Natalia Gastiain Tena was born on November 1, 1984, in London, England, to Spanish parents. Her father Jesus worked as a carpenter, and her mother Maria was a UN secretary. Tena is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Tena showed her creative skills at an early age, becoming proficient in playing the piano, violin, and accordion. She attended Bedales School, a prestigious boarding school for the arts in Hampshire, England. She was initially rejected by several drama schools, and almost moved to Australia to study philosophy and psychology, but in the end she chose to stay and continue to pursue acting.
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Tena began acting as a full-time career in 2003. Just four years later, the actress joined the Harry Potter films as Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She reprised that role for the three subsequent films in the series.
She also hosted the behind-the-scenes featurette “Trailing Tonks” on the DVD and Blu-ray of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
- She has been reported as naming Helena Bonham Carter as her favorite actress, the same actress who plays Tonks’s aunt Bellatrix Lestrange in the Potter films.
- She learned how to play the accordion while in a stage production called Nights at the Circus.
- Tena’s fellow Bedales alumni include Minnie Driver, Lily Allen, and Daniel Day-Lewis.
- She was almost kicked out of Bedales for smoking, but the teacher who caught her asked her to try out for a role in About a Boy instead.
After her work in the Harry Potter films, Tena joined the world of another widely popular fandom by taking on the role of Osha in HBO’s Game of Thrones, the TV series adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
When away from the world of acting, Tena fills the role of vocalist and accordion player for the band Molotov Jukebox.