Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent ZIMBABWE-born actress Natasha Heschélle, wants to change the narrative about the supernatural as she has taken up the lead role as a black druid in her TV series, Zahara: The Return which is airing on Amazon Prime.
The Canada-based producer, director, model and singer, born Natasha Chipo Mutungwazi, has set her sights on fighting racism in Hollywood through her productions.
According to Natasha, the story explores the history of slavery and racism, and the tensions between a white supernatural world and a supernatural world of colour as an ancient black druid rekindles her forbidden love with the son of her former master. The show stars Natasha, Hannah Scot, Curtis Morgan and Dennis Nimoh. A druid fights evil and Natasha plays the lead character of Helen Harris.
Natasha said the supernatural dramas and movies had predominantly white lead characters and this is what she wanted to change. “Well I created this show to fight racism in Hollywood. I’ve always loved supernatural teen dramas like Buffy, TVD etc and I’ve always wanted to act in those shows. But then I realised that all of them had white female lead characters and the few black people in the cast are always light skinned, because those kinds of black people are what the world considers beautiful,” said Natasha.
Born and raised in Bulawayo, the former Masiyephambli College pupil said the reason she came up with the show was to give black people an opportunity on the silver screen. “My series has a majority black cast because I want to give black people the opportunity to show the world that we are just as good and as beautiful as all other races. In short, my series celebrates black people all over the world,” said Natasha.
The road to where she is has not been rosy as Natasha has once been homeless as she struggled to make ends meet, after leaving Zimbabwe in 2014 to reunite with her mother who is in Canada. “When I left Zimbabwe, I was 16 and travelled to France hoping to get into acting school there. However, things didn’t go as planned. I had major setbacks, I had no money and I ended up being homeless and lived in a shelter there. But then, when the Canadian visa was approved I moved there and live with my mother,” said Natasha. When she arrived in Canada, she enrolled at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology where she studied acting for camera and voice graduating in 2016. Thereafter she set up her company Heschélle Entertainment. “I got a job at Wendy’s a fast food restaurant thereafter working and the little money that I made as well as my mother’s support it pushed me through college and after two years I graduated with a diploma,” said Natasha.
She then worked on Zahara and through her company distributed it to Amazon and the series got the nod. It premiered in March.