"Shear Madness" is the show to watch for viewers who want to see authentic reality TV unscripted and full of challenges. Nat Geo Wild will soon air a new series about a woman, Natalie Redding, who goes from living a fast-paced city life to a very down-to-earth rural life as a sheep farmer with her husband and children.
In this exclusive interview, Natalie explains what "Shear Madness" is all about and the strong connection she feels with animals.
Natalie shared why she went from fashion modeling around the world to raising sheep in Southern California's Temucula Valley with her husband and five children. She revealed that her parents were abusive and that animals were very comforting to her. Her love for them started at a very young age.
"I can honestly say I don't remember ever laughing or smiling UNLESS it had to do with animals," Natalie said. "I think it's pretty common that children who grow up learning that humans are dangerous often connect with animals in a deep and meaningful way."
The "Shear Madness" star's turning point in her life came while she was an undergraduate at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Natalie answered an ad for a vet tech needed on a racehorse farm...where she met her husband, Sean.
Natalie worked as both a vet tech and equestrian exercise rider for several years. Later on the busy mother of five chose a different path by taking up sheep farming.
"I switched to sheep because they have no natural defenses and they couldn't really hurt my children," Natalie explained. "I was terrified one of my small children would open a gate and let a horse out, getting trampled and injured. This horror played in my head over and over again so I knew I needed to start raising more 'children friendly' animals. The minute I found 'Wensleydales' on a Google search of sheep, I was hooked."
When asked what the most challenging aspect is about raising sheep, Natalie said it's the amount of death she is around. It is "heartbreaking and devastating" for her.
"Keeping them alive is a full time job. Whether it's predators, bloat, dystocia, Urinary Calculi... death is a very real and common occurrence when you have as many animals as I do. I always feel responsible no matter what the cause and because of this, I spend a lot of moments crying," she said.
Natalie's five children -- Roanie, Dane, Connery, Jory, and Jade -- will be on "Shear Madness" helping their mom and dad with the sheep. She doubts any of them will follow her lead by getting into agriculture, however. Natalie touched on what life is like for them on Namaste Farms.
"I think they see how much of my time is dedicated to brutally hard physical labor and they think, 'but my iPad seems so much more inviting!'" she said. "I really honor and admire families that have their children actively working and interested in what they do. My children help, but it's a challenge getting them to help me on the farm. At this point, I doubt any of them will be in agriculture."
One major aspect of "Shear Madness" is hard labor being accomplished by a woman. Natalie does not want anyone to think that means she is sacrificing her sensuous side of being a woman.
"I want people to see that a woman can be powerful, labor like a man, be a mother, middle-aged AND still be sensuous," Natalie asserted. "Being sensuous is part of my identity. I love being a woman, I love that I can rock designer clothes, still turn heads BUT, at the end of the day... my ugly hands show the defining part of me; the farm laborer. My scarred and calloused hands make me proud."
Many reality TV shows have obvious scripted scenes where the cast is set up in a certain situation or must stir up some unnecessary drama on purpose for the sake of ratings. Natalie said "Shear Madness" is totally authentic. There is absolutely NO scripted scenes in the show, either.
"This show has a lot of real-life unscripted drama," Natalie said...adding, "I will tell you, there is nothing, absolutely nothing fake in this show. I refused to do a show like that and made a commitment to my family and myself that any show I did would ABSOLUTELY be about what I do and would not be scripted. Thankfully Nat Geo Wild and I connected and they wanted the exact show I wanted."
Another interview with Natalie Redding will be featured soon before "Shear Madness" airs on Nat Geo Wild. The premiere will air Saturday, Mar. 1 at 10 p.m., ET.
To learn more about Nat GEO Wild's "Shear Madness," click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather Tooley
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