Making It in Hollywood: Meet Heidi Schnappauf

KINGSTON -- If you watch certain action films or TV shows, one of the actors taking all the hits, literally, is a woman who grew up in Kingston.

In this segment of “Making It,” Newswatch 16 profiles an amazing stuntwoman from Luzerne County.

She’s taken hits from Ronda Rousey.

“Yeah, I got to fight her on Blindspot.”

Meet Kingston’s own Heidi Schnappauf.

“I did 100 burpees every day until she got to set because I was so nervous,” says Heidi. “And now we’re friends. it’s pretty awesome.”

This Luzerne County native-turned-Hollywood-stuntwoman grew up in Kingston. In addition to stunts, she’s worked as a body double for actresses including Will & Grace star, Debra Messing. While Hollywood pays the bills, Kingston is still home.

Heidi adds, “This is my oasis. This is my come back to myself kind of place.”

Newswatch 16 caught up with Heidi while she was visiting her parents just off Rutter Avenue.

While looking at old photos of herself as a basketball player and in local theater, Heidi says shes she never predicted she'd be jumping off of buildings.

The story of this stunt woman’s path to fearlessness is something her parents got a hint of when Heidi was just a baby.

“She jumped out of her crib. I thought she fell, but I ran in, looked and there she is on the floor laughing," Gerri Gallagher, Heidi’s mom said.

Later at age 7, Heidi fell into something else: martial arts.

“My buddies and I would go to the park sometimes and we would plan our own fight scenes.”

As a teenager, she acted in theater groups. Eventually, she graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts to work in the entertainment industry like her siblings. Although Heidi loved acting, she was more fascinated by stunt work.

“Once I realized it was a real job, it seemed supernatural for me to follow.”

But Heidi needed more training. So, off to a stunt school in Florida, she went.

“As an actor, you definitely have to have thick skin. But as a stunt performer, you literally need to have thick skin,” explains Heidi.

“The only thing that scares me, even until this day, is when she ignites herself. The fire thing. That’s frightening to me because so much can go wrong,” says Chaz Schnappauf, Heidi’s dad. “That’s when my rosary comes in handy, you know?”

When Ryan asked if she ever broke anything, Heidi says, “I broke my knuckles on a brick wall. I herniated a disc, nearly broke my neck.”

Another celebrity Heidi did the stunt work for was Krysten Ritter who plays the lead on the Marvel series Jessica Jones. By the way, Krysten is also from our area. She grew up in Shickshinny.

“I mentioned it to (Krysten) and she was like, 'small world.'”

Heidi even taught Ryan how to take a hit just like they do in Hollywood!

And with 11 years in the business, Heidi’s credits on the Internet Movie Data Base continue to grow. This is something the 34-year-old says is possible because of where she came from.

“I love the hometown feel. I love the people I grew up with. The people who helped form me into the person I am today,” explained Heidi.

A Hollywood stuntwoman whose heart remains in northeastern Pennsylvania.


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