10 Questions with Base Jumper and Stunt Woman Roberta Mancino

Roberta MancinoItal­ian-born Rober­ta Man­ci­no might be bet­ter know for her sky­div­ing stunts, but she’s also an expe­ri­enced base jumper. And while she does­n’t like to talk much about it, she was also named one of the sex­i­est ath­letes in the world by Men’s Fitness.

THE CLYMB: Were you active as a child? Did you like extreme sports/adventures?

ROBERTA MANCINO: Yes I was very active and prac­ticed sports all my life. And I loved adven­tures movies and books.

THE CLYMB: Which one of all the adren­a­line-induc­ing sports/activities you’re involved in was the first one you tried?

RM: I would say kick box­ing when I was 15 years old. I rained hard for many years and also par­tic­i­pat­ed in com­pe­ti­tions. I think it was real­ly good for me: it gave me good flex­i­bil­i­ty, bal­ance and con­cen­tra­tion; and all those things that are impor­tant in the sports I prac­tice now.

Roberta Mancino

THE CLYMB: You are involved in a lot of very dif­fer­ent sports, but they all seem to have one thing in com­mon: dan­ger and adren­a­line. Is that real­ly the case?

RM: Not real­ly. I love to dance sal­sa, for exam­ple, but nobody cares about it because it’s very com­mon. I am just attract­ed to fly­ing and water and I love animals.

THE CLYMB: Of the things you do, which one would you say is the most dan­ger­ous? And which one seems dan­ger­ous but it’s actu­al­ly a lot safer than peo­ple think?

RM: BASE jump­ing is the most dan­ger­ous because you are jump­ing close to a wall. If you fly too close to the ter­rain or next to a cliff you can have tur­bu­lence and that can bad­ly affect your flight. Also, you only have one para­chute. The one thing I think is less dan­ger­ous is shark div­ing, as long as you respect the animals.

Photo courtesy Emma Casagrande
Pho­to cour­tesy Emma Casagrande

THE CLYMB: You have won sev­er­al awards and set world records with your sky­div­ing. Can you tell us a bit about some of those awards?

RM: I was part of three world record win­nings for free fly for­ma­tion sky­div­ing. It’s fly­ing all togeth­er head down to Earth while every­body builds a for­ma­tion by hold­ing their hands.

THE CLYMB: You got involved in base jump­ing after already being very expe­ri­enced in sky­div­ing. Any favorite jumps you’ve made so far?

RM: Sky­div­ing and base jump­ing are very dif­fer­ent. Sky­div­ing requires jump­ing from an air­plane at 14.000 ft. Base jump­ing implies jump­ing from fixed objects that are at a much low­er alti­tude I have lots of favorite jumps: over a vol­cano in Chile or at night in Pana­ma City fly­ing with my wing­suit from build­ings. I love sky­dives in beau­ti­ful places, like over the sea. Both sports are hard to be very good at, but BASE jump­ing is way more dan­ger­ous than skydiving.

Roberta Mancino

THE CLYMB: You were named 2010 World’s Sex­i­est Female Ath­lete by Men’s Fit­ness. How does your mod­el­ing fit into the rest of your world?

RM: Mod­el­ing has nev­er been my favorite thing, even though I love art and artis­tic pic­tures. It does­n’t always fit with every­thing else I do, but I did take part in many projects like the high fash­ion shoot of Rober­to Cav­al­li for Gopro, the shark pic­tures for Vogue and the BASE jumps for Harper’s Bazaar, to name a few. Those are all spe­cial mod­el­ing jobs because they are com­bined with the sports I do.

THE CLYMB: Can you tell us a bit about your shark div­ing experience?

RM: I love the ocean and sharks are some of my favorite ani­mals, I’ve been div­ing since I was 18 and start­ed div­ing with sharks soon after. When I’m with them in the water I’m always fas­ci­nat­ed by such smart and beau­ti­ful ani­mals. I also want­ed to help them since they are on the way to being wipe out of our plan­et. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, peo­ple think that shark soup or some shark prod­ucts are nec­es­sary, but as a result we are just killing all of them.

Roberta Mancino

THE CLYMB: What is it like to work as a stunt woman? Any movie you can mention?

RM: I think the biggest one is Iron Man 3! I also do stunts for movie and com­mer­cials. Most of my stunts are about fly­ing, BASE jump­ing and sky­div­ing, but I also did a few scu­ba div­ing stunts and a few fight­ing scenes many years ago.

THE CLYMB: Any chal­lenges or plans ahead? What’s the next stunt you’d love to try?

RM: I can’t talk about my next project as it is a secret, but lots of chal­lenges. We also have many new wing­suit com­pe­ti­tions com­ing this year!

Roberta Mancino