Where are they now? Natalie Thimm GNA ’87

GNA graduate wins emmy

Eric Jeffries, Editor

Natalie Thimm, a 1987 graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, has been busy since her days as a student at GNA. When she walked across the stage during commencement with the class of ‘87, little did she know where, to borrow a quote from The Beatles, “the long and winding road,” would take her. Today Ms. Thimm is a makeup artist in the world of television and movie entertainment. She began her career in this industry when she was in high school working behind the cosmetic counter at JC Penney. After graduation, her passion for makeup took her from Empire Beauty School, to Philadelphia, then across the country to Los Angeles. Her big break came when she scored a job working with one of her favorite musicians: Alice Cooper. Her career hasn’t slowed down since. It has been a whirlwind of actors, movie sets, late nights and early mornings. The fast moving career of the Nanticoke grad took a pitstop on the night of September 18th, 2016, the night of the 68th Emmy Awards. Natalie Thimm is the first graduate of GNA to win an Emmy. Below is a recent article that was featured in the Times Leader, and our high school newspaper, The GNA Insider, was lucky enough to interview the Emmy winner.

From the Times Leader

From catering the Emmys to winning an Emmy, Nanticoke native Natalie Thimm is living her dream. Thimm won a 2016 Creative Arts Emmy for her work on an episode of Comedy Central hit show “Key & Peele” at an awards show Sept. 18 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The winning episode “Y’all Ready for This?” was up against ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” episode “Halloween Night,” Fox’s “Grease: Live,” the Ryan Gosling-hosted episode of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and NBC’s live production of “The Wiz.”

When the show was announced as winner, Thimm said it took her longer to get to the stage because she was wearing a long gown and spiked heels. Right before her category was announced, she had thought about taking the heels off.

“Everyone jumped up faster (than me),” she joked about the moment she and her co-workers were announced as winners. “I still made it up in time.”

According to the Emmy website, Creative Arts Emmys honor artistic and technical achievement in a variety of television program genres, guest performances in weekly series, as well as exceptional work in the animation, reality and documentary categories.

A daughter of Frank and Diane Thimm, who still live in the area, Thimm’s journey began in the 1980s as a graphic design student at Wilkes-Barre Vo-Tech. After graduation, she took her talents to Empire Beauty School.

She moved to Los Angeles for a time after her beauty school graduation, then moved to Philadelphia. After realizing the East Coast is not where she belongs, Thimm moved back west and has been in the Los Angeles area for the past 20 years.

“I had to get out (of Philadelphia),” she said about why she chose to go back. It was then she started working a second job as a caterer to pay rent.

Currently, she works on the CW’s “Jane the Virgin” and is gearing up to work on a Netflix original series.

Thimm has only been starstruck once, she said, when she was working with Eddie Cibrian.

During one of her catering stints, she met him as he walked up to her bar, she recalled. A few years later, he was working on “Ugly Betty” as Coach Diaz, and Thimm was part of the show’s makeup crew. Upon seeing him come into the trailer, she asked her boss if she could work on him. The boss agreed and each time Cibrian needed makeup, Thimm went to his rescue.

“I love his dimples.” She said. “He was all mine.”

During the interview with the Times Leader, Thimm became emotional. She said she studied the laws of attraction and believes if you want something to happen, it will. She prayed to her late grandmother and best friend as her category was announced at the show. Ironically, Thimm said she had a picture of an Emmy on her dream board — a collage of images, pictures of dreams, which serves as motivation — which she made several years ago.

“It’s nice to be in this category (of winners),” she said. “I have a feeling of accomplishment.”

Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko


The GNA Insider sat down with the 1987 graduate and Emmy winner to ask her a few questions:

What inspired you to become a makeup artist?

As a child, I used to watch The Munsters and Planet of the Apes, but my favorite movie was An American Werewolf in London and it inspired me to become a makeup artist.

Do you have an advice for students planning to follow in your footsteps?

It is a challenging and competitive job I will say, so you have to be strong and able to take risks and stay focused. There is always someone that wants your job, but the key is to have a positive attitude no matter how bad your day is going. Having a strong will and loving what you do is important. The hours are very long and that can be challenging.

In your four years at GNA what was your favorite class and who was your favorite teacher?

My favorite classes and teachers (because I have two teachers that were my favorite) were math class with Mr Bavitz and science class with Mr. Williams .

What or who has inspired you throughout your career?

My family and aunt, Mrs. Marko, inspired me to go out there and try my best to go to California, but the makeup artist Rick Baker was also an inspiration due to his work on American Werewolves of London. Also, winning the Emmy was the event that put my career in a different stadium. I did a job on this show Flaked as the key makeup artist, which is assistant to the department head, and now the phone is ringing a lot more.

What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

The most interesting aspect of my job is that I get to work with interesting people who have many talents. There is never a dull moment, and being creative making movies is a fun job. It is very rewarding to see your work on the big screen and on TV. That is the greatest feeling of achievement.

You won your Emmy for an episode of Key and Peele. Who is funnier, Jordan Peele or Keegan-Michael Key?

Keegan is my favorite, but both of the guys are really nice. Keegan is very funny and I have worked with him on Parks and Recreation as well during the same year. In the middle of a break in a scene in the episode we won the Emmy for, he stopped and said “hello” to me and remembered working with me on another show, which was great because not too many actors do that. They were both great guys and real people.