Interview: Julia Marley

Everly Mag interviewed Julia Marley this past week. Julia is a passionate actress, singer, dancer, and performer, with a contagious zest for life. At 16, she has multiple regional theatre credits, and is an active member in the special needs theatre community.

Everly Mag: How old were you when you first started performing? What got you into it and what kind of setting were you performing in?

Julia:  I started performing at the age of five. Ever since I could walk, my grandpa and I would put on shows for my family. My closet was “backstage,” and we would pretend that my closet doors were curtains. My parents knew that entertaining was in my blood. My first performance, (at the age of six), was Cinderella, with a community theatre group in Southern California.

Everly Mag: You have experience acting, dancing, singing, etc. Which of these talents came to you first? Did you have difficulty with any of them?

Julia:  I honestly can’t remember which of the three I first pursued! I think that one of the reasons why I have loved theatre from a very early age is because it is a combination of my three passions: acting, singing, and dancing. When I was starting out, I probably had the most difficulty with my singing. However, once I started taking voice lessons and gaining more experience, I grew to be more confident in my voice.

Everly Mag: Do you connect to the stories of the characters that you play? How so? Which role(s) have been the most compelling to you thus far?

Julia: It can sometimes be difficult to take on a role that you don’t feel very connected to, especially in theatre. Most of the time you are not playing someone, (or something), anything like yourself! However, it is important to connect with the character, so that you put on a believable performance. Even if I don’t share any similarities with my characters, I try to always find a way to connect with their story. The role that has been the most compelling to me thus far would have to be portraying Parison the Monk in the play The Midnight Crystal. Since I was having trouble relating to my character’s history, I tried to study my character’s intentions. I thought about what my character was trying to achieve in the scene, and tried to relate by comparing it to a relevant personal experience.

Everly Mag: How do you handle audition nerves? What would you recommend to first time performers?

Julia: The hands down most effective way to control audition nerves is to be prepared. Do your research and learn as much as you can about the project. It’s also important to research the team behind the table.  You might find that you have something in common, and you’ll get a feel for their style. For a first time performer, I recommend finding a way to enjoy the process. While it can be frustrating and grueling, you learn something new every time. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself! It’s a process, and the more experience you gain, the more comfortable you will become.

Everly Mag: You have used your talents and platform to give back to the community. Can you elaborate on your volunteer experience, why you do it, and what it means to you?

Julia: Five years ago, I was in a show where I had the opportunity to mentor a performer with special needs. I helped the actress learn her lines, perfect the choreography, and remember her blocking. Throughout the rehearsal process, she became more than a mentee to me. She and the other performers became my very close friends. This was a life changing experience for me. I have since become an advocate for people with special needs, and I have taught a number of acting and dance workshops for performers with disabilities.

I enjoy every moment spent doing what I love most with people who are incredibly hard-working, kind, supportive, and positive. I’ve noticed that people with special needs are often underestimated. I have made it one my of missions to change this mindset, and make a difference in the special needs community by helping out as much as I can.

Everly Mag: Who has lifted you throughout your journey?

Julia: I am so grateful to have an incredible family that supports me and cheers me on every day! They are truly my backbone.

When it comes to acting, I am very inspired by Gina Rodriguez, who plays the title role of Jane on The CW’s Jane the Virgin; which happens to be my all-time favorite show! She is not only a remarkable actress, but she is an intelligent and strong woman. I love how Gina only takes on roles that have strong, positive messages.

Through theatre, I have had the honor to work with many Broadway performers that amaze me with their kindness and professionalism. However, I have admired Lin-Manuel Miranda for as long as I can remember. In the Heights was one of the first professional shows that I saw, and it was one of the main reasons why I fell so in love with theatre!

Everly Mag: What has been your biggest obstacle about performing so far? How did you overcome it (or, how do you plan to overcome it)?

Julia: My biggest obstacle so far has been myself. I’m sure every performer can relate that getting over the harsh critiques from your inner perfectionist is truly the hardest challenge!

As an artist, you will always be your toughest judge. I’m very hard on myself, because I want to be the best that I can be. However, sometimes I find the cruel voices in my head stopping myself from trying something new.

To overcome this challenge, I envision myself accomplishing my goals. Once I realize that the only thing stopping me is myself, I quiet the voices and continue to pursue my passion!

Everly Mag: How do you practice self care with such a busy schedule? Do you have any tips for aspiring artists or your peers? 

Julia: To ensure that I’m taking care of myself and not overdoing it, I try to stick to a routine as much as possible. I start my morning off with some stretching, and a healthy breakfast. I attempt to get enough sleep, but that’s not always easy. But, I always make time for my eight pets! My advice on self care would be to remember that as an artist, your body and mind are your instrument. If you are not 100%, you cannot perform to your best ability.

Everly Mag: Do you believe that it is important to follow your dreams? How have you incorporated this outlook into your professional / personal goals?

Julia: Absolutely!! You really don’t know what you are capable of until you fearlessly follow your heart. I try to push myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible. I love taking on a challenge that will make me grow as an artist and a person. Most importantly, I have learned not to be afraid of failure. Instead, I try to think of it as a positive, because I always learn something from it and it means that I am pushing myself and growing.

Everly Mag: What movie are you most excited to see this summer?

Julia: I am most excited to see Incredibles 2 this summer! The original Incredibles is one of my family’s all-time favorites. We will definitely be having a family movie night when Incredibles 2 is released!

Find Julia Marley on YouTube, Twitter, her website, and Instagram.

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Image Credit: Julia Marley



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