We had the good fortune of connecting with Natascia Tornetta Mallin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natascia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We were in the middle of a pandemic and I was climbing up the walls like everyone else, watching whatever prospects I had of living a life that wasn’t government funded go out the window. I went to visit my brother who was living in Mexico at the time and ended up staying for nearly half a year. Growing up first generation Italian in Los Angeles I was always at a loss for markers of my culture unless I was surrounded by Latino/as. Maybe it’s the language similarities, or the extra family that’s always showing up, or the way they hug you when they see you, slap you on your arm as they laugh at your jokes, or make sure you never leave their houses hungry, but I always felt most at home when I was with my Latino/a friends. At the same time, growing up in a city that is so systemically anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, and anti-Mexican fucked with my head and my heart. Last year living with my brother in Oaxaca and Mexico City I found myself overwhelmed by the talent and beauty of so many artists and artisans and awe-struck by a culture that is not my own but always felt like a piece of home. I remembered all the folks back home I’ve know throughout the years who would whisper the word “Mexican” as if it was a racial slur, and thought of all the joy and richness they miss out on because of their ignorances of Latino culture, or their fear of traveling outside of five-star resorts. I decided to create Nataxia Trading Co. to highlighted the elegance and skill of the families of artisans I met and to do whatever I could to amplify their mastery to a larger marketplace.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a writer and actor. My book, “The First 50”, comes out August 2021 and is a memoir about the first 50 sexual experiences I’ve had. Each chapter is written as a short story, yet there is a continuous narrative weaved through the book that chronicles growing up in Los Angeles at the turn of the millennium. One of the things that sets my writing apart is that it is very sex positive without being salacious or preachy. I don’t think it’s easy to recall, or even remember all of your sexual encounters, and it certainly hasn’t been easy knowing that a bunch of people I’ve never met are going to read about some of the most beautiful and horrible things that happened to me. I think all writers go through bouts of self-doubt, and all survivors of abuse have to battle the demons someone else placed inside of them. I really was no different in that. I’ve been a writer since I could hold a pencil, but it took me 36 years to publicly declare myself as such. Still as an artist rather than get lost in a particular medium I’ve always strived to make my life itself the work of art. That way whether I’m on camera, performing in front of a studio of friends, making my brother laugh, illustrating a children’s book for adult, cooking pasta for the kids I used to nanny, telling another dude to go fuck himself in 1500 words or less, or starting an import business on a whim I’m always doing it as an artist, with authenticity and originality as my guiding lights.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
You know, growing up in Los Angeles I’ve seen spots around the city come and go. Restaurants that were heralded for their originality eventually go stale in monotony and hype. Whole neighborhoods that were once our best kept secret are now overrun with yoga studios and vegan ice cream. I’m not going to share any of my LA spots so people I haven’t vetted can act like they know. All I’ll say is that if you want to know Los Angeles, get in a car and drive. Weave your way though every long-winding mountain road on a new moon night. Take every short-cut through the heat of The Valley with no AC and roll your windows down. Drive the coast as long and fast as you can, and then turn around a drive it again. Get stuck on the 405 when you’re late to something important. Rush two neighborhoods over just to see a movie at a theater with better seats. Go to the top of every look-out by yourself well after midnight and behold the city of stars below.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This company would not have been possible without the ideas and the love of my best friend/business partner, Sonia Escamilla. Additionally, we would be nonexistent without the investment and support of my brother, Azzurro Mallin.