For Jessica Hawkins, the road to starring in James Bond started with Facebook.
The 26-year-old had given up on a career in motorsport when a friend sent her a post on the social media site from the Fast and Furious Live show, which was searching for a female stunt driver.
Having answered that call, Hawkins has now revived her racing career in the W Series, which acts as a female-only support series for Formula One.
And if rubbing shoulders with Lewis Hamilton and co. wasn't enough, the Hampshire racer is also one of the stunt drivers in new James Bond film, No Time To Die.
“I stopped racing a good few years before W Series purely because I’d run out of budget to continue on my motorsport journey,” Hawkins told Mirror Sport.
“A friend then tagged me on a Facebook post which said they were looking for a female driver with good car control.
“At the time, it didn’t say what it was for, but I just thought ‘I’ll send them my CV and see what happens’.
“It turns out that it was for a show called Fast and Furious Live. All of the stunts that were in the movie, we performed live.”
From there, Hawkins was introduced to the stunt co-ordinator for No Time To Die and impressed in an audition.
The W Series star has credited her work on Fast and Furious for preparing her for one of the most successful film franchises in history.
“I got introduced to Lee Morrison, the Bond stunt co-ordinator,” Hawkins added.
“I had a bit of a routine that I had to learn and show him and once I did it, I rolled down the window and Lee said ‘welcome to the team’, which was amazing to hear.
“In the live shows, you can’t get the stunts wrong. That was the best training I could have ever wished for.
“Bond was actually my first movie. There was quite a lot of pressure, but I was confident in my ability and I had an incredible team around me. I’m super proud of what I’ve done.”
Hawkins was tight-lipped about the stunts she performed (otherwise she would presumably have to kill us), but some of her work can be seen in the advert for the new Land Rover Defender.
“I had a few roles in the movie, but I can only speak about one of them – the Defender scene,” she said.
“That’s now out in an advert for Land Rover, I was the middle car in a three-car jump. Crazy scene, but it was the most incredible experience. That’s my favourite for sure.
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“They were the first few Defenders off the production line. Everyone was heavily anticipating the new Defender so to drive one and see it for the first time was a big honour.
“I’ve driven some cool cars in the past and it was a really big honour to be one of the first to drive it and push them to the extreme.”
She combines her stunt work with driving for the Racing X team in the W Series, a female-only motorsport championship.
And, as the season enters the final two rounds, Hawkins is aiming high following a difficult start to the year.
“For me a podium certainly is achievable. There has to be a lot of things that go the right way, but a podium is possible. That’s definitely what I’m going to be pushing for,” she added.
“I always anticipated a tough start to the year. Just because it’s been two years since I’ve been racing and it’s such a competitive championship.
“I’m out racing against people who have been racing regularly and testing regularly, so I was anticipating a tough start to the season, but it was maybe a little tougher than I expected.
“Nevertheless, we’re making big steps forward now and I guess I’ll just carry that confidence into the final two rounds.”
With more than 20 days until those final rounds at the Circuit of the Americas, Hawkins will have plenty of time to watch No Time To Die, which is released today.
Having turned her dream into a reality, she admits being part of a Hollywood blockbuster is something she will always savour.
“Bond has to deliver,” the Racing X driver said.
“Everybody expects bigger, better stunts because it’s a Bond movie and I don’t think anyone’s going to be disappointed.
“It was really nice to be part of the Bond family. That is something that I will hold with me for a very long time.”
Watch the final two races of the 2021 W Series season from the Circuit of the Americas, USA, live and free-to-air on Channel 4 on 23 and 24 October.
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