We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Manis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, how do you define success?
As an artist, I feel successful when I’m able to execute or articulate my vision effectively. In our society, success is usually measured by achievements or milestones; through trophies or money. But so much of that is out of our control. If we don’t achieve certain things, we are made to feel like we’ve failed. I think it’s important to change that narrative. If you’ve been true to your self and given back to somebody or society — that’s successful.
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 am a fiercely authentic actor with emotional depth and an endearingly dark wit. I’ve spent years training and am adept at a wide range of material from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams to Improv. Because of this training, it’s often been difficult for people to define what I am. On top of that, I play much older than I actually am so there weren’t a lot of roles for me as a younger actor. So — I began writing my own material! That way, I could demonstrate my strengths while also defining who I was. I like to think of myself as a blend of Allison Janney, Phoebe Waller Bridge and Tatiana Maslany. And yes, I’ve been compared to all three of them quite a bit. At first, I started producing my own content for logistical purposes — to put together an acting reel or to pitch my talents. But then I found that I was actually quite exhilarated by the process of writing, producing and then starring in my work. I found that it was a great way to express myself and also to have some control over the trajectory of my career. Although I haven’t had any formal training in writing or producing, I’ve learned from my own experiences on set and from fellow content creators. In addition, I am a massive film buff — I’ve loved film since I can remember. Because of that, I was able to draw on my encyclopedic knowledge of film to understand the art of storytelling and also what constitutes a great film. I’m incredibly proud of my short film, “Mel and Ruby” which premieres March 30, 2021. It was my first large-scale production. I crowdfunded in order to finance the film and wrote, produced and starred in it. We were fortunate to be an official selection at a number of festivals, including the wonderful Sherman Oaks Film Festival. Inclusivity is very important to me and I’m so proud of the film’s great representation of gender identities, LGBTQ+, racial backgrounds and ethnicities. In addition, an accessible version of the film — with a transcript, captions, and audio description — will be available upon the premiere so that everyone can experience the film. With my work, I hope that I can inspire people to lead with empathy and to celebrate their authenticity.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely start with a hike to the Griffith Observatory. It offers a stunning view of the city and embodies that Old Hollywood charm. Take a drive down Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard. We’d have to check out some of my favorite restaurants: Jones in Hollywood, Gracias Madre, Edendale, Sun Cafe, Antica Pizzeria de Michele, Mercado, Sugarfish, and more. Some of my favorite coffee shops: Aroma in Studio City, Go Get ‘Em Tiger, Priscilla’s, Coffee Fix, Copa Vida, and more Enjoy a night out at: Harvard and Stone, Employees Only, Spare Room, Big Foot Tavern, Three Clubs, and more. Be tourists at: Third Street Promenade, The Grove Farmer’s Market, Arclight, Downtown LA, etc. Hopefully there’s a Dodgers game at some point too!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family has been incredibly supportive of me and my artistic journey. Without my parents and my sisters, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue my dreams. My boyfriend Shane has been my rock, especially throughout this pandemic. He encourages and supports me every day and he has truly brightened my world. My communities at Empowerment in Heels and in my acting class have emboldened me to tap into my authenticity and strength as an artist. My high school, Orange County School of the Arts, was my foundation as an artist and I am so grateful for my time and experiences there. And my idols: Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Phoebe Waller Bridge, Michelle Obama, and more!
Daniel Sliwa Steph Girard Jor-el Vaasborg Safi Alia Shabaik Nick Grayson Tyler Zak