Growing up in Charleroi, Natalie Raitano always knew she wanted to be a star. From dancing tap to jazz, ballet to musical theater, her focus was always on the stage. Raitano graduated from Mon Valley Catholic High School and studied dance at Mercyhurst College. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, she headed to Hollywood. “I just knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry,” says Raitano. “I was a dancer. I didn’t specifically want to be an actress, but I knew I wanted to be in the business and make it as a star.” She pounded the pavement and hustled to pay the bills working all sorts of jobs, from being a nanny to arranging flowers.

Raitano’s first big break came when she was cast on the ESPN television show “Hip Hop Body Shop,” but the role she is best known for is Nikki Franco on the syndicated action series “V.I.P.” Raitano starred alongside Pamela Anderson on the show from 1998-2002. After “V.I.P.” ended, Raitano started focusing more on the fitness industry and eventually moved to New York. When COVID-19 landed her parents in the hospital, she decided it was time for a change and to be home near family. “I went back to Los Angeles, and I literally sold everything, adopted a rescue dog and came home three years ago,” says Raitano. When her boxing instructor here in the Mon Valley decided to sell her gym, Raitano jumped at the chance to buy it. “I bought a house one house away from my mom and dad’s and one I grew up playing in. It’s amazing!”

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