Natalie Mull, 11, is a top model who helped launch Houston-based Francesca’s boutique clothing line for tweens called, “Franki for Girls.” Even though she loves to model, Natalie also enjoys being on stage and performing in community theatre musicals.
Tell us how your interest in modeling/acting began.
People always told my parents that they should look into modeling for me since I was a baby. My dad also does photography on the side so I’ve been in front of the camera for as long as I can remember. When I was seven my parents took me to Page Parkes to look into acting and modeling. That led to me being signed with Page Parkes in Texas and HRI in Los Angeles.
Talk about your interest in acting and some of your musical performances.
I absolutely love musical theater. There is just something about performing on stage and being a part of a theater family. I’ve been doing musical theater since I was about five years old and have always loved it. My most recent roles were Madeline in Madeline’s Christmas and Bruce in Matilda. I’ve also been on my theater studio’s competition team for the last three years where we competed at Musical Theater Competitions of America (MTCA) in California. My first year of competition, our team won first place for our ensemble number and a sweepstakes award. The competition really challenges us in dance, singing and acting. This year, I did a duet with one of my best friends which was coincidentally called “BFF” from SpongeBob the Musical and we won first place!
You model for the boutique clothing store Francesca’s (based in Houston, TX), especially the “Franki for Girls” clothing line. How did that come about?
Working for Francesca’s has been so amazing and I was very excited to be one of the models to launch their tween line, Franki. In November 2020, I received a call from my agent to do a casting at Francesca’s, which is like a test shoot. The next day I was called back to do an actual shoot. The line launched in December 2020 and I’ve been blessed to do about 25 shoots since then. Everyone is so friendly from the stylists, photographers and makeup artists. They make it easy and fun.
Their photo shoots are so fun! They usually have a dog or two running around the set. Did anyone notice that the Franki mascot is a puppy? Everyone I’ve met there is an animal lover. I also like that the company is big on empowering girls and encouraging girls to be themselves and have their own style. One of the best things about being a model is seeing your pictures come out on a website or displayed in the stores. I even got to be on several huge billboards once for another client!
There may be some reading this who desire to follow in your footsteps. What would you say to someone who wants to model or act?
If someone wants to act in film and television, I would tell them to enroll in acting classes, look for local films or student films, and start auditioning to build a resume. Anyone can do it if they have a desire to. It takes a lot of hard work and most people receive a lot more no’s than yesses in this business so you can’t let that bother you.
For modeling, you will most likely need an agent as that’s where most paying jobs will come from. There are a lot of scams out there, so always be careful when agreeing to model for someone without an agent. To be a successful child model, I would say you need to be prepared and practice posing, always show up on time, be respectful to everyone on set and most importantly have fun.
Talk a little about your acting career. Name some films you’ve been in and how you got started in acting.
I got started in acting when my parents took me to my local agent. At first, auditions were mostly in person, but after Covid started, self-tapes became the norm. Lots of self-tapes! Sometimes it can be difficult to juggle everything with school and other activities, but when you finally book a job it’s all worth it.
My first acting job was a supporting role in a short film called Looking Through the Trees where I worked with some very talented Texas filmmakers. That job actually led to another short film, Saving Mary Alice, directed by Susan Bohl and written by Carolyn Wright who remembered me from Looking Through the Trees and invited me to audition for her film. I always hear that an acting career is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time for people to get to know you and start building a reputation. I’ve also done several national commercials and acted in supporting roles in a few feature films.
I have a few new exciting projects to look forward to! I will play the daughter of one of the main characters on the TV series Vice Squad: Miami produced by The Ascendent Studios. Also, I will have a role in the horror feature The Girls in the Lake produced by Kevin Kellum and a couple of other projects in development directed by him as well.
Cover photo from Robin Lorraine, LA photographer
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.