As she embraces the beauty of the journey, rather than the oasis of the destination.
At first, I thought that I would start my piece with the tag, “a humble interview: Natasha Gott ”, but it turned out that there was much more to our conversation and the beauty of its layers.
You might know her from her role as Yoshiko in the Hollywood movie “After the Dark”, in which she starred alongside James D’Arcy, Sophie Lowe, and Bonnie Wright.
But I know this rising thespian for her work as a serial social entrepreneur with her SADAR Market and The Learning Farm. I had a virtual lunch with Natasha over a video conference, which ended up with us talking about her work, passion, and life.
Scouted when she was just 13 years old, Natasha played her first role in an Indonesian TV series. When she started acting as creative expression, and growing up around theatre, she discovered that there is one phrase about theatre by Tom Schultz that resonates well with her as he refers to theatre as “living truthfully in imaginary circumstances”.
“Fun fact: I was actually scouted from a theatre performance back in 9th grade. I was introduced to performing arts in middle school, and I professionally started my acting career with soap operas. And I realised from a young age, that acting was medium of expression for me, but all the nuances of fame and attention limited the possibility of privacy— solitude is something that an introvert like me flourishes on”.
“So I even didn't put my last name on the Sinetron (soap opera) titles when I first started on-screen acting."
And her layers continue to unfold.
On Her Growth
Between the scene breaks, while everybody is resting in their respective hotel rooms, at one night she thought, "You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to do some immersive character research!" So, off she went, on her own to Pasar Kembang, the red-light district of Jogjakarta.
"It’s like an alley, home to many sex workers, and I paid attention to and analysed their body language, their complexions, how they look at their phone and wait for their ‘Johns’—how they would suddenly change, if a potential client walked passed.
I did this because I didn’t know anything about it, and I want to educate myself—be able to truthfully portray their reality when I had to embody them In my given character, Suci, the prostitute. While at that place, I wrote some poetry hoping to capture the essence of what it might have felt like to be them—to breathe their reality”. - Natasha Gott while filming 'Mobil Bekas dan Kisah Kisah Dalam Putaran / The Carousel Never Stops Turning'.
As she showed the poetry to the director, he decided to include the voiceover of her scenes to the lines of her poetry. That scene has become one of the most memorable and meaningful turning points she has ever encountered as an actress and writer.
Natasha went on to work behind-the-scenes for the production company she works with to review scripts, construct look books, and treatments to identify viable plans. She has also worked in pre-production and provided notes on animatics, scripts, and outlines of shows in production. Natasha also reviewed the screen pitch and copy-editing for the screenplay submissions. Natasha is taking a stance and continuing to make headway, particularly behind the camera—a place where the imbalance is most evident in the past, with women long overshadowed by their male counterparts in the theatre and film industries.
Her debut in assist-directing was Bobby Prabowo’s Heaven & Hell. With female directors and moviemakers previously being underrepresented in the entertainment industry, this has become pinnacle steps in her growth process as a performer and a creator.
“The stigma stands that you have to hit a certain level of success to express something. But then we forget the whole journey. We only want to talk about the destination and we don’t forgive ourselves for the little mistakes we did along the way. We’ve been too hard on ourselves. And that, essentially, is what limits our further potential."
And I hope other women can see the beauty of their journey, rather than the oasis of the destination. That’s where we should draw our strength from." said Natasha.
We are so critical of ourselves that we forgot to celebrate small wins. But that’s what life is about, and Natasha reminds me of what's important.
On Her Role as a Changemaker
"Sadar" in Indonesian, means to be "conscious", and after reflecting upon the current normalised lifestyle of consumptive habits (her own included), Natasha started SADAR Market, or Sadar Karya Bumi, in 2017. SADAR Market is a platform or marketplace that aims to empower local artisans by supporting the sale of locally sourced, ethical, and sustainable goods and thought to establish more meaning in modern consumptive behaviour.
SADAR became a curated marketplace of environmentally-friendly lifestyle, healthy food, eating habits and essential products that she loves and supports. And all the products at SADAR Market are businesses who are making strides to help the environment.
“There’s no stopping human consumption—but providing a solution, or an option, to buy smarter, to support, is something that is important to me. It is our mission at SADAR to support home industries so that they are active participants in the circular economy” said Natasha.
When I was retelling her story, I was drawn not only to her beautiful mind, her conscious efforts with various eco-friendly businesses, but to her compassion and her humbleness.
Then I realised why it took me so long to create another piece for the Perempuan Series. It must have been because I was waiting for “Brave women who are everyday women” to come along. I am glad that I was able to tell her story.
A story about the rising thespian, writer and social entrepreneur, Natasha Gott. Interviewed and written by Apsy Soerjodibroto for #PerempuanSeries.