Natasha St. Clair-Johnson talks falling in love with acting and upcoming projects

Natasha St. Clair-Johnson fell in love with cinema at an early age. Growing up in Adelaide, Australia, she was fascinated by the escapism and fantasy that movies offered. The idea that new worlds could be created, someone could be anything, and minds could be shaped through film was enthralling, and even as a child she developed a passion for the medium.

“Eventually something inside me said ‘I want to live like that’. It felt freeing when I was 12 to understudy a loud and boisterous girl in the school play, since I was quite reserved and felt awkward and different to others. Acting then became a safe place to be someone else. I relished in the ‘role playing’ so much I went on to perform the role, outshining the other girl that was cast,” said Johnson.

That play proved to be a defining moment in St. Clair-Johnson’s life, as it opened her eyes to the world of performing. She knew from that day on how she wanted to spend her life, and now, as an internationally sought-after actor, she is living that childhood dream.

St. Clair-Johnson has worked on many illustrious projects over her esteemed career. She starred in the multi-award winning feature film Birthday, which aired at the Anchorage Film Festival, as well as at the Cannes Film Festival where it earned critical acclaim and the award for Best Actress in a Foreign Film. Birthday received multiple awards at Melbourne Underground Film Festival, a cutting-edge premiere showcase for independent cinema in the Southern Hemisphere. She was the lead in the stage play Wake under critically acclaimed theatre company City Garage Theatre, and starred in the film Incall, for which she also took on the role of Executive Producer. Most recently, she booked three major commercials, all within one calendar year during the ongoing global pandemic. 

“Being a working actor when the world was struggling, adding such credits to my resume, it was validation that I can do this even when it seemed impossible. It was a highlight of my career really,” said St. Clair-Johnson.

The first commercial was the “Reach For the Facts” media campaign of 2020 by the state government in South Australia. It focused on Opioid addiction in varying age groups or domestic situations. St. Clair-Johnson played a young wife battling with depression and struggling to keep her home and family intact. There was no dialogue, so St. Clair-Johnson had to convey the drama and emotion in these scenes with just her body and facial expressions. It was a stunning performance, and the commercial reached an audience of 1.7 million people. It was screened over the course of the year on every television channel in the region and had coverage online as well.

St. Clair-Johnson then took on New Zealand’s “Swisse Multi-coping multivitamin” media campaign of 2021, showcasing the latest range of multivitamins for men and women. Playing the lead professional woman in one of only two campaigns, she did an exceptional job for the client. The commercial shows St. Clair-Johnson as a working professional taking a business meeting, getting distracted by two small children who are seen clinging to her legs, which have pajama bottoms on them. It took skilled comedic timing, good rapport with the child actors, and a strong New Zealand accent to make the commercial a success, and St. Clair-Johnson knocked it out of the park. Thanks to her diligent work, the commercial was shown across New Zealand through Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

The final commercial ran statewide across South Australia. The “More for Health” 2021 media campaign ran across local newspapers, online socials, billboards and televisions, reaching millions of people. It focused on the financial investment of the local government into the medical field, including the recruitment of more staff, more beds, and medical clinics offering a wider range of services. St. Clair-Johnson played a doctor tending to a patient, wearing a mask but still able to see patients and offer comprehensive diagnosis amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. Still photos of her scene were shot after the producers loved the look, increasing the campaign further.

“The three commercials all asked something different of me. Being on set was great and collaborating with the crew and directors was as it is in film. It’s about the fine-tuning aspect of a small screen performance, the level of professionalism asked of you, even with the jobs I didn’t get I had fun with the easy-going nature of it, and the simplicity of playing someone ‘real’. You don’t need to overplay the character. Some of my favorite commercials have simply a look or an expression that makes them memorable,” she described.

So, what’s next for St. Clair-Johnson? She has three exciting film projects in the works. The first, Pregnant and Starving, where she will play the leading role of Eve, a geneticist on the hunt for answers for a scientific breakthrough with a handful of courageous mothers-to-be, challenging everything you thought you knew about Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), aka extreme morning sickness. Eve races against the clock to prevent another HG-related death and improve every pregnancy outcome, today and forevermore. She will then take on the film Shades in Between, followed by Brothers Bogart, which is set to premiere in 2025. It is the reimagined tale of Little Women, told from the male perspective. It is an epic romantic drama made of love, loss, ambition and family. St. Clair-Johnson will play the lead actress and love interest of the middle brother and their complicated but overall respectful relationship. 

Be sure to keep an eye out for Pregnant and Starving, Shades in Between, and Brothers Bogart to see what will undoubtedly be some unforgettable performances from St. Clair-Johnson.

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