Nathalie Kelley’s road to stardom isn’t the traditional path of the many Aussies who have conquered Hollywood before her. Born in Peru, but raised in Sydney, there were no Home and Away or Neighbours roles to leapfrog off – in fact, no homegrown roles at all.
With her seductive South American looks, she scored her breakout role as Neela in 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift not long after arriving in Los Angeles. We caught up with Nat, recently appointed as an ambassador for luxury brand Bulgari, during a recent return to her home town.
“Australia is the place where I come home to get nourished.”Credit:Jesse-Leigh Elford
Do people in Hollywood realise that you are Australian?
I think I’ve flown under the radar as an Australian because my ethnicity is South American. I’ve always allowed my ethnicity to be kind of open as it allows me to be considered for a wider variety of roles. But I’m proud of growing up in Australia.
Would you live here again?
Australia is a wonderful place to grow up and to live, but you reach a certain place here in your career and you have the choice to stay and be comfortable or move overseas and expand. Either choice is fine. I’d love to move back and work on an Australian project.
You recently got married.
Yes, to a boy from Berowra [north of Sydney]! It’s such a good excuse to come home and reconnect with my Australian roots and all my friends and family here. Australia is the place where I come home to get nourished.
How would you describe your style?
My style has really evolved with the jobs that I’ve taken, and where I am in my life. Three or four years ago I was heavily into sustainable fashion and also comfort, as I was going on a lot of spiritual retreats and hiking. Now my life has expanded to include amazingly lavish parties, like premieres and Bulgari events, so my wardrobe has had to expand to include more red carpet-appropriate clothing.
How do spend your ideal Sunday?
Wake up early and have a tea ceremony – that’s my form of meditation. Then a hike to a secluded beach, possibly clothing optional, to spend the whole day drinking in the sun and enjoying the salt water before topping it off with a beautiful dinner with friends.
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale August 25.
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