We are halfway through 2020 and the world has crashed among us including Natasha Ofili. Crises such as COVID-19 and racial injustice are crumbling our county but it somehow unifies us.
Is 2020 a continuous year to BE BRAVE? The word has changed for Natasha during the pandemic to GREATNESS. Surround yourself with Greatness. The pandemic revealed the flaws of our broken systems and people. You truly see the lack of support, acknowledgement, honesty, and the gatekeepers holding their fort.
For the rest of 2020, Natasha Ofili is surrounding herself with greatness. Surround myself with those who see the greatness within me even when I don’t see it myself. That is the powerful words of Edmund Lee.
Before entering Hollywood, Natasha’s work in fashion industry has been a great journey. Natasha was the first Black Deaf Woman to graduate at the top of her class from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (Los Angeles). Her fashion portfolio was among the 100 to be chosen when recruiters visited from top fashion companies. She started working immediately after graduation as a Product Developer at BCBG MAXAZRIA in Vernon, CA. An opportunity opened at Evy of California, a children’s wear manufacturing company, where she eventually moved up to became a Designer. She is the first Black Deaf woman to work as a Designer. Natasha has designed for licensors such as Hello Kitty and Disney for Dillard’s, Kohl’s, Target and Ecko Unlimited.
Early 2020, Natasha was one of the leads in Spring 2020 production of Deaf West Theater, “Orphée,” as Eurydice. Unfortunately, after opening night in March, the show was cancelled due to the pandemic. Black Lives Matter became the core movement of protesting against social injustice that led to a creative project, “Am I Next?” which Natasha both co-written and co-produced. This project is something she felt proud to work on to bring focus on the Black Deaf Community. Her love for writing continues to flourish as she creates stories that the world will see, feel, and remember.
2019 was the launch of visibility on screen. Natasha had her first two debuts on 2 TV series which are currently steaming: Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” on Netflix where she played Principal Karen Vaughn in 4 episodes and Amazon Originals’ Undone created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Pudy where she played a Deaf Teacher in 2 episodes. In the show Undone, Natasha is the first Black Deaf Actress is to be seen as an animated character in the show.
As an African American Deaf Woman, Natasha have the voicing skills to perform speaking roles. When using her voice on “The Politician” for the first time, it was a good challenge. She enjoyed the process and progress she made when playing Principal Karen Vaughn. Natasha will use my voicing as a tool that she has for any speaking roles. Natasha’s true expression is her hands and American Sign Language (ASL). When she played the Deaf Teacher using ASL, it was exciting to show accurate and true representation of Deaf on screen. She will always represent her community as who she is to inspire future Deaf and Hard of Hearing people of color to follow her foot steps in the industry.
Entering the commercial world of acting in late 2015 was something Natasha didn’t visualize herself partaking in her life. She landed big branded commercials: 7up commercial that was nationally broadcasted in 2016 and a commercial for Apple, Inc. called “Accessibility - Sady,” which has been renewed until 2024.
When she landed her first lead role for a short film in 2014, “Words not Spoken,” her character was a lesbian African American teenager dealing with life challenges. At that time, Natasha did not invest time in becoming an actor. She didn’t believe she can do it. Now Natasha do believe she can do it.
During this ride as an actor, Natasha discovered her creative art which is to write stories, direct and produce. In 2018, Natasha co-directed and produced her first short monologue play, “Reflection: What Do You See?” in honor of Black History Month at Theatre of Note in Hollywood, CA.
Natasha wrote her first play and it is exciting that is leading somewhere. She will share more soon what the progress is of this play =).
Natasha Ofili is a person who is constantly pushing the boundaries to show the fire she has. This fire is the social justice where she will break down the barriers people of color and Deaf and Hard of hearing youth and adults experience in their everyday life.
Natasha thank her mother for her existence who migrated to America from Sierra Leone, West Africa. She faced her own personal challenges when at the age of 18 months: she lost her hearing. However, her challenges only served as a positive driving force, and with her creative talent and sheer determination.