One of the top competitors on American Ninja Warriors, Jessie Graff is quickly becoming known as a modern day Wonder Woman, breaking stereotypes as she continues to break records. Graff made national headlines in June 2016 during the Los Angeles qualifier when she became the first woman to make it up the new, higher 14-and-a-half-foot Warped Wall, while donning a Wonder Woman costume. She returned to the Los Angeles Finals just weeks later, and in the same iconic outfit, once again conquered the Warped Wall and continued to go on to be one of only two ninjas to make it through the eighth obstacle to punch her ticket back to the Las Vegas finals for the second year in a row.
Graff made her first appearance on American Ninja Warrior [NBC] in season five in 2013. She was quickly a fan favorite as she tackled the course in a chicken dress, in honor of her “Epic Chick Fight” video, and became the first woman to qualify for the city finals. Graff then had a history-making season seven, becoming the second woman to qualify outright for the Las Vegas finals, and placing higher in city finals than a woman had ever placed. She broke that record again in season 8, when she placed second in city finals and became the only woman to qualify for Las Vegas twice.
Graff attributes much of her success on the seemingly impossible obstacles of American Ninja Warrior to her decade long career in stunts. Awarded the Action Icon Award for “Stuntwoman of the Year,” her credits include: G.I. Joe, Transformers, Die Hard, The Dark Knight as well as being a recurring double on Supergirl, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Leverage and many more. Graff has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a black sash in Kung Fu and is trained in five other styles of martial arts, high falls, wipeouts, sky diving, motorcycles, stunt driving, fire, wirework and of course, flying trapeze. Graff also broke the pole-vault record at Georgia Tech (where she majored in Aerospace Engineering) and the University of Nebraska (where she earned her degree in Theatre) and was 1.5 inches away from qualifying for the 2004 Olympic trials in the sport.
The journey for Graff was ignited at the age of 3, when she attended the Big Apple Circus and begged the ringmaster to let her try. Although her attempt to join the circus was unsuccessful that day, the experience immediately sparked a passion to fly high and push herself beyond what others said she was capable of. Her mother enrolled her in circus gymnastics classes, which began her training and led her to other specialties in various acrobatic and fitness disciplines, helping her develop her range of core strength, power and agility.
Jessie currently lives in Los Angeles. She hopes that she can be a positive influence and show girls and women all over the world that strong is beautiful.
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