Interview by Katy Jones
As a gymnast, most remember Kristina Baskett for being a standout member of the Utah Women’s Gymnastics Team. During the late 2000s, she was a consistent all-around competitor for the Utes and placed in the top three at NCAAs in 2008 and 2009. In 2006, during her first year as a Ute, she won the NCAA uneven bar title. Prior to her NCAA career, Baskett competed on the elite scene where she won the all-around, vault, and floor titles at the 2005 US Junior Olympic Championships. Following the end of her collegiate career, Kristina found her way into some extremely unique and exciting career opportunities. Today, Baskett works as a stuntwoman for commercials, TV shows, and movies and may be best known in the gymnastics community for her stunt work on ‘Make it or Break It’. She took the time to tell us about her career, who got her star struck, and where she’d like to go in a time machine-
You got the chance to travel during your club gymnastics career- what was your favorite international meet?
-I didn’t do too much traveling out of the country in club gymnastics. But my favorite was competing in Costa Rica, and I also got the opportunity to train with the Chinese Junior National Team in Beijing, which was an amazing opportunity.
What was your favorite memory as a Ute?
-Competing at our home meets in front of 15 thousand fans!
You majored in electronic journalism and have had your photographs displayed at the NCAA Convention in Washington, DC. Are you still involved with photography?
-Unfortunately not as much as I have wanted to. The last few years out of college have been quite a whirlwind and I have been so busy navigating these new and exciting career opportunities that I decided to hold off on my photography for awhile. However I feel like I have figured out where I am want to be in my life now, and my summer goal is to finally start taking photos again.
You’ve been quite successful in the film/television business. Can you tell us how your career developed and if this is what you saw yourself doing when you graduated?
-I had absolutely had no idea or intention of taking this career path out of college. I was planning on pursuing my Electronic Journalism degree, but was very open minded to opportunities that presented themselves and decided to jump into the entertainment world. Between performing at Sea World, to Le Reve in Las Vegas, and Viva Elvis, I also got involved with stunt doubling for the ABC Family channel show Make It Or Break It where I developed my passion for stunts and being on set. I knew that stunts was what I wanted to commit to and am so thrilled that I am able to do what I love and continue to use my performance and athletic skills.
With all the high-profile actresses you’ve worked with, is there anyone that you were especially excited to meet or who stands out among the people you’ve worked with?
-I don’t get star struck very often, and a lot of the actors and actresses I work with are so nice and down to earth. The entire cast of Make It Or break It was so awesome and we all formed really close bonds from working so much together. And I actually love working with kid actors on movies or Disney shows, they are so talented and funny! Although my biggest star struck moment was seeing Harrison Ford on set…I watched so many of his movies growing up and couldn’t believe he was standing right in front of me!
What kind of athletic activities do you do now to keep in the shape you need for your work? Do you still do any gymnastics as part of your training?
-I make sure to keep up with my gymnastics basics to stay in gymnastics shape, but I have now picked up all types of new sports and classes that I try to learn and stay active as much as possible! I love that being active is part of my job and I consistently incorporate martial arts, kickboxing, fight training, dance, yoga, parkour, tricking, and hiking, either for my job or for myself. I most recently got scuba certified which was such a new and fascinating activity!
Are there any new projects we may see you in over the next year?
-There are a lot of new projects that I am excited about. In the last few years I have been able to be a part of over 30 different TV shows, movies, and commercials. Most of the time you can’t tell it’s me because they are so good at matching us to the actors as a stunt double, My friends and parents always call me asking me what I do in each project because they can’t figure it out, or they call asking if it was me which is pretty funny. I have a Nationwide Insurance commercial out now that I stunt double in, and a couple movies coming out this year.
Is there anything (either in the entertainment business or not) that you’d like to do in the future?
-I definitely want to travel and see the world! Preferably with work and movies, but on my free time would work too.
If you could guest star on any TV show or movie, what would it be and why?
-Oh! Definitely Grey’s Anatomy because it has always been one of my favorite shows! But I always get excited and want to be in movies that are made after the book, because most likely I’ve read the book and I like knowing the characters and seeing it come to life.
Where would you go in a time machine?
-I am really fascinated by the Medieval times, I don’t really know why but I love reading books from that Era. Even better if its somehow magical like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones…Nerdy!
Favorite Food: Candy:)
Favorite Musician/Band: Bruno Mars, One Republic, Taylor Swift
Dream Job: Stunts
Favorite Movie: Just Friends, and anything that was a book! (I LOVE to read)
Super Power you wish you had: Teleporting
Favorite skill to perform: Double layout off bars (gymnastics) Wire work (stunts)
Dream travel destination: Scuba diving in Thailand
Favorite gymnast: Nastia Liukin
How your teammates would have described you: Happy, smiley, respectful, determined competitor, lead by example
How your coaches would have described you: Happy, smiley, respectful, determined competitor, lead by example…aaaand at times I could be stubborn and in my head too much!