“How terrifying to be something that you’re not,” Natalia states. Like Kate Bush and Alanis Morrisette, two songwriters who influenced Natalia for their honesty, there are little closed doors into finding out who Natalia truly is. Between her Cinderella in reverse story, where she went from riches to rags to riches, and her open room that serves as the closet for her clothes, Natalia is out there with an unusually profound perspective. Natalia knows first hand how liberating it can be to have nothing, which includes treasuring what she has now, like her volumes of open shelves displaying her fanciful YSL and Walter Steiger shoes. Just as a painting should be framed to match the content, Natalia feels she is precise with her own visual self portrait which she defines as ”simplicity amplified by a decadent elegance with a renegade overtone.” Typically in all black, like a fitted hour glass dress from the Portobello market or a leather Proenza Schouler leather jumper (worn backwards), Natalia adds dramatic accents of chunks of gold jewelry that are reminiscent of both her glamorous grandmother, who she says was never without lipstick, and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, who Natalia literally channels down to the Egyptian queen’s eyeliner.
Controversy, which Natalia points out is “a list, not a song, of everything worth remarking, everything not worth remarking, everything somewhat fucked up or obscured by her generation… by technology, by the internet, by television”…is at the beginning of her most recent album, Trouble. “We expect love and success to be an app you download. We’re all so pugged in that we are actually disconnected,” she says, and Natalia can put her money where her mouth is, so to speak. Growing up in England as a child she lived through the trauma of her parents going from extreme luxury to losing everything, to the point where Natalia suddenly found herself having to cope with being homeless at 15 years old. She spent a few years in London trying acting (where she realized that being someone else was not for her) and being duped by religious cult (where she was awoken to the fact that you can not open a box and find happiness), until she decided to buy a one way ticket to Hollywood (funded by selling all of her belongings) to pursue music where she lived in flea bitten motels on Sunset Boulevard. This was real– Natalia would nibble on food in restaurants, spray perfume on in Sephora and try on expensive sunglasses where she would imagine that they were hers, until the day came that after a month of eating ramen, someone who was a friend of a friend of of Will.i.am noticed her and soon after she had a record deal.
Becoming discovered while wearing Versace shades that Natalia did not own, but that she had only dreamt of living in, speaks to the power of knowing who you are, even if only in the imagination. “I feel like my entire life is just trying to match my outside to what I believe is on the inside,” Natalia states. Whether earthly or spiritual, her Mcqueen skull ring, 18c style Dutch hat, admiration for Helmut Newton’s photographs, acute insights, like knowing that success is a feeling and not material, are all aspects of the same thing– she is a collector of memories and they are all part of her identity. You would not find Natalia sometimes herself and at other times not– she mops the floor and goes to the supermarket as decked out in her furs and creepers as she would be if she was attending a red carpet event. She is a huge fan of the architect, Hundertwasser, who believed that all human beings have 3 skins. The first is your actual physical appearance, the second is your clothing and the attire you choose to wear, and the third is how you decorate your home and your habitat.” Each skin is just as important as the last,” Natalia emphasizes, “a direct translation of your soul.”
Video Edited by Adaeze Elechi.