| With her striking
South American looks, Nathalie Kelley could
be mistaken for just another exotic Latino beauty
living in Los Angeles hoping for an acting or
Kelley's mother is from Peru and her father
is Argentinean, but when she speaks her accent
is 100 per cent Australian.
The 21-year-old Sydneysider is also not struggling
for work in Los Angeles after scoring her
first starring role in one of this year's
big action films, The Fast and the Furious:
In February 2005 her agent told her Warner
Bros and the producers of hit TV shows Charmed
and Seventh Heaven were searching worldwide
for a female actress to star in a new TV series
They were looking for an exotic, multi-racial
actress. "They had searched the US, Canada,
London and the last place they went to was
Australia," Kelley, who at the time was
more concerned about her studies than the
"I literally went and read between lectures.
"They called me and asked me to come
"I was like 'Absolutely not. I have
a lecture about sustainable development in
the third world which I'm not missing'."
Kelley refused to go for the second audition.
"I said 'If they like me, they like
me'," Kelley laughed.
The studio and producers obviously liked
her ballsy attitude and handed her a plane
ticket to Los Angeles for a final casting.
"I was on a plane the next Sunday and
I was at the Warner Bros lot in LA on the
Monday," she said.
"It all happened that quick.
"On the Monday I was sitting in my hotel
and got the call 'You got it. You're going
to Miami to shoot the show'."
A pilot for the new series was shot, but
as what regularly happens, the studio opted
not to go ahead with the series, although
it was not all bad news for Kelley.
The buzz she generated with the starring
role had LA talent agents and managers queuing
up to represent her, an opportunity many young
hopeful actors in Hollywood only dream about.
"I had a day where I got to pick the
ones to represent me," she recalled.
"I went back to Australia and my agent
and manager were looking out for me.
"They said 'You should come back and
try out for movies'.
"That's what I did and I landed Fast
and Furious in September." It was a tough
decision for Kelley to leave her home in Sydney
because she had built relationships with girls
at The Block and others serving sentences
at juvenile detention centres.
"I left everything behind," Kelley
"I had to defer my uni, left my girls
behind. It was the hardest thing ever."
The role, she hopes, will inspire the kids
back in Sydney to keep out of trouble and
pursue their dreams.
In Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the
third in the series of films, Kelley plays
the feisty girlfriend of a Japanese mafia
member. The film is set in Tokyo and focuses
on the underground motor sport of drift racing.
Kelley spent a month in Tokyo, as well as
three months in LA shooting the film.
Her character, Neela, is part Australian.
"I'm an outsider who has grown up in
Japan, but has fallen into this world of drift
racing," Kelley, who now lives in LA,
"Drift racing is totally different to
any other racing. "It's not really about
speed. It's about skill and precision."
Kelley's co-stars are teenage American rap
star, Li'l Bow Wow, and Alabama-born actor,
Lucas Black, best known for his roles in the
Academy Award-winning Sling Blade and recent
performances in Cold Mountain and Jarhead.
Her "girls" at the detention centres
in Sydney were impressed.
"They were like 'Did you kiss Bow Wow
in the movie?'," Kelley said.
"I was like 'No, but I had to kiss Lucas'."