"I think my comfort with nudity definitely plays an important role in getting me my roles"

Hallmark ,the channel with emotions, airs the 1950's period drama Power And Beauty tonight at midnight. It stars model turned actress Natasha Henstridge who plays Judith Campbell Exner. Exner gained notoriety on the basis of whom she slept with. Count among them crooner Frank Sinatra and John F Kennedy. As if this was not enough ,she also became intimate with Chicago mobster Sam Giancana.

Henstridge left her home in Canada at age 14 looking to make it in the world of fashion and glamour in Paris. However it was not on the catwalk but on the silver screen where the 5 foot ten inch beauty made her mark. She created a huge stir eight years ago playing an alien in Species. Henstridge can also be seen on Zee English every Tuesday night in She Spies. Indiantelevision.com's correspondent Ashwin Pinto caught up with Natasha who spoke about her role in Power and Beauty, her tomboyish attitude as well as how her ease with nudity gives her an edge.


Before Power and Beauty you were known for action and sci-fi roles. Was this an attempt on your part to get away from that image at least for a while?

My main aim has always been to do good quality films with roles that have some substance. With Power and Beauty there were loads of things that I liked about the movie, which made me opt for it.

The most important was playing Judith Exner! Playing someone who is real as opposed to someone fictional is even more challenging. She was a very dynamic person. Her lovers were Frank Sinatra and John Kennedy, and I had a great time trying to portray her. The character and the story of her life are so complex and challenging and I liked that the most and hence chose to take up the role.


Do you see parallels between your character and Monica Lewinsky in terms of an absolute nobody becoming someone because they both became sexually involved with the most powerful man in America?

There sure is a lot of similarity. I guess the main parameter being the involvement of a nobody with someone powerful.


How did you land the role of an alien in Species and what was the single biggest challenge you had to face?

I guess Species was a movie made for me and hence I bagged the role. In fact even when acting, I never thought the outcome would be so good which I think it was! The entire role was a challenge. I was to be this strange yet sexy thing which was challenging!

The nude scenes were a little eerie and I felt a bit odd. Yeah, when the camera scanned up my body, I said to my friend, "Now, that's a close-up." I mean, you see every inch of my body. But I'm okay with it and so it was cool.


After Species you became a cult sensation. Did you manage to keep your feet on the ground and not get carried away by all the hype?

Well! Well! You make me sound too good! I think I have been very lucky as far as my acting career goes. I might sound very candid but I think my comfort with nudity definitely plays an important role in getting me my roles.

When I started off, I didn't only ride to fame on my looks though many people I know think otherwise. I began as a model, but that did not really hold my interest for too long! I believe I stood out from the parade of models trying to make it in Hollywood, which helped launch my career beyond the one-night-stand horror movie.

I never forget my old days and I never fly too high I have my feet fixed firmly on the ground!


What was Paris like for a young girl looking to make it in the world of glamour and fashion at the age of 14?

Like I said, I started off as a model and struggled for some time until I got a break as an actress. I was too stubborn to let go and was sure I was in the right place at the right time. I just fought and I think that's how I am where I am today.

"My roles have been very demanding and every role has been a challenge and a learning experience that has helped me mature as an actress"

Do you think that Hollywood studios cross the line in terms of the amount of flesh and nudity they want an actress to show? My mind goes back several years to the Kim Basinger lawsuit involving Boxing Helena.

I guess we just give them what they want and if sex and action is what sells then I guess we just give it to them. My personal opinion is that I'm very comfortable with nudity. When you have a body you flaunt it! What say u!

Even my parents are so cute, and they deal with every movie of mine excellently. They check with me ever so casually by asking "Now how much of nudity are we going to see in this one?"


At this stage of your career do you feel that you possesses the acting range to take on roles that are more emotionally complex than what you did in Species and She Spies?

Definitely, but I believe that every role that I have done this far has had quality and content. My roles have been very demanding and every role has been a challenge and a learning experience that has helped me mature as an actress.

Today, I guess I give a lot more thought to the roles before I sign them.


You have kept yourself in remarkable shape over the years. What kind of workout do you do and for action roles do you train a lot?

Well, thank you. I do exercise in fact I am an exercise freak. Can't do without my regular work out. I'm not letting you in on any more of my secrets!

"I was a tomboy right from the time I was a kid and loved to be like that"
You have described yourself as a self-confessed tomboy. Are you able to relate to men better than most women due to this?

I was a tomboy right from the time I was a kid and loved to be like that. I'd hate all the girlie things. Well my best friends as a kid have been boys. I get along best with the opposite sex. I guess that's the case with most people though!

What kind of film and television roles are you looking at in the future?

Well, I have a couple of projects in the pipeline, but I'm taking things slow for now and being choosy about the roles I take up. One thing I can assure you of is that you are going to see a lot of me!

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