Big Sky star Natalie Alyn Lind may come from a family of actors, but she’s not one to hang back in the shadows. The 22-year-old actress knows her way around a set and has been starring on the small screen since she was a child. After having small parts in hit shows like One Tree Hill (alongside her mom Barbara Alyn Lind), Criminal Minds, and Wizards of Waverly Place, she started garnering major attention that led to roles in shows like Gotham, Tell Me a Story, and most recently Big Sky. We caught up with the rising star to learn more about her time on Big Sky, what her fave hobbies are, and what projects she has in the works.
When did you realize you wanted to begin acting?
Both of my parents are in the industry. They actually met on a film lot. I was literally raised on a set. Since I was little, I’ve always had a passion for acting and art. Watching my mom transform into different characters inspired me at a very young age. Since I was 4, I knew this is what I wanted to do in life.
Is there anything you’ve taken away from a character you’ve played that you’ve applied to your life?
I did a show on Fox called The Gifted, where I played a superhero. The show was based on the X-Men comic books. Before the show started, I had a conversation with our showrunner, and he wanted me to take parkour training before filming. I’ve always been a very physical person, but stunt training took that passion to the next level. Now I try and train every week to learn different moves and techniques that I can use in life, as well as on set. Training is also the only time I feel like my head is completely clear. I use it as therapy in a way.
What has been your favorite project so far and why?
My favorite project that I’ve worked on so far would probably be Tell Me a Story. I played a country star who gets in a terrible car explosion that leaves burns on 70% of her body. I always like to step outside of my comfort zone when developing characters, but this show took that to the next level. I had to record several songs that my character performs on the show. I had never even been in a recording studio before. I also had never worked with prosthetics. It helped me transform every morning. When I stepped on set, I genuinely felt like a different person. The entire experience was challenging but extremely fulfilling.
When reading the script for Big Sky, what were your initial thoughts on your character and the story?
Reading the first episode of Big Sky was exhilarating. It was a total page turner. David Kelly is a brilliant writer and creates these dynamic characters that you won’t know in real life. The show is actually based on a book called The Highway that I had previously read. I had an idea of what was going to happen, but flipping to the last page, I still managed to be completely shocked.
Tell us a bit about your character, Danielle.
Danielle was such a fun character. She’s extremely witty but not necessarily the brightest. She takes her little sister on a road trip to see her boyfriend in Montana. They encounter a truck driver who Danielle loses her cool with on the road … Both sisters are kidnapped and locked in a horse trailer alongside a woman that the truck driver had also kidnapped. Danielle is a survivor. She’s extremely strong-minded and big-mouthed. Through the show, she has to figure out how to use those skills to escape.
Are there any similarities between you and her?
The biggest similarity between Danielle and me would be our undying love and devotion for our sisters. Throughout the show, Danielle and Grace lean on and support each other. They have to find strength in one another. I have the same connection with my sisters.
How would you describe Danielle’s evolution throughout the show?
When you first meet Danielle, she believes the world revolves around her. When everything is taken away from her, she learns selflessness. Especially in episode three, she doesn’t know if Ronald has killed her sister. She comes out of the trailer changed. She’s colder but with a newfound appreciation for life.
When you play a character on a show, how do you find yourself disassociating yourself from the role after the cameras are off?
I’ve been very fortunate with the characters I’ve been able to play. One of the most important goals as an actor is to portray situations and people as accurately as possible. A lot of the content I have been given has been extremely dark, but these are happening in the world. I want to be able to tell stories and show perspective on uncomfortable and scary events. So I try to do as much research going into a project as possible. On Tell Me a Story, I was actually able to meet with a burn victim who talked me through her experiences along with the trauma she has had to face. I was so grateful for her to feel comfortable talking about her life with me. So disassociation can sometimes be difficult, especially after a project ends. But I’m lucky to be surrounded by friends and family who help me through it.
Since your family is also in the industry, have they given you any advice that has stuck with you?
Having all four of my family members in the industry is such a blessing. I respect their opinions more than anything in this world. I look for advice daily, whether that be their thoughts on a script or how to handle the industry in general. My mom has always told us, “everything happens for a reason.” Some of the best opportunities I’ve been given have come after something else didn’t work out. Sometimes that’s hard to see at the moment, but remembering that advice in every aspect of my life really helps me.
What does a day in life of look like?
Every day for me is completely different. I’m not one to stick to a routine. When I’m not working, I wake up and cuddle with my dogs for at least an hour. That’s pretty much the only consistency. Well, that and coffee. But I always (try at least) to get a workout in. I love reading, whether that’s a script or a book. I spend a lot of time away from home, so being with family and friends as much as possible is always a huge part of my day. On a perfect day, I’m on the beach with my dogs.
Aside from acting, what are some other things you’re passionate about?
A few years ago, I took up archery. I’ve actually hand-crafted a few bows myself. So that’s my little hobby passion. But I’m extremely passionate about giving back. I try to involve myself with as many charities as possible, as well as volunteering whenever the opportunity comes. A few years ago, my family and I were in South Africa and started working with Save the Rhinos Foundation. They’re working to stop rhino poaching and create awareness for the horrible things happening to these animals. It’s inspiring to see a group of people work so hard to achieve one goal, especially when that goal is to help someone/something out.
What would be your dream project (or collaborator)?
I’m extremely interested in the development side of the camera as well. Directing/producing is a huge desire of mine. So my dream project would probably be something that I will direct. I’m a huge horror fan; Ari Aster is a director I really look up to. He creates so much realism in these terrifying worlds. I always feel so uncomfortable (in the best way) watching his films. So I’m going to keep taking notes on him until my time comes.
What’s up next?
I just finished filming the prequel of the Steven King novel Pet Sematary. I’ve read the book more times than I can count, so being in that world for the past three months was unreal. I can’t say much about the project, but very excited for people to see it.