15 Mar 2012

Gina Carano on the cover of Muaythai Boxing News

She's a Muay Thai superstar, an MMA top gun and the new action movie sensation. Gina Carano is much more than a big hit. Overnight she's become the ultimate fighting starlet on the big screen.

Carano first came into public prominence as the female face of American Muay Thai winning full rules stand-up contests in Las Vegas and then dazzling audiences in the TV series Ring Girls.

Later she switched to women's mixed martial arts (MMA) and became the Strikeforce 145-pound champion.

Today Gina Carano is bathing in glory after receiving rave reviews for her big screen debut in the movie Haywire, holding up strongly alongside the likes of co-stars Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor.

Carano underwent a six-week intensive tactical training course to prepare for her role as CIA agent Mallory Kane. She had to learn the difference between actual fighting, which she had mastered, and stunt fighting where she is required to keep her face exposed and unguarded so the cameras can see her.

Away from the publicity and limelight Carano is now focused on her leading role in the action thriller In the Blood that will be out later this year.

In Haywire she displayed all the classic Muay Thai stand-up strike power along with the MMA takedowns and suppression holds that, of course, killed all the bad guys.

Next up she's acting the role of a grieving wife who passionately pursues the men who kidnapped and killed her husband.

Like in Haywire In The Blood will again showcase Gina's fighting skills as her character struggles to reign in her violent past.

Carano began her acting career after being acknowledged as the most outstanding Muaythai and MMA woman fighter in the world. Today she's regarded as the best action star in years.

As in the ring Carano delivers to the screen a very real physical and hurting fighting style that is so convincing the audience feel every punch, knee, elbow and beat-down.

Already she's way ahead of the run-of-the-mill, slick Hollywood starlets who mindlessly follows a script to beat up grown men.

Indeed, Gina Carano is climbing to new heights where dominant males like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal once excelled, but have faded away.

"Women, throughout history, they've been the weaker sex. We all know strong women in our lives - our mothers and grandmothers, usually in our homes - but it is really moving people to see women on the big screen kicking ass. Its cathartic and its fun."

I met Gina in Las Vegas six years ago when she was 23.

At the time she was making a name for herself under the bright lights as the best female Muay Thai boxer on the planet.

She first came to Vegas from Texas to study psychology at the University of Nevada where she discovered a new way of living through learning martial arts.

"I found a reason to treat my body with respect, and treat other people with respect too. It completely pulled the rug out from under the life I'd been living. It made me want to attack life instead of letting life keep happening to me."

Two years before our meeting Carano had her first Muay Thai official contest. She told me she opted for the Thai fighting art "to get my body into shape."

From a basic fitness routine she got inspired under the tutelage of the famous Thai fight trainer Master Toddy, who convinced her that she could be a world champion. Not only did Gina go on to beat all challengers she dropped her weight from 175 lbs to 140 lbs.

"Master Toddy gave me the confidence to fight back, " she explained. "It lifted my self esteem."

After conquering all in Muay Thai combat she turned to MMA, and from 2006-2009 was the undisputed star of Showtime on CBS TV. Carano went undefeated until August 2009 when she lost the 145 lbs Strikeforce Women's Championship to Cristiane Santos.

With her debut movie getting the thumbs up from critics globally she has no immediate plans to return to the ring or get back into cage competition. But in her head she's still very much a pro fighter and Carano has no thoughts of retiring.

"Confidence goes so far in this life. In the fight world, it means everything. In Hollywood, it matters a lot. In relationships, you're sunk without it."

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