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18-year-old Victorian produces independent film about boxing, women's fight

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

April 16, 2013 at 5 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2013 at 11:17 p.m.

Natasha Verma, right,  talks with Heather Hardy, the focus of her independent film "Hardy." The film is still in production and is looking for donations on

Natasha Verma, right, talks with Heather Hardy, the focus of her independent film "Hardy." The film is still in production and is looking for donations on

Natasha Verma is everything like the character in her independent film "Hardy."

Verma, an 18-year-old Victoria native, pushes for excellence as an independent young woman.

Having already graduated from the University of Texas with double bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism and premedical biology at 17, she is now wrapping up her master's in broadcast journalism at Columbia University in New York City.

Heather Hardy, 31, the female boxer in her film, also fights for excellence in her craft as an independent young woman. She fights not only against her opponents but also against those who believe boxing is still a man's sport and that women deserve less pay.

The movie, which is in production, is about Hardy but will resonate with women everywhere fighting for a fair chance, and that is Verma's goal.

Right now, Verma is gathering more money through Rockethub, a crowd-funding website. She has surpassed her goal of $10,000 but is still looking for more contributors to not only help fund the project but also to learn about the power of women boxers.

"I definitely want the younger people and people all across the board to relate to it," said Verma, who now lives in New York City. "I'm not only just targeting females who support and box. ... I want them to get inspired."

Hardy is not new to the boxing scene. In 2011, Hardy won the USA Boxing 2011 National Title, according to

She trained at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is where Verma met her.

Verma said she fell into the project. Hardy had been part of a photo project she was working on but evolved into something much bigger.

"It just begged for more footage and more time," she said.

Through Verma's film and Hardy's passion, the goal is to let women everywhere know anything is possible.

"She is incredibly talented and driven," Hardy wrote in an email. "Her attitude toward her job so reminds me of myself and my dedication to what I do."

Verma's battle may have not been physical, but it was mental.

Verma graduated from Profit Magnet High School, and from Victoria College with her associate degree in science at age 14.

She started at the University of Texas at Austin a month after graduation and began her morning broadcast show on a UT student television station that reached 250,000 homes.

After graduation from Columbia, Verma will devote her life to telling people's story. She has an interest in long-form journalism, television hosting, anchoring and - with "Hardy" - film production.

"I'm exactly where I want to be right now," Verma said. "No one knows where it's going, but I'm pursuing my dream. I'm really happy."



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