Lisa Skvarla

West Seattle-based Lisa Skvarla Portrays Crime Victim in Discovery Channel Show

Co owner of Lee’s Martial Arts


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Press Release:
Local West Seattle-based actress/stunt woman Lisa Skvarla will be featured in the Discovery Health TV special "The Worst Thing That Ever Happened to Me”, airing Friday, December 10th

Skvarla portrays Debbie Puglisi, a real-life victim and survivor of a violent crime in which she was assaulted and kidnapped. Skvarla appears in this re-enactment of the brutal crime in which Puglisi’s husband was also killed. The incident occurred on April 20,1998. More details:

“I knew immediately the part was perfect for me,” Skvarla says, “I knew it would be a physical and emotionally demanding role. It was both challenging and meaningful to me.”

Co owner of Lee’s Martial Arts in West Seattle with her husband, Joe, Skvarla is active in teaching women’s self-defense and has coordinated anti-bullying projects locally. She holds a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Skvarla teaches aerobic kickboxing, women's self-defense, children’s self-defense, and rape prevention. As a volunteer, she appears at local schools, most recently teaching self-defense to high school seniors and a sorority at the University of Washington.

“I teach women how to avoid danger, and how to stay alive if they do find themselves in a very dangerous situation.”

To prepare for the role, Skvarla studied transcripts of the details of what happened to Puglisi. More of the traumatic details of Puglisi’s experience were found in the victim’s autobiographical book titled Shattered. “Reading it, I found myself sobbing from tears of grief, relief and love. It gave me chills,” Skvarla says.

The actress was also fortunate to meet and talk with Puglisi during the shoot.
“The truth of her story is what is most important to me. It was an honor to portray her.”

A resident of West Seattle, Skvarla has been acting and performing stunt work for over 15 years. Her credits include being a stunt fight coordinator, stunt double for the television show Northern Exposure and being honored by the Academy of Arts and Sciences for her work on that show. Her resume also includes acting in feature films, local TV shows, industrial videos and commercials. She works mainly in Seattle and Los Angeles, and has been a cast member for the Seattle Theater Readers that performs local scripts at the Jewel BoxTheater in Seattle every month.

The show begins airing Dec. 10-17th, 7 PM (PST). Check your guide for other times.

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