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Indie darling: Santa Barbara native Najarra Townsend takes a short break before a busy year to come



“My roots are showing,” says actress Najarra Townsend in a self-conscious moment at the beginning of our interview. She’s talking about her hair—dark brunette, almost black, waiting to be transformed again for another role—but she could be talking about being back in the town of her birth, Santa Barbara. Here to see family, she’s taking an end of year break that has been filled with film premieres, auditions, and shoot days. Her most recent film, “Tru Loved,” screened this November at OUTrageous: The Santa Barbara Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Film Festival, and then down the road at the Ojai Film Festival. She plays the title character, Tru, who moves from a progressive Californian town to a more repressed suburb and sets about shaking things up in terms of gay and lesbian awareness. And 2009 is starting to shape up as a busy year, with three more lead roles (“Betty I Am,” “The Dawning” and “Cupid’s Arrow”) and parts in “We Are the Mods” and “The Telling.”

“This year (2008) has been the slowest year,” says Townsend as we chat downtown on an intermittently cold and sunny day. There were projects, she says, but they are all either being wrapped up or edited…and some she hasn’t heard from. But her upcoming film “Marin Blue”—-again, she plays the title character,–plays the Berlin Film Festival in February.

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