We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Wions and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/ career?
I am a big fan of taking healthy calculated risks. We don’t know until we try and with risk comes growth, should we choose to welcome it. Every risk I have taken has guided me toward new opportunity and has unlocked deeper levels of self-discovery. Even when risks have created undesirable or unexpected outcomes, the results have challenged me to build problem-solving skills and have pushed me to rediscover, reinvent, and empower myself. These experiences have forced me to become better equipped at handling life’s messy moments. A risk can blossom into a beautiful outcome that enhances one’s quality of life by achieving a goal or opening a path to self-development.
Building my art business, Creations by Julie, has been both a rewarding and risky experience. I hold my business dear to my heart for many reasons, while it pushes and inspires me to continue learning. I consistently find myself adapting to various roles while exploring skill sets far outside of my comfort zone to achieve solutions and expand my knowledge.
Many people are familiar with the risk of moving across the country, especially those who end up in Los Angeles. For me, this risk involved tremendous sacrifice. Upon arriving on my own without a job, a place to live, or a community to embrace me, I implemented strategies to gain independence and sustainability while grieving my father’s passing after receiving news of his death a few months into my pursuit. Feelings of guilt, devastation, and fear washed over me like a tidal wave. At the same time, the weight of this experience empowered me to discover a level of capability and resilience that has since greatly served my well-being. Today, I am the voice of Vee as a series regular on Disney’s Chuggington, a show I adore and am grateful to be a part of. Booking this would have never been possible if I had not taken the leap to meet opportunity and persevered through its challenges.
More importantly, I have developed insight, self-awareness, and compassion thanks to the way risks have encouraged self-improvement and enlightenment. These choices have led me back to college at an inspiring university at which I am proud to be a student. I am earning a degree in psychology and continuing to shape my purpose. Pursuing this initiative to further my education in a field I am passionate about will hopefully enable me to become a better support system, care-taker, and advocate for others.
Along my journey, certain privileges have made some risks less daunting and some goals more achievable, such as the opportunity to connect with a community of admirable mentors. These mentors have been so kind to offer their time, effort, and guidance. Growing up in a supportive middle-class family has also provided many advantages. I count my blessings every day. At the same time, I’ve had my fair share of hardship, the discomfort from which has fueled my desire to make bolder choices for the sake of self-preservation and freedom. Change and risk become necessary to diminish the barriers of stagnancy and to open pathways for opportunity. Pursuing risk, confronting fear, and living fully through adversity has encouraged me to break free from limitations that no longer serve me. I have discovered an improved version of myself, learned to hone my identity, and ultimately find more alignment in creating a big, bold, and beautifully authentic life.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others. What are you most proud of or excited about? How did you get to where you are today professionally? Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way? What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
The three creative pursuits I am currently most proud of and passionate about are my business, Creations by Julie, my voice-over role as Vee on Disney’s Chuggington, and the development and publication of my father’s book, More Time to Love.
Creations by Julie was inspired by a holiday present I had shared with my family. It contained a collection of notecards with printings of my art. This small undertaking motivated me to build an e-commerce store and expand it into a business that has given me the opportunity to combine my love of creating with other altruistic interests. My artworks are mass-produced on a variety of products while a percentage of profits is donated to the ALS Association, in honor of my father.
I have a personal rule that if, on separate occasions, three or more individuals recommend the same idea, I then need to explore it. Much of my identity and interests have been discovered as a result of this rule, voice-over being one of them. Having spent many years working with children and exploring self-expression and playfulness through acting, I find voice-over to be a perfect collaboration from both worlds.
More Time to Love is a book with tremendous sentiment written by my father, Joe Wions. It was inspired by his journey living eleven years with ALS, otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. As a tribute to our father, my brother and I, along with the help of a close family friend, carried out the final stages of editing and publishing our father’s book after he passed away. His aspiration was to share his experience and support others in living a life of fulfillment regardless of limitations. We hope that our efforts have contributed toward his goal in serving others and have given his dream life.
