Kim-Maree Penn is a bodyguard to visiting VIPs, a stunt actress and runs Signal 8 Security. The tall Australian, who also models, was 1988 world karate champion in kumite (fighting) and is undefeated in any martial arts competition. At 26, she has appeared in more than 20 films starring opposite Jackie Chan, Dolph Lundgren and Leon Lai. As a bodyguard she has worked for a host of celebrities including Cindy Crawford, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. What's on your mind? New laws came into force this week to regulate the security industry. Bouncers and bodyguards will now have to have a permit. It's a good thing because there's a lot of guys who think just because they stand in the gym and pump iron they can do security work. You will now have to do a training course and pass a test so you will only get guys standing on the door who have some common sense instead of psychopaths who are just big and want to beat people up - and there are plenty of them. How did you become a bodyguard? Because of my martial arts I was the stunt double in the Dolph Lundgren movie The Punisher. I was then asked to do action movies over here. I had just started a degree in biomedical science and I thought, 'Do I want to look down a microscope for the rest of my life or do something different?' When I moved here I met so many guys who did martial arts I thought, 'Why not get them together and do security.' We started with the opening of Planet Hollywood. Do female bodyguards have an advantage over men? In America and Europe more and more women are being employed as bodyguards. Women come across as less threatening so you don't aggravate the situation. You look more like you're part of the entourage. You have a lower profile. If you get someone walking through a hotel lobby surrounded by five massive men everyone is going to rush over to see who it is. I look as though I'm just showing them around, which they like. It's less threatening than a guy with dark shades. If it's a woman VIP it's a lot easier to have a woman bodyguard. Has anyone hit you? A good bodyguard shouldn't have to use any force. Most of it should be through talking. I've had a few threats, but I haven't been hit. When Whitney Houston was here her brother Gary said he had done martial arts, wanted to know if I could block something and threw a punch. I just stepped sideways and Bobby Brown told him to chill out. I also had to escort one well-known woman out of Post 97 because she wanted Bobby Brown and got a bit too excited. When I was working at Westworld [nightclub] I had a guy threaten to throw acid in my face - a wee chat and everything was fine. Several stars have married their bodyguards - has anyone ever proposed? No, but I've been invited to dinner, for drives and up to hotel rooms. Some try it on, but then they get to know me and realise I'm there to do a job. If anyone was really pushy I would get someone in to swap. A lot of people expect you to have short hair and be very butch. When they see me it takes them a few minutes to adjust - but I tell them my hair is all peroxide. Where do you go from here? I've been asked to audition for a major Hollywood action movie. They're really keen on Asian action at the moment and they love Jackie Chan which is good for me. I told them all my films were 'chop suey flicks'. Maybe I was too honest, but I didn't want to get there and find they were expecting Meryl Streep.