IDGAF. Means I Don’t Give A F*ck. It means you don’t care, and you mean it. It’s a tricky outlook in life, meant mostly for rebels and those who refuse to play by the rules, but in these days of serious complications, is one that we all should reconsider. It’s something Nathalie Hart has come to figure out for herself, and which has made a lot of things much clearer and simpler for her. She’s always been strong-willed—it’s safe to say she just took it up a notch as she got older. The need for independence is the cornerstone of her boldness, informing the choices she has thus far made in her career. That’s what got her through name changes and TV networks and from the next-teenstar to this-generation’s-sex-vixen in what seemed like rash decisions, but in hindsight isn’t. It’s what made her decide between leaving all the fame behind for a life of normal obscurity somewhere else or sticking it out in the business she willed herself into and chucking all the rules by the wayside. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s begin with the backstory.
Princess Tinkerbell Snell was born in 1993 of mixed parentage. Her mom is Filipina; the dad is Australian. But her mom remarried early and so she grew up with a stepfather. She only saw her real dad when she was nine. By Nathalie’s own admission, “I’ve had a lot of drama in my life,” but not overwhelming enough that she’d had to beg for attention. As far as she is concerned, she was loved. Owing to her mixed blood, even at a young age she already looked like she was destined to be in show business. “When I was young, they would always tell me na kamuka ko si Jackie Lou Blanco [a teen star in the ‘80s; Janine Gutierrez’s aunt], and that I should audition for a role na maging anak nya,” Nathalie says. So, at 16, she auditioned for ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Batch 16 using the name Kristina Snell and was accepted. “When I started, I wanted to become an actress not because of the craft and the fame, but because gusto ko lang kumita ng pera. I wanted to move out from my parents’ house and be independent. I know it’s weird, pero bata pa lang ako, I’ve always wanted to work,” Nathalie says. However, the breaks didn’t come her way as expected. And so, after six months she jumped ship to the other network, joining GMA 7’s reality talent search StarStruck as Princess Snell. The contest somehow changed Nathalie’s perspective on what it means to stick it out in the business she was in—that, in fact, it was real work and a true craft. It wasn’t just about the money. “I’m grateful for the training and patience I got in StarStruck, which I find useful up till now,” Nathalie says. But then again, the handful of TV appearances and minor roles just didn’t cut it for her; she felt she deserved more. And so once again, she went IDGAF.
At 22, she changed her name from Princess Snell to Nathalie Hart. Together with the new name, she switched from doing cutesy roles to going provocative. You could say she was a natural at it. When word got out of the transformation, it wasn’t long before she got offers to do sexy movies. Nathalie played a private nurse in the erotic thriller Siphayo. The independent movie was her first lead role. It also got her a Best Actress award at the 2016 International Film Festival Manhattan in New York City. Siphayo required Nathalie to do love scenes in the nude. It got her unhinged at first, but the determination to make good on the new transformation won over her fear and hesitation. After a few more independent movie projects (Tisay, Historiographika Errata), Star Cinema’s Sin Island happened. With a Fatal Attraction-esque plot, Nathalie played Tasha, a vixen vying for the love of a married man (Xian Lim) from his flight attendant wife (Coleen Garcia). “Some people have told me that I was a believable psycho in the movie, and that really excited me. It’s a good thing, I guess. I hope to play more challenging roles like that. I think I’d make a good schizophrenic,” Nathalie says. The start of the year has already been good for Nathalie because of back-to-back projects that’s been keeping her busy. She’s already working on three movies: a comedy called Kusina Kings with Empoy and Zanjoe Marudo; an independent flick titled Sunday Night Fever with Diether Ocampo and Ricky Davao; and Abay Babes with Kylie Versoza, Cristine Reyes, Roxanne Barcelo, and Meg Imperial. Aside from the movie projects, she can also be seen in the ABS-CBN teleserye Blood Sisters. She’s finally harvesting the fruits of her labor without sacrificing too much of herself. “Dati gumigising ako na kahit wala akong pera, I still try to feel great. Thinking that I’m just planting my seeds, just being patient, and trying not to deal with the negativities in life,” Nathalie says.
People aren’t too frank these days. When they seem to be, mostly they’re just trolling. Nathalie’s bare self-reflection is the kind of honesty we should be hearing more of. Like when she considers the image she has cultivated now, that of a young sex goddess, she will not give you a manufactured answer teeming with false self-worth and narcissism (in the old days, sexy stars were taught by their managers to provoke the media with even more provocative language). “Doing love scenes is still a bit weird. Some people would never understand why I do this, even I don’t understand it sometimes, but I just do it. Para na nga akong baliw eh,” Nathalie says. You do what you do, and that’s that. “Palaban din kasi ako kaya hindi rin ako sumuko agad-agad. So nung lumabas na yung Sin Island, I was happy naman na yung struggles ko paid off.” What she means is that Sin Island almost didn’t happen—she was already close to calling it quits and relocating to Australia to study but felt that it would be a waste to just let go of all the years she had worked to get noticed in show business. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Sin Island. By now, you’d think that Nathalie Hart should be getting the respect she deserves for blazing her own trail. But apparently, she still has a lot of work cut out for her. For the people who don’t understand Nathalie’s motivations, the best course of action is always to bash—and bashers she has gotten in droves. Not that she actually cares. “At the end of the day, I’m just
doing my job and all the judgmental people can hate me all they want, and I don’t care. People from social media would ask me, whether I’m ashamed of myself because of what I do for a living, sabi ko ‘no.’ I’m not a porn star,” Nathalie says. IDGAF.