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Finding Heaven on Earth with Natacia | San Diego PDF Print E-mail
Angels - Interviews
Written by Khalid "Bless" Bey | Editor in Chief | As Seen in the NY Times Bestseller: Rat Bastards   
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Alone in Times Square, I had an opportunity to reflect. Yes, I did this in the ever-bustling area of Midtown Manhattan; it’s a gift and a curse to zone out regardless of my circumstances. This has helped preserve my sanity on many an occasion. I thought about my much storied history, that which shouldn’t hold one as a slave but still help define the person we’ve become or hope to become. Our current angel, a delicate beauty with a robust resolution, Natacia understands this better than most. The sacrifices, the regret we come to appreciate, the loves, the pains, the desires, and ultimately the final acceptance of who we are and what must be done.

 

 

“I couldn’t even begin to say all the sacrifices I’ve made,” Natacia begins her story earnestly. “Put it this way, I’ve given up everything to be where I’m at now,” she says stressing the word everything. “I started with nothing. No home, family, friends, money to my name but working hard to get it all back has made me the person I am today.” This is something so few could identify with that the person this creates is often alienated among friends, family and colleagues. “’My background definitely sets me apart from everyone. Having a dad from India and mom from Nicaragua gave me a mix I’ve never seen before,” she says, “but not only that, I grew up with completely different cultures. I love that and am blessed for it.” Embracing her mixed beauty, modeling became a passion. “Most girls model for the ‘pretty pictures’ or [the] money. I do it because being in front the camera is who I am. I love telling a story with a picture and I have a great admiration for both sides of the camera.”

 

 

The story she tells in her photos belie the story of how she came to be the angel before us. A tomboy growing up, she played just about every sport you can imagine and it appears very little has changed. “I still work out and like to find new ways to stay fit but as far as being a tomboy goes,” she admits, “that is mostly gone. I love makeup and wearing heels but you’ll still see me wearing shark tooth necklaces and long boarding around the neighborhood.”  Natacia is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia; “a southern girl at heart” who began her impactful modeling at an early age. “My neighbor always told me I should model,” she recalls, even when I wasn’t that pretty just because my looks were so different.” Those memorable words of encouragement were the reason she started modeling.

 

 

The impact modeling has had on Natacia’s life has been notable. “People tend to take me more seriously,” she says. “It’s nice to have so many fans and people look up to me and I try to stay a good role model for people.” One change, more than any other, has been the most significant, that of her body image. “To be a model is 110% dedication to your body. Since becoming a model, my diet has done a complete one-eighty. My motto is, ‘if my dog can’t eat it then I probably shouldn’t,’ unless it’s chocolate.” The industry, known for its competitiveness, where depending on the experience, a model can sink or swim at any moment. “A photographer once told me,” she says, “‘Your last shoot should always be the best one, because if it’s not what’s the point of it?’” She has learned that composing herself “in a different setting while maintaining sexiness could only be done with practice.” Her confidence increased due to modeling and it’s reflected in her daily life and how she interacts with the world around her.

 

 

Like angels before her, I ask her to name something she would love to see happen in the world. “Dooms Day,” she answers, “that would be kind of cool… Just kidding!” Humor aside, she answers that she would love to see gay marriage legalized. “I’m not getting married until I know that every single person in America can too.” She seems to believe in marriage but admits she doesn’t believe in love which momentarily confuses me but a few scenarios where this would make sense plays out in my head. Here in Angels Playpen, we do believe in love but not the fairytale stuff, just the stuff that brings unfiltered joy to our hearts. Natacia also admits she has yet to discover her ‘heaven on earth’, a must here.

 

 

Conceivably, together we could assist our angel with finding her ‘heaven on earth.’ Cooking she loves, so potentially, this could be a step in the right direction. “My ‘Hidden Treasure’ is an $11 recipe cookbook I got at Costco,” she says delivering this delicate surprise. “Anytime I have, I spend in the kitchen creating recipes. I’m a huge supporter of organic and local produce so anything that grows in my garden or that I get at the farmer’s market I try to make something amazing with.” My heaven on earth, I think to myself, could easily be a lazy afternoon in the kitchen with Natacia, evening spent on the terrace enjoying a dish she’d just prepared with a properly paired wine. And what’s heaven without an angel, though at that moment she would be mine Natacia’s angel is Sherry, a dog she grew up with, born on the same day as she, long since gone; a brother more than a pet.

 

 

Natacia has a thing for extremely NBA-tall men, meaning my vertically challenged physique would never appeal to her but that’s ok. We can at least be friends despite the fact that her boss told her friendships between men and women could never be; she thinks it possible as do I. “If I can have a dog as my best friend I think it’s possible to be friends with a man,” she imparts. The thought of being compared to a dog slows me down a bit then I quicken with the thought of how much I loved my dog. She may like my eyes, people say they are trusting and most girls say they’re pretty; it’s what she notices first about a guy. Easily driven to blush, it only takes a look she confesses, so I may have a chance until I stand up to reveal my disappointing height. She hates guys with no future, “if you’re broke, not going to school or living with your mom I will not date you,” she says.

 

 

Craving stability, as the Taurus she is suggests, Natacia is motivated by “money and skinny people,” hopes to one day see her “face on a billboard in San Diego” where she currently lives; get into Maxim and dreams of being on the Food Network. No affair endured yet warrants regret from the young model; “If it wasn’t for all the mistakes I’ve made in the past I wouldn’t be where I am right now.” Many admire her independence and kindness. She is kind because of a refusal add to the ugliness in the world, an angelic agenda. A hard work ethic went into making a life of her own, relying on no one; “a rewarding feeling to me especially for my young age.” She has chosen three deserving words, go-getter, genuine and hardworking to describe herself, words proven true by this interview.

 

 

In San Diego, people are apparently amazing according to Natacia. “There is such an eclectic group of people here that no matter where you are,” she says, “you’re bound to make friends easily.” Life is enjoyed in a city full of wonderful energy, a city I’m sure I’d love. “Each part of San Diego is different. Downtown is classy. Pacific Beach is hipster. Ocean Beach is hippy. La Jolla is rich and fabulous. I’m never bored here.” Not so much a party girl, local places to eat are favored but one local but distant place still holds her; Bodo’s Bagels back in her birthplace of Charlottesville, Virginia. She also prefers to shop for kitchen items more so than shoes or clothes; “I can easily spend a whole day in a kitchen store.”

 

 

Closet master organic chef, a poker lover who used to play in a league, world-class beauty of distinct origin; Natacia has eternally solidified a place in Angels Playpen. An angel who can’t live without her dog, one she saved from a North Carolina kill shelter; “He’s my best friend,” she says, “we saved each other.” That statement says a lot to me, the weight those combined words carry is substantial. I like her. Who she is and what she stands for. A vision of a friendship materializes, one where my occasional reckless tongue requires a gift of Godiva Chocolates that accompanies an apology. “It’s impossible for me to hold a grudge with a box of those in front of me,” she says exposing a chink in her gorgeous armor.  Armor built of hard work and determination, loss and gain, and history vs destiny paradox. Glad she dropped her guard, giving us a peek beneath her hardened yet beautiful exterior, and we end this interview hoping she finds her ‘heaven on earth.”

 

 

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Photography: J. Garcia | Ron Dressel