GEMITA SAMARRABehind the talent
Gemita Samarra is a 25-year-old stuntwoman, producer, writer, journalist, artist and adventure athlete. Starting out young as part of an award-winning synchronized swimming team in the UK and competing in equestrian show jumping, Samarra’s move into modelling and film was a pretty organic one.
She has already appeared in the epic Game of Thrones episode, “The Dance of Dragons” and done stunt work on last year’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. Throughout all this, Gemita is also a stunt double for models like Cara Delevinge and has optimised the power of her social media to create a charity called My name is human. Gemita built this social enterprise to work globally to provide education & creative solutions for refugees, the homeless, and the extremely impoverished.
Discover how Gemita has used her influence and passion for environmental conservation, human and animal rights to help make a positive difference in the world.
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Day 8 🤷🏼♀️ In the run up to the project announcement (coming so soon!) I’m on the topic of ‘human’ again….! I’m getting deep with you on this one but I’m genuinely interested. Feel free to write as much or as little as you want. . So… What does it mean to be human, to you? . There’s no right or wrong with this, it can be as deep (or shallow) as you like. I have many answers for this but it revolves around the ability to communicate, share and love one another. I ran around the world chasing myself in a career I thought I loved but I didn’t find a lot of purpose in what I was doing. It felt selfish and it was always lacking something. As soon as I realised I was in the position to be able to help others and have a small positive impact on the world, I gained a whole new perspective and appreciation for life, and I balance this in travelling and enriching myself in other cultures and doing my sports. A lot of us live in a society that means we aren’t spending most of our day trying to survive, but we take that for granted on a daily basis. The fact we have time to complain about the things we complain about is damn luxury. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this one. It can be religion, family, work, travelling, politics, sports, charity work… anything. Anything that you feel gives YOU purpose. Oh and this isn’t for me to judge you. I’m just interested in seeing a deeper version of the beautiful people I see on my feed daily. I don’t really care too much about every angle of your face, nor what you had for lunch or your gym workouts, unless I know the real human you ❤️ from what you’ve all shown me recently, you’re incredibly compassionate and interesting people so I’m excited to see what purpose means to you.
Tell us about your modelling journey, how did you first get scouted and what has been your most memorable career experience so far?
I was first scouted in Bristol when walking past a hair salon in Clifton. They wanted to use me in one of their shoots and back then, all I had known was living and working on a farm from an early age- so the idea of someone paying me to take a photo of my hair was an alien concept. I went along with it and there was an agent there with another model that offered me representation with their agency.
The first job they got me was a nice role they would have usually turned away, but they thought I would be a good fit and that was the underwater acting role I had on Sky Living TV series Bedlam. That job was also my introduction to stunts! I have had many memorable moments, especially once I had established myself with who I truly am. So I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of modelling based on the sports I love, such as surfing, free diving, climbing, and running.
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A couple of posts ago, I asked you to all guess where I'm going next with some clues. For those who guessed Canada- this is the Canadian flag 🇨🇦(so no, it's not Canada). For those who guessed Hawaii- please, oh please find me a bear and a snowy mountain. (Again no, it's not Hawaii). For those who guessed Yellowstone. You win at life. I am indeed off to Yellowstone. . @davidwren_ 📸🇵🇹
What do you think is one misconception about the modelling industry?
There are many misconceptions, but the biggest one is when you put all your eggs in one basket and think modelling is a full-time job. No one needs that kind of pressure and it’s a very quick journey to self-destruction. When you’re solely relying on your face and physique to survive, it does something to your mental health and attitude. I would advise even the most successful of models to always have an interest and ideally an income doing something else.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO STUNT WORK?
My entrance was technically through my underwater acting role on Bedlam. One job led to the next, however, all of my jobs were always underwater. It became a thing, to the extent that I bought the URL ‘The Underwater Model.com’ and I made and made a career out of it. It was at the time when hones were becoming waterproof also and so I was then able to do a bunch of commercials and short films. It was very niche though- I was either a mermaid, dead, dying, killing someone, naked or even all 5 things at once! I eventually surfaced and was allowed to perform stunts and act on land, that’s when Fast and Furious, Game of Thrones, 007’s Spectre and Kingsman came into my life. I had the pleasure of stun doubling for Cara Delevinge last year also, this project was for a commercial that was produced and directed by a few people I had worked with before.
