We had the good fortune of connecting with Natasha Ofili and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Natasha, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My mother always picked on me when I was a child. “Natasha, stop thinking the grass is greener on the other side.” I always took risks on everything (chuckle) because I followed my inner intuition. When I see something, I genuinely believe it is the right path for me. I have taken several significant risks in my life.

The first: I was approaching my third year at California State University, Northridge. My family was big on education. My sister went to Northwestern University, my brother went to UC Davis, and here I am, scared shitless of my mother, yet it felt so right that studying psychology in college wasn’t for me. I can feel it in my bones.

I left college to explore my life; I worked odd jobs before finding work at a bridal store in Woodland Hills. This led to my newfound passion: fashion. I graduated from FIDM – Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Being a deaf Black person in the fashion industry is a major risk. Trying to work in any industry without discrimination is a challenge. I had to work against the waves that gravitated toward me, which meant being 10 steps ahead, working 10x harder, and hoping I would land a job in the career I am passionate about.

Fortunately, right after graduating, I landed my first job at BCBG MAXZARIA as a product development coordinator. I moved up the ranks in the industry in several different companies and became a Designer. Working in the fashion industry for nearly 10 years was amazing. I learned and evolved with such greatness while being in a creative space, challenged and pushed to think outside the box, and taking many risks in designing and forecasting trends.

I loved every minute of it. You would think this is it. I am set in stone with my career. But, my inner being’s light dimmed, and the fiery passion wasn’t there anymore.

Then I discovered acting. Acting: what another unpredictable industry to dive into. I remembered my mother gave me a side-eye and thought I had lost my mind about becoming an actress. Why would I want to leave the industry that pays you a good salary to the unknown world of Hollywood? WHY?

If you were a psychic and told me I would be an actor later in my life, I would laugh. After performing a monologue called “The Hearing Boyfriend” on camera, I remember that moment I fell in love with acting and storytelling. This is it; this is my fire, passion, and Plan A. I never looked back after that. I dove into the ocean willingly against waves because I saw my purpose.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

For as long as I remember, I have always gone beyond creating outside-the-box art. Creating art means many things: wearing fashion from the age of 3, viewing things that others do not see, expanding my inner thoughts into reality, breaking rules of what is art in the eyes of society, and bringing vulnerability to the table.  All of this is art and storytelling. That is what sets me apart from others.

I love what I do as an actor, filmmaker, and writer. There is nothing that I would do instead. Diving into an unknown jungle was challenging; I did not know what I was getting myself into. The unknown part was not scary for me. My inner fire is persistent as I do the work because I enjoy writing stories, acting as different unique individuals, and touching the hearts, minds, and souls of people with motion pictures.

I want to thank my mother for raising me to be an independent, creatively free-spirit girl. She let me be who I am as a Deaf child, a Black girl, to express myself the way I want to be. My upbringing gave me the strength and vision to break barriers for myself and others in entertainment.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a big nature person who loves mountains, parks, forests, and oceans. For me, nature is therapeutic, relaxing, refueling, and fun. Sometimes we need nature when visiting from out of state; coming into Los Angeles, you think loud, tourist attractions, and cliche places. Here are some areas that I would recommend visiting:

Malibu Café
Lacy Park
Eagle Rock Via East Topanga Fire Road Hiking Trail
Lake Balboa Park
Santa Monica Mountains

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Matt Reinig, for believing in me, who continues to challenge me and has faith that I will continue to rise and succeed.

Website: natashaofili.com | niovision.com

Instagram: Natasha_Ofili

Other: https://vimeo.com/niovision

Image Credits
One image with floral art of Natasha, photo credit by Brandon Simmoneau.

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