How Julia Kelly Is Turning Her Vine Fame Into a Career

Julia Kelly is no stranger to doing it for the Vine but these days she’s more focused on her 1.6 million Instagram followers and budding YouTube channel.

For this social media girl, it all started about three years ago when she started creating and appearing in hilarious Vine videos about fitness, friendship and relationships. Julia used Vine as a platform to immerse herself into social media fame – though she was never thirsty for it, it just happened.

Since she quit Vine, Julia has created a YouTube channel, starred on MTV’s “Guy Code” and was featured in the New York Times piece “Turning Microcelebrity Into Big Business.”

We spoke to Julia about her experiences using different social media platforms, dealing with haters, and embarrassing moments at Coachella. And somewhere between it all, she busted one major myth: that a gorgeous booty is more genetics than squats.

Read the full interview, below.

How do you think creating Vines boosted your acting career and do you think you would be as established within the industry without this platform?

The acting industry – or any industry, really – is difficult to break into. Vine was an amazing platform that came along at a great time to give me more exposure and show off my talents but it was mostly about having fun. Yes, I think I would still be in a good place [in my acting career]. I stopped Vining to focus more on my career and I’ve grown a lot through other social media platforms. 

What do you think is unique about Vining? 

In the beginning, Vine was a whole new platform that talent could utilize but it’s become more about brand deals and making money. Not to throw shade but most of the Viners I used to work with [now only] do it for the money and it’s become too competitive.

How do you think YouTube is different to Vine? 

They are different because on YouTube people see you for you – it’s more real and engaging. On Vine, you don’t really have time to share yourself and the fans don’t see you for who you really are as a person.

What is your creative process for coming up with new content?

I try to keep it real. Just feel it and it comes out, organically, I guess. I’m really not a planner. I am much more spontaneous.

Which YouTubers and social influencers are inspiring to you? 

I am most inspired by Nazanin Mandi’s style and then I am also inspired by Jhene Aiko. I love her music and her messages. I admire classy women.

How did you decide you wanted to get into acting?

As long as I can remember I have been obsessed with watching movies. My reason for wanting to get into acting probably started with seeing [movies like] “Moulin Rouge”, “Selena,” and “The Sound of Music”. My family decided to move to California eight years ago so that I could pursue my dreams. It was a sacrifice for them to leave their family behind as I have four other siblings in Oregon and in Washington. [Although] they were all older and living on their own it was still hard, especially for my mom [to leave them]. 

What was your first acting role?

My first role was in a Gatorade commercial to be a soccer player. My dad had to teach me how to play in 24 hours and I booked it. It was a fun experience. 

Do you direct, act in and edit all your videos? 

Yes, I do everything myself. One day I want to have my own production company to develop and produce my own feature films and TV projects.

There are so many social influencers out there – bloggers, YouTubers, Instagram models, etc. – how do you manage to stay relevant and maintain your followers? 

I have always had a feeling and a desire to be successful but I’ve never been thirsty for fame or shallow like that. I do believe that God has given me a purpose to fulfill. I have always sensed that about my life.

How do you think living in LA has either hurt or helped your career? 

Living in LA has helped. It is a sacrifice to come here – leaving family and friends behind – but being here and being able to network and create opportunities, is invaluable.

What is it like having so many people watching you, watching what you do, what you post and then judging that content? 

Judgement is never pleasant and sometimes it’s hard to deal with the criticism and the volume of it. But truthfully, it only motivates me more. If no one was paying attention then I wouldn’t get the hate – it comes with the territory. I really love it when I am a motivator of other young women and young men and I love to help encourage them in life.

A lot of people want to know the secrets to your body, especially that booty – do you work out, do you eat clean or are you just #blessed? 

Many people ask me this and honestly speaking, it’s mostly genetics, some from my mom’s side and some from my dad, he is half black. Yes, I do work out with J, an amazing trainer who motivates me to do lots of squats.

Out of all the social media platforms you’ve used, which is your favorite?

My favorite at the moment is SnapChat because I can post what I want to say at any moment. It doesn’t matter where I am, I can be authentic. 

What was the craziest, funniest or most embarrassing thing that happened to you at Coachella? 

I had a VIP pass to this years Coachella and at one point [I] tried to sneak into the artist backstage. I only got past two checkpoints, then a really strong, Russian sounding woman stopped [me] and said, “Get OUT!”  

Did you meet any bands? 

Not really, I already know many musicians in LA so I didn’t meet anyone new.

What was your favorite outfit that you wore to Coachella?

I hired a stylist this year and I had a whole vintage inspired theme. My favorite outfit was from designer Brian Lichtenberg. It was a vintage T-Shirt and a customized, sparkle, gold skirt, silver belt, and classic white adidas. 

What was the best Coachella party you attended? 

My favorite party was, of course, the Galore party. 

Photography by Amber Asaly 

Wardrobe by Buffalo Jeans

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