We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Ann Dawson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie Ann, why did you pursue a creative career?
I realized I had a passion for entertaining people when I was 2-years-old and started performing in dance. As a kid, I wanted to do anything I possibly could to make people happy, laugh, and put on a show. I then became involved in school & church plays growing up, which lead to on-camera acting in commercials, TV shows, and feature films. The first time I set foot on a movie set it just felt like magic to me. I was fascinated by all of the cast & crew working together to create something special for others. When I am on set, I feel at home, and I especially enjoy working with other creative, like-minded people. For me, pursuing a career in acting felt very natural to me and it was something I have always been passionate about. I’m a firm believer that following your passion will always lead to success, and if you have a natural talent for certain things you are passionate about, to me, those are hints from the Universe that this part of your soul’s purpose in this lifetime and to follow that pathway-a pathway that brings you the most joy.
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 professional actor and member of SAG-AFTRA. The breadth of my acting work includes feature films, TV shows, and commercials. In the past, I got my start in acting through theater and then transitioned to working on-camera acting work.
Aside from acting, I also have 15 years of professional agency-represented experience as a model and on-camera host. As a model, I have experience in every area including runway, fashion editorial print, commercial print, fit modeling, and so on. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in journalism, public relations, and a minor in theater. My experience with hosting includes on-camera interviews at large-scale events all around the world, including red carpet events, celebrities, beauty & lifestyle, and major sporting events.
I think one thing that sets me apart from others is my mindset. I have become the master of myself, which includes becoming physically present, balancing the mind, body & spirit through years of martial arts training with Krav Maga, and as a master of multiple energy healing techniques. Both disciplines have allowed me to overcome obstacles in my own life & hope to serve as a beacon of light, to uplift & heal others who need it most. When the mind, body & spirit are in sync, there is nothing that we can’t achieve.
Another thing that sets me apart from others is having professional wrestling training. Having been involved in indie films in New England, I was able to meet many professional wrestlers on set, since indie films try to get a celebrity to boost distribution. Some of the wrestlers told me I resemble Stacy Keibler, and that I should give training a try considering my athletic background as a former gymnast and award-winning competitive cheerleader for 10 years. I took that as a big compliment and started training under former WWE pro-wrestler, Kevin Landry, at his gym in Holyoke, Massachusetts. I did six months of training with all men, which I can say makes me feel like a badass. We did get one other girl at the gym toward my six-month mark of training. I decided to end my training because I was gearing up to move to NYC and wrestling is a full-time commitment. I take my acting career very seriously, and so I chose to commit myself to pursuing my true passion which is acting and modeling.
Tying in what sets me apart has everything to do with where I am professionally in my career. Aside from my mindset, I fully commit myself to put in 110% effort into everything that I do. For example, growing up in Rhode Island I would drive to NYC for auditions, then drive from there to work a gig in Boston later that day, work an entire shift, and drive back to my home in Rhode Island that same night. With wrestling training, I drove almost two hours (sometimes with traffic), have a four-hour practice, and then drive home afterward. I was driving on average 2K miles a month with my car to various gigs all over New England and NYC. No one can deny the amount of dedication I have and the amount of work I am willing to put into something for success. To support my dreams, I have even worked multiple jobs at a single time in addition to running my own business. Things have definitely not been easy, and there have been times when I felt burnt out and for a brief moment thought that maybe success wasn’t coming for me, but you know what? I kept pushing forward and what I have found is just beyond your breaking point, there is always something positive that opens up for you- such as a new opportunity, a new connection, etc. Most people have no idea how close they really are to achieving their dreams, and this is why you must never give up. I’ve overcome a lot of trauma and challenges in my life because of my faith. Not just my faith in myself & what I believe to be my soul’s purpose and mission in life, but the belief in something greater than myself, that there is always a divinely guided plan, and everything serves a purpose, even if you can’t see the reason for it yet. I hope that my journey will be a spark of light and inspiration for others that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, and to remind others how strong they really are to overcome challenges and achieve whatever it is they seek to achieve.
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?
No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a trip to one of our beautiful beaches. I love taking my friends to the beach, followed by a hike at Temescal canyon. Some of my favorite bars and restaurants to take my friends would be Bestia, Damian, and beautiful rooftop bars like Mama Shelter or High Rooftop in Venice by the beach. I love taking friends to shows, whether that is a live band or a comedy show, the Comedy Store in WEHO is my favorite, followed by going bar hopping in WEHO.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Having pursued a career in the entertainment business with acting, modeling & on-camera hosting seriously for the past 15 years, there are many people I would like to thank that have been so incredibly supportive of me throughout my journey. More recently, as a top semi-finalist in the Maxim Cover Girl competition, I am incredibly grateful for my family, friends, and fans that supported me by voting all summer long to help me make it so far in the competition, beating out approximately 35K contestants. Since the competition is based on daily votes, I would not have made it so far without their help. Every morning, I would get a text from my mom and brother saying they voted for the day. It felt really good to know that they were so supportive and cheering me on. I can thank my mom for being a big supporter when my passion for entertaining people started in dance, then went on to 10 years of competitive cheerleading, and would stay with me on set filming when I wasn’t legally old enough to be there without a guardian. My grandmother (my mom’s mom) is the one who encouraged me to pursue modeling & acting more, and found an advertisement in the newspaper for a modeling agency, Donahue Models in Rhode Island, which is where I received my training for modeling. From there, I signed on to be represented by Model Club in Boston, Massachusetts. Because of them, I was able to get the experience and training I needed under my belt before moving and being represented in NYC, where I lived in Manhattan for two years, before making the journey and becoming signed with my agents in Los Angeles, which is where I have called home for the past five years. I’m currently represented by Miramar Talent and West 88 Management. I’m incredibly thankful for their support.
Some of the first acting mentors and coaches I had were Ann Mulhall from LDI Casting in Rhode Island, Alan Hawkridge & Claudia Traub-Cooper from the University of Rhode Island Theatre department where I went to college. When I moved to Los Angeles I studied with Clay Banks at CBSI Studio in Los Angeles, Mike Pointer from Hey, I Saw Your Commercial, and Billy O’Leary in Los Angeles.
I am grateful to have so many amazing mentors in my life. I wasn’t always as spiritual as I am now- a Master of energy & intuitive healing, with my own healing business called Chakra To Ya. Trigger warning with abuse…as a victim of domestic violence and abuse as a child, I grew up having a lot of fears and negative limiting beliefs. Some of my spiritual mentors have been able to help me release the trauma and introduced me to energy healing. I feel a much deeper connection with Source, myself, and others, and more in touch with the flow of creativity, which is also how I believe I channel the characters I portray when I am acting- because I feel tapped into something much greater than myself. Because of this, I feel much more grounded and present as well, which is one of to keys to being a successful actor. Some of my greatest spiritual teachers include Reese SanAgustin Turner, Evelyn Kennedy, Ken Klee, and James Platts.
Photographers: Bryan DeWitt, Miguel Quiles