Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest, actor, writer, dancer, singer, and producer, Julia Fowler. She is also the creator of the Southern Women Channel, a growing YouTube channel with over 20 million views.Julia is also the author of Talk Southern To Me.
Julia graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of South Carolina with a BA in Theatre and Dance. Her parents, Allen and Claudia Fowler, owned and operated Julia’s Dance Company in Gaffney for seventeen years.
Julia was in the original cast of Broadway’s Tony Award winning revival of Annie Get Your Gun and she was also in the National Tour of Annie Get Your Gun, the National Tour of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and the Hollywood Bowl’s production of The Producers.
Her TV/Film credits include: The Closer, Vegas, Up All Night, Ugly Betty, Hollis & Rae, Retreat, Jake in Progress, Titus, The Young & The Restless, Passions, The Man Show, The Definite Maybe, PBS Rogers and Hart Special, The Tony Awards and she was the “Oscar Girl” at the 81st Annual Academy Awards.
Julia is married to television producer, Sam Sokolow, and currently lives in Los Angeles...clear across the country from her beloved South...bless her heart.
Norm: Good day Julia and thank for participating in our interview. What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far in your various careers?
Julia: Career wise I am most proud of performing on Broadway, building a YouTube channel that continues to bring folks joy and laughter and that I was given the opportunity to write this book.
Norm: What has been your greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome in getting to where you’re at today?
Julia: My greatest challenge in the entertainment business has been the tremendous amount of rejection I’ve had to endure. And continue to endure. Learning to persevere through the endless maze of “no” and yet keep a positive attitude is a skill I’ve developed over time and a skill I’m still refining.
Norm: What motivated you to become a dancer?
Julia: My Mama was a clogger. So from the time I came out of the womb I was clogging. Clogging was the first form of dance I fell in love with. Then tap, ballet and jazz followed. I was put through dancing school like a lot of Southern girls and I just really took to it. I had a natural gift for it and I still love to dance…I just don’t do the splits now…but I use ta could.
Norm: As an actress, what would you consider your dream role?
Julia: Any role that allows me to use my natural southern accent and natural southern sensibility is a dream role for me.
Norm: How did the Southern Women Channel come about, what motivated you to create it and could you tell us a little about it?
Julia: I had several projects in development in Hollywood that were all southern comedies. But I was having a hard time making it past the development stage. Nothing was being green lit to production. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and produce my own material. I wanted to prove that there is an audience for my southern voice.
Norm: What motivated you to write Talk Southern To Me and could you share a little about the book with our readers?
Julia: I received an email from a literary agent, Berta Treitl, who was a fan of my Youtube channel. She thought I should write a book and challenged me to come up with a book proposal that she could shop to publishers. Southern women love a good challenge so it wasn’t long before I pitched her a concept. Berta liked it and so I wrote the full book proposal and then she shopped it to publishers.
Norm: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them and what do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
Julia: My goal for this book is the same as my goal for my YouTube channel…to bring people joy. The world has gone slam nuts. We live in such a divisive society. Life is just so stressful. I wanted to write a book that would make people laugh while celebrating southern culture and southern lingo.
Norm: What is the most important thing that people don't know about your subject that they need to know?
Julia: That despite our slow honeysuckled accents, Southern Women aren’t weak or dumb. We are very smart. We are very kind. We are very hospitable. But we will stomp a mud hole in your ass if you cross us.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing your book and did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Julia: The most difficult part of writing anything is the discipline that is required to write. I can come up with a “gajillion” things to do instead of write...clean the toilets…do my taxes…rearrange my furniture. Remember my first career was in musical theater. I’m a mover by nature so it is very tough for me to sit still long enough to write.
But over the years I have learned to force myself to sit and stare at that blank computer screen until magic happens and to have faith that it will happen.
Norm: Do you feel that writers, regardless of genre owe something to readers, if not, why not, if so, why and what would that be?
Julia: I’ve written in both TV/Film script format, YouTube script format, and now a book. The only things I’ve ever felt like I owe my audience is honesty and comedy. I try my best to channel my authentic southern voice into creating something that my audience will recognize, relate to, and laugh at.
Norm: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Julia: How did we decide on the cover art? I, like most Southern women, am obsessed with lipstick. My Mama taught me to never leave the house without my lipstick. One of my favorite southern sayings is: “Just slap on a little lipstick and you’ll be fine.” So I worked with the publisher to design a cover that would reflect how integral lipstick is in the lives of Southern women. Writing this reminds me that I gotta make sure my will states that I am to be buried with lipstick on.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Talk Southern To Me?
Julia: SOUTHERN WOMEN CHANNEL
Norm: What are you upcoming projects?
Julia: I’m working hard to continue to grow the Southern Women Channel brand and am actively looking for sponsors to help finance content. I also have a movie project that I will die trying to get made. It’s my baby…it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever written and I am extremely eager to get it financed. Plus I have a few TV ideas in development as my ultimate goal is to for my Southern Women Channel style comedy to make a leap to television.
Norm: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It's been an absolute pleasure to meet with you and good luck with Talk Southern To Me.