Nathalie Joanne Emmanuel was born March 2, 1989 in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England. She is the second child to a Dominican mother, and a half Saint Lucian and half English father.
Nathalie demonstrated an affinity for the arts at an early age; she recalled that her mother first took notice of her passion and desire to become an actress during her attendance at the independent St Hilda’s School (now closed) and later grammar Westcliff High School for Girls. In an interview with the New York Daily News, she commented, “When I was 3, [I’d] always cause drama that my mum decided maybe I should channel it properly — so she started me on acting, singing and dancing classes”.
At the age of 10, she began her acting career appearing in theatre in the late 1990s, accruing roles in various West End productions such as the musical The Lion King. In 2006, she began her on-screen career by starring as Sasha Valentine in soap opera Hollyoaks, after which she appeared in various British television series until her debut film appearance in Twenty8k.
Nathalie gained public recognition by starring as Missandei in the fantasy series Game of Thrones, before achieving international fame with supporting roles in action films Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015), and Furious 7 (2015), which became the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.