From Team GB to a budding film career - how a Lancashire mum-of-two is taking her ambitions to the next level
A record-breaking British athlete is now carving a future for herself in film.
When Dani Halsall, from Chorley, is not in the gym coaching people in fitness she is practicing sword fighting and combat rolls with a gun in hand.
The mother-of-two and former Team GB athlete juggles her time between her family, her job as a personal trainer and breaking into the film industry.
“The competition is so big, especially in London, that you have really got to sell yourself,” said Dani.
“So I’ve been going down a different route really, a combat training route. It suits me more with my background.
“I’ve been training in sword fighting and using hand guns in combat because that should open up more doors for me in a niche market.”
Dani was brought up by a father who was a footballer and a mother who was an actress.
She says a lot of what she has done has been inspired by her parents Wendy and Nigel although it was her grandfather Joseph who spotted her talent for speed and took her running round a local park when she was just four years old.
He urged her parents to take her to athletics clubs and over the years, as Dani got better and better, she moved up the ladder in competitions.
At university Dani was selected for the World University Championships, a competition which took her to Korea.
From there she joined the European under 23s team and when she was 23 she was selected for her first senior competition in the World Indoor Championships in Athletics.
The competitions have taken the Chorley-born athlete across the globe from America to Shanghai. “It’s the people you meet as well,” said Dani. “Everybody’s so driven and talented. At the time there was a little funding that also helped.”
Dani’s best distance was the 400 metres but the crowning glory of her career as an athlete was running with a relay team.
“Breaking the British record with the relay squad was a major highlight,” she said. “We broke it twice – at the World Indoor Championships and at the under 23 European championships.”
But hanging up her competition running shoes has not stopped Dani from setting her sights on other dreams.
While she works as a self-employed personal trainer based out of RX gym in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, and in Buckshaw Village, she has also undertaken a course in drama at Manchester School of Acting.
She has since appeared in a number of adverts, while she figures out the best way to carve a niche for herself in this competitive world.
“Acting and personal training go really well together. My clients can work around my acting opportunities and vise versa. The two worlds compliment each other because they are both quite flexible so I can flit between the two.”
So far Dani has appeared in a feature film called Blood and Bone China, a Butterkist popcorn advert, she had a small role as a sports coach in Waterloo Road, and she has appeared in films called Mimic and Laundrette.
Her work often means Dani has long days with 4am rises and late nights to bed, starting work again once she has put her daughters Anai, five and Ava, 10 months, to bed.
But Dani, whose husband Ian Lowthian works in IT, says she would not change her lifestyle for the world.
“I don’t feel I’ve sacrificed anything,” she said. “I just think you have to manage your time more.
"I suppose I don’t relax much or spend as much time as I could with family or friends.
"I'm sure it can be annoying because I won’t settle but if you are chasing the thing you are passionate about the drive is there.”
On what it takes to be successful Dani added: “I think its drive, I think its ambition and I think its determination. I also don’t like spare time. I like to be active all the time.”
Dani’s forays into the world of acting have also brought up some work coaching stuntmen and women and actors for roles they have coming up in film.
“I’m training some absolute beginners to advanced level athletes, you can start anywhere.
“The strengthening and conditioning is a really good angle for me.
"It’s amazing what you can achieve, building people up to have the types of bodies that they need for particular roles like for a role as a boxer for example.”
You contact Dani via her website HERE