By Scott Ellis
When it came time for Jazmin Deavin to find her first part-time job, she didn’t have to look far. Just up.
“My mum is a stilt walker and I’d been watching her all my life,” she says.
“I’d been practising for years, at first on a small pair of wooden stilts we had made for me, and since I was 10 on a pair of 30-centimetre stilts just like mum’s but half size.”
“Then in September this year, when my foot was finally the same size as mum’s and I could fit into a pair of full-size stilts – they make me 60 centimetres taller! – I made my first appearance in full costume at the Mornington Peninsula races. And I’ve been going ever since!”
Angel in the spotlight
Jazmin was the centre of attention at the lighting of the Christmas tree in Mordialloc, in Melbourne, on November 25.
Dressed as an angel, with a light-up costume and towering above the crowd, she had to stop every few seconds to pose for photographs.
What goes up …
And yes, it is as much fun as it looks, says Jazmin, but it takes a lot of training and there are things to watch out for.
“When I started I practised on grass in case I fell,” she says. “In fact I even practised falling, so I’d know how to do it safely if it happened.
“When you’re on the stilts it’s best to keep moving, just to help stay balanced, and you have to be careful about bending down or if people try to take your hand.
Practice makes perfect
“So far, I haven’t had a fall – at least not while performing – but you really have to practise a lot and be very, very careful.”
And after all that you get to have the kind of job others only dream of: “It’s really nice. Everyone’s happy to see you.
“And at 13 I’m stilt-walking, working in the entertainment industry and working with my mum. It’s great!”