THERE'S A NEW “SHERO” IN TOWN, AND HER NAME IS GILLIAN WHITE!
Black Belt|August/September 2021
GILLIAN WHITE HAS WORKED IN FILM AND TELEVISION FOR 25 YEARS — FAR LONGER THAN SHE’S BEEN MARRIED TO MICHAEL JAI WHITE, WHOM SHE WED IN 2015. RECENTLY, SHE’S CREATED A BUZZ IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY BECAUSE OF HER ROLE AS ZARA INTAKE BACK, A MOVIE THAT ALSO STARS HER HUSBAND AND TEACHER, AS WELL AS MICKEY ROURKE. AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF HYBRID TRAINING THAT INCLUDES KYOKUSHIN KARATE AND AN ARRAY OF EFFECTIVE FIGHTING STYLES, GILLIAN WILL STEP INTO HISTORY AS THE FIRST BLACK FEMALE MARTIAL ARTIST TO PLAY THE LEAD IN AN ACTION FILM WHEN TAKE BACK IS RELEASED THIS YEAR.
GERRY CHISOLM

Black Belt: How did you end up playing the lead in this film?

Gillian White: You know, I was offered the role. The producer and the director contacted me and said, “We got a script for you. We think you’d be great for it. Let us know what you think.” As soon as they told me what it was about, I knew I wanted to do it. Coming in and being able to showcase my martial arts skills and fight skills has been awesome. I always wanted to do action. I got a little bit of it playing Amoria on Xena: Warrior Princess. I mean, it’s absolutely exciting. I did choose to have a stunt double, but the actual fighting is me.

Black Belt: Who choreographed the fights for Take Back?

Gillian: Mainly, my husband. We also had our stunt coordinator Arnold Chon, who does a lot of stuff in the film. He has trained a lot of MMA fighters in Bellator and the UFC. And we [had] stunt choreographer and director Larnell Stovall (Captain America: Civil War).

Black Belt: This role had to be physically demanding — you were very convincing!

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