We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Jasunas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
“Always hav a backup plan.” I really disagree with that phrase when perusing your dreams because that means there’s doubt in every move you make. I think if you have a passion and you are perusing it to the fullest, there’s no need for a backup plan. That being said, I wish someone suggested to me early on to forget the degree in Musical Theatre, take acting, singing, dance lessons etc. in Los Angeles and maybe go to a trade school. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper, less time, you have the ability to network at a younger age in the city where the work is, and you’ll always have a skill to utilize in tandem with perusing your actual goals. I approach my work very methodically and intentionally. I’m obsessive about lists and milestone setting. In entertainment, it can be a little hard to a. have control of what’s going to happen and when and b. quantify your progress cause its not always a straight line. When I have the blues, I don’t think about a back up plan, I stop, take a breath, and reflect on where I was a year ago and if I’ve progressed in my chosen career, (which is always the case) then I know to chin up and keep going.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always loved old movie musicals. Judy Garland, Doris Day, and Shirley Jones, were some of my idols. I desperately wanted to be one of those women singing and dancing in the movies. I grew up taking ballet, jazz, lyrical, and tap as well as voice lessons and acting classes. When I got a little older, I realized Hollywood wasn’t really making the movies I so desperately wanted to be in anymore, so I pivoted to dreams of broadway and ended up going to school for Musical Theatre at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Being a Los Angeles native, getting up at 4am for open calls in the dead of winter wasn’t really my jam, so I decided to move back to sunny California and work in regional theatre and audition for film and TV. I booked a few regional shows, but I was hitting dead ends with any sort of on camera work. My friend was dating a standup at the time and asked if I wanted to go to a show. The minute I got to the club, I immediately felt at home. I started hanging out at the clubs, making friends with other comedians, then kind of just fell into it. Don’t get me wrong, stand-up is no easy career choice. There are no shortcuts and its a grind, but I was desperate to find my place in entertainment and the comedy community found me, so yeah, I fell. My stand-up journey is not a typical one. My parents played Smothers Brothers records and of course I loved Dane Cook, Brian Regan and Daniel Tosh in high school, but I didn’t grow up on Carlin or Eddie Murphy’s Raw or have dreams of headlining comedy clubs across the country. Stand-up found me right when I needed it and for that, I am so grateful. The more I watched, the more it sparked ideas for my own material and one day I just did it and it was off to the races from there. Comedy has opened more doors for me than I could have ever imagined. I’ve traveled all over the country performing, I’ve made invaluable contacts which has led to other acting opportunities and the best part is I get to hone my craft as a performer on stage almost every night, bringing joy and making people laugh. It definitely wasn’t ever in my grand plans of becoming Bette Midler, but I wouldn’t trade it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There isn’t a lack of things to do in Los Angeles, thats for sure. I would definitely say Sugarfish is a must and possibly Disneyland?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This “shoutout” is dedicated to Janice Orlandi and Loyd Williamson, my actor’s movement teachers. In performance based work, many teachers instruct with their egos. Janis and Loyd are quite the opposite. The nurturing, loving environment that they both create in their classes has grounded me and made me the expressive artist and person I am today. I am forever changed because of them.