Make Up: Liz Castellanos
Stylist: Beatrice P
You might not recognize her, but Natalin Avci is kind of a big deal. Raised in rough East L.A., Natalin, in all of her curvaceous glory, transcended the barrios to mainstream spotlight, landing magazine cover after cover, including a few with the notorious Los Angeles Lakers' Ron Artest. Grounded, well-spoken, and incredibly sweet, Natalin parlayed her Turkish descent to become something of a bona-fide sensation in her home country, blitzing the media. With Turkey all but conquered, Natalin now has her sights firmly fixed on her old neighborhood rival, Hollywood.
So I hear you're kind of a big deal in Turkey. How did that come about?
I shot a few covers with Ron Artest in some domestic publications, and with basketball being huge in Turkey, the exposure was received positively and I became sort of the Turkish face here in the States. My ethnicity sets me apart and has led me to newer and bigger endeavors here in the U.S. and back in Turkey. I've graced two FHM Turkey covers and several newspapers and magazine articles, and my work there is not even close to being done. I have a few more covers coming out over the next year, but my transition to acting is what I'm most looking forward to. I'm fluent in Turkish and I would love to star in a Turkish film one day.
Did you grow up in Turkey?
No, I was born in L.A., but I have visited Turkey. Although Hollywood is in L.A., the two can be so different. I was raised in East L.A., which wasn't an ideal place to raise a little girl, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's probably why I have such a strong character and well-rounded personality. I'm the type of chick you could take to the poker house, your mama's house, and even the White House.
How did a girl from East L.A. wind up modeling?
I was always deterred from entering the entertainment business by my family and significant others for various reasons, most of which were self-serving. So, I ended up at a state university where I received a B.A. in international business and a minor in economics. The dynamics of a young, good-looking, intelligent woman in corporate America weren't too far from those of Hollywood, and I didn't want to live a life of regret. I decided to give entertainment a real shot, and by good fortune, I met Robert Valentino of VMG, who shared a similar background, life view, and a savvy for business. We clicked instantly and began working together. The rest, as they say, is history.
Besides the Turkish magazines, what other U.S. titles have you been in?
I've been the cover girl for FitnessRx, Dub, and Skinnie Magazine, to name a few. I'm excited for my feature in the December issue of Playboy, which I won't be posing nude for! I know, what a freakin' tease right?
And now I hear you're getting into acting?
My first gig in this business was acting and it has always been my true passion. Modeling was something that just fell into my lap and fortunately it has been lucrative. I've played the typical 'hot chick' thus far in all of my roles, but I'm in a great acting school. I can't wait to show my acting chops and play a character that most people wouldn't expect.
During the filming of Couples Retreat, did Vince Vaughn try to break out his 'pretty baby' game?
Working with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau was one of the best experiences of my life, being that I'm such a huge fan. I learned so much in such little time. They are both so hilarious and multitalented. Unfortunately, he didn't break out his 'pretty baby' because he was busy directing my scene.
What kind of movies are you into?
I'm a huge movie buff. I love all types of movies, but my favorite genre is probably gangster or heist films. To name a few, The Italian Job, all the Godfathers, the Ocean's trilogy, Casino, Blow, and some recent ones like Takers, and The Town.
Besides films, what are some of your other hobbies?
I love reading, going on exotic vacations, fashion, fitness, golfing, poker, and I love karaoke.
What's on your three must-sing playlist?
Ooh, that's tough . . . if I had to pick only three, they would have to be 'Set Me Free' by The Supremes, 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart' by Al Green, and anything by Nirvana.
Can you cook?
Yes I'm actually a great cook and baker. My signature dishes include: BBQ chicken, baked chicken in a peanut sauce, sweet roasted corn, sauteed broccoli, sweet potatoes, mac 'n cheese, apple cobbler, and a butter cake with cream cheese frosting and strawberries. OK, now I'm hungry. This is bad! [laughter] All the good Turkish recipes are held by my mother, and let me tell you, she's tight with them!
What's the greatest Turkish pick-up line?
Turkish guys are the biggest gentleman so I don't think they have a particular pick-up line, but their motto is that one date with them will change your life.
Which is totally my running motto-turned-perfect segue to our obligatory monthly question: what kind of guy are you into?
I'm into a man-not a guy, boy, or dog. A man who takes care of his body, skin, and teeth, and practices good hygiene are the only physical attributes that are important to me. The rest are based on his character and values. Ambitious, genuine, family-oriented, God-fearing, intelligent, and is respectful to women, elders, and himself.
Let's play a game of 'How East L.A. Are You?' When was the last time you dated someone with a shaved head?
C'mon man, you know I have a weakness for a pelón! [laughter]
The last time you did something illegal?
Smells fishy-I'll plead the Fifth. I don't want to get caught up in saying the wrong things in print. Carter, you're trying to be self-incriminating, if you ask me. [laughter]
Possibly. The last time you ate at a taco truck?
Last Saturday! After a night of drinking, my body will point me to the nearest taco stand! Hopefully there's a King Taco within a 15-mile radius. If not, I'll settle for a truck named after some Mexican guy or chick. [laughter]
The last time you stared someone down?
That would be some girl I ran into at the bank today.
Word? Still keeping it hood I see . . .
[laughter] She had it coming! She was rolling her eyes at me because her man, sancho, or whatever looked my way.
The last time you got into a fist fight?
It's been a while since I got into a physical altercation. At some point we all have to grow up and realize that violence isn't the answer, especially when you're a model-slash-actress. Plus, that's why you keep the homies around-they don't mind getting their hands dirty! [laughter] Totally joking, by the way.
Measurements: 34C 26 36
Birthday: November 4th
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Thank you list: First and foremost I would like to thank my manager, my partner, my bestie, mi carnal Robert Valentino of VMG for believing in me when nobody else did; Carter for giving me this opportunity; my family and friends who keep me grounded-to them, I will always be Nat; lastly, thanks to my biggest fans: Jason, Morgan, Ichiro, Sam, Alan, David, Oliver, Ulysses, Charles, Harry, and Eddie-you guys rock.