Natalie Jackson Mendoza (born 12 August 1978) is a Hong Kong-born Australian actress and musician. She is best known for her role as one of the main characters, Jackie Clunes in the British drama series Hotel Babylon and as tough girl Juno in the acclaimed horror thriller The Descent, as well as its sequel, The Descent Part 2. She was playing Arachne in the Broadway musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark but was forced to leave the show due to a work-related injury.
Life and career:
Mendoza was born in Hong Kong in 1978, the daughter of an English/German Australian mother who was a dancer and television personality, and a Filipino jazz pianist and arranger. She is one of six artist siblings. She was raised in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong/South East Asia. She also lived and went to school and trained in London and New York. She performed in many musicals such as Cats the Musical, Miss Saigon, The Music of Lloyd Webber Concert Tour (understudying Sarah Brightman), Oh What A Night, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as the lead Frugue girl in Sweet Charity, and took the role of Eponine in the 10th Anniversary Australasian Tour of Les Miserables. In 1998, Mendoza formed the band Jackson Mendoza with her sister Rebecca. They had No 1 chart success and signed internationally to Virgin Records, releasing two singles that reached the Top 10 music charts in Australia. They disbanded in 2000.
Mendoza appeared in Moulin Rouge!, in which she appeared as the cameo role and lead dancer China Doll. After Moulin Rouge!, she began working on a solo album in Melbourne and signed a three picture deal with Miramax. She filmed several US series like Farscape and played Liat in ABC's South Pacific opposite Harry Connick Junior and Glenn Close. When filming The Great Raid, she became involved with her co−star Joseph Fiennes, and moved to London.
In 2003 Mendoza went back to England to focus her attention on acting. She trained as an actor at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School training in Classical Theater. Mendoza appeared on stage in many classical theatre and modern theatre productions: Coup d'État at MTC, Five Kinds of Silence, Vagina Monologues, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Importance of Being Earnest, and many more. In 2005 she was cast as the lead role in the film The Descent creating the iconic role of Juno. In 2006, she appeared in the role of Australian immigrant and head of housekeeping Jackie Clunes in the BBC1 British drama series Hotel Babylon and went on to shoot the 2nd and 3rd series. In 2007, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio dramas Absolution and The Girl Who Never Was. In 2007 she filmed The Descent 2 sequel and horror film Surviving Evil, which she wrote the title track for, "Alone Again". She workshopped the lead role of Molly in Matthew Warchus production of Ghost which was based on the original screenplay by Bruce Rubin. Music written by Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart. In 2008 she joined Dave Stewart's Weapons of Mass Entertainment and began being managed by him developing many projects including her own multimedia project. She was the "face" and designer for the Voodoo Dolls surf/ski apparel clothing line in London and Australia in 2003. She is currently based out of London/LA/NYC recording her solo album, producing films and creating her own multimedia projects.
Mendoza was scheduled to co-star in the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, playing the role of Arachne after being selected out of over 3000 people world wide for the lead role by Bono, The Edge and Julie Taymor. After playing a handful of preview performances, Mendoza was forced to leave after an injury occurred backstage. Mendoza since moved to LA to pursue a new career in directing, writing and producing films. She appeared in the 2012 Midsomer Murders episode "The Dark Rider" as Sasha Fleetwood.
She won her first film festival entry as best director, best writer and best film at the 72 hour film festival in Los Angeles 2011. She also began recording an album with producer Glen Ballard for an upcoming film project. She has filmed several films and a TV series slated for release next year. She is an active member of Los Angeles' Playhouse West. Natalie has been cast as the lead in Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's new play with music, "Arms of Fire," which will be premiering at the Chester Theatre Company in the Berkshires and eventually going to Broadway. She is the only female and sings all 10 songs playing the lead role of Josephina, a Honduran Jazz Chanteusse.
The Great Raid
Cecilia 'Chill' Reyes
The Descent: Part 2
Episode: Jeremiah Crichton
Episode: The Dark Rider