What was it like filming 007’s Spectre, how did you get scouted?
I didn’t get scouted in the traditional sense. I had to audition and the director had to decide whether I looked similar and moved enough like the actress; Lea Seydoux. That went well and I then had to do the stun audition, which involved a few days of fight rehearsals and training. I’m incredibly grateful to have worked on such a big movie so early on, and I owe it all to everyone I worked with.
Describe the transition from your modelling and film career to your environmental and charity work? What inspired you to change your path and what advice would you share with other models who also want to achieve this?
Even though I had found a way to work in modelling and stunts doing the things I loved doing, I still felt a lack of purpose. I knew I wanted to do more, and I had always had a lovely for travel adventure and peoples’ stories, and I wanted to explore that avenue.
The first charitable work I did was actually not within humanitarian work so much as animal rights. I LOVE sharks. And from that love, I have always felt a sense of responsibility to do as much as I can t keep them alive and protected. This meant finding ways to show them for the beautiful creatures they are, and not the monsters of the sea that the media portray them as.
It also meant educating people on how important they are to our oceans eco-system, and how many we have killed (93% of all sharks and rising!) But I then started doing more work with anti-poaching and other animals, and then eventually this led me to countries with a larger humanitarian crisis… and that’s when I took it up another level. I found that producing documentaries wasn’t enough any more. I had to do more. Once I had to see the depths of the world, there was a no going back from that… and dropping in and out with a film crew wasn’t making enough of a direct impact.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING TED TALK IN 2019
I would love to tell you exactly what I am talking about but sadly I can’t yet! I can, however, tell you that is based around my charity and working with refugees and the homeless.
How how has Instagram grown your vocalisation on charity and can you give me an example of how you have used social media to boost these projects?
I have been using social media to raise awareness and educate others, but I also used Instagram to recruit a global team of community workers, photographers, doctors, artists, athletes, architects and more, for one of my homeless projects earlier in the year. It meant that I could have a far larger impact without having to fly to every country myself, and it meant that I could engage with my audience to get out and do more- which is always the number one question I get from people now! ‘How can I get involved or do something?’ I love it, and I totally get it, because it seems almost impossible to actually do the field work with a charity. However, I wanted to make it more accessible to the people that actually want to help, and show that everybody can do more and so something to help make a positive difference in the world.
As a professional athlete, what is your everyday workout routine and what are your workout goals for 2019?
I would say I am more of a casual or ‘adventure’ athlete these days! My days of competing and thriving to be the best at my sport are somewhat over. I’ve found a totally new perspective of the sports I do and how I can enjoy them- because there is no way I could possibly do all the things I want to do in my life and maintain the skill level required to compete and also the competitive spirit.
I’m so at peace with myself now, the last thing I want to do is compete. I’ve always been extreme with my sports such as surfing, climbing, skating, martial arts, free diving, mountaineering, horse riding etc. But I’ve found a way to calm them down a bit, and whilst my skill set isn’t at the standard it used to be, I still love to do it and that’s far more important to me than being the best at it.
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Feels so good to be training again! Stoked to have been part of this @stancesocks campaign with @kenroczen94 💪🏼! Although I don’t usually do the type of training pictured here. My current training consists of surfing every morning, climbing and swimming 3-4 times per week, hiking/ trail running 3-4 times per week, and soon going to get back into martial arts training again. I also need to do something stretchy and relaxing that doesn’t involve a yoga class- comment / message some recommendations! . #stancesocks #fitness #training #workout #uncovertheuncommon #uncommonthread
What inspired you to start your own charity and why did you decide to focus on the homeless specifically?
