On Terminator, Technology and Talent: Natalia Reyes’ Road to Hollywood

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How did you get to this article? It was likely through social media or perhaps a link sent by a friend, both of which required an internet connection on an electronic device. And, if the stats are true, said device is probably handheld, portable, ‘smart’ and downright indispensable.

The pervasiveness of technology is undeniable. It permeates every single aspect of our lives. Yet, it has only been until recently that serious consideration has been given to how we, as humans, relate to it.  For Natalia Reyes, star of Terminator: Dark Fate, this is an increasingly important relationship we should be examining more carefully and one she thinks the new film will shed important light on. 

Largely aided by technology, globalization’s existence is a reality of our daily lives. There is a non-stop movement of goods, services, people, and ideas across the world. Natalia herself is an embodiment of this reality.

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GOING GLOBAL

Natalia was born in Bogotá, Colombia. Since she was 9 years old, she has known her fate was in the arts. At this age, she started engaging in dancing, singing, and doing anything and everything artistic. During this time, a musical theatre company held auditions and she decided to give it a try. Not only did she pass the audition, but she spent the next seven years of her life polishing her craft therein. 

At the age of 16, Natalia had started doing some television in her hometown, mostly in the form of short, indie films. She fondly remembers this time as one of the happiest in her life and as pivotal in deciding what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. 

After high school, she sought a university that provided a space where she could continue pursuing her passion, but she couldn’t find any university in Colombia that offered her a chance to be a professional actress. So, she decided to go for an audiovisual production degree, which expanded her horizons and helped her discover she also enjoyed being behind the camera.


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Halfway through her career, she went to Argentina to study theatre with someone she really admired and she stayed there for 6 months. This was an important launchpad to propel her to move to New York and follow her dream of obtaining a professional acting degree. 
After spending some time in New York, she returned to Colombia to work for Fox for a Latin American series that would be shot in her native land. This experience was eye-opening in every way. During the filming of this series, she got to travel a meet a lot of new and interesting people, which is part of why she loves doing what she does. All these experiences amounted to a call by her manager that altered her destiny: she was going to audition for the upcoming film Terminator: Dark Fate.

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THE GLOBALIZATION OF ENTERTAINMENT

One of the first things Natalia noted was the difference in scale between local projects she had participated in the past, and working on a movie franchise such as the Terminator series. While she is confident that globalization will ensure the structures and processes of film production become uniform across the world, Hollywood remains today the movie capital of the world. This meant, as Natalia noted, that everything in the US was simply ‘more’ - the crew alone was 600 people strong! As Natalia puts it, “Hollywood is a big machine” and for her, it was really exciting to see this whole new world play out in action. 

Once upon a time, it was often American actors and actresses portraying all sorts of roles in movies. The opportunities to ‘make it’ in Hollywood if you were not a native English speaker and born in the US were slim. And, even when someone was able to do so, the roles available were fairly limited, often relying on stereotypes and tropes. 


Given the increasing spread of ideas and the unstoppable movement of people and talent, the film industry has had to adapt and provide a space for people to represent themselves and move away from the oft-repeated stereotypical roles. In Terminator: Dark Fate, Natalia plays a Latin character. For her, it was both a challenge and a privilege to fulfill the mission she believes she has to show that it is possible for all Latinos to achieve their dreams even when so many labels and stereotypes have been attached to them.

Moreover, the movie also portrays strong women as protagonists. While the movie is not, in itself, a feminist movie, she believes that the fact that three female characters are the movie’s leads is a reflection of the monumental shifts in the industry. 

Terminator: Dark Fate, both on and off-screen, encapsulates many of the issues, conversations and relationships that are changing and being examined in our society. As such, Natalia is certain it is a movie that everyone will be able to relate to and enjoy regardless of familiarity with the franchise. In particular, she believes this is an important movie with an important message because “it's not sci-fi anymore, its reality and we need to think about our relationships with technology.”

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LIMITLESS DREAMS

Our world is in a state of simultaneous expansion and contraction. On the one hand, the possibilities of what we can achieve seem to be constantly expanding. On the other hand, we are now more interconnected than ever, making it seem as if the world is, in fact, much smaller than we once believed. This paradox makes achieving our dreams be more within our reach than ever before - of course, provided we are willing to stretch our hand and take hold of them. Natalia’s journey is a reflection of this.

Natalia has had no shortage of hurdles to overcome to get where she is. Yet, she remained steady and faithful to reach out for the opportunities that opened up to her. She expresses how she often finds it amusing when people celebrate you when you get a role, when in reality that is only “the peak of the iceberg,” because “what people don’t see is all the rejection that came before. For every 1 yes, there were 100 ‘no’s.” She believes that to succeed in this industry you need to “get ready for that permanent rejection. You really need to love it and be passionate about it and be absolutely sure you want to do it because you will have months and years when things might seem like they are not working out and there is a lot of instability - that’s the hardest part.”

Her encouraging words, for those pursuing their dreams in any field, are: “if you love this you have to believe it and work hard, do your homework and one day you’ll just get it.”

Terminator: Dark Fate opens in theatres on November 1st.

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