Caitlyn Larsen ’12 (right) is a stunt­woman for “Marvel Uni­verse LIVE!,” a live-action stunt show. Caitlyn Larsen | Courtesy

For 2012 alumna Caitlyn Larsen, work means playing with fire.

Larsen is a stunt­woman for “Marvel Uni­verse LIVE!,” a live-action stunt show fea­turing char­acters from Marvel sto­ry­lines. Larsen plays Nebula, a char­acter from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“I basi­cally grew up and decided I was going to keep playing with toys for a living,” Larsen said.

Trained in eight dif­ferent forms of weaponry, including fire fans, pyros­words, and staff, Larsen is part of the United Stunt­men’s Asso­ci­ation, the Advanced Actor Com­batant in the Society of American Fight Directors, and has an orange belt in Fil­ipino stick fighting.

A typical day for Larsen begins when she arrives at the theater at 9 a.m. and pre­pares for the first show of the day. On Sat­urdays, Larsen per­forms in three sep­arate shows.

“It’s really taxing on the body,” Larsen said. “I take a solid beating every show.”

“Marvel Uni­verse LIVE!” fea­tures over 25 Marvel char­acters in a live stunt show cen­tered around a plot bringing char­acters from all sto­ry­lines together. The show is cur­rently touring the nation with around 150 cast and crew members.

“Each city has its own flavor,” Larsen said. “Each city is dis­tinct and notable when you see them back-to-back.”

Larsen said her favorite city has been Denver.

“Unfor­tu­nately, there’s not a lot of enter­tainment industry there, oth­erwise I would move there in a heartbeat,” she said.

Touring 36 cities in a year brings the cast and crew together, Larsen said.

“There’s not a lot of privacy,” Larsen said. “It make a very tight family envi­ronment.”

While at Hillsdale, Larsen double-majored in eco­nomics and theater.

“She was a good student and a very fun, upbeat person,” asso­ciate pro­fessor of eco­nomics Charles Steele said in an email. “I am pleased to see her suc­cessful in such an inter­esting career.”

Steele said he saw signs of Larsen being a stunt woman early and even loaned her some exercise equipment when she showed an interest in it.

“We were talking about fitness training after class, and I started going on about ket­tle­bells. Caitlyn was inter­ested so I loaned her my ket­tlebell video with Pavel Tsat­souline, the Russian ket­tlebell expert,” Steele said. “She seemed to get a kick out of it. But I think she the loaned it to Dr. Black­stock, and I never saw it again. Yet it was worth it if it helped her get where she is today.”

Steele said he looks forward to any potential visits.

“She has promised me that in one of her future visits to Hillsdale, she will train the Econ faculty in stage combat and pyrotechnics,” Steele said. “I can hardly wait. The rest of the campus better watch out.”

Larsen said the diversity of the theater program helped her under­stand the jobs of — and get along with — members of both cast and crew.

“You have to work all five of the spec­trums of theater,” she said. “I’ve been able to get along really well with crew because I rec­ognize their jobs as well.”

Carly Hubbard ‘16, Larsen’s sister and the owner of local coffee shop Rough Draft, said she had never really seen a show like her sister’s.

“I was so impressed and nervous watching her,” Hubbard said. “I try to avoid any and all bodily danger and she’s the opposite.”

Hubbard said she was espe­cially impressed because when she saw the show, Larsen had recently sus­tained a wrist injury. Hubbard added that although most of her rela­tionship with her sister is cur­rently long-dis­tance because of Larsen’s trav­eling schedule, it’s been exciting to watch.

“Caitlyn is so coura­geous and bold and fierce that the last thing I ever want to do is get in the way of what she’s pas­sionate about,” Hubbard said.

Larsen said her Hillsdale edu­cation pre­pared her for more than her career in enter­tainment, though.

“They absolutely gave me the ability to be a real human being,” she said. “Hillsdale teaches you to be a real com­munity player.”

Larsen views her job as more than just stunts, though.

“Art is an important medium that can favorably impact society,” she said. “If one day I can make a message that can impact the world…that’s a life goal.”