I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Darcy Hinds this month. He not only has an inspirational story that is worth sharing, but he is also a lovely human being with a kind heart. “I have one of the coolest jobs there is” says Darcy Hinds about being an actor and stuntman. Getting there, however, hasn’t been easy.
He admitted that high school wasn’t his thing as he had a hard time with homework and paying attention in class. Darcy found it boring and barely squeaked by. In hindsight, he wonders if he might have even had ADD. He sat at the back of the class, couldn’t see the board very well (maybe needed glasses?), and hung out with the cool kids. He really liked fighting too, but not in a mean way. He said he was the one who would beat up the bullies.
A sad story that Darcy told me involved a teacher who was not encouraging. Remember that module in school where you have to draw/explain what you want to be when you grow up? Well, Darcy decided to draw a kick boxer, especially because Bruce Lee (closest human to Superman!) was his idol. This is what he wanted to be. The teacher’s response: “How are you going to make money at that? Perhaps you should draw something else.”
Darcy was the middle child of five boys. What a set-up that was for fighting your way to the top! He grew up on a farm where he could ride horses, play cowboy and indians, and sword fight with his brothers. He also loved to run around in a cape and pretend he was Superman. Darcy attributes his healthy lifestyle now partially to his mom, who always cooked healthy and rarely provided pop or treats. He also knows that emotions affect your body, so he meditates, has epsom salts baths, and engages in mind/body connection exercises. His philosophy: “you only have one body, so take care of it!”
Darcy’s early years were spent doing martial arts, receiving a Brown Belt in Taekwondo and a Black Belt in Aikido. Progressing as an amateur in Kick Boxing, he rarely lost a fight. Out of 140 matches, he had 130 wins and 10 losses. The Olympics were in his sights. He tried in 2004, then again in 2008, then again in 2016! Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make it. Funding and some questionable judging were obstacles in his path. These were some hard years and tough lessons. Working so hard, and getting so close, but not good enough. It made me wonder what it was like for Darcy to watch the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio these past two weeks. Those kinds of disappointments can be hard to recover from.
After his second try at making the Olympics, Darcy decided to invest in acting school and get himself an agent. This too was a difficult path. He did some background work, some extra work, and admitted that he felt like giving up many times. It wasn’t easy, he said, driving in and out of Vancouver for about 50 auditions, only to get the no — rejection. During this time Darcy was also a volunteer firefighter in White Rock (2005-2010) and he considered being a full time firefighter if acting didn’t work out. Then the stunt work finally started to pan out, and his ongoing commitment to his health and his body paid off. “When they throw you against something, they really throw you. If you aren’t in good shape and you don’t take good care of yourself, you may not be able to work again.”
Fast forward to today and beyond all of the hard knocks, Darcy is now successful and loves what he does. He has appeared in numerous films including Arrow, Supernatural, and X-Men, amongst many others. “B.C. is one of the biggest places in the world for film” he says, which is a blessing since he lives here. His job now: he gets paid to fight!
Darcy’s advice to kids:
- If you are not good in school (tests, pressure, ADD?) you can still be successful. Keep your dreams.
- Read a lot. He only really started at age 25 and wished he would have earlier. Start off slow, he says, and pick something that interests you.
- It’s never too late to learn, and you can teach an old dog new tricks (for example, he took up juggling and looking at something at the same time to help with his reaction time)
- Be healthy and stay away from drugs. They affect your health and your focus and can lead to other things.
- Gather a solid circle of friends around you.
- Life is precious. A friend of his passed away only a week ago at age 33. He died in his sleep. We never know how much time we have.
- He who takes no risk does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
Final question to Darcy: What does it take to be successful?
“NOT GIVING UP! I was told to draw a different picture. I didn’t give up. Now I get paid to fight.”