Natalia Ugalde, known as Natymetal, in the alternative/influencer scene, is a captivating influencer hailing from the lush landscapes of Costa Rica and has illuminated the digital realm with her distinctive journey from alternative modeling to becoming a prominent social media sensation.
Aged 33, Ugalde carries with her a fascinating narrative that intertwines the realms of fashion, music, and photography, crafting an unconventional career that bloomed more than a decade ago.
In this exclusive interview, Natalia Ugalde unveils the evolution of her influencer career, offering insights into her beginnings, inspirations, and passions that have paved the way for her remarkable success.
Natalia Ugalde: A Unique Path To Influencer Stardom
Emergence from Unexpected Beginnings
As Natalia shares, her journey into the world of influence began almost serendipitously. “Well, first of all, my name is Natalia Ugalde. I am 33 years old and I’m originally from Costa Rica,” she introduces herself warmly.
Reflecting on her early days, Natalia recounts a twist of fate that set her on a trajectory she could never have foreseen. “Okay, my career, I started more than 10 years ago. And it was almost that by mistake, let’s say,” she chuckles. The origins of her path trace back to the realm of alternative modeling, a venture she embarked upon with her sister.
As fate would have it, Natalia’s sister’s connection with a gothic clothing store owner ignited their foray into modeling. “This friend had a gothic clothing store and she asked my sister to be models, and from that day on, we continued with the modeling,” she reminisces. Little did they know that this seemingly innocent endeavor would unveil a whole new world of possibilities.
Natalia’s trajectory soon found a melodic twist as she delved into the realm of music. “We were contacted by photographers from the United States and Canada who were arriving in Costa Rica,” she reveals. It was her affinity for rock and metal music that propelled her further into this realm. Bands resonating with her musical taste reached out to her, catalyzing her involvement in their merchandise promotion and photography. “So, from there, I began creating and focusing on my social media page and it grew quickly. Of course, this is back when Facebook and Instagram were easier to grow,” Natalia explains, reflecting on the unique timing that contributed to the rapid expansion of her online presence.
From Modelling to Brand Collabs
With her social media presence blossoming, Natalia found herself at the intersection of fashion and branding. Her alternative modeling pursuits had earned her a substantial following, and brands from across the United States and even Europe began to take notice. “I enjoy traveling to England, so that has allowed me to collaborate with photographers and brands from within the U.K and Europe in general.”
“I started collaborating more than anything with brands from the United States because in Costa Rica it can be very difficult to work with companies because they don’t give alternative and diverse people an opportunity,” she explains candidly.
However, the broader horizon of the United States offered a more promising avenue for collaboration.
Natalia’s collaboration with brands took a unique twist, mirroring her journey’s non-conventional nature. “So just like that, I began working with brands. They’d send me the products and would take photos and create content to help promote them,” she recounts.
The confluence of Natalia’s passions has been a driving force in her journey as an influencer. Her unique mix of alternative modeling, music, and fashion has set her apart, creating an unapologetically authentic brand. “My page grew a lot. Right now my main audience is Facebook where I have 93 thousand followers. Instagram and TikTok are definitely growing over time. Right now, both accounts have close to 20 thousand followers respectively. My social media journey and growth are thanks to the opportunities I was given early on as an alternative model,” she asserts. Her authentic representation resonated deeply with her audience, leading to an organic growth that can only be attributed to her genuine connection with her followers.
Harnessing Social Media for Business and Personal Growth
In the ever-expanding realm of social media, Natalia Ugalde stands as a shining example of how passion, authenticity, and strategic thinking can propel not only personal success but also transform into thriving businesses.
Natalia’s journey took a fascinating turn when she ventured into the world of entrepreneurship with gorgeousfreakstore®. However, the origins of this venture were rooted in a unique blend of alternative modeling and magazine creation.
“My store first started as an alternative magazine to give exposure to alternative models from all around the world, alternative event schedules, and all-around alternative media” she shares. The store’s evolution was not linear; it metamorphosed from a magazine into a platform that bridged fashion, style, and self-expression.
Transitioning from magazine curation to retail, Natalia explains, “We had to move away from the magazine and editorial format because it was a lot of work. So we created our store. The main reason for the transition was because, like us, there seemed to be tons of people looking for alternative brands and clothing in Costa Rica. There was a market for this niche, especially seeing as at the time there was nothing else like gorgeousfreakstore®.”
The void in the Costa Rican market for alternative styles and products propelled Natalia and her sister to launch their business, filling a niche that had long been yearning for expression. “We started by wholesaling and carrying unique products that weren’t readily available in Costa Rica. In the last year, we’ve started working with hair dye brands and we’re an official distributor for many alternative brands” Natalia proudly states.
The essence of gorgeousfreakstore® revolves around embracing individuality and alternative aesthetics. From clothing to accessories, Natalia’s store embodies a philosophy that transcends conventional norms, appealing to those who crave a unique sense of self-expression. The popularity of the store is reflected on their Facebook page, where 32 thousand customers subscribe for updates on new product launches.
