Difference Makers: Natalie Miller

::: Difference Makers are those using what’s in their hand to make a difference in this world :::



 Meet Natalie Miller, a professional ventriloquist.

She chose to follow her dream + is now celebrating her 25th year doing what she loves. Sally Squad is her Christian children’s TV show, which is aired in Australia + New Zealand. Natalie + her Squad tour the world performing for both secular + Christian audiences. Combining humour with solid messages + lessons, she is all class.

And that is one of the many reasons she’s a Difference Maker…

So, when did you first become interested in becoming a ventriloquist?

I had a school teacher who was out for a year or so from America who was a ventriloquist.  She absolutely fascinated me + I was desperate for her to show me how she did it! I nagged her for a few lessons + it turns out I was just a natural.  I was only 11 years old + this year is my 25th anniversary of being a ventriloquist!

What’s been a highlight of your career so far?

There have been so many exciting things happen over the years, I appeared on Hey Hey Its Saturday in 1996, was nominated for 10 national awards including three years in a row as Australia’s best children’s performer in the ACE awards (live performance awards), got a full time personal assistant, asked to travel overseas to perform… Every year there seems to be something exciting!  I always set myself some crazy goals at the beginning of the year + every year I seem to reach them (although the goal of owning a Louis Vuitton handbag has eluded me so far)!

Who are some of your inspirations + why?

Jeff Dunham, who is an amazing ventriloquist. He has been around for over 25 years but it’s only in the last few years that he has hit the big time. He inspires me because it’s taken years of hard work for him to “make it”.  Plus he’s a brilliant comedian + ventriloquist + watching him perform makes me want to try harder and be better!

Recently you set a goal to take part in a 10km run in Canberra, which you ran + you had a personal best time. What’s the story behind that decision?

In 2008, I reached “burnout” point + was exhausted + stressed + just not coping with anything. So my doctor suggested I take up a sport.  I’ve never exercised in my life (so bad I know) so I took up running (it had a cute outfit!). I did it when I could fit it in here + there, but then took it up again seriously last November.  It is a great stress relief + it also makes me push myself, set + reach new goals + feel like I’m achieving something HUGE!  The race in Canberra was my first event + I finished 287 out of a field of 806, which I was pretty stoked with! My next goal is the Sydney City to Surf which is 14k (+ has a 1.5km hill – yikes!).  It has helped me be a better wife + mum because I’m not as stressed, plus it also makes me fitter + feel good! 

What’s next for Natalie Miller?

In June I’m heading back to the USA for a big tour which has us touring some awesome churches, including Ps Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church to perform at 5 services – that’s pretty exciting!! And news hot off the press is that we look like we’ll be in South Africa for a tour in January 2013 which is mind-blowing!

If someone has a dream that’s not necessarily ‘the norm’, what would you say to them?  

I got teased for having a puppet in school, if I’d listened + given up, I wouldn’t have the awesome job I have today. There were people who tried to make me stop + who didn’t support me, but I stood strong, stayed with people who were positive, who cared about me, who loved me + supported my dreams + goals. It takes years of hard work to be an “overnight success” + you just can’t do it without family + friends around you who encourage you + push you on!  Don’t give up on your dream – hang out with positive encouraging friends and find people who inspire you and push you to be better!

You can connect with Natalie on Twitter, Facebook, + her website.

see more Difference Makes posts here ]