Caitlin Dechelle was born in Miami FL and currently lives in Los Angeles CA. At age six, she began her martial arts training and starting competing at age nine. Caitlin is known for Wonder Woman, Teen Wolf, Fast and Furious 7, Supah Ninjas, Bones, Agents of Shield, John Carter, Percy Jackson – Sea of Monsters, Ray Donovan, The Thundermans, Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Pretty Little Liars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Asura, Midnight Texas & Altered Carbon.
1. For the people who might not know you, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Caitlin Dechelle and I am an actress, stuntwoman and a world champion martial artist. I started martial arts at six years old. I then started competing at eight years old and continued until I was twenty-four. From there, I took my martial art skills into the stunt world because I wanted to be able to keep doing what I love and, since I didn’t want to continue competing, I tried to think of something else I could do so I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
2. How did you get started in the entertainment industry specifically?
I had a few friends that were in the business who lived in Los Angeles and they encouraged me to come down here and pursue. It was a really big step for me because I was in college studying biology. After I got here, I started training with some people who were in the business and the first thing that I booked was a Comcast Commercial. Someone recommended me for a job and the next thing I know, I was doing reshoots for “John Carter” and that was my first big job. After that, I did “Percy Jackson” and things just started to fall into place from there. There is a tournament in Orlando where I used to compete in every year that was broadcasted on T.V. One year, Jackie Chan was watching the tournament and, at the time, he was casting for “Chinese Zodiac.” He told his people to find me for the role and I get this email asking me if I want to work on a film with him. I flew to China and we did the movie.
3. What do you love most about your job as a stuntwoman?
Every day brings something new. One day I’ll be working be on a show and the next day I may find myself agreeing to do a movie for 9 months or so. I don’t go and sit at a desk every day from nine to five. Every day is different which is what makes this job so exciting.
4. How did it feel getting to work on “Wonder Woman”?
It was a very surreal experience. When I got there, the only things I was doing were rehearsing and working out which was quite exhausting. But when I got to shoot and eventually put the suit on, everything came together. Wonder Woman is such an iconic character and, originally bringing that back, was super cool. There hasn’t been a remake in years and I had to embody her actions, her movements, essentially help bring her to life. It was stressful because the whole team that was working on this film knew everyone in the world was waiting for this to come out and see but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. If I had to come up with only one word that embodies the whole experience, it would have to be iconic.
5. Did you ever injure yourself while working on a project?
I guess the most serious injury I’ve had was breaking my pinkie finger and I left it for about a year because I didn’t want to go through surgery. Finally, at the beginning of 2018, I had it fixed. For someone with my job, getting an injury sucks because I cannot work and I am out of commission. Besides that, thankfully, I never injured myself seriously, just some bruises here and there.
6.In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions about your job?
That is a hard question. I guess the thing that people don’t really know is that women who are in this line of work, in general, don’t get to wear a lot of pads. If you really think about most of the costumes that we wear. For example, in “Wonder Woman” my arms were open, my knees had a slight cover because of the boots but that was not enough and you can’t hide much. When you start hitting the ground, get beat up or thrown around, you have got to realize that that is someone’s body hitting the concrete or going through a wall. Now, with technology, there are more ways to ensure the safety of the people who are performing the stunts. I guess the fact that, often because of the costumes, women have a harder time when it comes to doing stunts, which is one of the things that most people overlook when thinking about what I do.
7. What would you do if you weren’t a stuntwoman?
As I said, before all of this, I was in school studying to become an orthodontist. Ever since I was little, that was kind of my dream but I feel like there are so many other things I could do. I am a person who cannot sit still, so I always have to be on the move, doing something so I really don’t know. I feel like, even now in the business that I am in, life takes me in so many different directions because, as much as I am a stuntwoman now, I am trying to fully transition into being an actress and eventually do my own stunts if that comes up. At the end of the day, I am always trying to bring something new to my life and, who knows, maybe one day I will open my own karate school and be able to give back to the martial arts world.
8. What has been your biggest accomplishment in the field so far?
Being able to bring Wonder Woman, one of the most iconic characters to life through stunts and having the opportunity to work with Jackie Chan on “Chinese Zodiac”. I would say these are my two big highlights.
9. What are some projects you would love to work on?
I don’t have anything super specific in mind because I like everything and, just because I do action, I don’t want to be categorized as an action actress. Comedies are super fun so I am open to all kinds of projects. I would really love to star in a Marvel film.
10. Who are some people that inspire you and would love to work with?
I would love to work again with Jackie because, when I worked with him the first time, I was at the beginning of my career and I was new to the business so I feel like I would do some things differently based on the knowledge and experience I have obtained along the way. I would also love to work with Tom Cruise. He seems like a very cool and dedicated guy to work with. The Rock would also be a great person to work with. I briefly saw him at a distance when I was working on “Fast & Furious 7” but I didn’t get a chance to speak with him. On the women side, Angelina Jolie is an amazing actress to work with. I think working with new people is always such a unique and fun experience so I am open to that.
11. What are some causes that are dear to your heart and hope to bring more awareness to in the future?
I don’t think I have ever been asked that. A couple of months ago, I went vegan and it has been fantastic. My mom went vegan in July 2018 and, for a while, she had tried to convince me but I didn’t give it much thought. One day, while I was out with my boyfriend grocery shopping, we just decided to go for it and buy vegan products. I feel better and I have more energy. I did this, mostly for two things: for my health but also for the animals. When you look at what is happening in the world and to them, it is really terrible so I wanted to eliminate my contribution to the meat and dairy industry. I know a lot of people are trying to shy away from it and act like it doesn’t exist but it does, unfortunately.
12. Do you have anything in mind for the future?
As I said, I want to transition into acting but, as the stunt jobs come, I take them. As the jobs come, I do them because I love working on new projects with new people.
13. What advice do you have to people who want to make a name for themselves in this industry?
Follow your dreams. It is so easy to get carried away by other things or give in to rejections but, if you know what you want, you have to go after it. It may take you weeks, month, even years maybe, but, if you love it, it is worth it.
Thank you so much to Caitlin for her wonderful answers. She is so, so talented and you can find more about her and her work on: