Sarasota Magazine
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By Kim Doleatto September 9, 2022
Desy Bizzarro
Image: Courtesy Photo
Pump your brakes, monster trucks. Cirque Italia’s Nitro Extreme motor stunt show, which debuts in Ellenton on Friday, will feature some of the pro drivers from The Fast and the Furious movie franchise, including Desirèe (Desy) Bizzarro, who recently filmed scenes for the upcoming Fast X film.
Bizzarro hails from a long line of adrenaline freaks, and her younger brother Michael Bizzarro, who also helped make Fast X, will be tearing up the concrete at Nitro Extreme alongside her. In the 1950s, their grandfather, Pascal Bizzarro, was among the first Italian car stunt drivers in Italy, where it was a largely unknown sport at the time. Today, in Italy, the Bizzarro name is synonymous with the sport, which remains largely male-dominated.
Desy Bizzarro’s brother started training at around age 13, and as the family traveled to perform in stunt shows, she was relegated to more administrative tasks and often served customers at the bar.
“I would watch the shows from afar and think to myself, ‘I need to be a part of that,’ but there were really no women getting into the craft at the time and in Italy, it’s considered more of a man thing,” she says in her classic Roman-accented Italian. (Bizzarro spoke with us in Italian, and we translated her words into English.) At age 16, impatient to join the ranks of other drivers, Bizzarro finally demanded her brother teach her, and she went on to become the first woman in Italy to drive a car on two wheels. Today, at 31, she is a full-time stunt driver.
Desy Bizzarro behind the wheel
Image: Courtesy Photo
Her commitment shows. A tattoo across her wrist says, “In every situation, be a stuntgirl,” and she hopes to eventually start a motor stunt school focused on teaching women. “When I was getting into it, there really weren’t any women doing it, so I want to be that woman and inspire a new generation,” she says.
Bizzarro says she has suffered only minor injuries during her career—a “hard hit to the shoulder so far when shooting for the film, but nothing too serious,” she says.
Originally from Rome, she has performed in Dubai, Japan, China and Germany, but always wanted to come to the United States. The Ellenton show represents the first time she has performed in the States.
The first time she received a call to star in Fast X, she assumed it was a joke. The second time, she believed it, and was over the moon. As a child, she watched all the films and dreamed she was franchise star Vin Diesel’s wife. In the 10th iteration, she gets to pursue him in a high-speed chase while dressed as a police officer. Her brother, meanwhile, finds himself in a speedy chase with actress Michelle Rodriguez.
At the Nitro Extreme show in Ellenton, she’ll be doing a drift, her favorite stunt, in a Nissan 350Z, and driving on two tires in a Ford Mustang.
Other vehicles you will see at the show include Dodge Chargers, Kawasaki motorcycles and an imported European tractor called a Scania. Her father Davide and stepmom Suzie will also be among the drivers. Back in Rome, Bizzarro favors a BMW Series 1 or a Smart Car since “parking in Rome is really challenging,” she says.
Manuel Rebecchi, the founder of Cirque Italia, which is based in Sarasota, developed a love of American cars early on in life and added the stunt show to the Cirque for the first time this year, choosing to kick it off from Cirque’s Florida headquarters before taking it nationwide.
“This show is the only traveling technical stunt show in the U.S.,” he says. “You may see monster truck shows, but this is unique, with the addition of the cars and the expertise of the drivers.”
Other shows Cirque Italia produces include Water Circus and Paranormal Cirque. The international troupe has been performing in Palmetto for the last eight years and travels to audiences nationwide.
Nitro Extreme performances run Sept. 9-18. For tickets and show times, click here.
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