“Every job you do is a different job. You rarely do exactly the same thing twice,” Amanda Foster says, while sitting in the shade at the new Pearl of Surin Beach Club.
The 46-year-old London-native has visited Phuket for a few months each year since 2003, the same year she won the Taurus World Stunt Award for her work on the James Bond film Die Another Day, where she was stunt double for Halle Berry.
Like seemingly everyone else who visits Phuket, she fell in love with the people, food, and beauty of the place. Despite living in London, she is here so much that she routinely gets job offers from Hollywood executives to fly from Phuket to Los Angeles on one day's notice.
“It happens all the time, I get a call from work while I'm on the beaches,” she says.
The Briton's down to earth nature comes from a place of resolution with her upbringing, where she bounced around foster homes and became pregnant at the age of 17 with her first child.
In her early 20s, with three kids and seemingly little hope, motivation hit her like a ton of bricks, and she enrolled in martial arts classes and began to learn how to drive trucks and motorcycles.
Foster managed to hold down two to three jobs at a time while juggling her stunt training, gaining certifications in everything she could think of (jockey licence, weapons training, hang gliding and others), all while dragging her kids along.
Then in 1997, after six years of training, she was offered a stunt gig in The World is Not Enough and her career took off. Foster is now the go-to stunt female for women of colour in the UK, and has won numerous awards.
“You don't pretend to do stunts, you do them. Unfortunately, the women are usually scantily clad and it limits the amount of padding you can wear,” she says.
Still, Foster understands how lucky she is to not only be highly regarded for her work, but also healthy. “It's always good to leave a good day's work in your own car and not in an ambulance.”
Her filmography is full of some of the top films of the past decade, including Brad Pitt’s World War Z, Hugo by Martin Scorsese, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and the Harry Potter movies.
These days, she continues her stunt work but is focusing on her acting efforts, and has already appeared in a short film, Killer Heels, that was showcased at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in France.
Still, she longs for the opportunity to work on a Thailand-based production.
“Creativity is like food to me. I always want to be creating something. Because I love [Phuket] so much what could be better than to do what I love here,” says Foster.