It’s not every day a South African beauty like Tanit Phoenix—also an accomplished ballet dancer, model and actress—winds up at your door. So when we were presented with the chance to sit down with the impressively multi-hyphenated celeb, we thought it was only appropriate to make this particularly sexy Phoenix our latest Femme on Fire. We caught up with Tanit to talk over her new film, Death Race 3: Inferno, in which she shares screen time with veteran action stars Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames and Luke Goss.*******There’s more to see of Tanit Phoenix. See her sexy photo gallery now.Playboy.com: *In Death Race 3 you play Katrina Banks, the kick-ass, take no prisoners, gun-wielding ex-sniper who was dishonorably discharged from the military. So, how close to the character are you?
Phoenix: Very. If you knew the back story to Katrina, you would understand. She stands up for herself and does what’s right when it’s needed. Plus she has a great sense of humor. Exactly like me.
*Playboy.com: *Death Race 2 had you firing machine guns and climbing out of cars. What kind of training did you have to do for the action scenes?
Phoenix: I did a lot of stunt training with the stunt men, and the armorers had guns to use while we were training. All of it felt second nature to me; it was such a great experience to combine the hardcore aspect of fighting with guns and the agility needed to maneuver in and out of the car while racing in the road. Plus, being a ballet dancer helps with the suppleness I needed to do that.
*Playboy.com: *What was the scariest stunt you had to pull off?
Phoenix: The roundhouse kicks during the female fight scene. In training I clipped one of the women so hard on her cheek with my foot. I was so worried I would do it again while filming, it put extra pressure on me to get it right every time.
*Playboy.com: *You are an accomplished ballet dancer, yoga enthusiast and are trained in Muay Thai—is there anything your body can’t do?
Phoenix: I love being active and physical. The ballet training I had whilst growing up has given me amazing flexibility to this day; that’s why I enjoy yoga. I swim a lot, too, and recently took up surfing behind a boat; here in South Africa they call it skurfing.
*Playboy.com: *In DR3 you star alongside rather daunting actors Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames. Who do you think would win in a fight between the two? Who could you beat in a fight?
Phoenix: Definitely Danny. He was an accomplished boxer for years. Who could I beat? Danny Trejo for sure, but only because he has a soft spot for me; we go back a few years now. I am pretty sure he would let me win just to tell his friends that he got beat up by a girl. [laughs]
*Playboy.com: *You are often cast for characters that are not only physically gorgeous but also have an inner strength and intelligence. Do you make it a point of finding these roles or do they find you?
Phoenix*: *The roles I have taken so far have come to me independently, and it has been a great experience playing physically and mentally strong women. However, I have my eyes open for something a little more in depth regarding storyline: a romantic story, a drama, a psychological thriller.
*Playboy.com: *You and costar Luke Goss have an obvious chemistry in the movies; did you have to work at it or was it naturally there from the beginning?
Phoenix: It was naturally there from the beginning. Luke is a gentleman and a wonderful person all round. It has been a pleasure to work with him.
*Playboy.com: *You went to an all-girls boarding school growing up. Is it anything like the movies? Pillow fights leading to cat fights, leading to ripped clothes, leading to steamy shower make-out sessions?
Phoenix: Sorry to disappoint, but no, none of the above. We were far more interested in learning. [laughs]
*Playboy.com: *DR3 was filmed in South Africa; how was it filming at home?
Phoenix: It was great. I got to sleep in my own bed. The best part is that I could have my family visit the sets.
*Playboy.com: *You’re a qualified hypnotherapist. Have you ever used that skill for evil?
Phoenix: No. Only for good, now look into my eyes…
*Playboy.com: *What else can we look forward to seeing you in?
Phoenix: I have a film called Spud 2 coming out this year. We shot the first film two years ago and it did very well in South Africa. I had another film come out recently, a comedy called Mad Buddies alongside South Africa’s funniest man, Leon Schuster, who called me every day until I said I would do the role. To date it is the highest-grossing film in S.A.
*Playboy.com: *Lightning Round. What is your favorite:
Drink: Carrot, beetroot, apple and ginger juice.
Food: Thai and Vietnamese food.
Shot: I don’t drink alcohol.
Guilty pleasure: My boyfriend.
Most embarrassing moment: Ah, my life is full of adventures; I don’t see anything as embarrassing.
Awkward pickup line: A certain well-known actor, not knowing I am friends with his girlfriend, and he is trying to make a move. My boyfriend was standing just a few meters away watching it all happen. Very, very awkward.Check out Tanit in action: Death Race 3 on Blu-Ray/DVD on January 22, 2013.