Tanja de Wendt
Profession: Stuntwoman and actress
Tanja is a professional stuntwoman and actress. She lives in Cologne, Germany. Her focus is on bodystunts and car stunts. Tanja has the c-racing license (touring car racing) and the c-license WSD Women Self Defense. She has appeared in many films and theater productions, such as "Bullets over Broadway", directed by Sönke Wortmann. She jumped from a height of 180 meters from the Düsseldorf television tower; her most dangerous stunt, by her own admission, was her participation in the sequence of the burning cinema in Quentin Tarantino's film "Inglourious Basterds".
The following interview is loosely based on the questionnaire by Marcel Proust and was given to Quai7 in September 2020.
Quai7: Why did you become a stuntwoman?
Tanja de Wendt: I couldn't help it. When I experienced stunt people at work, I knew for the first time in my life what I wanted to do professionally. All signals were immediately concentrated on just one point: I WILL BECOME A STUNTWOMAN. Probably I was drawn there because I like to define my own limits and not to follow what others tell me to do.
Quai7: What does a normal day in your life look like?
Tanja de Wendt: Sporty. I am an exercise person. Bookkeeping and office work is a maximum penalty for me. So I try to keep a cool head, work through the bureaucratic stuff and I am glad when I am outdoors again, active with dog, horse and in motion. I train regularly in a variety of ways and try to cover the areas of strength, endurance and mobility in a balanced way.
Quai7: How do you prepare for a stunt??
Tanja de Wendt: I judge it very carefully beforehand, question all the details, familiarize myself with everything that is possible beforehand and that is connected to this stunt. I design my training accordingly. My aim is to be as well prepared as possible on the day of the stunt - also mentally - so that I can concentrate on my task with confidence.
Quai7: Are you afraid and, if so, how do you deal with it??
Tanja de Wendt: I have certainly experienced more fear in my life than some people, which is simply because I specifically confront fear. Fear is also a yardstick for me to measure whether I am at the optimal level of training, whether I am well prepared or whether I need to develop or work on even more familiarity with the upcoming challenge.
Quai7: What do you think and feel during a stunt?
Tanja de Wendt: When I perform the stunt, I am highly concentrated and only act on the point. Sometimes it is a moment of "total being" - I can't describe it better.
Quai7: What do you feel after a successful stunt?
Tanja de Wendt: It is a wonderful feeling. Of course, the adrenaline shot through, everything worked out as planned and you only know that afterwards - even if you think so before. Otherwise you wouldn't do it.
Quai7: How do you decide whether to do a stunt or not?
Tanja de Wendt: I weigh up carefully, question, and juxtapose risk and security. I only do a stunt when I feel that the residual risk is minimized and I am sure I can perform the stunt precisely.
Quai7: Have you ever refused a stunt because it was too dangerous for you?
Tanja de Wendt: Yes, I once cancelled a highfall because the request came at too short notice and I would not have had the time to optimize my training level for the altitude. The risk was too big for me - and for others.
Quai7: If you could travel in time, where would you go?
Tanja de Wendt: I would take a quick look around the Middle Ages, gather a few impressions and then come back to the present day.
Quai7: What is perfect earthly happiness for you?
Tanja de Wendt: Fulfillment. And this can sometimes be fulfilled by very simple things: A smile, a sunset, a surf from the sea, natural beauty. There are many little moments in life that string together and need to be collected. Every day anew.
Quai7: What ist your favourite pastime?
Tanja de Wendt: Dog, horse, water, exercise, meet friends, delicious food.
Quai7: Which book is currently on your bedside table?
Tanja de Wendt: Haha ... "The child in me wants to murder carefully" by Karsten Dusse. I can only recommend it to everyone. But before you do, read the first part "Achtsam morden" by him. You learn something for your own life while reading and at the same time you have a lot of fun with a very special story. I bow to this author and his creativity.
Quai7: What qualities do you value most in other people?
Tanja de Wendt: Empathy, sincerity and a unique personality with rough edges.
Quai7: Which mistakes are you most likely to excuse?
Tanja de Wendt: Being different ... we are all different. So there is actually no fault and there are no faults - just being different
Quai7: Your favourite character in history in why?
Tanja de Wendt: Nelson Mandela ... anyone who has been locked up for 27 years and yet doesn't stir up hatred but forgives, shows strength and fights for something better without violence.
Quai7: Your favourite writer?
Tanja de Wendt: There are too many fascinating writers. I could never reduce myself to one.
Quai7: Your favourite composer?
Tanja de Wendt: Faithless and others.
Quai7: Your present state of mind?
Tanja de Wendt: I am ... off track on course.
Quai7: Your motto or favourite quotation?
Tanja de Wendt: Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. Mahatma Gandhi
Quai7: Thanks a lot, dear Tanja!