Natalia’s journey exemplifies how strategic social media use can elevate a brand’s reach and impact. “Because Costa Rica is very small, everyone knows each other in the alternative world and the alternative scene. So that helped my sister and I, because we immediately had the support of an entire community” Natalia acknowledges.
By fostering a personal connection with her followers and treating them as friends rather than just an audience, Natalia has cultivated a sense of community that extends beyond transactions. “What helped our store grow was the fact that I would promote the products we carried on my personal social media account. Whether it be through brand partnerships, gifted accessories, or simply products I’d purchased myself. Then my audience began to contact us asking to have these same products stocked in the store – thus generate more sales,” she explains. Natalia’s strategy of building a trustworthy reputation led to a snowball effect, where word-of-mouth referrals and strong relationships amplified her brand’s impact.
Social media’s prowess extends far beyond national boundaries. For Natalia, it has become a bridge that connects her with like-minded individuals from around the world. “I think that social networks have played a very, very big role in my store and my career. Because it has allowed my sister and I to work with people from around the globe in different capacities” she asserts. The virtual landscape dismantles geographical limitations, enabling entrepreneurs to establish connections, collaborations, and clientele across continents.
As Natalia’s following expanded, so did her business’s international appeal. ” As mentioned before, Costa Rica is a very small country that didn’t offer much for the alternative scene. Social media has helped us expand more to bring foreign products to the people of our country,” she explains. The reach of social media goes beyond numbers—it has the power to shape industries, create global networks, and drive innovation.
Balancing Act: Social Media, Passion, and Business
Maintaining a vibrant social media presence while nurturing a flourishing business and personal pursuits can be a delicate balancing act. Yet, for Natalia, the lines between work and passion are beautifully blurred. “Well, I use social media every day, since my store is online and I also have commitments as a creator. So, yes, I work online a lot, but it doesn’t affect my daily life or mental health per se because it’s something I’m passionate about,” Natalia emphasizes.
Social media, in Natalia’s view, serves not only as a business tool but also as a wellspring of inspiration. It’s a force that enhances her creativity, informs her decisions, and fuels her commitment to her brand and her alternative modeling pursuits. “I feel that social media helps me have a lot more inspiration, either for my store or my personal pursuits. I use it to source new ideas for shoots, content, outfits, and also trends. Keeping up with trends and algorithm changes is an important aspect of being a creator” she adds.
Sa panahon ngayon isa n ang panunuod sa youtube ang past time ng nga bata or ng mga anak natin ngunit maging mapanuri tayo sa bawat pinapanuod nila.♬ original sound – NinaBernadette
For those aspiring to venture into entrepreneurship through the avenues of social media, Natalia offers invaluable insights and guidance. “My advice to people who want to become content creators is to enjoy the journey, make contact with your community, and don’t just see them as followers. See them as your family or friends,” Natalia advises.
Remaining attuned to the ever-changing landscape of social media is also key to entrepreneurial success. Natalia acknowledges TikTok’s significance as a trendsetting platform. “I honestly believe that the most important social platform at the moment is TikTok. I feel like a lot of people evolve very quickly there and because it’s still fairly new there’s a great opportunity to grow” she acknowledges. This astute awareness of emerging platforms and trends showcases Natalia’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve.
A Future Fueled by Growth and Support
As we draw the curtain on this insightful conversation, Natalia Ugalde leaves us with a vision of the future brimming with growth, impact, and community engagement. Her journey as an alternative model, entrepreneur, and influencer is a tapestry woven with authenticity, innovation and a deep connection to the community she has nurtured.
Looking ahead, Natalia envisions a business poised for continued expansion. “My focus over the next year is to continue to grow my business. We’ve been in the alternative scene in Costa Rica for many years. We are one of the first alternative stores that emerged, so we have a lot of loyal customers and we hope to continue having that support from people,” Natalia shares. The foundation of trust and support that her brand has garnered over the years serves as a solid platform for future endeavors.
Natalia’s commitment to her community shines through as she aspires to cater to their evolving needs. “Hopefully future growth will also bring more products from abroad for the alternative community,” she adds. Her dedication to providing diverse and high-quality offerings underscores her role as a pioneer in embracing uniqueness and alternative aesthetics.
In her parting words, Natalia expresses gratitude to all those who have been part of her journey. Her closing statement encapsulates her essence and philosophy: “And as I said earlier, also, don’t be afraid to be yourselves.” This declaration echoes the core of her journey—a journey that celebrates individuality, creativity, and the power of authenticity.
In the dynamic world of social media, Natalia Ugalde’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion, community, and strategic thinking. As a trailblazer in alternative modeling, entrepreneur, and influencer, Natalia’s story inspires individuals to embrace their uniqueness, engage authentically, and harness social media’s potential for both personal and professional growth.
You can follow Natalia Ugalde on her social media platforms: