Thursday, January 9, 2014

Going Ape Over Natalia Reagan

One of the most awesome parts of my job is all of the cool people I get to meet. I worked on the finale of the “Ten Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty," where I was able to connect with the amazing Natalia Reagan anthropologist, writer, actress, and comiedienne. Woman extroidinaire. She was gracious enough to sit through a few of my questions, so please… enjoy!

“10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty” Premieres Friday, January 10 at 10pm ET/PT on Spike TV #BigfootBounty

Tennessee Martin: On Jan. 10th, many people will get to meet you for the first time on the show. What is your role?

Natalia Reagan: Yes, I'm thrilled!  I'm a field primatologist in real life and will serve as the field science expert/judge the on the show.   I also hope to provide some comedic relief, intentional or otherwise…

TM: I can’t wait to see what “otherwise” means. What made you decide to get involved with the series?

NR: Point blank - The show brings cutting edge science to the mainstream!  10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty is unique in that it takes the search for Sasquatch to a whole new level- these teams are actually conducting a real scientific inquiry.  They are using state-of-the-art techniques and following the same strict protocol that a field scientist would use to when searching for a new species of primate.   I study a critically endangered subspecies of spider monkey so I know what it’s like to search for a highly elusive species in the forest!

I have always been an advocate for using entertainment to teach science.  In fact, I've been writing and producing science comedy videos for over 3 years now that use humor to explain various scientific concepts, from the evolution of boobs to how pheromones play a role in human mating.  At first I was apprehensive that this show would not have enough science, but the show is rife with great science! 

TM: I love your videos! I became sort of a fan girl after the boobs one. Hysterical, and still informational.

NR: Thank you!  I’m a big believer that early detection is important when it comes to beating cancer.  And if you can strip the embarrassment of talking about it by using humor, then why not?!

TM: I agree! So, what was your favorite moment on #BigfootBounty? Without giving anything away!

NR: Honestly, it was seeing the teams learn and evolve as they spent more time in the field.  They began to speak like trained conservationists!  In the beginning many knew very little about conservation biology and DNA extraction, but as time went on those remaining teams sounded like pros when discussing the evidence they submitted to Dr Todd and the lab. 

TM: I don’t know anything about either of those things. I was a bit of a science geek as a child, though so I can’t wait to follow you guys on Spike! Is there anything particular you would recommend your viewers look out for during the season?

NR: You can watch me spar with some of the teams.  We have a few heated moments where I remind them that it’s my job to poke holes in their stories…they don’t always like that!   Oh, and definitely the war of the mohawks!  Both Dr. Todd and contestant Michael have formidable 'hawks that give the show that special ‘je ne sais quoi…’

TM: A woman who stays true to her craft! I love it. What other projects are you working on? What can we expect from you in the future?

NR: I’m still making science comedy videos!  Look for a new video series called “Talking Sh#t with Dr. Todd and Natalia” in which Dr. Todd and I discuss everything from extracting DNA from poop, to primate locomotion, to environmental DNA to new conservation strategies.  It’s funny.  It’s riveting.  It’s science.  

And on On January 19th my new comedy web series “New Age Girls” debuts.  I am both a writer and actor in this mock reality series that follows the lives of four disparate “New Age Gals” living and ‘transcending’ in Ojai, California.
TM: You and Dr. Todd together? That’s so exciting! I actually met him on set for the finale. Cool guy. I must admit, I have “stalked” your website quite a bit here recently. It says you have an “unsettling love for primates.” What sparked this interest to become a primatologist?

NR: Recurring King Kong nightmares!  It’s true.  I still get them sometimes.  Absolutely terrifying.  But I guess I got Stockholm syndrome because I fell in love with gorillas over time…

TM: That is amazing and equally terrifying... So you love Gorilla’s, but one of your videos states “Monkey’s are horrible pets.” Does that mean that if Bigfoot is found, it is unlikely that he will be as cuddly as our friend Harry from “Harry and the Hendersons?”

NR: Ha! Well it depends if you think Bigfoot is more like a monkey vs. an anatomically modern human!  If Bigfoot is just an overgrown spider monkey, then I doubt it’s cuddling prowess. 