I didn’t intend on starting my own charity- it just kind of happened that way. I had some ideas that I based on my own personal experience and I tried to partner with charities and organisations but unfortunately stumbled upon corruption and different agendas.
But after working in a documentary film and seeing endless death and destruction around the world, it was the beginning of a huge mental health battle for me, as I had seen and experienced a lot and didn’t balance it out particularly well.
I ended up giving myself a very hard time and ended up putting myself on the streets. I was homeless in LA in 2017 and that changed my life entirely. I eventually got help and turned things around after 2 months, and I decided to use my experience to help the homeless and create a better support system for those suffering from mental health n the streets in LA. That was when I founded ‘My Name is Human’- originally a charity for the homeless and I have since expanded it to refugees too. We now have some really exciting projects in motion and I’m very proud of the direction it’s all going in.
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Thank you all SO much! We are taking over the whole of London on Saturday! We already have 5 teams going to north, east, south, west and central London to distribute essential supplies all day. I’ll be announcing the meeting points later on my stories so stay tuned, I’m also building the schedule now but if you want to get involved please please please head to the link in my bio to find out more and if you have literally anything to donate, it makes a huge difference! Even if it’s just the price of a coffee! This beautiful shot was taken by the incredible @lee_jeffries 🙏🏼 An enormous thank you to @stanceeurope and @pickywops who are supporting us on the day with the worlds best socks and the most delicious vegan pizzas! 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼 @mynameishumanproject #MyNameisHumanProject #HMN
For other models wanting to start their own charity, what advice would you share?
I wouldn’t say you have to start your own charity to do what I do… mine was just based off a mixture personal experiences and I felt like I had the right to help support people. But I would advise anyone who wants to do more charitable work to first ask themselves why they want to- and if it is for the right reasons, and secondly to really do research into what they are passionate about to find out how to help in the most sufficient and impactful way.
What are your goals for the new year and are you currently working on any exciting projects you would like to share with us?
I am currently answering these questions from my temporary base in Turkey! I’m out here working on a few things- one of which is an ongoing photo series with refugees and I’m also working with other organisations to help develop their education programmes in refugee schools, and I’m also working with a gender equality organisation here in Turkey.
I am also working on two school constructions and development projects in Uganda, and a couple of months ago I launched my homeless charity in LA- and I will be back out there in December on a community outreach and developing the next step, which involves new mental health support systems and housing. I’m really looking forward to 2019!
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ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!!! 🌎🌍🌏 Finally… it’s been a long time coming and I’ve been dying to share my plan for too long! . Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my wolf-dog Lupa, earn enough to pay off and reduce my monthly bills to as little as possible and explore the U.K. So I wrote up an idea and thought it would be a great opportunity for a brand to get on board. I got chatting with @jackwills about a collaboration for this road trip and they were as excited as I was about it, so the last couple of months we’ve been building this adventure together. I’m spending the entire month of June living in an old Land-rover RAF ambulance, driving around the whole of the U.K. and Ireland surfing, climbing, shark diving, painting… you get the idea…! Things you don’t immediately think of doing in Great Britain. . . It’s long overdue as I’ve been so passionate and dedicated about the community work I’ve been doing with the homeless, refugees and global health that I’ve taken a total backseat on the things I also love to do, so this is an important month for me to get back out and just play for the sake of playing. . . I’m extremely grateful to have @jackwills on board and to also show you guys the best and unknown parts of the U.K. over the next few weeks. The trip starts on Friday and I will be documenting the entire thing on here so please please stay tuned! . . . Finally… if you guys are from the U.K. or have visited and have any must-do recommendations, please comment below as I’m sure I can squeeze them in! I’m also doing meet ups, so if I’m in your city- hit me up!! . . #jackwills #hittheroadjack #roadtrip #adventure @weareredmonkey
AS A NEW MEMBER, WHY WOULD YOU ADVICE OTHER MODELS ALSO JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SIGN-UP?
I think it’s important to share your deeper thoughts and ideas with a community that you already share interests and work with. Talent Village is a great platform to help inspire others and get them inspired and I’m stoked to be apart of the TV community.