COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Five years ago, actress Lulu Wilson’s (Swordplay LA) mom told her she absolutely had to find a hobby. Having recently watched The Princess Bride, there was only one option: fencing.
Wilson remembers being quite skeptical on the drive to Swordplay LA, a fencing club in Burbank, Calif.
”I was brooding in the backseat,” she says. “I didn't want to go, I was like, this is so lame. Why am I doing this?”
Things changed when she got to the club.
“The second I hit the strip, and I have the foil in my hand, I'm like, that's it,” she says. “This is what I'm gonna be doing. And I've had the same coach since I started at Swordplay. She has just like, totally shaped me as a fencer and inspired me the whole way through. And I think if it wasn't for her, after that first lesson, I might have dipped out.”
Now that she has been part of the sport and community for five years, Wilson looks back on some of her fondest memories on the strip being with an older man named Dana.
“We would fence every single time we're in the studio together. And he always called me a little girl and I called him an old man. It was very fun to just like, have that rapport with him,” Wilson says.
Sadly, Dana died over the summer, leaving behind a legacy that Wilson’s proud to continue.
“I think all of the memories I made with him and all of the inspiration and wisdom he gave me because he had been fencing since he was my age,” she says. “And he brought me through everything. I still wear his SDSU Foil Fencing sweatshirt from college that he gave me and it's like a relic. It's the coolest thing.”
Wilson, who turned 18 in October, made her film debut in the 2014 thriller Deliver Us from Evil. She has since starred in horror films like Ouija: Origin of Evil and Annabelle: Creation as well as TV series like Sharp Objects and Inside Amy Schumer.
But even as her acting career took off, Wilson didn’t want to give up her other passion.Turns out fencing is playing a role in her acting career. And Wilson wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I mean, having [acting and fencing] come together is amazing because it's like the two biggest parts of my life finally coming together I can do it at once that's a dream come true, I think to anyone but yeah, and feeling that that love that I have for the sport when I get on the strip, I think is is what brings a lot of my power like to a bout you know, just feeling like I'm doing this for me. I'm doing this for fun. I'm not doing it to win. I'm not doing it to beat everyone. I think that just sheer passion really helps my confidence and helps me level up.”
Wilson continued to talk about fencing playing a role in her acting career to which she responded “fencing is such a passion of mine and so is acting and I'm excited to kind of merge them together.”
“I mean, I want it to happen more now that I'm really confident in my skills, and I have a feeling that it's going to. But I have done a couple of action movies, and I've worked with my fencing coach on those to kind of get me strong and like the physicality. And it's interesting, because you wouldn't think that fencing would necessarily help with a hand on hand combat scene, but it really does because it teaches you how to be grounded in your body and harness that energy and that power," Wilson says.
She continued saying, "I definitely use that in a lot of the action, feisty stuff I've had to do. And yeah, I have a feeling that there's going to be more actual fencing and my acting career in the future. So I can't wait and I won't have to have a double or anything because like I can freakin’ do it!”
Now that her two worlds have fully collided the balancing act begins. Wilson talked about how hard it is to balance her work and her love of fencing “It's the hardest thing because I, every single time I go to a different state a different place to film something, the first thing I'm like, is like, dammit, like, I'm gonna miss my fencing, and I'm gonna, like, get all out of whack…” she continued to say “...And I always think I'm going to forget everything that I've ever learned about fencing, but it's like riding a bike, like I can get right back into it. And that's the best!”
Wilson’s No. 1 piece of advice when pursuing any passion, and especially encouraging girls to get into fencing is “I think that they should just do it, you know, get rid of the fear and whatever's holding you back. Just try it. And if you love it, keep going and stick with it.”
Wilson also stressed the importance of always having confidence in yourself adding, “...And don't get discouraged when everyone in your class is a teenage boy, you know, you can beat them, you can kick their butts, just don't be afraid of that. And I noticed a lot for me personally, I, the classes that I take, it's all young boys and me. And it can be a little intimidating, but it can also be a lot empowering. So ignoring how scared you might feel and taking it as empowerment is really important.”