Colombian actress Natalia Reyes is already a household name in Latin America, thanks to her incredible performances in film and on television in her native country.
But with her sights set on an even bigger stage she managed to land a role in one of the greatest franchises of all time, the Terminator films, starring in the next iteration, Terminator: Dark Fate.
She recently spoke with Maxim about her career, working with her idols, and balancing a life and career spent both in Hollywood and her home in one of the world’s trendiest travel destinations, Cartagena.
How did you get started in acting? What do you consider to be your first big break?
I started with theater when I was 9 years old and then got into television when I was 16, but I would say my first big break was Lady, La Vendedora de Rosas, a telenovela that was very successful all across Latin America.
You had great critical and commercial success in Colombia. What motivated you to expand to Hollywood and a larger global audience?
You can say that I have always dreamed big. As an actor you want the world to see your work and my dream was to make movies. I learned English (self-taught, if you can imagine) because I knew it was the best way to get work in bigger productions. And now I'm in this massive franchise! I still can't believe it.
The Terminator franchise is one of the all-time film classics. What attracted you to the project and role, and what was your reaction when you got the part?
At first, I thought it was a remake! But then I found out it wasn’t, rather it was a continuation of the story from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Tim Miller was attached to direct, James Cameron was back as a producer and they had this whole new story line and new characters….
When Tim called me and told me I got the part I cried for hours and actually I still can’t believe it.
Were you familiar with or a fan of the earlier films?
It's funny because I wasn’t even born when the first Terminator film came out, but I did see both (1 and 2) when I was about seven years old, just a regular Sunday watching movies at home, and I remember I was so amazed by that world they had created. Not to mention Linda Hamilton, she became such an icon for me ever since!
What was it like working with legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, as well as current stars like Gabriel Luna and Mackenzie Davis?
It was an amazing experience! I felt it was the perfect balance between new talent and the legends. I love Linda, she is the most professional and committed actress I know and just such a loving human being. Working with Arnold after seeing him so many times on a big screen was surreal and hard to believe it was actually happening.
Mackenzie is such an inspiration to me, she is a terrific actress and we became very close working together and am so happy to call her a great friend now. Gabriel is a very sweet person and I'm excited for people to see him as the new Terminator.
Are film sets and the working environment different in Colombia as they are in the U.S.?
Hollywood is a bigger and older industry and therefore the scale is different, everything just feels 10 times bigger, from the catering to the crew. Every day I learned something new!
Do you plan to continue focusing on American films or do you want to continue working in other countries as well?
Yes, I want the best of both worlds. I'd love the opportunity to continue to work in the U.S. with people I have always admired and I also want keep telling stories from where I’m from.
What other upcoming projects are you working on? Anything to look forward to in the near future?
Well, we are about to start a big international press tour for Terminator: Dark Fate. Then there’s a beautiful independent movie and a Netflix series coming, but I also want to start developing projects with characters I want to portray.
What passions or hobbies do you have away from acting?
I love theater, going to the movies, and cooking new vegan dishes at home. I also love dancing salsa and traveling, and doing outdoor sports such as biking, hiking, and swimming.
Are you excited/optimistic about Colombia’s future, and is it now a must-visit country for travelers? Any tips for those considering visiting?
Absolutely, Colombia is a beautiful must-visit country, it’s full of nature and lovely people. I’m excited and proud of the peace agreement we signed two years ago with the guerrillas so it’s pretty safe—we ended the war and we are in a reconciliation process so the country is blooming.
I was born in Bogotá, but then moved to Cartagena, my favorite place in Colombia. My husband and I have a beach resort on the closest island to Cartagena, it’s called Fenix Beach, so make sure you stop by when you visit.
"Terminator: Dark Fate" premieres in theaters on November 1.