Last summer I was working for my little sister as her personal assistant (she’s a singer and if you haven’t already, go look her up immediately) and she was invited to perform at a ranch roping competition in Italy. Luckily for me I got to tag along, drink copious amounts of wine, ride nice horses and participate in the roping. I had briefly met our hosts, Drew Mischanti and Natalia Estrada once before and happened to read an article in Western Horseman right before we left about the "Italian Cowboys." Natalia is Spanish but lives in and is married to an Italian. The article mentioned that Natalia used to be an actress before she found her current love in the vaquero style of horsemanship and cow work. I am embarrassed to admit that I dismissed this as possible misinformation. I mean, every time someone interviews Adrian for an article something gets misquoted. I’ll never forget when an article stated that she was bilingual. If Adrian’s bilingual that means she’s fluent in sarcasm and profanity. So I figured that’s what this was: an exaggeration or misprint (sorry Natalia!). Upon arriving in Italy, I was shocked to find that article had only understated what a celebrity Natalia really is in Italy! People see her and rush up, clutching pieces of paper and pens to their chest, asking for autographs and lining up to have their picture taken with her.
Walking to a café in Milan for a morning cup of espresso is an event because construction workers exclaim out loud “Natalia Estrada!!” “It’s Natalia Estrada!” I’ve never seen Natalia react with anything but charm and grace, she is a wonderful role model and someone I seek to emulate. Not only is she classy and charming, but she is also an excellent horsewoman. She helped me a lot during our stay with learning the basics of Dressage, something I’ve always been interested in learning more about. Thinking about our stay with Drew and Nat, I put together a list of the 5 things I learned from a Spanish movie star who turned out to be a friend, and I think we could all learn from her example!
Natalia displayed class no matter how tired she was or what situation she found herself in. Whether she sipped her wine instead of gulping it, or took the time to graciously talk with excited fans while trying to enjoy a private moment with friends and family, Nat showed that she is always a lady.
Natalia is naturally athletic and has amazing timing. She could “get by” just fine with her horsemanship without spending a modicum of effort on it if she wanted. Instead, Natalia constantly worked on improving herself and her horses.
Natalia showed me that fashion and horses do mix. Yes! Natalia easily mixed high fashion and cowboy boots and pulled it off because she’s confident in herself and her style. She can introduce an opera in floor length Versace and ride colts in Wranglers. She wears what she wants when she wants no matter what is “cool” at the moment.
During our stay at their house, Drew and Natalia were up every morning at 5:30am riding colts. She is an extremely passionate woman, and that passion includes her horses, roping and life and she makes sacrifices to improve herself in any area any chance she gets.
It’s OK To Be Multidimensional
Natalia is not just a movie star, nor is she just a cowgirl. She is multidimensional and that is one of the things I love most about her. She can ride dressage, compete in cutting, jump horses, throw a fancy big loop shot, shoot a gun or camera with skill, dance, act, run a multi-continent business and can throw together a first class 5-course meal after a full day of participating in all of the above mentioned activities! She is comfortable in all of these and doesn’t change her personality in transitioning between them. She is Natalia Estrada and she is comfortable in her own skin.
xo xo Elizabeth