Let me start out by saying that Natasha Verma is not your typical teenager. She is in fact phenomenal and way beyond her years. The super intelligent beauty, has done more in her life than people twice her age. Having already graduated from Columbia University with her Master’s in Broadcasting, she now can add Film director to her extensive list of achievements. Natasha has been filming boxer Heather Hardy behind the scenes for months, and the documentary will be released later this year. I had the honor of sitting down with this young lady to discuss her career, and talk more about “Hardy The Movie”. I don’t think you guys can grasp how intelligent and passionate Natasha is, so before I let you see the interview… Get to know Natasha first.
(Oh and follow her on twitter @Natasha_Verma ).
Natasha started attending High school in Victoria, TX when she was only 12yrs old, and graduated by the time she was 14yrs old. While in high school she took dual course credits at Victoria college, so at 14 she earned a HS diploma plus an Associate’s degree. At 17yrs old she graduated from UT Austin with a double degree in biology and broadcast journalism. While in college, she started her own station at UT called, “Good Morning Texas” that reached 250,000 viewers. Natasha recently at age 19yrs old, graduated and received her Masters in Broadcast from Columbia University NYC.
Now do you feel me! This girl is something special, and unafraid to use her talents to affect the world. Here’s what Natasha had to say:
Tiffanie: Natasha, Natasha…Where do I begin. Okay so you’re super intelligent, beautiful, and just all around terrific. I know you have your masters in Broadcast, but what made you at all interested in the sport of Boxing.
Natasha: I actually met Heather through a photography project that I was doing, and I met her at Gleason’s gym. I wasn’t involved in boxing prior to meeting her, but I took photos of her and she told me her back story. She told me what she wanted to do with her career, and she said that she needed something more, like more exposure. She wanted to get her story out there, but just didn’t have a venue of doing so. I figured what could I do, so I decided I’d do a long term story of her, and that’s how the documentary came about. I organized a team of people, some of the best people I could find to help make this a very special production and promotion. So ever since then I’ve been filming boxing. You know boxing is such an compelling sport , and even beyond female boxing I watch the males too. So I definitely can say that I am a fan of the sport. Also I just want to do everything I can to promote female fighters.
Tiffanie: From your findings while filming the documentary about Heather, what have you observed as far as disparities between Men and Women’s boxing?
Natasha: I think it boils down to being televised. Some of these female fighters are just as skilled, and elite as their male counterparts, so I think that they too should be televised. Even beyond this project, I formed a team that I really enjoy working with, and they have done such a great job filming Hardy, that I want to work with other fighters and raise their profiles as well. I want to help as much as I can. Yes I do see some disparities with promotion, and views or fan base. What a lot of people fail to realize is how wonderful and interesting the story lines of the female boxers can be. Very passionate stories. These women come in the ring and not only are they skillful, but they have a lot of heart, and their back story is really what draws their following. This is the reason for this documentary, so I can get this back story out there. Not only Heather, but the world should know that there’s so many female fighters out there with great stories to tell. They are working hard every day, some of which are mothers. If we can get this out, we can get more people lining up to see these girls fight. It’s all about publicity.
Tiffanie: In your opinion, filming this documentary is the beginning or the platform off which we are going to catapult women’s boxing. As a result we can kind of change the perception of women’s boxing, and in turn build a bigger fan base?
Natasha: You said it perfectly. This is exactly what this documentary is doing. I came up with the documentary blueprint, I recruited the resources to make this go, I think this is the beginning of something great.
Tiffanie: How do you think this film will impact the sport of boxing? Will it be empathetic enough to forge a shift of fairness between the genders? Do you think women will get their just due? I mean, all they want: more money, big network fights, and to headline main events on those said big networks (just to name a few things). Is it possible?
Natasha: I think this is the first step towards it. You have to push people, even in the entire industry. I feel like I’m pushing people to look at this issue. Like Hey” Look at these women, they work hard, they have heart, they have skill, and passion.” That’s what boxing is all about, passion. I don’t want people to forget that all these great fighters have charisma, and that’s why you want to stand behind a fighter. These girls have stories. We need to get these stories out, and get these women televised. It’s baby steps leading up to getting on the big networks. I think it’s possible, just one step at a time. It’s going really well so far, people are getting to know Heather. I am spearheading this movie, and a lot of people came to her last fight hoping to get an opportunity to shake her hand.
Tiffanie: Let’s lighten it up a bit. So I know Heather is a boxing/fitness trainer at her gym, did she show you any moves?
Natasha: Yes she did, she’s a good boxing trainer and I want to go further with her now. I definitely gained more respect for fighters, by this experience in and out of the ring.
Tiffanie: Do you hit like a girl, or do you have some pop on those punches?
Natasha: I hit like a BOXER!! The footwork needs some work, but I have a strong punch. There’s definitely something there.
Tiffanie: Okay back to this film, can you give out any information about the release date, or any sneak peeks?
Natasha: I don’t have a date yet, because we’re nearly to the end of production and going in to post production, so we are dealing with typical logistics. I can say that the film will come out at the end of this year, so expect to see things that aren’t usually televised. Normally you see just the fight, but you don’t get to see what happens post fight, or even pre fight. All the things in a boxer’s personal life, you’ll be able to see that. What it takes to make it, cutting weight, training everyday, dedication. Heather has to be a mother, and she’s a single mother so she has to deal with that. You will see all of that, and how she is painfully committed to the sport despite the pay. We’ll see what happens, I don’t want to give away too much, but there will be a lot of twists and turns. Unless a fighter gets to an HBO/Showtime level, they just won’t get this type of production.
Tiffanie: Okay so we’re done with the boxing discussion today, let’s talk more about you. After you have completed this project, where do you go from here? Like where do you see yourself in 5 yrs.? What is your ultimate goal?
Natasha: My ultimate goal is to be a story teller. I definitely would like to be involved in production. I want to continue helping other fighters build their profile, and I want to continue in this industry. That’s been my goal from the very beginning, and that’s where my passion lies.
Tiffanie: Well Natasha, it’s been super interesting and fun talking with you. I absolutely can’t wait until the film is released. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Natasha: I think we pretty much covered everything, but everyone please come out to support “Hardy The Movie”.