Natalis Victor is a queer filmmaker who had worked everywhere from across the US to Africa and beyond. We had the opportunity to have a chat with her about what she’s been up to, queer representation behind the camera, and the exclusionary placement of women in the LGBTQ community. Once you’ve read her interview, make sure you check her out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
1. IF YOU WERE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN ORDER FROM A FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
This is somewhat difficult for me to answer as I wouldn’t consider myself any form of ‘fast food’. I’m more an intriguing and theatrical gastro molecular fine-dining dish served with bags of flavor, inspired and inventive plating and a dash of panache (with the occasional street food or campfire menu option) but… if I have to describe myself exclusively as an order from a fast food restaurant then I would have to think back to my time traveling France where I found this cute little place that just served gourmet hotdogs on the go in Paris. I would be a whiskey bacon-wrapped hotdog with jalapeños and three kinds of cheese served on a steamed bread hotdog bun. Fast, convenient, on-the-go yet deliciously sumptuous.
2. WHAT MEDIA HAVE YOU REALLY BEEN INTO RECENTLY? (FROM BOOKS TO COMICS TO VIDEO GAMES TO FILM TO MUSIC AND TV AND BEYOND)
Well, funny enough, since being in lockdown with the global pandemic, I have actually been reliving some old blasts from the past in most of my content. I’ve been immersing myself in some good ’60s to 90’s music, rewatching some of my favorite movies like “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually” and going to bed with a good audiobook by Nora Roberts. However, in the past two months, I almost always have CNN or SkyNews on in my house while I try to keep up to date with the latest information on COVID-19. My media habits have been vastly different and drastically evolving in recent months than in past months.
3. WHY DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ONLY A HANDFUL OF QUEER CREATORS THAT SEEM TO BE ALLOWED TO CREATE MAINSTREAM CONTENT? I AM THINKING OF RUSSEL T. DAVIES AND RYAN MURPHY WHEN I ASK THIS.
When you speak of Russel T. Davies and Ryan Murphy, I mean, those are big and incredible names but I do not feel it is a case of there are only a handful of queer creators “allowed” to create mainstream content. From my experience in this industry, and this is just my own experience in the past 14 years, but it really is about that extra fraction of ‘luck dust’ that needs to land upon you in order for any director or producer to make it hugely (and that little bit extra) successful in this industry no matter what your sexual orientation. It’s a cutthroat industry.
“FROM MY EXPERIENCE IN THIS INDUSTRY, AND THIS IS JUST MY OWN EXPERIENCE IN THE PAST 14 YEARS, BUT IT REALLY IS ABOUT THAT EXTRA FRACTION OF ‘LUCK DUST””
— NATALIE VICTOR
But I do feel it also has to do with what society has been ‘ready for’. What I really want for queer creators is a more openly accepting global society to LGBTQI+ content in order for us to have a larger audience base. The LGBT community watches mainstream content and LGBT content but not all of the heterosexual community watch LGBT content which means we have smaller audiences which can often impact funding or getting to broadcast. I want a more fully inclusive and well rounded global audience for our ‘queer creators’.
4. WHEN YOU ARE LACKING INSPIRATION, WHERE WHAT, OR WHO DO YOU TURN TO?
When I lack inspiration there are generally a few things that can really help me in picking myself up again. Some of my solutions I can grasp and some are out of my control. Thunderstorms have always had an immense beneficial mental and emotional effect on me but that is obviously not something I can control and I am yet to be introduced to the weatherman.
Other things that reset my lack of inspiration are time in nature or a forrest, any prolonged time in water (preferably outdoors), long drives with loud music or, my ultimate reset, doing something that blows my adrenaline levels out the roof. Something that gets my heart racing and my blood pumping in an intoxicatingly invigorating way – anything dares devilish and I’m in.
5. IF THERE WERE A REALITY SHOW ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE AND WHAT WOULD YOUR REAL HOUSEWIVES-ESQUE CATCHPHRASE BE?
