Backstage with Sandy Kenyon: Hollywood stunt person Niahlah Hope

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Sandy goes backstage with Niahlah Hope, a one-time student at the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation and now a professional stunt person

Wendy Hilliard has trained hundreds of gymnasts in New York City, and now, one of them is a professional Hollywood stunt person.

Meet Niahlah Hope.

"I learned a lot of discipline coming to Wendy's," she said. "I lived in Far Rockaway, so trekking out to Harlem every Saturday morning, being focused in class, paying attention to the instructor, and pushing ourselves, that was a big part of becoming a stunt person."

The 24-year-old has doubled for Lupita Nyong'o in "Black Panther" and Tiffany Haddish in "Night School."

"There's a lot of life or death situations," she said. "And you have to have the discipline to know what you're doing and making sure that if anything happened that was strange or out of the ordinary that you can adjust quickly."

Hope recently returned to her roots to meet with current students and discuss her career.

"Niahlah really represents what we want to give the kids to take gymnastics to another level," Hilliard said. "And so we feel very good that she's able to use what we gave (her) in the rest of her life."

And her success is a jumping off point for any students who wish to follow in her footsteps.

"This is what we want to do for all the kids," Hilliard said. "We want them to get this training. We want them to get the confidence so that when they go out, they can do something fabulous."

And while the bar is surely set high, the students are encouraged to shoot for the stars.

"Now if they're as fabulous as Niahlah, they're doing really good," Hilliard said.

For more information on the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, visit WendyHilliard.org

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