We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Marchiano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
For a long time, I was missing the “balance” part of “work life balance”. I was focused solely on my career and leveling up, and I think I missed out on a lot of fun trips and hangouts and quality time with loved ones. I think at a certain point, if you adopt an “all work and no play” mentality, you suffer and your art suffers. You need life experience in order to be inspired and create. When the pandemic hit, I was completely burned out, and was thrilled to have a “break”. And so, creatively, I pretty much took a year off. I read books, I watched TV, I took walks, and got a dog. I got engaged and took a two-month (COVID-safe) trip for the holidays after years of spending 48 hours with my folks at Christmas. At times I felt guilty for not writing the next great American novel or something, but I needed that time to soak up some silence and work on myself before working on my craft. Plus, you know, we were all going through collective traumas on a number of levels. I now value my free time so much more, and am carefully picking and choosing the things I want to be working on. I think I’m bringing more ease into my work because I now allow myself the time to take a break if I need it. The word “no” is no longer scary to me; it’s freeing, and I feel so much more balance in my life when I follow my gut and say it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a multi-hyphenate, and multi-passionate, which isn’t all that rare nowadays. I act, I improvise, I write all sorts of things. I’ve also directed, taught, and coached. What I’m saying is, I’m tired. I moved to LA three years ago after spending seven years working my way up through the Chicago comedy scene. I made great strides there, and am proud of my Second City alumni status, but I’m learning that the more I move a way from that identity into my own, the happier I’m becoming. Working in this profession is always challenging and never easy—I don’t know if I would trust anyone who says otherwise. There are fun days and bad days, and progress is never linear. I feel like whenever I hit a stride, I take two or ten steps back and have to start the climb all over again. Pre-pandemic, things were on the up-and-up: I booked a national commercial, I was performing live comedy, and I was making in-person connections with folks I wanted to know. I was also exhausted, so the hard reset of the last year was both welcome and terrifying. I know I’m not alone in that. The only way I’ve found to overcome challenges is to keep getting better, to keep pushing myself to do the work and find personal and professional growth, and to keep being inspired.
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.
I was so awful at this my first couple of years in LA, and I finally feel a little more prepared with an answer. Be warned, they definitely aren’t “cool” or “unique”! I would definitely take my guest on a hike in Griffith Park. The views are great, and the Observatory is a great place to cool off after an uphill climb. DeSano’s is my absolute favorite pizza place in LA, and the atmosphere is so fun and casual. I take everyone who visits or is new to town to that restaurant when I can. I’m a true crime lover, so driving by the Sowden House in Franklin Village/Los Feliz is a spooky thing to do. I’m not a big drinker, and crowds really drain me, but I did love going to The Woods and Idle Hour back when we could go out to bars. Having lived in New York for a little bit, and Chicago for a lot longer, I love walking places, so any part of the city that is walkable (Los Feliz, Pasadena, Santa Monica) is a destination for me and my visitors. Finally, I love Dodgers games, and taking little road trips to Anaheim to visit Disneyland.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to start with my family, and my fiancé, Charles Pettitt, and our dog, Bingo. They are the sweetest, most playful dudes in my life and provide me with more laughs daily than some folks get in a lifetime. Beth Appel and Christine Bullen (the former and current Artistic Directors of UCB LA) really gave me my start in the comedy scene here, so I gotta shout them out. Coming from Chicago, I was “warned” that the LA community wouldn’t necessarily welcome me with open arms, but I had quite the opposite experience. Jenna Doolittle is an actor and career coach and founder of Actors Rise, and she has helped me get my sh*t together over the past year. She’s helped me find ways to control in a career where so much is out of control. Jamie Carroll is my acting coach, and I’m very grateful for her guidance and all she gives to her students. Finally, I am so thankful for my manager Emily Herrell. She pushes me and champions me to be my best, and she is the perfect addition to my great team of reps.
Facebook: I only use Facebook to sell furniture.
Other: I have a “fun” Instagram account under the handle @duolingopervert. There is one particular character on the Duolingo app who says some pretty weird stuff. I also have a big commercial running—if you’ve watched TV in the last month, you’ve probably seen me turning into my parents for Progressive.
James DePietro, Jessica Sherman, Jack Gilbert, Andrea Marchiano