Texas Voices: Houstonian Teen Actress Natalia Santacoloma Talks About Her Journey from a Competitive Gymnast to a Rising Star

by Bob Valleau on November 16, 2023 in Entertainment,

Natalia Santacoloma is a teen actress from Houston, Texas, and she is of Colombian descent. She started performing theater in school and since then she has developed a love and a passion for acting. She’s been in web series, feature films, short films and TV series. Prior to Natalia’s interest in acting, though, she was a competitive gymnast for five years and had hopes of being in the Olympics one day.

Teen actress Natalia Santacoloma is from Houston, Texas. Courtesy photo.

Early Passion

As with many young entertainers, Natalia’s interest in acting began at an early age while in school. “I started performing theater in school and since then I developed a love and passion for acting. Currently, I am preparing for a UIL (University Interscholastic League) competition in which I am playing the lead role of Nora in the play A Doll’s House. (On November, 11, 2023, Natalia received the Best Performer award for her portrayal of Nora in the one-act play, A Doll’s House. The play also won the Best Show award.) In addition, I have been taking multiple stunt classes, and I have an upcoming western stunt class. I have been taking audition classes with Casting Director Ms. Marie McMaster, CSA and she referred me to my acting coach Mr. Michael Vincent Berry.  He has helped me develop my brand and pitch package. I am also very excited because I just signed with the Bankston Talent Agency to represent me in the Texas and New Mexico markets.”

Natalia Santacoloma with her award for Best Performer. Courtesy photo.

Acting vs. Athletics

Prior to her interest in acting, however, Natalia enjoyed her passion for gymnastics. In fact, she was a competitive gymnast with aspirations of being in the Olympics one day. “I was a competitive gymnast for five years. I began in regular gymnastics classes when I was five years old, and I fell in love with the sport. After a few years, I was invited to be part of a competitive team at the age of nine. I got to compete until the fourth level of the Xcel Platinum program, practicing 12 hours a week. In 2019, at the State Competition, I was the All-Around Champion and first place in all four events – bars, beam, floor, and vault.

Natalia Santacoloma was a competitive gymnast before dedicating herself to acting. Courtesy photo.

“I was honored to meet gymnast Simone Biles and compete in a few competitions that she hosted. (Simone Biles Owens is an American artistic gymnast. She is the most decorated gymnast in history, and she is widely considered the greatest of all time. Her seven Olympic gymnastics medals are ninth-most of all time and tied with Shannon Miller for the most by a U.S. gymnast.) I also had the opportunity to train with Katelyn Ohashi (Katelyn Michelle Ohashi is an American former artistic gymnast who competed for the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a six-time All-American and was a four-time member of USA Gymnastics’ Junior National Team, the 2011 junior national champion, and the winner of the 2013 American Cup.). This past year, I’ve had to make a tough decision to leave the sport that I love to dedicate myself full-time to my acting career.”

TV vs. Film

Natalia leans towards acting in TV series versus film for better character development. “I have been on Nick News on Nickelodeon, Lawmen: Bass Reeves, People in the Walls, Mission from Outer Space and Halloween Night. I really like both, but I prefer TV series as they tend to last longer and allow for better character development.

Look for this film’s premiere in December. Photo courtesy Welling Films.

I really enjoyed working with child actress EmmaRain, who is four years old, her father and director, Mr. Shawn Welling (Welling Films), and the rest of the team during our recent filming of Mission from Outer Space. It was an incredible experience as everyone is very creative and talented. In the story, I played Maria DeJesus, and this was a Spanish-speaking role. The Red-carpet premiere for this film is in December, and I am really looking forward to attending.”  

Natalia Santacoloma and EmmaRain Welling in the film Mission From Outer Space. Photo courtesy Welling Films.

Family Time

Although Natalia maintains a busy life schedule, she always has time for family. “In my spare time, I like to work out and spend time with my family. I really enjoy taking walks with my mom. Spending time with her is very special to me.”

Dog Lover

Natalia gives back to the community by volunteering at a local dog shelter. “My family and I have fostered and saved 14 dogs this year that were going to be euthanized. These dogs come from hard life situations and some have been abused so I really enjoyed helping them and making a difference.” 

Some of the dogs that Natalia and her family have fostered and saved from being euthanized. Photo courtesy Natalia Santacoloma.

Inspiring Others

Natalia has this to say about inspiring others who are seeking an acting career: “I would say go for your dreams and do not let anyone bring you down, no matter what others say. And get yourself out there. Put in the work and have fun. Do not let the rejection discourage you. Instead, use this as an opportunity to work harder to improve your skills. Being an actor can be tough sometimes, but I love being able to tell a story which people can relate to. The part that I dislike is getting my hopes up for a certain role and then not getting it. But I just keep my head up and look for the next opportunity.”

Natalia is putting the adrenaline from competitive gymnastics to use in her acting career by enrolling in stunt classes. Photo courtesy Natalia Santacoloma.

Future Plans

“The next projects that I have this year are my UIL play, Sleepers, which is a short film being filmed in Delaware and a feature film being filmed here in Texas. In the first quarter of 2024, I have two feature films: A Hard Place and Side Quest. I am looking forward to the new year — and beyond — to see what more opportunities come my way!”

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Cover photo courtesy Natalia Santacoloma.

Bob Valleau is a regular entertainment contributor for Texas Lifestyle Magazine.