Alicia Vela-Bailey

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Hollywood Stuntwoman Breaks Down Her Career in Stunts | Notes on a Scene | Vanity Fair

As the most inspirational and diverse action actor of recent years, Alicia Vela-Bailey has emerged from A list stunt double to on screen sensation. Whether it is her chilling performance as Diana in the smash hit Lights Out (2016) or her acrobatic, ass kicking, portrayal of Alisha Whitley on Marvel’s Agents of Shield (2015-2016), it is clear Alicia Vela-Bailey truly is the human special effect.

Vela-Bailey was raised in Kailua, on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. Her mother Cecelia was a ballerina and an artist from North Carolina. Her father Carlos Armando, was a top magician from El Salvador. Having two artistic parents, Vela-Bailey was enrolled in gymnastics and dance at a very young age and quickly climbed the ranks of the Hawaiian Island Twisters, becoming a competitive Level 9 Gymnast. Later, Vela-Bailey shifted more of her focus to dance, becoming a member of Marcelo Pacleb’s famous 24-VII Danceforce.

At age 21, Vela-Bailey auditioned to double for Milla Jovovich in the film Ultraviolet (2006) , and subsequently spent four months in Hong Kong and two months in Shanghai doing stunts and martial arts for the film. Ultraviolet (2006) was her very first movie experience, as well as her first time doing stunts and martial arts. Her performance earned two nominations for a Taurus World Stunt Award in 2007. Vela-Bailey has continued doubling Hollywood’s hottest stars including Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kate Beckinsale to name a few.

As a dancer, Vela-Bailey booked her very first audition and she became a Pussycat Doll in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, before being called to audition for James Cameron’s Oscar® winning feature film Avatar (2009). She spent 3 years working on the groundbreaking film as Zoe Saldana’s stunt double for the character of Neytiri, as well as playing many different Navi characters including her own character as the Ikran Clan Leader.

As an actress, Vela-Bailey landed the role of Inhuman Alisha Whitley on ABC’s hit show Marvel’s Agents of Shield (2015-2016). With the ability to act and to do her own stunts has helped Vela-Bailey become a fan favorite over the last 2 seasons. The fans have dubbed her the “Ginger Ninja” and she has the ability to multiply and uses that ability to take on whatever the Marvel Universe throws at her.

A huge fan of the horror genre, Vela-Bailey takes pride in scaring the “bejesus” out of people. Her terrifying performances in The Purge (2013) as the Female Freak and the leather clad Cyber Punk in Hostel III (2011) feature Vela-Bailey’s unique ability to manipulate her body to create terrifying movement.

This character work caught the eye of director David Sandberg and horror super producer James Wan, who were having trouble finding the correct portrayal for the lead villain Diana in Lights Out (2016). Blown away by Vela-Bailey’s audition, they hired her on the spot and Vela-Bailey created the performance of Diana that had New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis say “Lights Out delivers frights in old-school ways. Chief among these are the chilling exertions of Alicia Vela-Bailey, who portrays Diana with limber ingenuity. She imbues the spook with devilish intent. Whatever you do, don’t blink.”

Alicia Vela-Bailey was stunt double for Gal Gadot on Wonder Women (2017) and is collaborating again with David Sandberg and James Wan on Annabelle: Creation (2017) as the evil Mrs. Mullins. She is the stunt double for both Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana in Avatar 2 (2021), and she will do all the same in Avatar 3 (2023).

By Matt Mullins

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