I have a feeling a reality show about my life is becoming something of a real possibility – you never know. I know I would want it to be following me on a rollercoaster journey to achieve something monumental and colossal and allowing the audience to witness something inspirational and awe-inspiring. I know I would want it to positive with the opportunity to motivate the viewer with a good healthy serving of giggles and bad jokes.
I’m not too familiar with “Real Housewives-esque catchphrases” but right I would go with something along the lines of “I know I’m a handful but that’s why you got two hands”
6. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF DURING THE CURRENT ISOLATION THAT YOU WILL TAKE INTO THE FUTURE?
I have learned that I am stronger than I have ever given myself credit for. Going through a divorce during the lockdown, loss of everything important to me as well as the loss of work contracts and finances during the Covid-19 pandemic has really been like being handed a badly rolled cheap blunt. But hey, I’ve learned a lot about what I can handle and a lot about what is in store for me going forward.
7. WOMEN TEND TO GET LEFT OUT OF THE QUEER CONVERSATION FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER. HOW DO YOU THINK WE COULD OR SHOULD MOVE FORWARD AS A MORE INTERSECTIONAL LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY?
“WE KEEPING ADDING ‘SECTIONS’ OR ‘GROUPS’ TO THE LGBTQI+ AND SOMETIMES THAT CAN CREATE MICRO SECLUSION WITHIN A COMMUNITY”
— NATALIE VICTOR
I cannot answer this one with too my personal experience. Truthfully and sadly, I was not aware that women were being left out of such discussions. I haven’t had this experience but if we think about it – we keeping adding ‘sections’ or ‘groups’ to the LGBTQI+ and sometimes that can create micro seclusion within a community because we are in a way dividing the community up further into the acronym. I am not 100% sure if I am making sense or speaking knowledgeably. I understand we all have different sexual preferences – I myself am a complicated lady – but when having ‘queer conversations’ as you put it – I believe we should be speaking as one community and not as L or G or B etc…
8. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU HATE THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LOVE?
Ginger with their sushi… No thank you.
Take away my ginger and double up on the wasabi.
9. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IN THAT LAST YEAR THAT YOU ARE THE PROUDEST OF?
Well, nearly halfway through the year and this year has been the complete opposite of what I had hoped for this year or had planned this year. But, so far, the thing I am most proud of is working on something that I am incredibly passionate about. Collaborating with an LGBT company in the USA to film a pilot for an LGBTQI+ reality show to be both pitched for broadcast but also create a global marketing campaign around LGBTQI+ love and inspiration.
10. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO IN THE NEXT YEAR THAT YOU ARE THE MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
The answer to this would be an extension of the above question and answer – it would be traveling around the USA getting to film a vast variety of incredible LGBT focused content for use on broadcast and across other mediums. Getting to meet amazing people from all walks of life and all locations. Learning more about other ways of life and getting to create sensational content that I am proud of. Hold thumbs and let’s collaborate everybody!
We will put forth a creator and you tell us if you think they are overrated or underrated. You can explain if you feel the need to.
· John Cameron Mitchell – Underrated
· Ryan Murphy – Underrated
· Kimberly Peirce – Underrated
· Gus Van Sant – Underrated
· Lee Daniels – Underrated
· Jodie Foster – Underrated
· Joel Schumacher – Underrated
· Stephen Fry – Neither Over nor Underrated. I think he has done well and is getting the respect and recognition that he deserves.
· Bryan Singer – Likewise with Bryan. I do not feel he is on either end of the spectrum. Neither over nor underrated. I think he has doing incredibly well and is getting the respect and recognition that he deserves.
· Gregg Araki – Under-rated
Looking back I see that I have not ‘over-rated’ anyone and, thinking about this – I feel I would find it difficult to rate anyone’s success, achievements, craft, or personal brand as ‘over-rated’. We all work so hard on our craft and to say that someone may be receiving more recognition than they deserve or that is warranted in their field would be hugely unfair on my part. We need to celebrate the success of others to motivate the journey to our own success. All of the above names you’ve mentioned are incredibly gifted humans. Some I know better than others but none I would feel as ‘over-rated’