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Real Life

TV host's double life: I'm a scientist and a stunt woman

Coast New Zealand's Jacky Geurts (34) won't choose between either of her passions.

Throughout my whole life, I’ve always trusted my gut instinct. While hard work, grit and determination have gotten me from A to B, it’s been that internal compass, my inner voice, which has really helped guide me to where I am today.
I was seven years old when I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist. Since then, everything in my life has been done with that in mind – including acting, stunt work and martial arts.
It’s safe to say very few marine biologists out there also work in the film and stunt world, but aside from being incredibly exhilarating, it’s all part of my bigger plan to educate people about the marine environment.
That’s something I’m really passionate about. It’s why I was so excited to be given the opportunity to work on the TV show Coast New Zealand.
I think it’s important for New Zealanders to see what is on their coastal doorstep. We have a lot to offer the world with our ground-breaking research, unique marine fauna, flora and land structures, not to mention our culture.
A lot of hard work is put into keeping New Zealand coastlines and their inhabiting species happy and healthy, and Coast New Zealand celebrates this.
Growing up on a farm just outside of Hamilton, animals have always been a big part of my life. Even though we already had a full farm, I was always turning up with ducks, guinea pigs and rabbits – one day, I even came home with a horse!
As far as I was concerned, there was no such thing as too many animals – my parents probably would have disagreed!
However, I wasn’t expecting to love acting as much as I did.
From there, I gradually fell into stunt work. I recently was a stunt double for Tandi Wright on TV One’s 800 Words, in a scene where her character was hit by a car.
It was strange transitioning into the stunt world. I had to focus on the bigger picture, which was my goal of working on exciting ways to educate people about the marine environment. And if I hadn’t listened to that gut instinct, then I never would have been approached to host Coast New Zealand.
I had a rare mix of attributes – the degree, the camera experience and the work experience.
Scientists aren’t typically the most comfortable people in front of the camera, but I am so passionate about bringing this amazing world into people’s homes!
When I set my mind on something, there’s no stopping me and that’s something that’s held me in good stead.
I wasn’t naturally gifted at chemistry or maths – they even tried to hold me back from 7th form chemistry – but I didn’t take no for an answer.
Last year, I competed in the World Championships for tae kwon do, just five years after first trying the sport aged 29.
Again, that inner voice told me to give it a try, and just like acting, I loved it and never looked back.
People are constantly marvelling at how busy I am and how much I fit into my day. But you only get out of life what you put in, and I’m determined to squeeze every last drop out of my life for as long as I am fit and able to do so.”
Coast New Zealand screens on TV One, Tuesdays at 9.30pm
As told to Ellen Dorset

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