Ess Hödlmoser
Actor, Stunt
Actra
“Chop wood; carry water.”
– Zen Koan

From award-winning circus artist, to stunt doubling some of today’s biggest stars, Ess (they/them) is a nonbinary jack of all trades who plays women, men, and all the gender variants in between in feature films, television shows, and on stages around the world.

Ess’s artistic beginnings were rooted in the world of music, where they built on a foundation as a talented multi-instrumentalist to embark upon a fine arts degree in violin at York University.
While in university, Ess began training in the martial art of Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), ultimately entering the world of amateur and semi-pro fighting.

Ess won a North American championship and was on their way to a professional career when a brain injury acquired during a training match de-railed everything: unable to speak or read for several months, and barred from physical activity for a full year, Ess’s journey back to full function was a long one.

When they were finally cleared to return to training, it was the world of circus arts that came knocking – and the world of stunt performance and acting, shortly after that. Ess specialized in the art of Mongolian contortion. One of only a handful of professional contortionists working in Canada today, Ess’s pursuit of excellence in their field has taken them all the way to Mongolia to train in this unique and difficult art form.

Their incredible flexibility and surreal movement quality has resulted in high praise on the world stage: this year, Ess’s duo contortion act with performance partner Troy James (chor. Roberto Campanella) won the Prix Moulin Rouge at the prestigious 40th Festival du Cirque de Demain in Paris, France, as well as the Special Prize of the State Circus of Belarus at the 6th International China Circus Festival. Ess and Troy’s act also received the golden buzzer in this season of France’s Got Talent, and the pair have also performed at the infamous Moulin Rouge cabaret itself.

This same creativity and surreal movement translated over to film and television work; Ess has performed as creatures, monsters, and ghouls on TV shows and feature films like IT, The Strain, What We Do In The Shadows, Killjoys, and more. Their tall frame and diverse skill set continues to find them stunt doubling for actresses like Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Anna Arden, Ruta Gedmintas, Frankie Adams, and many more. Most recently, Ess has begun transitioning into the world of acting, bringing nonbinary and gender neutral characters to life as a stunt-actor in upcoming feature films like Code 8 and Season II of hit TV show The Boys.