When Natasha Henstridge embarked on a career in the entertainment industry, many considered her to be just a pretty face. After nearly thirty years acting in television and film, she has absolutely proved her naysayers wrong.
Her most memorable role was as the beautiful but deadly alien Sil in the movie Species, but what did Henstridge do after she played the most desirable alien on any planet?
Let’s take a look back at her career and see what she is up to!
Henstridge was born on August 15, 1974, in Springdale, a town in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. However, Henstridge was raised primarily in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
At just fourteen years old, Henstridge entered the Casablanca Modeling Agency’s Look of the Year Contest. While Henstridge did not win, she did take first runner-up.
A year later, her modeling ambition led her to one of the fashion capitals of the world– Paris, France. Henstridge was featured on the cover of the French edition of Cosmopolitan magazine before she was even old enough to get a driver’s license.
She would go on to model in commercials for Olay, Lady Stetson, and Old Spice to name a few.
It was while filming commercials that Henstridge realized she preferred acting to modeling and decided to pursue it as her career.
Henstridge’s first formal acting role apart from commercials was in a children’s theater production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
In 1995, Henstridge was still an unknown talent, but she scored the lead in what would turn out to be her most prominent role. Written and directed by Roger Donaldson, the film Species was about a group of scientists who splice human DNA with alien DNA after receiving instructions on how to do so from an alien source.
The product of this ill-fated experiment was a creature named Sil, played by Henstridge. Sil starts off looking and acting like a normal girl, but develops into a fully grown woman in mere months. As if this was not enough to ring alarm bells, Sil’s behavior becomes increasingly more and more volatile and the scientists who created her decide she needs to be put down.
Aside from being gorgeous, Sil is also extremely smart and realizes what the scientists’ plans are, so she escapes into Los Angeles. Sil’s overall purpose becomes shockingly clear when she hunts down men for the purposes of becoming pregnant. Most of these encounters result in sexual assault, murder of the victim, or both.
The conclusion of the film leaves audiences on a cliffhanger about what will happen to Sil.
Released on July 7, 1995, the opening weekend of Species brought in $17.1 million. At the time, it was the second biggest opening for MGM. Despite its success in the box office, Species was universally slammed by noted critics for lacking imagination.
Christine James of Boxoffice gave the film 2 out of 5 stars and called it, “Alien meets V meets Splash meets Playboy’s Erotic Fantasies: Forbidden Liaisons, diluted into a diffuse, misdirected bore.”
The reference to the pornographic magazine comes from Henstridge being naked for significant portions of the film. In fact, legendary late critic Roger Ebert did not bother to criticize her performance, but rather focused on her appearance–
“…she has matured into a sexy blonde who could star in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue anytime. We know this because the movie spends a good deal of time having her take off her brassiere while seducing her victims in hot tubs.”
Ultimately, the film launched Henstridge into the public eye, something she had not anticipated.
Speaking to Daily Beast in 2021, Henstridge reflected on the role that started her acting career, but also forced her into the spotlight before she was ready–
“I was super grateful but was completely unprepared. I didn’t like being the girl in the fishbowl who everyone was curious about, and I felt super sabotage-y after doing that movie. I didn’t want to do big things. But ultimately, I wouldn’t change it.”
Roles After Species
After Henstridge’s role in Species, she worked consistently in television and film from 1995 to 2021. She reprised the role that made her famous when she again played Sil in the sequels to Species in Species II and the made-for-television film Species III.
In 2000, Henstridge played Cynthia Tudeski, the estranged wife of hitman-in-hiding Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski, played by Bruce Willis, in the crime comedy film The Whole Nine Yards. Henstridge would find herself reprising this role in the 2004 sequel The Whole Ten Yards.
Henstridge had parts in the films Bounce, Ghosts of Mars, Home Invasion, and Night of Sicario among over 30 other film credits.
Henstridge has an impressive resume when it comes to appearances in television as well.
From 2005 to 2006, she had a recurring role as Jayne Murray on the ABC political drama Commander in Chief, which starred Geena Davis as the first female President of the United States of America.
Henstridge landed a main role in the television series Eli Stone where she played Taylor Wethersby, ex-fiancé of the title character played by Jonny Lee Miller.
Henstridge had parts in episodes of The Outer Limits, Shark, CSI: Miami, Republic of Doyle, and Selfie among many other roles in television series and made for TV movies.
Where is Natasha Henstridge Now?
Henstridge is still very much acting. She is currently starring in the Canadian legal drama Diggstown, the first Canadian drama series to feature a black Canadian as the lead. Diggstown is about a woman named Marcie Diggs, played by Vinessa Antoine, who leaves her powerful job to work at a legal aid clinic after her aunt commits suicide.
Since 2019, Henstridge has been playing Colleen MacDonnell, Marcie’s new boss. She has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to managing her employees.
Four seasons in, Diggstown is not only going strong, but has recently been acquired by BET+ for their streaming services and by Fox to broadcast the series on their network.
In 2022, Henstridge was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the Canadian Screen Awards.
When she isn’t acting on the small screen, Henstridge has been active on social media where she supports the #MeToo Movement and Black Lives Matter.
In 2017, the LA Times published a story about six women who accused director Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct. One of the women who opted to be named publicly was Henstridge.
In the article, Henstridge alleged that Ratner forced her to perform oral sex on him when she was only 19 years old. At the time, Henstridge had powerful people advising her to keep quiet, but Henstridge decided to speak out.
In 2022, Henstridge reflected back on her decision to call out Ratner in a time when doing so typically amounted to ending your acting career for good. Speaking to the LA Times, Henstridge said, “There were so many fears. Never working again. Getting bullied. Getting sued. I was afraid. I was really afraid for my safety for a long time.”
She then discussed why she ultimately decided to come forward–
“It was important for me to be that person, because I felt like I’d failed so many women until that moment. I had not shared the thing that happened to me. I had not stopped the same thing from happening again. That’s the big message I give women who are considering coming forward: ‘How will you feel if this continues to happen to other women?’”
Henstridge has also used social media to show her support for BLM. On her personal Twitter account, she had placed links to sign a petition for the police officers who murdered George Floyd to be arrested in 2020.
She has also posted links for Action PAC so people can donate to the organization.
When she isn’t using her social media to fight the good fight, she is using it to show fans pictures of her family and friends, where she typically looks both happy and glamorous.
Henstridge has had several public relationships with men in the entertainment industry.
She married American actor Damian Chapa in 1995, and they divorced the following year. Henstridge dated another American actor named Liam Waite from 1996 to 2004. While they were dating, they had two children together– Tristan, born in 1998, and Asher, born in 2001.
Starting in 2004, Henstridge had an on again, off again relationship with the late Scottish singer Darius Campbell. They eventually did marry in 2011, but decided to get a divorce in 2018.