It’s always refreshing to see more and more women entering the tactical industry with full force, and encouraging others to do so as well. That’s just one of the reasons why we love Natalie Foster, the creator and CEO of Girls Guide to Guns. This full-time blogger (and jewelry designer) realized there wasn’t much information out there for stylish chicks who enjoy their fashion labels just as much as they enjoy putting lead down range, and thus her new blog was born. Foster’s goal is to concoct ways to empower women in traditionally male-dominated fields through fun, feminine, and educational means. We caught up with the Texas native at SHOT Show 2012, and thought it would be fun to follow up with this Q&A to learn more about what makes this chick tick.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I am an artsy debutante who moved to the bright lights/big city of Los Angeles after graduating from my beloved Baylor University. I tried out a variety of different jobs in an attempt to find my career niche — I worked in film and TV on the production side, then as a therapist for children with autism for a bit. I spent a little time in fashion and I was an assistant stylist for a few country music stars. I only got in to guns a few years ago when I asked my dad to take me to the range with him. I was looking for a way to bond with him and my brothers and I had always wanted to learn to shoot, so learning about firearms seemed like the perfect way to bridge that gap. The first time dad took me shooting I was hooked. From that moment on I have wanted every other chick out there to realize what a fun, empowering and exciting experience shooting can be.
How did you get into blogging and why?
After I learned to shoot a few years ago, I quickly realized that there wasn’t much out there for a girl like me. There was nothing online that I could really identify with (a fact that has changed dramatically in the last two years, thankfully) I decided to start journaling online and to chronicle my journey as a new shooter. The blog picked up a few followers here and there and I soon realized that I wasn’t alone. There were plenty of other women out there like me — new shooters who loved their stilettos as much as they loved their handguns. I knew I as on to something with this so I decided to go after it full time. Haven’t looked back since!
Living in Los Angeles, I am uniquely positioned to be around lots of people in the entertainment industry. I have the opportunity to meet some pretty amazing and iconic folks and hear legendary stories about firearms. I also get the opportunity to be on set for some shows and movies, which is a ton of fun. Girls Guide to Guns brings in a global perspective of firearms – everything from pop culture to history to the emotional impact of overcoming your fears. I like to address a variety of different topics and my readers and guest bloggers make it a very fun and exciting experience.
Can you tell me what one tactical tip every woman should heed?
I would say situational awareness is key for women. We need to be 100% aware of what is going on around us at all times. Are you getting your keys out of your purse before you get to your car or are you in a dark parking garage fumbling to find them and making yourself a prime target? Are you locking your car door as soon as you get in it or does it stay unlocked until you get sorted and turn on the car? Are you working out and/or walking the dog in a safe manner? Thinking about things like that is vital to your long-term safety. Use reflective surfaces (store window or car mirror, etc.) to confirm that the creepy guy you just passed actually kept walking and didn’t turn around to make you his victim. Don’t live in fear, but do live smartly. More than anything, walking with a cautious confidence deters more predators.
Where do you draw inspiration?
When it comes to shooting, I primarily draw my inspiration from my dad. Beyond that, I look to amazing chicks in the firearms industry like Kim Rhode, Julie Golob, Barbara Baird, Sandy Froman, and others. In terms of my work, I am inspired by the fact that there is a bigger picture – there are bigger things going on here. Specifically, I believe that what I am doing is for a greater good. I introduce women to shooting because I believe in connecting people and building solid relationships between men and women. When I see rhetoric that puts women down I can’t help but feel that it completely misses the point. Shooting, for me, is about honor, dignity, empowerment, strength, family, friendships, freedom, heritage, history, and so much more. All of that is incredibly inspiring to me.
The Flashbang bra holster. And NARS lipstick. And my iPhone. I can never choose just one.
What type of music gets you pumped up?
80s power ballads. Don’t judge.
What’s your life plan?
There are two important things I want to leave as a legacy. The first is to affirm and build confidence in women. The second is to build a platform on which men and women can come together to build strong, positive relationships. Shooting has done that for me, but there are so many other areas to explore. Bridging relational gaps is incredibly important to me. Once we start doing that effectively I believe we can change society in a profound and wonderful way.
If you could build the ultimate sandwich, what would it be?
Fresh California strawberries, chocolate sprinkles from my all time favorite coffee place (Common Grounds in Waco, TX), mint chocolate chip ice cream from my favorite Ice Creamery (Sweet Rose in Brentwood, CA), coconut shavings, fresh whipped cream, dark chocolate drizzled in sandwiched in between two fresh French Crepes. Yum!
At SHOT Show 2012 I had the unbelievable honor of meeting a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War at the OTIS booth. I know a bit about the Medal of Honor Foundation and we had a lovely conversation about it. Afterward he reached in to his pocket and pulled out his challenge coin. When he handed it to me I nearly cried. I told him I could not accept it, but he insisted. I will never forget that day.
Who helped and supported you to be the person who you are now?
Too many people to count, but here are the biggies: Ken Bastian, my elementary school head master who taught me what it meant to be excellent in every endeavor; Carol Games, 5th grade teacher who encouraged my creativity; Sharon Kingston, high school teacher who expected more out of me than I did; Scott Travis, Young Life leader who taught me how to lead with others in mind rather than thinking of myself; Brian Elliott, college professor who taught me how to be at peace and that God actually likes me; my fantastic family: Dad who taught me about honor and integrity and human dignity, Mom who taught me not to sweat the small stuff, Ben who teaches me what a work ethic looks like, Ellen who teaches me about focus, Clayton who teaches me about what really matters and to forget all of the other stuff. Again, there are tons of others, but this is the short list.
Any new projects in the pipeline this year?
Got fun stuff in the works. Among other things, you can look for me on another couple of episodes of the Discovery Channel show, Sons of Guns. I am also working on a line of gun paint with the good folks at DuraCoat, plugging away on a book and looking to expand Girls Guide quite a bit this year.
What is your favorite Magnum product?