Natalie Foster of NRA News Describes Her History and Gun Thoughts | BioNatalie Foster’s entrance into the gun world wasn’t typical.

She was working with “kiddos” (as she says) with autism in Los Angeles using a method called “floor time” — a “relationship-based” program meant to find what each child liked and responded to and then use it to develop their skills.

“Little did I know that would influence my entrance into the firearms world,” she told TheBlaze during a sit-down at the 2013 NRA Convention.

Foster, one of the new NRA News contributors who delivers short monologues on guns and gun culture via viral videos, explained that while working with those children she realized she could apply the same method to connect with her dad and brothers.

“It started because I wanted to connect with my dad,” she said. And after a death in the family made her realize how short life can be, she popped the question: “Will you take me to the range?”

He said yes.

“Off the bat, it worked like a charm,” she admitted. Dad opened his trunk and had a “buffet” of guns. She fired. And fired. But it wasn’t the first shot that turned her into a gun advocate.

“I always say it’s the second round that gets you,” she explained. The first one can be a little surprising. The second one sucks you in.

“And then you squeeze for the second time and you’re just like, ‘This is awesome.’ And it was just so fun and exciting and empowering. And I joke that I walked off the range taller that day.”

The French

To imagine the nearly 6 ft-something blonde any taller is hard. At first glance she appears more at home on the red carpet than on a range. And her story gets even more untypical when you realize she went to Baylor university on an acting scholarship, has worked as a stylist in the country music industry, and graced the halls of some of Hollywood’s biggest production names.

No matter. She feels right at home with the gun community.

“They’re extremely authentic,” she explained while talking about the reception her now-popular blog Girls Guide to Guns has received over the last four years. “They’re just real people.”

Natalie Foster of NRA News Describes Her History and Gun Thoughts | Bio

That could be because many have recognized her genuine approach. She admitted that after catching the bug with her dad on the range, she didn’t know much about firearms. Sure, she could recite the safety rules engrained in her from a young age, but she wasn’t at the level she is now. Still, she said, “I never faked it.”

That’s apparent in the story she tells about her shock when she learned there were people in the world that feared — and frankly demonized — guns. She was studying abroad in France when a friendly conversation got a little awkward.

“I remember one person, a French guy, saying ‘Oh, you’re from Texas – the Nazi state,’” she said, chuckling a little in disbelief. “That was the first time I really got the picture that people are afraid of guns. And that’s just not a mentality I grew up with.”

Changing perceptions

While she may have not changed the perception the French have of guns and Texas, she is working to shatter the mold of what a typical gun enthusiast looks like — and what the media usually likes to portray: a 50-year-old, possibly angry, white man.

“They absolutely know that the 50 year old white guy—” she interrupts herself to clarify. “They’ve led the charge and we’re standing on the shoulders of giants – but now it’s time for us to take up the banner and march, and that’s what’s happening.”

And it’s something she’s genuinely excited about.

“I focus on changing hearts and minds if I can,” she said with zeal. “And I’m never going to force it on anybody, but I want people to feel welcome and invited into the world of firearms because I think a lot of people have felt alienated.”

She’s doing it with more than her words, too. She has a line of jewelry and holsters, has partnered with the company Duracoat to offer a line of firearm paint, and even has an AR-15 line in association with Devil Dog Arms coming out (hopefully) in the next 30 days.

And, she noted, it’s all by choice.

“So often I hear the negative press saying, ‘Oh they’re pushing women into this.’ Give me a break! That implies women have no choice that we’re just these weaklings that are forced into it. We’re not. We’re choosing this because it’s fun and we want to protect ourselves.”

That media, she said, has also chosen to highlight the women who are victims of gun crime instead of the ones who are enthusiasts. And that same media, along with uninformed politicians she says, are making policies for guns and gun owners.

She want’s that to change: “I want the gun owners to be the ones that make the policies.”

That includes, of course, female gun owners. But even as she focuses on the growing influence of women in the gun world, she’s quick to make a distinction.

“What we’re really doing is giving voice to a group that’s already there.”