Imagine being a senior in college, in a gymnastics competition, and in the next breath you are being flown to Los Angeles. Kate Stopper, an alumna of Penn State University and a graduate assistant for West Chester University in McCarthy Hall, was scouted, while at a gymnastics competition, and asked to audition for a roll in the gymnastics movie “Stick It” (2006).
After showing off her talent to the director of the movie, Jessica Bendinger, Stopper was one of four chosen from a group of 25-30 gymnasts to be body doubles for the actresses in the movie. Stopper was asked to play the body double for “Mina Hoyt” who was played by first-time actress Maddey Curley.
Stopper took her first tumbling class when she was eight and a half years old. She told her mother she wanted to be a cheerleader because she was the only daughter, and all of her brothers were football players. After quitting a few times she obtained a scholarship to Penn State University.
“I knew I was talented enough to get a scholarship and I wanted to help my parents out,” Stopper said.
Stopper stayed in Marina Del Ray for the two and a half months while the movie was filming in 2005. During the 14 hours a day on set, Stopper became friends with fellow actresses and gymnasts, with whom she still keeps in touch with today.
“Stick It,” which was given two full stars by Roger Ebert, is a motion picture from the writer of “Bring it On.”
The New York Times also said, “A spry teenage comedy that gets everything right, ‘Stick It’ takes the usual batch of underdogs, dirt bags, mean girls and bimbos and sends them somersaulting through happy clichs and unexpected invention. It is a story about a young girl who gets in trouble with the law and is forced to re-join an elite gymnastics league that she quit a few years earlier. Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, and Vanessa Lengies all co-star.”
“Stick-It was a fun, enjoyable film that featured amazingly talented gymnasts,” said Jenna Fagan, a West Chester senior.
Today, Stopper is finished with gymnastics and is studying secondary school counseling. She is waiting to hear from the YMCA, on Boot Road, for a gymnastics teaching position for five to 13 year olds.
“No matter how much you may be discouraged or people tell you that you can’t do something, the only person who really knows is yourself,” Stopper said when asked how she remained confident. “It’s a matter of you making the decision. If you believe you can, you will find a way.