Interview with Ky Furneaux - Hollywood Stunt Woman and Survival Expert

Famous Hollywood stunt woman, survival expert, television star and successful author – Ky Furneaux - took time out of her incredibly busy schedule to answer some questions for Mahdi Earth.

Ky is an Australian woman thriving in L.A. She has landed stunt roles in movies such as X-Men 3 and Thor, and has doubled for the likes of Jennifer Garner and Anne Hathaway. Hard to believe, considering she was told she would never be able to play sport or enjoy the outdoor activities she loved so much following a horrific car accident when she was 19. However, Ky is not the type of person to give up as you will soon understand.

Ky pushes herself to the limits and is a master of endurance and survival. She famously hosted the TV show ‘Hike for Survival’ where her and her co-star only carried a pocket knife to survive over a 100 mile trek through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Since then, she has also showed off her survival skills in the television shows ‘The World Out There’, MTV’s ‘Made’ and ‘Naked and Afraid’.

Her talents also extend to writing and she is the author of ‘Girls Own Survival Guide’ and ‘The Superwoman’s Survival Guide’. She’s a pretty extraordinary woman, wouldn’t you say?!

I was very interested to learn more about Ky’s relationship with nature, given how well she can flourish in extreme outdoor situations. I hope you enjoy the following insights from this inspirational lover of the wild.

1.       Spending time in the great outdoors is clearly a great love of yours. What is it about being out in the elements that you love?

I love the feeling of truly being alive out there.  It’s not just the fresh air but it’s the need to be totally in the moment to make the most of it.  I love pushing my body physically and challenging myself mentally and both of those things are easy to do in the outdoors.  And I do like the lack of concrete and humanity.  It gives me time to focus on the things that are really important to me without all the distractions in the way.

2.       You must have an extremely busy schedule between keeping fit, practicing stunts, starring in movies and TV shows, and writing books. Do you find spending time in nature helps to keep you calm and balanced?

It does.  With all that I have going on, it can be easy to slip into a life where everything is frantic and dramatic and things that aren’t really important in the larger scheme of things seem really important.  When I get back into the outdoors, all that drama fades away and I can remember what my priorities and goals really are.

3.       You’re able to survive on your own in nature for an indefinite period of time, with nothing more than a pocket knife. Is it a trust in nature, or you own abilities, to provide all you need for survival. Or a little of both? How did you gain that level of trust?

I think it’s a bit of both.  Nature does provide us with a lot if we know what we are looking for and where to look.  However, there are times and places where nature doesn’t provide very much because of the climate or the time of year and then I trust my body and it’s incredible ability to keep on putting one foot in front of the other in order to move me to a better place.  When people were living off the land, they stopped for long periods of time in one place and harvested and stored wild foods for when times weren’t so abundant.  Usually I am moving through the landscape and have an end goal so I don’t have time for this kind of gathering.  It means that I don’t have a stockpile for the lean times in between but I always seem to find another place and food source ahead.

I gained this level of trust by always testing my limits.

4.       Depending on the environment to survive must require a lot of knowledge of species, ecosystems and natural cycles. How did you gain so much information?

I learnt it all by getting out and trying it with people who knew different things than I did.  I also learnt by doing and observing.  Plus my brain is just wired to remember these things like some people’s brains are wired to remember numbers or other facts.

5.       When you are surviving in areas known to have dangerous creatures, do you find you use your instinct to keep you safe? If so, have you applied that instinctual ability to other areas of your life?

In the outdoors I am always scanning the environment for irregularities.  This could be in where I put my foot so I don’t fall down a hole or seeing animals that are mostly hidden in the foliage.  When you spend enough time out in the wild you become attuned to what is going on around you and this awareness keeps you safe.  I also find the idea with being “at one with nature” has some bearing on this too.  If you are out there and seeing nature as a challenge to pit yourself against, you will be too busy fighting against the elements to build a good instinct for what is around you.

If there is some sense of danger, I immediately stop and assess what’s going on rather than react thoughtlessly.   I use this approach in my life all the time when something unexpected happens.   It enables me to be more proactive with decision making rather than reactive.

6.       Have you learnt a lot of wisdom from simply watching nature and animals in action? If so, what has been the biggest lesson you have learnt?

I don’t know if I have learnt wisdom from watching nature but I have definitely learnt it from being out in nature.  Every action has a consequence so take responsibility for your actions.  Enjoy the amazing moments because there might be a vicious storm just round the corner.  Focus on living your life by being aware of what is going on around you rather than letting it slip on by.  Don’t complain about what you can’t change because focussing on the negatives won’t change them.  And, what you think are your limits are probably just the beginning of what you really can achieve.  You are capable of far more that you think.

7.       If you could ask everyone in the world to stop doing one thing that is currently harming the environment, what would it be?

Stop littering. 

8.       What’s the best reason for everyone to spend more time outdoors?

You can’t hide from who you truly are in the outdoors and I think that everyone could benefit from spending a little more time with themselves.

For more information on this incredible woman, visit: