiig, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Sarah Paulson, among numerous others.
In addition to offering their expert stunt driving talents to commercial and entertainment clients, AWD will provide support, networking and mentoring opportunities to team members, amplifying awareness for diverse precision driving talent and shaping the next generation of female stunt drivers. Within a space steeped in systemic sexism that has led to the widespread adoption of male stunt drivers wearing wigs to double as females - which is against SAG policies - the collective aims to affect change as early as the casting process. When it became apparent that Olivia, Dee and Angela were experiencing similar barriers of entry for both female and non-descript driving roles, the trio banded together to champion women in the male-dominated stunt driving space. They aim to not only raise the amount of female stunt drivers in commercials, but also increase the racial diversity amongst them.
“I was getting fatigued hearing from producers that they didn’t even know female stunt drivers existed,” notes Olivia. “We have collectively had so many positive experiences working with incredibly talented drivers - both male and female - over our careers and hope that there will soon be the same level of visibility across all genders and ethnicities.”
At a time where agencies and brands are re-evaluating their diversity and inclusion policies, AWD aspires not to edge out their male counterparts, but inspire stunt driver casting that is more representative of the diverse tapestry of modern US culture.