BY MARNI ROSENSTEIN
The crowd sits silently in anticipation during the performance of Beauty And The Beast. Junior Natalie McPherson steps on an empty stage wearing a beautiful gold dress laced with glittering rhinestones and simple yet authentic-to-the-times heels. The audience sits on the edge of their seats in awe as she moves elegantly across the stage. The quiet of the excited room is soon broken when her remarkably strong and distinct voice begins to beautifully bellow the words to the first song of the show, entitled “Belle.” This defining moment was just a speck on the color wheel of McPherson’s entertainment career.
At the ripe young age of seven, McPherson took her first step into the entertainment world and never looked back. A suggestion from a family friend led her to Performance Project, a studio offering theatre and dance classes. McPherson instantly fell in love with the limelight. After appearing in her first musical, Annie, she had no intention of ever stopping. Performing had instantly become her passion.
Throughout her burgeoning career, McPherson has performed in numerous plays, including The Music Man, Beauty and the Beast, Footloose, and Hairspray. Between school, a community theatre, and her dance studio, she has performed in an array of venues. McPherson has gotten a taste of acting, singing, and dancing in many different forms. In her first movie she acted in, Life’s a Drag, she played the part of the main character’s daughter. She has also performed in the Macy’s Day Parade, as well as commercials for KidVision, an educational children’s television station. She even once traveled to New York City to try out for Annie on Broadway, but unfortunately didn’t get the part.
“There were a million people all trying out for the same part,” McPherson said, “The line wrapped around the whole Manhattan block.”
Although she did not land the part, it was a great experience for her. She learned a lot and realized just how badly she wanted to turn her passion into a career.
McPherson’s acting has greatly improved and evolved since the minor roles she played when she first began. After much hard work and patience, she recently played the role of Amber in this year’s CCHS musical, Hairspray. With the assortment of roles McPherson has played, picking one favorite is no easy task. Even though it was one of her earlier roles, McPherson favors playing Rusty in Footloose to any other character.
“I was a little freshman performing with seniors who were very talented,”
McPherson said, “I felt proud that I could stand out among people so much older and experienced than myself.”
Despite the harshness of the entertainment industry, McPherson maintains a positive attitude. In the entertainment industry, critics are everywhere. When she first entered the industry, the criticism used to get to her and really bring her down, but she no longer lets it affect her.
“No one is perfect,” McPherson said. “You have to be a strong person to make it out there.”
Perseverance is one thing that you must possess in order to become successful in this field. “As one door closes, another one opens,” is McPherson’s philosophy.
The one person that never fails to encourage and inspire her is her grandfather. McPherson knows that he is always there to support her, and he would never miss a performance.
“He never had the opportunity to go after his dreams as a child, and therefore helps me stick with my dreams and go after what I want.” McPherson said.
McPherson is fully aware that in order to get what she wants, she has to practice. She goes to dance classes at a competitive studio four days a week in addition to taking formal singing lessons once a week. When she is not in a formal training session, she is found at home persistently singing and dancing. She even has her own personal Youtube channel filled with original songs and covers she performs at home.
After high school, life begins and the opportunities are endless. Unfortunately, this little town of Cooper City does not pave the way for many jobs in the entertainment industry. In order to get full access to all the jobs out there, one must immerse themselves in the ‘entertainment capitals’ of the country: Los Angeles and New York City. McPherson is more than willing to move to either of the two cities, and will decide which one based upon the specific path she decides to take. She had always dreamed of heading out to the Big Apple and becoming a Broadway star. Now, however, she has taken a bigger interest in the ‘L.A.’ route and focus more on acting and singing/songwriting.
With her guitar constantly by her side, McPherson often composes original songs. She recorded this first single, “Lovesick Gone Crazy,” this past summer with established producer Roger Pasco of Caliber Sounds Entertainment, who has worked with stars at large such as Lil’ Wayne, Drake, Trey Songz, and Flo rida. The catchy single is currently in the process of getting released to the public.
Putting yourself in the limelight comes with its challenges, but McPherson is fully prepared to face them head-on. She is persistent and knows that she will make it big one day. She will never lose sight of her dreams.
“This is me, it will only be me in the end.” McPherson said, “I just have to follow my heart.”