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Life and Work with Natalie Perez-Benitoa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Perez-Benitoa.

Natalie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Naples, Florida, where I was performing skits for my mom at age three, making up dances in my room by five, and doodling in a journal by eight. Spoiler alert: nothing’s changed. I then went on to New York City to pursue a career in acting. My father warned me, “You’re choosing a very tough path.” I responded, “of course, I am.”

Needless to say, I love to be challenged. Whether it’s creating a video, writing a new sketch, or preparing for an audition, I’ve discovered it’s the process I love most. Lucky for me, the process is happening everyday. So far, my path has presented me with plenty of uncertainty and fluctuation. Like many creatives, I’ve had to find various ways to “make it work.” Besides waiting tables, writing and brand-design have been nice additions to my creative wheel-house.

“Define Your Outlet” is a lifestyle brand that values energy, emotion, and expression. I wanted to create a place where having many interests is not only welcomed but encouraged. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for five years now. I continue to find happiness through movement and laughter. I am still aiming to make a living as a professional actress. I enjoy collaborating among my community, and I feel honored to be alongside the energy and talent that consumes this city. I take pleasure in the surprises of life. They seem to bring me exactly where I need to be.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’ve experienced a lot of disconnection in my life, which has manifested as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Fortunately, I have resources that help me recover from mental illness and heal my emotional hardships. I’ve got to say, though, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I find that I have an easier time relating to others because of my shortcomings.

“Define Your Outlet” is all about putting the emphasis on overcoming challenges through various ways of connection. The best part about my story is that it’s mine. I define it, I rewrite it, I own it. Acting is all about letting go and being open to the present moment. I think that’s why I love it so much. I lean on my creative experience to cultivate more healing. My life is dependent upon my spiritual condition, and my struggles serve as ways to access more humility. 

My advice to young women: I’ll share some recent advice I was given “All of your answers are inside of you.”

– Look within yourself, pause, listen, repeat.
– Keep it simple and don’t be so hard on yourself.
– Ask for help. You’re not alone.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I identify with movement and laughter. I’ve been dancing for many years and I continue to train regularly. As an actor, I specialize in comedic roles. I have a YouTube page with some of my character sketches and other recent work. Although my brand is still in development, I plan to provide others with a better sense of connection to themselves. Whether that is supporting brands in their vision or serving as an inspiration to do what they love, I intend on taking my vision of “Define Your Outlet” to a physical space where people can connect and collaborate in a judgment-free environment. Connection is valuable to me and I aim to serve others in any way I can.

Being a woman of many interests, I consider myself well-rounded. There was a time I used to beat myself about having so many passions. “Just pick one, Natalie,” I’d say to myself. Now, however, I am using it to my advantage. With variety comes a widened perspective—which seems to serve me well as both an actress and brand designer.

Who have you been inspired by?
I’ve always been inspired by women who overcome adversity with a sense of humor and through a spiritual way of living. I wrote an essay for a competition in the 3rd grade about Oprah, explaining how I wanted to be like her when I grew up. She was the easiest person to write about because she knew who she was. She let herself be witnessed without holding herself to anyone else’s standards. She’s generous with others and she seemed to have an abundance of unconditional love for herself and those around her. Most importantly, she aims to be the best version of herself everyday. I won the competition. From that moment on, I knew that having inspirational women in my life would be essential for my journey.

Today, there’s no shortage of inspiring women. From my Instagram feed to my closest friends and family, I surround myself with women who inspire me on a regular basis. Quick shout-out to my mother, my friends near and far, my mentors, and the artists and healers who’ve given me reasons to get back up when I fall. I love you all and I am so deeply moved by your courage. Brené Brown, you are a dynamite. Thank you.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Moe Sleeper, Peter Kovic, Leah Huebner

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