Natasha St. Clair-Johnson taps into the human connection for the award-winning film 'Birthday'

November 1, 2017

For decades, the entertainment industry has held a reputation as being one of the toughest industries to succeed in. The idea of a “big break” came to light when unknown actors or musicians would land themselves a career-changing opportunity and their aspiring successors became desperate for any shred of advice or secret that would help them to do the same. Some entertainers dedicate their entire lives to finding a spot on the big screen or on a sold-out world tour and never manage to grasp it. For actresses like Natasha St. Clair-Johnson, giving up on her dream is out of the realm of possibilities. She has a hunger for success unlike any other, and she has an uncanny ability to think outside the box and mold her abilities to suit any unique role she finds. In fact, when she struggles to find work that effectively showcases her talents, she takes matters into her own hands and creates opportunities that hadn’t previously existed. She knows the ins and outs of the industry like the back of her own hand and her impressive resume is a testament to that expertise.

 

“Right now, with the industry being as popular as it is, the challenges seem endless. There is a high density of actors trying to find success as working actors and the sheer quantity makes the competition incredibly fierce. To find your break in the industry today is not what it once was. To combat these challenges, I find myself seeking other platforms, such as reputable theatre shows and through creating my own work, in order to showcase myself outside of traditional tactics. Talent is so subjective in entertainment and oftentimes, it’s more about connections, looks, and past credits so coming from a strictly theatre background, I find myself constantly seeking unique ways to ensure that television and film casting directors will notice me,” told St. Clair-Johnson.

 

As an actress, St. Clair-Johnson holds a personal stake in keeping the film and television industry honest. She is devoted to bringing attention to the human condition, reminding her audiences of what it means to be human, even in the face of fear and pain. She loves the idea that as an actress, she gets to be anything she wants to be. She can be a doctor, or a crime fighter. Perhaps even a dinosaur expert. Through these intriguing professions, she gets to learn more about the personality traits inherent within the characters she plays and she gets to explore human conditions that she has not yet, or may not ever experience in her own day to day life. Throughout her career, she has played a number of interesting roles from Shakespearean characters in her lead role in Two Gentlemen of Verona, to supernatural beings in films like Shang.

 

One of the highlights of St. Clair-Johnson’s career came in 2008 when she won the lead role in the Indie feature film, Birthday. For the Australian-native, this was the first time she had ever starred in a professional, feature length film and she was ecstatic to experience all of the joys that come along with a critical role. In fact, St. Clair-Johnson credits Birthday as being the film that solidified her hunch that a career on the big screen was what she truly desires in life. Birthday was filmed in St. Clair-Johnson’s home town of Adelaide, South Australia and centers around the life of a young women who works in a brothel. As she approaches her 25th birthday, the woman meets a young man navigating his way through difficult life circumstances. As a whole, the film delves into themes of identity, love, friendship, loss and human connection. It was debuted internationally at the Anchorage Film Festival, as well as at the Cannes Film Festival where it earned critical acclaim the award for Best Actress in a Foreign Film. The project was very humbling for St. Clair-Johnson and she takes great pride in knowing that her talents did not go unnoticed.

 

For the film, St. Clair-Jonson played a well-dressed, poised social worker who could be described as precise, uptight, and passive-aggressive. She enjoyed getting into character, reflecting on times in her life where she has encountered such professionals. She tapped into their personality traits flawlessly and her ability to master the intricacies of her character carried strongly through her performance. What St. Clair-Johnson loved most about working on Birthday, however, was being on set. She developed lasting working relationships with members of the cast and crew, which she still treasures today. Establishing these relationships helped her to focus her attention on her screen acting and allowed her to trust herself and her own choices. According to St. Clair-Johnson, working relationships are imperative to remaining level-headed and grounded in the realm of acting. For instance, her work relationship with Amalgamation Pictures’ company founder and producer, Jacob Patrick, has allowed her to network within the entertainment industry and flourish by learning from some of the highest talent in her field. After working with St. Clair-Johnson on the film Prized, Patrick was sure and confident that she would bring an edge to his production that he wouldn’t find in just anyone.

 

“Natasha is a pleasure to work with. She has an ability to take any kind of adjustment on the fly, and she is always engaged and open to any suggestions. She has a strong devotion to her roles and projects and she was a true asset to our team,” recalled Patrick.

 

Currently, St. Clair-Johnson is excited about a project in post-production, Incall, for which she played the lead role. The film is set to be submitted to film festivals in 2018 and she hopes that this film, in conjunction with her prior experience, will gain her even more recognition in the film-making community. She also is returning to the stage in for the one act play Wake with critically acclaimed theatre company City Garage Theatre, under direction from Frederique Michel. Starring as the lead, opening November 10th, St. Clair-Johnson takes on a sc-ifi drama exploring themes of humanity, loss, identity, and struggle to accept what was lost. Stay tuned for Incall, Wake and the several other productions that will allow audiences to see this talented actress once again.

 

Photo by KAT TUOHY PHOTOGRAPHY

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