As we continue our longstanding series featuring female trailblazers from all walks of life, we could not think of a better person than the unstoppable Natalie Brown to headline our 2024 interviews.
An acclaimed Canadian actress, Natalie's talent has shined through a multitude of diverse roles on hit shows and film and, last year, she received a prestigious Canadian Screen Awards nomination. Aside from talent and fabulous red carpet style, those of us lucky enough to meet Natalie in person are immediately drawn by her warmth, charm and genuine eagerness to get to know you. To say that she's a 'people person' is an understatement. We are thrilled to feature Natalie as an inspiring powerhouse.
(Photo Credit: Carlyle Routh for Hello Magazine Canada)
What is your favorite quote or life motto?
“Carpe diem.” Truly! “Seize the day”(because) “life is short!”
Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m originally from Timmins - a small but vibrant Canadian mining city in Northern Ontario. My family has been there for generations, so community values are in our DNA. It’s known as “The City with a Heart of Gold” (and home to Shania Twain and a lot of great hockey players) and it couldn’t be truer.
(Photo Credit: Sandro Altamirano)
When and how did you get started with acting?
It was a slow but sure trajectory... From dancing and performing in high school, working in catalogue and commercials throughout my time studying fine arts at York University, getting more comfortable in front of a camera modeling in North America and Asia and finally studying the craft of acting through various courses, teachers, and modalities in Canada and the US. I also learned a lot on the job. My first role in a feature film was one line in “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days” and I had no idea what standing in someone’s eye line was until I was standing in Kate Hudson’s eye line and was told promptly to get out of it! Although classes did teach me the value of failure and not being afraid of it, which is a lesson that bears repeating over and over, there’s no replacement for learning from your mistakes and hands-on experience.
It’s no secret that in your industry, it’s very difficult to make it, let alone establish longevity. When times were tough, what got you through those moments?
I’ve always been a late bloomer (compared to others, which is something I try to never do!) Where many dancers start at 3 or 4 years old, I was 12 when I got my first pair of tap shoes (that still fit today!) and although I landed my first commercial at 17, I didn’t start pursuing acting seriously until I was almost 30, so I believe that things happen in their own time, and trust that things happen, or don’t happen, when they’re meant to. I’ve been disappointed not getting certain roles, but it later allowed me to do something or meet someone else that was meant to be. So I have a lot of trust, as well as a healthy amount of tenacity. Never quit, and always be learning and growing. If I’m not working, I take a class, take time to read, or take in museums or films or the culture of a new city. There is no making it. It’s a forever journey. And surrounding myself with good, loving people helps remind me that a healthy balance between work, life and family is vital to staying sane in a wildly unpredictable business.
What is it that you love about what you do?
The people I meet.
Congratulations on your 2023 Canadian Screen Awards nomination for “Best Guest Performance” on a drama series. Where were you when you got the news of your nomination and were you doing a happy dance?
I was still asleep when the nominations were announced and only checked my phone when I woke up to see if any of my friends were nominated and was so surprised and confused to see them congratulating me! I was shocked but thrilled as the show “Hudson and Rex” is a beloved series internationally that I loved being a guest star on, and shooting out in the bays of Newfoundland during humpback season with their wonderful cast and crew was already so magical, the nomination for a CSA was icing on an already incredible cake.
You’ve accomplished so much already, but to date, what would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Starring in the CBC comedy series “Sophie” that shot in Montreal was an experience and honor I’ll never forget, as well as the incredible good fortune of working on Guillermo del Toro’s series “The Strain” … the calibre of creators, writers, cast and crew was a highlight of my career.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
What is one fact that most would not know about you?
That you and I can converse in casual Mandarin!
When you’re not working, what’s your favorite thing to do?
Spending time with loved ones. Staying connected, over food, wine, coffee or a phone call. I just love people. It’s why I love working in film so much! Whether we’re actively working, or not, staying connected is my life blood.
Now let’s talk fashion! How would you describe your personal style?
These days, pretty casual. But also quite extreme - I go from sneakers and sweats to sequins and stilettos! (And thank you, “Protect My Shoes” for keeping my heels in such carpet-ready shape!:)
What’s your go-to outfit when you’re pressed for time?
Anything black with heels and a red lip. My hair is really curly and naturally a little 80’s inspired, so I’ll either let it do its thing or slick it back into a bun with some lipstick and I’m good to go!
When you’re dressing for the red carpet, which looks do you tend to gravitate toward?
I gravitate towards vintage-inspired looks from the 70’s and 80’s, feminine with a little edge. Saint Laurent is a dream designer, as well as some favorite Canadian designers, RVNG, Narces, and Greta Constantine, who I’ve been blessed to wear to many events.
What’s your fashion or beauty indulgence?
I just turned 50, so I used to splurge on shoes but now, it’s skin care!
What’s your favorite shoe style and/or footwear brand?
Gianvito Rossi. Or Nike Jordan’s. And nothing in between! ;)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Kristen Stewart. Naomi Watts.
Next dream travel destination?
Hawaii, New Orleans, or Calabria - my Nana’s Motherland… in any order!
If you could have dinner with three special guests, who would they be?
I’d love to cook for my grandmothers and my aunts, all who’ve passed on but I believe are still with us in spirit. I’d love to pay back the countless meals they made for me, and ask them all the questions I was too young to ask or understand the answers to.
Follow Natalie on her journey, on and off the set!