The One, Nat Kelley takes us to The Joshua Tree

Since moving from Australia to Los Angeles over ten years ago, The Joshua Tree National Park has become a somewhat spiritual home for actress Natalie Kelley. We share a journey to the desert and discover more about this beautiful and intriguing woman in this stunning short film.

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When collecting ideas for this shoot we asked to capture you doing the things you love, creating and sharing tea ceremony in nature being one of them – tell us about this practice and and your love to express and share in this way…

My friend Baelyn first introduced me to tea ceremony over 2 years ago now, and it has been a practice that has transformed my life! I can be quite spacey and high energy, often leaving things incomplete while rushing off to do the next thing! So tea has helped me slow down, become more grounded and more mindful. When I am feeling off my centre, upset, or confused – I sit down for a few bowls of tea and instantly my perspective shifts. It amazing how a daily mediation practice can change your life. Thats what the tea ceremony is for me, a moving meditation.

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How else do you find expression in day to day life? I know you adore music

Music is medicine for me, so is dance. I try to incorporate both into my daily routines. I’m lucky to have friends who share my love of dancing and so it is not uncommon to find us having an impromptu dance session on a random Wednesday afternoon. Sometimes if we are really feeling it, Baelyn will pull out her djembe and start drumming!! I always have music on from around the world. My mom raised me on a lot of old South American music, so I play vintage cumbia and chichas from the 60’s. She also raised me to love African music, so I love discovering new genres and regional music from Africa. I mostly like the old stuff. Its such a vast continent so there is so much to discover. Recently I have been listening to Bembeya Jazz National, and and album called Kings of Benin.

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What would you consider your belief statement in life/a slogan by which you live by?

Know Thyself. I am so lucky to have chosen my path in life. Its not always easy to be an actress, but there is so much reward in choosing a path in life that asks you to dive deeper into yourself and the human condition. You pay attention to your own glorious humanity in a way that other people don’t get to do often. Humans are so busy going to work, trying to make more money and acquire more things. Or these days we are all about projecting a version of ourselves on social media that we so rarely really tune into ourselves and our true desires, fears and blocks. We are scared to look at ourselves too deeply for fear of what might surface… In my job you have to be in touch with those things, there’s no hiding from yourself. Its brutal and real and I love it. I’ll take a life of painful authenticity over a vague projection of who I want to be any day.

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You describe the desert as a spiritual home, tell us more about this connection…

I was born in Lima, Peru which was built on a desert by the ocean. Its a beautiful and interesting part of the world. I left when I was two but I when I first came to the California desert I remember feeling a sense of familiarity and home-coming. There’s something so profound in its simplicity. Don’t get me wrong I love redwoods and forests but there is something so deliciously challenging about the desert. There’s nowhere to hide from yourself. Stripped down, the bare essentials. It really shows you who you are.

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If you have friends visiting LA where else would you take them?

Firstly I would direct them to see my friend Kari from Poppy and Someday for a lymphatic massage and shirodhara after getting off their flight as they would probably need to get some energy moving in their bodies and some grounding after the plane ride! Her space in Laurel Canyon is so dreamy and she is such a healer. I could get lost in her apothecary all day.

Then I would direct them to the BeHive in Hollywood to see if there are any classes or workshops they want to take. Once a month my friend Genevieve does a sound bath in LA, its called Phone Home, music for the Secular Sabbath. You can wind down after the weekend or recharge for the week ahead. Its a good place to meet like minded people, drink tea and maybe get body work while the sounds of modular synths and crystal bowls grounds you and ‘sets your compass north’.

I haven’t thrown a dance party in a while but every now and then I throw a party called Dance Church and my friends and i all DJ and its a real happening. Its a participation only class. No observation! Everyone has to dance.

On the horizon?

I am actually in Atlanta right now filming the final season of Vampire Diaries. I play the villain of this season, which is super fun and exciting. Its such an awesome cast and crew, I feel so honoured to come in and create this character, its totally different from anything I have ever done. I am also still waiting to see if I get to continue with Cruel Intentions for NBC. It was a movie that I loved growing up so being a part of the reboot is so exciting. Fingers crossed it gets picked up for 2017.

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Follow this absolute beauty Nat Kelley HERE

All stunning images by Magdelena Wosinska

Film created for The Vista by Stefan Wigand and Dan Dealy, edited by Pete Dandrea (Arcade), colour grading by Quinn Alvarez.

Download our full guide to the Joshua Tree HERE

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