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Rising Stars: Meet Natalie Frank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Frank.

Natalie, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’ve always been quite creative, innovative, and ambitious. I have my mother to thank for that. In kindergarten, I watched her invent and design party/home/gift product prototypes at our dining room table which led her to starting a very successful company. Her products were featured in many magazines such as O magazine and sold at Nordstroms, Bed Bath & Beyond and more. I’ve learned so much from her. She would say, “There are so many people in line waiting to say no to you, don’t get in line with them.” That still hits hard to this day in everything I do. YOLO. Why the hell not?

FILM: It all started with my interest in film. I made my first short film on my iPhone my freshman year of high school. I went to a small digital media arts school in Ventura, CA called Brooks Institute where I learned that my passion was writing story – being on set wasn’t my thing. I started dabbling in drawing and painting around this time as well. In 2016, just before my senior year, my school randomly shut down and I transferred to another small arts school in the valley that would take my credits. My screenwriting teacher saw absolutely no potential in me and made that VERY clear. Meanwhile, I took on an internship at a production company where I would read scripts all day. It was not a walk in the park with my dyslexia and severe case of ADHD.  My first few months in LA were not easy. I knew it was important that I put all my energy into writing but also make enough time to paint because of how therapeutic it is.

THE FINE ART: Fast forward a few years, I was given the opportunity to display a few pieces at an art show in a gallery in DTLA. I sold my first piece that night. There is something special about watching people take the time to stop, look and appreciate my art. In a way, it’s humbling and emotional – like this big-ass canvas that made it almost impossible to get around my room has now provided a space for someone to be fully present in the moment and experience and feel something new.  Soon after that, my work was on display in a dope recording studio and a music management office. Eventually, I sold enough pieces and a few commissions that my imposter syndrome that religiously haunts me in literally everything wasn’t as strong in the painting department. I felt comfortable calling myself a professional artist.

If someone were to have told me that one day I’d see my art on a clean, white wall in a gallery, someone’s stunning home, or literally anywhere outside of my small studio apartment – like other people would be able to see them in person – I’d be like “shut up.”

THE CLOTHING PROJECT: About 8 months ago, I was messing around with a lot of spray paint. I spray-painted and drew some abstract designs on a hoodie (hell of a lot cheaper than a huge canvas and I didn’t have to worry about having space for it). It was so swaggy. I gave it to my girlfriend, and she couldn’t go anywhere without getting a compliment. Then people were sliding into DMs asking for one. And I thought I could turn this into something, why not turn this into a little side-hustle? I did not set out to start a clothing company or a brand which is why all these one of one pieces belong under the name NO BRAND. It’s mostly word of mouth – the people wearing it are advertisements with a post here and there on my personal Instagram page. I refer to NO BRAND as a “project” because there’s no telling when I’ll move onto my next creative endeavor.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I’m a master procrastinator, I am dyslexic and I have ADHD.  The journey hasn’t been easy, but I love it.

The screenwriting feels like driving a golf cart on gravel road and the few and far between crosswalks are smooth pavement. The film & TV industry is terrifying. I’ve been told so many times I need to hurry up and be patient.  It takes a village to get something made and it doesn’t happen overnight. However, no matter how hard I am on myself and how strong my imposter syndrome is, I am constantly reminded how far and how close I am by my mentors, my producer, my manager, etc. and that I also need to consider how old I am and how long I have been in the field. From day one, my dream has been to write movies and TV for a living and it’s truly just beginning.

Profiting from my hobbies kind of fell into my lap which is so fire. One of the biggest struggles I had to overcome with the painting was to block out the “what do I think will sell” thoughts and just allow myself to create what I want to create. With NO BRAND, I constantly question if it is taking away time from the writing and painting and that’s why it’s a project.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I often find myself hesitating when I am asked what I do? I’ve never been able to JUST do one thing. I am a working screenwriter with a feature and a series in development, a fine artist and I’ve started a “clothing project” which is mostly based off commissions. Sometimes it makes me feel a tad crazy because it is a mouth full to say, I do this, this and this. I’m always going, going, going.

It is overwhelming taking on all these things, but I’m too passionate to let one go refuse to limit myself to one craft and be pigeonholed. I’ll always be trying new things. I crave to create.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite child memory was the day my older sister and I got a trampoline for our backyard. I was in 3rd grade. I’d spend hours after school doing my homework on it, bouncing, and throwing my dog’s ball every 10 minutes when in need of a break. I lived on the trampoline.

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