Roberta Mancino is trying to keep her modeling career in check, but it’s getting tougher for the Italian heartthrob. After all, she has all the ingredients of a supermodel: stunning smile, pouty lips, bikini-ready body, and a sexy Italian accent that weakens knees. But a career of strutting down runways comes in a distant second to her primary passion: stuntwoman.
In fact, Mancino is one of the world’s premier skydivers, base jumpers, and wingsuit flyers. So she’s certainly more stuntwoman than supermodel. She’s made over 8,000 jumps since 2000, and holds three freestyle world records. And these days her career is truly taking flight, thanks to her wingsuit.
Her accomplishments are all the more amazing considering her bumpy introduction to skydiving. On her third jump the plane flew past the drop zone due to stronger than normal winds. When Roberta left the aircraft, she couldn’t find the landing target, but she could see the beach near the house where she grew up, “so I just flew home.”
Her landing was anything but pretty. “When I landed on the beach my face hit the ground, so it was covered with sand, and people were staring at me,” she laughs. Bystanders raced to check on the dainty 20-year-old who just fell out of the sky. Once they determined she was OK one of them handed her a phone. “I called my dad and told him I needed a ride home. That’s when I broke it to him that I’d started skydiving.”
Undeterred, Mancino kept jumping. The aspiring model was hooked by the thrill of flight, and the emotional drain of cattle calls and traveling without her family made it easy for her to put her modeling on the back burner. “My mom was never excited about me doing that anyway, because, well, it’s a weird world,” she says.
Ironically, her modeling career is hotter than ever nowadays thanks to her accomplishments in the air. But she’s pretty selective on what she does. She’s even cracked the close-knit community of Hollywood stuntwomen since she began doing work for “Iron Man 3,” opening new doors of opportunity, like jumping in the water with sharks.
“The first time I got to dive with them in the Caribbean I fell in love,” she says. “Now I’m doing campaigns to help them. I love it.”
And her new passion for underwater flight couldn’t come at a better time. After all, it makes it easier for her to turn down modeling jobs.
So what do her parents think of her choice of profession? Well, they worry of course. But they’re also very supportive. In fact, Roberta has done two tandem skydives with her mother.