TM: I guess I’ve never really thought about it, but now I am. I’ll let you know after I watch the show and learn how to intelligently arrive to that conclusion. I’m looking forward to seeing all the theories, and scientific attempts. What exactly would the discovery of Bigfoot mean to the scientific world?

NR: It would be a science 'game changer'!  I understand why these 'squatchers are so amped to find Bigfoot- could you imagine being the next Dr. Donald Johanson or Louis and Mary Leakey?!  It would bring instant fame and fortune!  But most importantly, it would bring instantaneous science street cred. 

TM: This science street cred you speak of. It’s important that we continue to search for new species, and continue to have expeditions such as this.

NR: Yes. There are still wonderful creatures to discover!  Just 2 years ago a new species of monkey was discovered in Central Africa and that’s just scratching the surface. 

TM: That’s what I love about television. I’m able to connect with incredible people like you, and learn so many awesome new things. You use the internet and comedy to educate people about science. What was your inspiration for this?

NR: I grew up loving the humor of Mel Brooks, Monty Python, and our family friends were some of the hilarious men from Firesign Theatre.  So comedy was a tremendous part of my life.  Heck, I still watch Sesame Street because it makes me giggle.  But of course you’re learning in the process!  So I knew that one day I wanted to be able to teach science while making people do a spit take.  And here we are…

TM: I love it. A woman with many talents, You’ve worked on other shows/films. When was your entertainment debut?

 NR: My first acting job was playing a dancing chicken McNugget in a McDonald’s commercial.  It doesn’t get better than playing a piece of meat when you’re a vegetarian.

TM: My followers would be devastated if I interviewed such a beautiful and educated woman, and never asked what her ideal date would be… So what is yours? How would someone “catch” a lady like you?

NR: I love, love, love to laugh!  So making me laugh would be an excellent start.  As for a perfect date- I love going on an adventure but I treasure quiet nights at home.  And big feet don’t hurt either ;)

TM: Haha. Biig feet wear big shoes. Along with that, what is your advice for someone who is intimidated by dating strong, influential women?

NR: This is a great question!  My grandpa always calls me an intimidating lady.  Hmmm….I say be confident in yourself and remember your worth while you celebrate hers.

TM: I think that’s great advice. You grew up in California correct? How did that influence your mentality and career path?

NR: Well, I grew up in the film industry-my grandpa was a director and my father was an art director in commercials.  And my great-grandmother worked for the late great Lionel Barrymore.  On the other hand my mom is in academia and a professor at Cal State Northridge so I grew up attending her classes on occasion.  So I had this perfect melding of academia and creativity as a child.  As a teenager I decided to pursue my creative endeavors and that led me to working as an actor in Los Angeles.  I worked on various TV shows like “My Name is Earl”, “The Drew Carey Show”, and “Better Off Ted”.  I essentially became a dancing monkey before I started chasing monkeys…

TM: You’re so fascinating! You did theatre too. With as many talents and passions as you have, how did you discover you could tie them all together?

NR: I also make greeting cards!  I’ll send you one J  Yes, I adore doing theater!  I was a theater major my first year of college at UC Irvine (before I dropped out to become a free-spirited hippy/actress in Venice Beach).  I also was in an improv troupe called the Omelettes for 5 years that performed weekly in Los Angeles. 

TM: A lot of my followers are in their early twenties and are just beginning their independent journey into life. What is the best advice that you can give them on pursuing their dreams, and turning their passion into a career?
NM: Dream big and never let anyone say you can’t do what you want to do.  If you want to be a chainsaw juggling mute lumberjack, it’s a possibility!  If you told me when I was a mere 18 years-old that I would be a monkey-chasing-actress at 34 years-old I would have called you crazy.  And awesome.  So it’s never to late to follow your dreams and make the most of your life! 

TM: You’re truly an amazing person. I really can’t wait to see you on the series.

You guys can live tweet her @Natalia13Reagan

Or check out her website at 

“10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty” Premieres Friday, January 10 at 10pm ET/PT on Spike TV

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