Things happen for a reason and it gets better. There were times that I did not book a job and later found out that the director had a bad reputation. Sometimes the role was just not right for you and other times your health comes first. It can only get better.
As a part of my interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Natalya Michelle. Natalya is a full-time actress, influencer, entrepreneur, and director at just 18 years old. She has worked on some major shows such as, “TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress America” and HBO’s Reality TV show, “We’re Here”, which will be premiering on the 23rd of April in 2020. As an actress/influencer she is known for her appearance in Jubilee’s Ask Me Anything series, with well over a million views, and several commercials appearing both local and nationwide.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Honestly growing up I remember my mom showing me new movies, singers, runway shows, and so many other things revolving around the entertainment industry. We would always bond over these moments and she told me that I would do “that” when I grew up. Over time through the ups and downs I had with my rough childhood, entertainment would be the thing I relied on to help me through the bad times. Naturally, storytelling and the arts impacted me, so I wanted to ensure I could do the same for others by inspiring hope through my performance and actions. So at 8 years old I started taking classes and before the years’ end, I was working professionally.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
A lot of people ask how I was able to do it at a young age, especially since for a good portion of my career as a child entertainer, my parents didn’t come to any bookings or really help at all. I ended up getting an Emancipation for my career at a young age and was able to work as a legal 18 year old. That alone allowed me to be on set longer, have access to better jobs, and have more flexibility in my schedule. Getting the courts tipp approve an emancipation is very rare. On average, only 1% of minors who apply actually become emancipated. That is mainly because you have to be able to take on all the responsibilities of an adult legally at a young age.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Honestly it was thinking that everyone would treat me like an adult because I was technically a legal adult. I would try to hang out with people 20 to 40 years older than me thinking we could go out for a drink.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
As of now during the time of this interview I am in South Carolina working on a reality TV show for HBO called, “We’re Here”! After this shoot, I have a few more productions lined up with major networks involving some other celebrities. Ontop of all this I am also going to be collaborating with a few celebrities with well over a million followers on my social media platforms! We will be doing funny skits, challenges, and awareness videos for current issues going on in the world.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I worked with Randy Fenoli on Say Yes to the Dress and he is by far the sweetest celebrity I’ve ever worked with! After meeting him I can say he’s super kind to many of the people that recognized him and genuinely cares for everyone, regardless of social standing. The way he treats people is definitely something I respect and aspire to be like when I get to that level in my career.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
That you need to know your limits when it comes to your mental and physical health. If you need to take a break and really have time for yourself THAT IS OKAY!! I have known many people that have just broken down and even some that got into accidents coming from sets because they pushed themselves too hard.
Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
I make sure that I take at least 5 minutes every day to really sit down and enjoy life. To really admire how lucky and grateful I am of everything so far. I also take an hour every day to talk to friends and loved ones to break from all the stress. They make me happy so I try to do other things as well that make me happy, such as swing dancing, beach trips, and exploring new places!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- The internet will be your best friend. A lot of what I learned at the beginning of my career that was useful was through YouTube. When I applied those tips and tricks I learned, I saw a significant amount of growth.
- Be careful with who you trust. A lot of people are assholes. Period. There were times that because I trusted someone, I put my own safety and even my career at risk. You just have to be careful and really surround yourself with the right people.
- Enjoy the process. Life is short, so even with a stressful job, you need to make time for yourself and have fun. Remember that.
- Things happen for a reason and it gets better. There were times that I did not book a job and later found out that the director had a bad reputation. Sometimes the role was just not right for you and other times your health comes first. It can only get better.
- Know your limits and your worth. Understand what you can and cannot do. Don’t push yourself or do work that isn’t suitable for you, but also don’t let others push you down.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful” ~ Erick Thomas
90% of people don’t make it in this industry. They just don’t and that is because they don’t work hard enough. As long as I keep that quote in mind, it drives my work ethic and keeps me going, plus I can catch when I am slacking off.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Other than my mother, it would have to be my boyfriend, Joe Martorano. He has helped, and continues to assist me through the emotional stages in my career and ensures I stay motivated, but he always puts my health first. He is definitely my biggest supporter and I couldn’t imagine it being anyone else. Other than him, listening to Gary Vee and really taking on his advice on how to achieve your goals has changed my life, and made me more determined than ever.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
#ustoo is the movement I am actually currently trying to build in regards to sexual assault. It is in correlation with the #metoo movement but for men, women, and everyone in or out of the entertainment industry. This is one of my biggest passions since I am a huge feminist and even currently in the making of a documentary surrounding the creation of my movement.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Anyone who wants to connect with me and take my career to the next level and vice versa. The thing I need in my career as of now is exposure, a larger team, and people that can take me to the next level. I am just grateful that I have this opportunity to get it, and I can hopefully share it with others.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Please do! I post a lot of job opportunities, advice, behind the scenes of my life, and some funny relatable content.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!