monday's muse: natalie morales

photog cred: scott witter

not so slowly, but definitely surely, actor natalie morales is becoming a household name. there is no doubt that you've seen her both in the small and silver screen. originaly from miami, florida (like myself), she has taken los angeles by storm. within her first year, she was given a lead role in abc family's show "the middle man" - an accomplishment in and of itself.
her charming wit, gorgeous looks and undeniable acting chops make her relentlessly cool and refreshingly fascinating.
i was able to sit down and catch up with my friend whilest eating some hotdogs in downtown l.a.
here is what went down:

q. you landed your first lead role in the feature film "6 month rule" where you play a headstrong, sort of aloof girl that could take or leave a man with the same ease. is this something that you could relate to? what aspects of natalie were you able to incorporate into "sophie"?
a. i think sophie seems headstrong and like a take it or leave it kind of girl, and i think that's her intention, but i don't think she is. i think she's just scared of getting too close and getting hurt. that's definitely been a place i've temporarily visited, but it's not how i generally like to live my life. generally if you don't have a really "character-y" role, sometimes it's difficult as an actor to separate yourself from just acting like another, regular girl. that's my favorite challenge. i like to try and not be myself as much as possible. so the thing with this role was to do the opposite, to not incorporate any aspects of natalie into sophie.

q. you're cuban-american from miami. how important are your hispanic roots when living in los angeles and working in the entertainment industry?
a. as important as my hispanic roots are to me, as much as i love and cherish where my family is from and where my roots are firmly grounded, i try not to involve them with my work, or with my life in general. honestly (and this is not a popular opinion), i think it segregates us as people and citizens of the world to constantly pile into groups because of superficial things we have in common like color or race. i'm generally not a fan of movies or tv that's like "made for latinos by latinos and only for latinos" why? how is that interesting at all? i'm a fan of exploring different cultures, mixing them up, learning new things, stepping into the unknown, not getting stuck in a bubble.  i think the entertainment industry would be a lot more entertaining if there weren't as many stereotypes and pigeon holes.  it hasn't been easy having my last name and skin color and not fitting into the mold of what hollywood thinks of as a latina. there are at least these 3 stereotypes that I don't fit into:
1. tough new york mouthy loud opinionated latina.
2. sexy, big boobed, big butt, small waist, long brown/black hair latina.
3. maid.
( i don't want to fit into those anyway, for the most part)
so the roles i like to play and end up playing, like sophie, are just regular people that aren't defined by their race.  i like it that way.

q. you've been so consistent in landing roles in phenomenal productions (both tv and cinema) like "wall street: money never sleeps", "going the distance", "parks and recreation" and now "the newsroom"... how as that ride been? how is it working with such a-list actors? what's the best advice you've been given on set?
a. you are very right. i can't believe the stuff i've gotten to work on. honestly, no horror stories from any of those sets. all those "a-listers" have been incredible. i think i probably botched, like, the first 5 takes in my first scene with amy poehler because i'm such a fan and i was just staring at her watching her work. she's awesome, and absurdly nice. jeff daniels is another one. it was hard for me not to stay in my head repeating "you are now in a scene with jeff daniels" over and over again while working with him.  believe it or not, the best advice i got on a set was on the very first tv show I did out here, "csi:miami", from david caruso himself. he said, "always make sure the camera can see your eyes, you got good eyes." and although that may seem like common sense, it's not necessarily a thing you think about coming from theatre.

q. what's next for you? where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
a. i wrote a feature i'm currently trying to get made. i think i've decided to direct it as well. that's in its nascent stage right now. in 5 years i'd just love to be working with people I like on something i love. that's the dream. that simple.

q. you've mentioned your fear of red carpets and having your picture taken. that took me aback seeing that most actors flock to get their picture taken. why the fear? (i kinda like it!)
a. it's not fear as much as it is i hate the fake-ness of it. i hate having to pose, and it makes me uncomfortable to have a camera on me alone when i'm not playing a part. it just doesn't feel right. i have to do it every now and then for different reasons, but i avoid it as much as i can. blegh.

6 month rule is now available on i-tunes. click here to watch.

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click here to follow natalie on twitter

and don't forget to click here to apply for my creative rec shoes giveaway!


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