Interview with Female Professional Freerunner Luci "Steel" Romberg

Photo by Chad Bonanno

In Hollywood, many focus on A-list celebrities instead of those who work behind the scenes, performing dangerous moves to make action movies happen. Today, we’re giving credit where credit is due. Meet Luci “Steel” Romberg, leading stuntwoman, freerunner, champion gymnast and martial artist. Romberg has worked on a number of movies including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Changeling, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, to name a few. We caught up with the humble action star and asked her about breaking into the stunt world, her parkour influences and working with Team Tempest.

Get to know Luci “Steel” Romberg:

How does it feel to be acknowledged as one of the leading, if not THE LEADING, woman in parkour? It must feel gratifying.
I don’t really think of it that way. I was lucky enough to be trained and to work with one of the top teams in the world (Team Tempest) and through working with them, I learned everything I know. They believe in me and they push me to be better, so unfortunately I can’t take the credit.

How long have you been practicing and how did you get into it?
I’ve been doing freerunning and parkour for almost 3 years. I am a stuntwoman and several of the Tempest guys are stuntmen, so I was working with Paul Darnell and Rich King on the movie The Changeling. They were really nice and said I could come train with them. Not long after that, my good friend Natascha Hopkins was being trained by Victor Lopez for Paul Blart: Mall Cop and they let me join in with their training. From there I fell in love with the sport and the guys added me to the team. My life was forever changed!

Did you look up to anyone when you started pursuing parkour?
When I started I really only looked up to my teammates. At the time, our team consisted of Vicor Lopez, Paul Darnell, Gabe Nunez, and Rich King. As I have progressed in the sport and met more people it is amazing to see all the different styles come out. I love Marcus Gustafsson of Sweden, and Jason Paul of Germany as well!

Do you have any major goals? If so, what are they?
I just want to reach my potential in the sport. I still feel inside that I have more to grow as an athlete. I also want to share this amazing sport with as many people as possible. To me, a freerunner is the ultimate athlete and I want to see these athletes become sponsored and get the recognition they deserve.

Can you describe the dynamic of Team Tempest? You guys seem like a tight knit group of talented individuals.
They are my best friends and my second family! We all get along really well. We definitely have our team differences from time to time because there are so many strong personalities but at the end of the day we are best friends and we are all about having fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!

I know you were recently inducted into the World Acrobatics Society. Has it changed your life in any way?
I am so honored and humbled to be a part of that organization. The people that are involved in that are legendary! Such as [the late] Jack Lalanne, George Nissen (inventor of the trampoline), Nadia Comaneci, etc. It is a true honor to be respected amongst such an amazing group of people.

Was it hard breaking into the industry as a woman? If so, how did people treat you?
It would be hard for me to say that I “broke” into the freerunning and parkour world. It is a lifestyle, so it is something that I fell in love with and it literally became my life. All the freerunners I have met from all over the world are amazing people and respect me for who I am as a freerunner. I have had no trouble with the fact that I am a woman. I think they respect me more because of it.

Stunts on the other hand is a different story. It is a very hard industry to break into. You have to train as hard as you possibly can, meet the right people, and you have to be 100% dedicated or it is difficult to succeed. I think being a woman in a male dominated industry is always at least a little bit difficult, but I have been fortunate so far.

What have you learned about the industry so far? Any words of wisdom for your girls reading this interview?
Freerunning and parkour have without a doubt changed my life. I now see the world as one giant playground. It brings me back to childhood. I think as a society, as we grow up we lose our sense of purity and adventure. With freerunning I never have to grow up.
I would tell the girls reading this interview to just get out there and give it a shot. A lot of things in life take practice and patience and this is one of them. Start out slow and progress at your own rate. You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to!

I know you’ve appeared in films, TV shows and commercials. What project was your favorite and why?
I have been fortunate enough to work on so many amazing projects so far. I would have to say my favorite so far was Zombieland. I got to meet so many amazing people on that film including legendary stuntwoman, Lisa Hoyle, who taught me so much and is the kindest and most talented person I know! Lisa was just severely injured on a job so we need all the prayers and thoughts we can get for her right now.

(L to R: Emma Stone, Lisa Hoyle, Abagail Breslin & Luci Romberg  on Zombieland set)
Lisa Hoyle (Emma Stone’s stunt double) and Luci Romberg (Abagail Breslin’s stunt double)

What’s a typical day in the life of Luci “Steel” Romberg? What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I train almost everyday. I train my freerunning in the gymnastics gym and outside several times a week, I do crossfit, and I run. When I’m not training, I go to various sets and try to meet the stunt coordinator. It’s called hustling and it is just part of what you have to do as a stunt person. I also enjoy going out and doing freerunning photo shoots with my boyfriend, Chad Bonanno.

Are you currently working on any projects at the moment? Where can we see you next?
Last week, I got to double Mary Lou Retton on a commercial that should be coming out in July. I’m not very good at keeping track of when the projects I have worked on are coming out. Green Lantern should be coming out fairly soon, but I don’t know when. As far as the future goes, I have several projects in the works so hopefully all of those pan out.

Luci “Steel” Romberg & Mary Lou Retton

Do you have any advice for girls out there who are interested in parkour?

Just get out there and give it a try. Be realistic about it all. The guys you are training with have probably been doing it for awhile so learn what you can from them and don’t be intimidated. You can do it too!! Everyone progresses at their own speed so just try to test your limits while keeping a good balance of safety. It is all about baby steps. Just have fun with it. That is what it’s all about!

Where can we find you online? (which is currently under construction)
Tempest Freerunning Youtube page

If you enjoyed this interview, you will definitely like our:

Interview with Stuntman Shane Daniels

About the Author

Formerly an editor and writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine.
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