Focus, a solid work ethic, and dedication are fundamental for any kind of business. When such endeavors are passions, the pursuit invites meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that make the venture worthwhile. In order to avoid burnout and obtain sustainability through challenging times, I make it a priority to provide self-care and to find balance. It is important that I hold a healthy perspective and mindset. This allows me to make meaning of every day through the smallest of accomplishments. Especially during stagnant times, I evaluate what success means to me based on my happiness or sense of peace, and I adjust if necessary. I choose to implement creativity in my life through multiple facets and focus on alignment with my purpose while prioritizing community and activities that nurture my soul. Whatever isn’t working, I reevaluate and problem-solve without compromising my values, hold myself accountable where needed, and make the most of my choices.
I have learned to stay curious, to hold patience for myself, and to build continued faith in my abilities. Additionally, I aim to remain open to the process, to adapt, and to embrace trust when life doesn’t go as planned. These lessons have helped me tremendously throughout my journey. Difficult moments are fleeting, and change is right around the corner often inviting new opportunity if we stay alert. Through a bit of resilience, the death of one prospect can be the birth of another. What do I want the world to know about my story? Life is a constant work in progress, and I am proud of the woman I have become. I hope to make some kind of positive impact on others through my efforts.
Alright, so let’s jump right in! 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 a person, group, organization, book, etc., that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
I am a full believer in the power of a village. The endless amount of love and support from family, friends, and community means the world to me, as their contributions have helped make my personal dreams and career goals possible.
There are many people I am indebted to and I will remain loyal in reminding them of my gratitude. To those who have provided opportunity, investment, or have donated their time and knowledge, thank you for your care, support, and for believing in me.
Most of all, I would love to highlight the person who has always been by my side through the best and worst of times, the person who supports and loves me unconditionally, who is my biggest advocate and my best friend. Without her, life would not be what it is. Thank you for being everything that you are Mom, I love you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
California has so much to offer. These are a few of my go tos:
Day 1 (Monday):
- A Warner Brothers tour in Burbank or a live taping of a sitcom.
- Lunch and dessert at Porto’s Bakery.
- Roller-skating at Moonlight Rollerway or trampoline dodgeball at Sky Zone.
- Dinner at Blue Dog Beer Tavern.
Day 2 (Tuesday):
- A hike through Malibu Creek State Park, a visit to the Getty Villa, Malibu Wines & Beer Garden, or watching the sunset on the cliffs of Point Dume.
- Neptune’s Net, Gladstones, Malibu Café, or Paradise Cove are top picks for food and drinks.
Day 3 (Wednesday):
- A day at Disneyland, white water rafting on the Kern River in Kernville, or an afternoon at the LA Zoo with an outdoor movie night at Street Food Cinema or Shakespeare in Griffith Park.
Day 4 (Thursday):
- Brunch at a farmer’s market.
- A stroll through Huntington Gardens.
- Evening swing dancing at Lindygroove.
Day 5 (Friday):
- Lunch at Aroma café.
- A game of ultimate frisbee, a Krav Maga class, volleyball, or a bike ride along the beach after a visit to 3rd Street Promenade.
- A concert at the Hollywood Bowl, live music at The Baked Potato, or food trucks at First Fridays on Abbot Kinney for dinner (if it is the first Friday of the month).
Day 6 (Saturday):
- An afternoon tour of the Getty Museum, the Griffith Observatory, or horseback riding at Circle K Riding Stables in Burbank for a city view.
- Attend an Upright Citizens Brigade improv show.
- Drinks at Tramp Stamp Granny’s piano bar.
Day 7 (Sunday):
- Sailing, kayaking, and paddle boarding at South Bay Sailing in Redondo (if it is the first Sunday of the month), or riding bikes at CicLAvia (depending on the date of the event).
A few favorite out of town road trip spots:
- San Diego: Old Town, La Jolla, Balboa Park, and the Gaslamp Quarter.
- Santa Barbara
- Joshua Tree
- Catalina Island
- Hearst Castle, Big Sur, and Yosemite.
Cheryl Walsh, Dana Patrick, Solomon Augusteyn