Women’s History Month Spotlight: Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz

Name and occupation:

Natalia Paruz – musical saw player and busker

What do you love most about being a woman?

I like being a woman in what originally was considered a man’s world: when I started to play the musical saw I was the only woman performing at concerts with about 20 men playing the same instrument. It gave me a feeling of being a pioneer. Today, I am happy to say, there are many women musical saw players, and I feel like I opened up a path.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

Most buskers (street musicians ) are men, as are most musical saw players. When I first started playing the saw I heard remarks such as ‘you are very good, especially for a woman’, but these remarks came only from the older generation of musical saw players (and most of them are no longer alive today). As a busker, I’ve had a few men confuse my profession with the other oldest street profession, and suggest that if I want to make money I should come to a hotel room with them. However, since I hold a saw in my hands, I mostly receive a lot of respect on the street 🙂

Who or what inspires you most? Strong women. I was fortunate to grow up with many talented, wise, strong willed women around me, who fought for their cause, didn’t give up, and contributed to the world.

My grandmother who was a pioneer who helped build a settlement in the middle of nowhere, my mother who founded the J.S. Bach Center, my Ballet teacher who started Ballet classes and a company in a place that not only didn’t have any dance classes but people didn’t even know the importance of it, and musician Clara Rockmore who single handedly elevated the art of making beautiful music with a theremin – the first electronic musical instrument.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I started making a chewing-gum paper chain when I was 12 years old, and haven’t stopped since. The chain has only paper of gum that I chewed myself, and if I stretch it out it is probably a block long.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

Application, diligence and cheerful persistence!



Tell me how you feel!