Meet Natalie Fornasier, a true force to be reckoned with and an incredibly inspiring woman. Natalie is 26 and first and foremost a writer with a remarkable gift for weaving words, a lover of travel and a true creative spirit. In addition to all of this, she is also a Stage 4 melanoma fighter.
Natalie has shared her story with cancer publicly with bravery and grace - leading important conversations about sun safety and how to respectfully hold space and support those near to us who are also bravely fighting. She is the inspiration and a key driver behind Call Time on Melanoma - a not for profit organisation campaigning to change women's relationships with sun tanning and educate about the importance of sun safety. It's not just these details of her story that inspires us - her attitude, confidence and reverence make her a truly remarkable woman.
This is such a special conversation, Natalie’s words are so beautifully considered and we are so grateful to her for sharing these insights into her creative mind and unique perspective.
"The love I receive and give is my influence and driving force to survive, create things of consequence and leave my mark on the world."
Job Title: Freelance writer and content creator, sometimes artist
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
A little on your likes, interests, passions and hobbies?
I’m a writer at heart, so I love the way words are used to tell a story, a feeling, a fleeting moment. I’ve always been fascinated by words and spend a lot of my time either writing them, or reading them! I write mostly for me - I love to journal. There’s nothing more appealing to me than a blank page in a leather bound book and a really good pen - it soothes the soul.
As a side hustle I write to share and educate, whether that’s in an article or an instagram caption, but I feel like my best work is the most personal. It’s the words that are all scribbled and haphazard, running over pages and pages - one day I hope to put it all together into a book!
I love to create. I wouldn’t consider myself a full-blown artist, but I do like to dabble. I’m a lover of ceramics - I enjoy building with my hands. I have done so ever since my mum found 3 year old me in the cupboard with cereal boxes and sticky tape. There’s something so special about creating with your bare hands and the delicious feeling you get when you’re finished - I wish you could bottle the pride. I also love to paint - shadows, bold shapes and lines are my go-to!
Outside of writing, reading and art… I love fashion and beauty. I love the way clothes transcend the basic needs of clothing and can come together to tell a story. The same goes for beauty, it’s such an intimate way to make yourself feel good (but also look good!).
As an Aquarian, I feel the need to have a finger in every pie - to leave my mark on the world. I’m fixated with that, and that feeling is heightened when you’re battling Stage IV cancer. I have this extremely obsessive need to emblazon myself on the world. But at the same time, I like being quiet. I enjoy stillness. My rising sign is in Cancer, and my moon is in Pisces so I’m actually a very sensitive soul. I feel a lot. I feel the heaviness of old trees and the history of the world whispered in the winds. I feel the pain of my loved ones when they’re going through hardship. But at the same time, I can feel nothing. Which is the Aquarian in me. We can shut off from the world, even from our own feelings if we have to. It’s both dangerous but a little saving grace when you get overwhelmed by the intensity the spectrum of emotions can inflict on you.
Lastly, I adore the night sky. I love the stars and the moon. I believe in their carefully spun magic. There is nothing quite as fascinating to me as a clear, inky night sky; where there is nothing but an existence of unknown, undiscovered matter. That’s probably why it freaks me out so much - because we know so little of it and it is so vast that when you sit and think about it too long, your tummy dips and loses its sense of gravity. I love it all the same. I think the universe plays a great role in the way our lives are dictated. I believe in that gut feeling that gnaws at your insides until you feel a hole in your stomach.
And what are some of your biggest influences?
I sat with this question a lot! I thought about my favourite writers, musicians, people I know and admire yet it didn’t feel like an adequate response. I think my biggest influence is love. I know any individual can be influenced by a myriad of things, but for me, love conquers all. Maybe it’s because I’ve been fighting cancer for so long, I carry an immense amount of grief, like a never ending tornado, and it whirls within me every day. Such a feeling is something that has well and truly overhauled the way I see the world casting darkness in haunting shadows that never leave me, but I take solace in love. The love I receive and give is my influence and driving force to survive, create things of consequence and leave my mark on the world.
Some non-negotiables when it comes to your everyday rituals?
I love skincare. It’s a non-negotiable for me to not do it in the morning and at night. It’s soothing and incredibly important to take care of yourself.
I always aim to write down one thought or quote a day - whether it’s in notes on my phone, on twitter or in my journal. Words are special, we should always be reminded of their power.
A misconception someone might have looking at your circumstances from the outside in?
That not asking me - out of concern for me - is in fact a form of exclusion. I’ve been put in a lot of positions where I get told afterwards: ‘Oh, we didn’t want to ask or impose because you have a lot on your plate’ and I’m always left deflated. Saying that is wrong. It’s hurtful and is in fact, a bit ridiculous. Because I’m sick, it doesn’t dictate my entire life. You should give me the courtesy of asking me first. You don’t get to decide my answers for me. You wouldn’t do that to an able bodied person, so why do that to me?
Also, if you care - you have to show it. Actions speak louder than words.
What would you tell 15-year-old Natalie knowing all that you do now?
Get that mole removed. Also, because you got the mole removed you won’t go on exchange later in life, so make sure you go to Venice at the end of 2017 to meet the man that you will spend the rest of your life with.
You will break up with friends, and that is okay. You will outgrow so many people in your life. Don’t feel bad about that. Somethings are not meant to be long lasting, they are fleeting moments of learning for your development. Quality over quantity - always.
Never, ever, follow the crowd. It isn’t for you. As a true Aquarian, you’re much better suited to being independent. It may feel odd, but that’s the truest form of you. Your independence isn’t something to be scared of or to shy away from. Embrace it.
Lastly, always look up to the night sky and take a second to ground yourself. Realise you’re a mere grain of sand in an ocean as wide as the eye can see. Stay humble.
What is your favourite memory?
I was told for the first time in my life, ‘I love you’ in Venice on Rialto Bridge. It was a late winter night, we had just finished dinner at one of our favourite little haunts and began our nightly ritual of walking through the winding maze of decaying buildings to get home. We stopped at Rialto Bridge, which was empty of tourists; all you could hear was water lapping at bare stone and the low hum of the boats’ engines whizzing by. The night was the clearest I’d ever seen, the stars felt like they had been placed by hand in the sky. Once Alexander told me he loved me, I cried! It was a Hollywood movie moment. I carry the coordinates of this moment with me every day, engraved on a piece of jewellery. My whole time on exchange in 2017 was a kaleidoscope of wonder. It was truly the most beautiful and soul-filling time of my life. I’m so grateful I pushed myself to do it.
On her ideal Sunday...
Pancakes in bed with morning sunlight streaming into the bedroom, leaving playful shadows on the wall. Fleetwood Mac is playing in the background. A few hours of creative time - whether it’s journaling, ceramics or painting. A picnic. Cuddles on the couch. A walk by the ocean to see the sunset. An Italian feast for dinner.
And lastly, what do you think makes a woman beautiful?
She wears her strength. She embraces her individuality and listens to her gut instinct. She is gracious in her kindness, strong in her ideas.
We hope you adore reading this in conversation as much as we did, thank you Natalie for sharing with us.
Follow Natalie here, and we also urge you to support her contribution to Call Time on Melanoma in their efforts to champion a new social standard in sun safety.
For further reading and listening we highly recommend listening to Natalie’s moving feature on Shameless podcast and for more about her incredible journey, read the article that called Natalie to share her story for the first time with Call Time on Memlanoma’s founder Lisa Patulny on Byrdie.