Natasha Henstridge is a model and actress most well-known for her work in the film franchise Species. Born in Newfoundland and raised in Alberta, Henstridge grew up in a creative household, often finding herself walking around with a video camera, interviewing various family members, or singing alongside her dad while he played guitar. She also had an interest in fashion, making clothes and designing dresses as a child.
It comes as no surprise then that Henstridge’s career began at the age of 14 when she placed as first runner-up in Casablanca Modelling Agency’s Look of the Year contest. The following year, at age 15, she left Canada for France, landing her first front cover feature with French Cosmopolitan.
Her modelling career quickly took off, and she was featured in several more magazines before it was suggested to her that she act in commercials. Acting in commercials for brands such as Olay and Old Spice, Henstridge found that she preferred acting over modelling, and quickly started making the switch into the acting world.
The youngest actress to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Temecula Film Festival, an award which she won in 2005, and recently honoured with Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II Award, Henstridge has had a remarkable career in entertainment spanning over 34 years. Always having a production in the process of being filmed, Henstridge has enjoyed a career that seems to still be only just beginning.
Henstridge’s breakthrough role came when she was 21 years old, portraying the character Sil in the 1995 science fiction horror film, Species. In the film, an unlikely crew of scientists and government agents, played by actors Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Michael Madsen, and Forest Whitaker, among others, try to hunt down a killer alien before she successfully mates with a human. Despite mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office success, with many attributing its success to the hype surrounding Henstridge’s nude scenes in the film.
The franchise spawned three sequels, a novel and two comic book series, and Henstridge returned to the series in two of the sequels, playing a clone of Sil named Eve in the second film, and making a brief appearance as Eve in the third film. In addition to the first film’s box office success, Henstridge was also nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, and won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss, which she shared with Anthony Guidera.
In addition to her work in Species, Henstridge is also known for her role as Cynthia in the 2000 crime comedy film The Whole Nine Yards, and its 2004 sequel The Whole Ten Yards, alongside Bruce Willis and Mattew Perry. The film follows a dentist who upon learning that a famous gangster and former hitman has become his new neighbour, travels to Chicago to inform a notorious mob boss of his neighbours’ whereabouts. This is a film that she is particularly proud of as it allowed her to show her acting abilities outside of the sci-fi genre, a genre that she has revealed she doesn’t particularly love.
Despite this, Henstridge has also acted in John Carpenter’s 2001 film Ghosts of Mars, in the lead role as Lieutenant Melanie Ballard. While the film was critically panned and was Carpenter’s last film until his return in 2010, the film has grown a cult following, and has since been praised by critics, especially for its action sequences, soundtracks and blending of genres.
Henstridge has also found a lot of success on the small screen. In 2002-2004, she starred in the action-adventure television series She Spies, as the lead role, Cassie McBain. And in 2008, she won the Gemini award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series, for her role in the CTV original miniseries Would Be Kings. Also in 2008, she played the role of Taylor Wethersby in American legal musical comedy-drama Eli Stone, a series which follows San Fransico Lawyer, Eli Stone, as he begins to hallucinate.
Since then, Henstridge has acted in productions like You Lucky Dog and A Christmas Song, television films that showed a whole other side of Henstridge, as she played roles in heartwarming and family-friendly productions.
In 2021 she starred in critically acclaimed American supernatural horror film, The Unhealer as Bernice Mason, a role which earned her the Best Actress award at the New York City International Film Festival. She also appeared as Colleen MacDonnell in 2019 Canadian legal drama television series Diggstown. Diggstown is the first Canadian drama to feature a Black woman as the lead character, starring Vinessa Antoine as Marcie Diggs. Her role in the show earned her a nomination at the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Supporting Actress, Drama.
Lauren Schwartz | Staff Writer