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"So, who are you?"


Great question! Let's start with the basics: I'm Julia Link, Capricorn, blood type A+, pretty decent credit score but LOTS of parking tickets. 


Now that's out of the way: I'm a 20-something actress, splitting my time between Washington DC and rural Maryland in my hometown of Poolesville, where my relationship with performance grew up alongside me, always present. Like a toxic best friend, it was both the best and the most dangerous part of my development.


As a child, my performing bug was satisfied in the form of ballet recitals. If you ever meet my dad, he will be quick to conjure a memory of me at this time when, upon hearing the applause meant for the entire company, my glossy-eyed 3-year-old self ran to the front of the stage and took my own, much deserved bow. There is footage, and it is eye-roll inducing.

I graduated to theatre upon entering my middle school drama club, where I approached my experience like an alpha male reading Sun Tzu. I took everything waaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. I had a motherfucking game plan. I actually think I considered reading Sun Tzu at one point. I was ridiculous.  It became my life, my identity, every calculated political step I took was to achieve a goal, and that goal was to be Rachel Berry. Head Honcho of the Poolesville High School drama department. I realize it says a lot about me to admit that my drive, the fire that fueled me, was to be Queen of the Theatre Nerds, but this is my website! I write what I want! 


I was very successful in whittling my identity down to a sharp point and using it to stake myself stubbornly in one place. Yes, I’m thankful I discovered my love of performance early, because it’s now my work and still my passion. But in my opinion, the best artists are well-rounded, able to pursue multiple avenues, find pleasure in the human experience, and approach their work humbly, and I fear I missed out on some major character growth in these years where I was so obsessed with the characters in my scripts.


Fast forward to college, where everything came to a screeching halt. I, like many an 18-year-old drama kid before me, assumed that since I was the big cheese in high school, that I’d come and conquer this new theatre department too. Needless to say this absolutely did not happen. I struggled to book even the student-run miscast Disney cabaret performed in the empty food court. (Very high-brow stuff.)


I found myself at a creative loss for the first time. Suddenly vulnerable in this world that wasn’t so easily conquered, I was forced to focus on my studies, pick monologues, listen to new works, lock myself away in the practice rooms, et cetera, and the entire process scared the crap out of me. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by real performers who had something to say, and I found myself voiceless and ambitionless. The real problem was this: I had spent my life to that point in search of the status symbol of being an actor, and had neglected the far more important work of discovering who I am as an artist. There had hardly been any creativity in my life thus far, just scrambling to cultivate an identity. And when the way I had identified myself didn’t make me "special" anymore, there wasn't much left. I'm not proud of who I was during this time. One of the saddest days of my life was when, in Business of Acting class, I was asked to list three things that define me, that describe my brand, and I had absolutely no idea what to say. 


The great thing about your sense of self crumbling into a little pile of dust, though, is that you become a blank slate!


Almost like a child again, I was free to discover who I actually am, and the kind of work I actually want to create. I’m happy to say that I’ve only just begun the journey of meeting myself, and I’m thrilled with the girl, the woman, I’m meeting so far. There was also a lot of therapy. Soooooooo much therapy!


I love non-fiction. I love cooking, and I'm pretty gourmet in a mediocre kind of way. I’m learning German, because I want to travel, and because my Omi was a German immigrant and learning the language of her home makes me feel close to her. I'm spending a lot of time with my parents as they get older. I’m rediscovering a talent for writing. I’m learning what I believe in, and what I value. I’m learning to stand my ground. I am really, really weird, sarcastic, a little self-deprecating for comedy's sake, and somehow both intense and shy at the same time. I’m rekindling a desire to create visual art. I love to hike, and camp, and kayak. I love 70’s folk rock. I’m funny. (I’m hilarious, or haven’t you been reading this manifesto about my shortcomings?) And this new zest for life I’m free to explore informs my work as an artist.


I want to be a part of tactile, WEIRD, visceral work. I want to create an experience for an audience member that appeals to the senses - the cold, the hellish, the fragrant, the flesh, the steam, the bubbles, the soft, the sweat, the warm, the bright, the green, the electric, the salty. I want to inspire feelings we normally repress, like jealousy, lust, extreme rage. I want to toe the line into discomfort, learn how to cross a boundary and raise questions and risk going just a little too far. I want to create outrageous experiences you remember for life. Any thing that evokes a sense of being alive, reminding ourselves how beautiful and fucked we are, I want to be a part of. I’m thankful I’m a living, breathing person, and I’m just scratching the surface of this beautiful life I’ve been given. I’d like to give the same to every audience I come in touch with. 


I like to think the 3-year-old Julia who stole a bow all those years ago would be proud of who she’s becoming. Though she probably isn't paying attention, because she tripped and fell as she was exiting the stage. I'm also very clumsy.

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