Cuban American casting director and acting coach, Natalie Ballesteros Cohen, grew up in Miami with aspirations to be a singer/actress. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Miami, she moved to New York where she worked as professional actor for off-Broadway repertory companies, including Repertorio Español and the former Jean Cocteau Repertory in critically acclaimed productions of “Blood Wedding,” “Yerma,” “Threepenny Opera,” “Bourgeois Gentlemen” and “The Maids.” Her passion for her craft eventually evolved into a love for directing theatre and coaching fellow actors.
In 2005, an opportunity to work on a major motion picture for Jerry Bruckheimer Films prompted Natalie to move to Los Angeles. This lead to other job offers in production as well as a position assisting Paul Hook, head of Physical production at ICM. Though her time at ICM was incredibly exciting, Natalie missed working with talent. Her love for working with actors lead her to begin her journey in casting, working alongside casting directors Nancy Nayor, Masalas/Digman, and Carla Hool on various independent and studio projects. In 2009, Natalie began working at People Farm Casting, where she headed their Spanish language department, casting several commercials and docu-series. She cast Simon Fuller’s multi-lingual show “Q’Viva the Chosen” for Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony where she discovered talent throughout Latin America and ran teams in 20 different countries. Natalie also cast other Spanish network shows such as “Minuto Para Ganar,” “100 Latinos Dijeron,” and “La Voz Kids.” She’s cast commercials for such clients as McDonalds, Toyota, Honda, Clarisonic, Diesel, and Michelle Watches in both English and Spanish.
She recently teamed up again with Carla Hool to cast the Hulu series, “East Los High” and various upcoming independent features. Working with actors in the audition room, reignited her love of coaching. One of Natalie’s strengths is giving actors clear and concise adjustments using terminology that is familiar to actors and focuses on their craft. As an acting coach, she offers an industry perspective, while also having a deep understanding of the actor’s process.
Natalie is one of the few acting coaches in Los Angeles who also specializes in working with Native-Spanish speaking actors, helping them with technique in their own language, evolving into English language performance, and acclimating them to the the U.S. casting process.
Natalie is excited to work with Shaan Sharma and Gabrielle Shary at West Side Acting studio and thanks her wonderful husband Joel, her adorable son Eli, and her fiesty pooch Jasper for their love and support.