“I don’t feel addicted to the risk but to the flight, I love to fly and it’s all I want to do in my life, same as I love swimming with animals no matter what kind of fish is there, it can be a turtle or a shark, it doesn’t matter to me; it’s not because a shark can be more dangerous, it’s just because I love to be in the ocean.”
Skydiver, BASE jumper, wingsuit flyer, international model and daredevil. Roberta Mancino is one of the most incredible athletes of her generation. She has broken record after record, jumped off Dubai’s Princess Tower, participated in over 9,000 skydives… and she was even naked in a few of them.
I felt nervous the first time I skydived like everyone else, but it goes away after you start to jump a lot. Now, I just concentrate on what I m gonna do, my training in skydiving. I think how to fly better.
Do you believe that you’d be happy living a more conventional lifestyle?
Yes of course, life is full of beautiful things but I just do what makes me happy and flying makes me very happy, one day when I’m tired or I like something else more I might stop, but it’s still hard for me right now to see my life without flying. I love surfing too now and I think I will spend more time travelling and surfing when I have time.
I’ve known I wanted to turn skydiving into my career since I started in the year 2000, I wanted to be a skydiver and an instructor.
The outstanding danger of base jumping, made you hesitate or want to do it even more? How does one feel while literally flying?
Now after all the accidents it made me hesitate much more. Last year I stopped jumping for a month because I was very sad and I just didn’t have fun as before. Obviously we all know it’s dangerous and I think it’s good to stop sometimes to think about it, so that we can make smarter decisions. When you fly you feel like everything around is beautiful, you can see things that nobody else can see and feel free, like a little airplane, but you are flying with your body so you can feel the wind and the speed.
It was a dream come true when I flew in the middle of the city of Panama at night, and also when I flew over the volcano in Chile with my boyfriend and my good friend and many more jumps… they have all been dreams come true.
“I like to swim with big creatures, I think it’s fascinating to see those animals not afraid of you and interacting and playing with you; even though they could hurt you, they won’t and many times you can have a magic connection. They stay around you the entire dive. Sharks for example, such an old predator that I love to watch and see how they behave. It is amazing to look at an animal that has been in this world for so long and has survived to so many changes.”
You’re either in the air or under water – one could say you don’t particularly enjoy being on the ground!
I guess I like those two places much more, those two worlds have less problems than the human world, but I do enjoy being on the ground, too. I love being with friends and family and I like to do normal things like cooking italian food and going salsa dancing.
Are you continuously looking for new challenges?
Not always but I have many dreams, so when I have the support of my sponsors I come up with ideas and we try to make it happen. Sometimes it’s hard to get permissions for us but that is also a challenge that I love: to see if I can make it happen.
You’ve added your touch to your sport by jumping in high heels, a bikini and even naked – were you challenging yourself?
Not really, those jumps are much easier and less technical than the others. It’s just to make it more special, girly and fashionable.
I have lots of energy and I don’t like to stop, I get bored by doing nothing; I can be a day or few just chilling but then I feel like I need to be active and do sports.
From where is your dream to jump off?
To fly next to Everest, and few more that I can’t talk about yet.
My parents have been very supportive. My mom knows how much I love to fly and she comes to watch me sometimes. They can be worried but they don’t say much to me.
Besides risk, what are the things you enjoy the most?
Family, love and good friends.
The most rewarding part of my career is being able to see many new places and meet so many different cultures.
What would you be if you weren’t a jumper & model?
I think I would like to be a surfer.
My philosophy in life is always keep doing what you love. Be kind and help whoever needs you; protect what you love. Happiness is only real when shared.
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