Julia Eringer | #WomenWhoKnow Interview
Name: Julia Eringer
Julia Eringer is an award-winning writer and actress from London, UK. After graduating from the prestigious Drama Centre London she moved to LA and started creating content focusing on inspiring positive social change. She has starred in numerous indie features including Better Off Single opposite Cal Penn, Sony-distributed Fox Trap and award winning Eulogilia. You can catch her next in Good Kisser, lesbian drama from Wendy-Jo Carlton due for 2019 release. Julia is represented by Framework Entertainment.
Location: Los Angeles / Santa Fe Company/Brand/Project: Girls Like Magic
IG Handle / Website: @girlslikemagic girlslikemagic.com
Were there challenges or advantages working with real friends in Girls Like magic ?
For the most part, working with my real friends is a delight. We laugh a lot and try to keep things fun - because after all, if you’re not having fun, then what’s the point? But sometimes things get stressful and people aren’t doing what they said they would, that’s when things get tough because you don’t want to get angry and risk damaging your friendships. I think the most important thing is for everyone to have open and clear lines of communication. If I’m disappointed with something or someone, I’ll tell them openly but in a kind way and try to encourage a different behavior in the future. I’ll try not to hold on to that disappointment moving forward. Every day is a new day and as long as you can talk about the issues you’re having in a productive way then everyone can move forward and do their best work.
Was it difficult sharing a personal side vs playing a completely made up character?
I try to bring a personal side of myself to every character I play so it wasn’t entirely different - I believe that if you’re not sharing a piece of your soul through your work, then you should get off the stage (or screen.) Brutal but true. I think, in a way, I found a real ease with Magic because our accents and many of our mannerisms and thought patterns are the same. I could really soften into her which made the role fun and actually quite relaxing. Magic is closer to the real me in some ways, her temperament and goofiness, her open-minded curiosity. I normally get cast in roles that are a bit more poised. But in other ways she is different - she’s probably a bit softer than me and she definitely has less direction.
Tell us what was the inspiration behind Girls Like Magic?
The show was and is inspired by my relationship with my best friend Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, who also stars in the show with me. When I first moved to LA I didn’t know many people (Magic - is in the same predicament at the beginning of the show) and met Yasmine in an acting class. We fell in love almost instantly as people and friends. She’s gay and our friendship opened up a whole world for me. I got to know a lot of members of the community and learnt about their struggles and their pain, but also their celebrations and their bravery. It’s a period of my life that I will forever be grateful for… Our deep love and friendship had me questioning my own sexuality which led to an internal exploration of labels, social norms and the heteronormative whitewashing of society. An exploration which is still very much going on today and makes up many of the themes of the second season.
I love featuring women rolling up their sleeves and making shit happen, how did you bootstrap this project?
Oh man. Well we made season one on a shoestring budget. So we called in favors and learnt new skills. We had no-one to edit the trailer, for example, as we’d run out of money so I learnt how to edit and cut it myself. We shot in our apartments and used our own clothes and props. We also had a lot of very talented people and friends show up for us because they believed in the team and the project and I’ll always be grateful for that. Ultimately, it was sheer tenacity and will is what pushed this thing to where it is now. It wasn’t constant - over the years I’ve taken breathers from Magic and worked on other things, but it always comes back up - what’s next for Magic. But there were hundreds of times when I felt like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill and was close to giving up - to cutting my losses and calling it an expensive learning lesson. But then I’d remember that we have something special - we have a project with real heart and an important message that a lot of people believe in. Whenever times get tough or I feel like giving up it helps me to remember that I’m creating something that is incredibly important and needed in this world. I don’t mean to be contentious or precious, but this type of content literally saves lives. We’ve had viewers write to us and say that “it’s illegal to be gay where they live and this show gives them something to hold onto.” We also had a dad write to us saying that his daughter came out last year and our show helped him to connect with her.” I think utter faith and belief in the material and love of our audience is what pushes us through everyday.
“Representation on screen is HUGELY important to the advancement of society, in my opinion - so that’s a huge motivator.“
Look we all deal with naysayers whether we’re doing the naysaying in our heads, what propelled you to keep going?
Partly the belief in the project - knowing that this is important content, that it is good work with interesting well-observed characters and storylines that we don’t usually see on screen, that can actually help people to feel seen. Representation on screen is HUGELY important to the advancement of society, in my opinion - so that’s a huge motivator. And party because I have an Aries moon and when I’m activated by emotion, I don’t give up. I literally can’t. It’s like a sickness. I was working on this other project - producing a play in London and funding fell through a few weeks out. Everyone told me to pull the plug but I’d worked so hard and gotten so far, I just couldn’t let go. Somehow I found a way to make the thing happen - made scores of phone calls and send out emails to try to find someone, anyone who would invest / offer us a grant. In the end, I found both and the show went on.
But also with naysayers I feel like it’s important to remember that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. A lot of the time people are negative because they are unwilling to personally take the risk of failure and they are projecting that on to you. I decided a long time ago that I much as I’m afraid of failing, I’m absolutely TERRIFIED of not trying. A stagnant existence with no evolution or risk absolutely terrifies me. I always want to be pushing myself, challenging myself and growing.
I also think it’s important to remember that no-one really knows what they are doing? These “rules” and “glass ceilings” and “locked doors” have been created, they’re fictional - they are no rules rather implemented norms. We are all making our way in this world and making things up as we go along - look at what’s going on in British Parliament right now. It’s a shit-show! Has there ever been a bigger testament that NO-ONE knows what they are doing? Even at the highest level?! So I think when you come up against a status quo and someone says - you can’t do that, because it’s not the way it’s done, then you are probably doing something right. Keep going!
You know my daughter is a lesbian and at times I get nervous I’ll address her friends in correctly, but what you said in your interview on intomore.com about fluidity was so well said. Can you expand on that?
Oh gosh - what did I say? I’ll have to read it again. Okay I found the quote -
“We are continually evolving and changing and we don’t need to adhere to fixed identities or labels all the time, nor do we need to have all the answers. I think that celebrates fluidity and shows that life can be a continued exploration as long as we are open to it.”
Yeah so… Reading that just as an extract, what I’m finding really interesting is that it can actually apply to the experience of humanity - it doesn’t relate solely to sexuality - even thought that’s what the context was. Funny how everything is reflected. The sentiment encourages an openness to new ideas and evolution which I think is important so that we don’t get bogged down with self-righteousness, stagnant thinking or dogmatism. I try to live my life like this, fluid and open, willing to embrace whatever the universe has in store for me.
In my opinion, the nature of the world is fluid. Nothing is fixed or stagnant. I think people try to put things or people in boxes and they try to create rigid rules and lines for people to live by, in order to control them but in reality, their nature is fluid. When you’re relating it to sexuality it’s the same principal. By this I mean that you can be attracted to one type of person, in one part of your life, then it might change - this can extend to a change in gender preference, or not. What I’m hearing more and more is that it’s the person, not their gender or genitalia that people are attracted to and I love that idea. You might also go through periods in your life when your sun energy (masculine) is more dominant that your moon energy (feminine.) A lot of younger trans or non-binary people talk about that - that gender is really more of a performance based on a construct than a fixed identity or essence. I’m inclined to agree. These things don’t have to be set in stone. Nevertheless, if someone feels like they identify with a label then great! They have that option too! I think that there is a more playful approach to definitions and labels right now which I really enjoy where people are finding their own identifiers and words that they feel depict who they are. And those words or labels don’t have to be the one’s that society has given them. They don’t have to fit other people’s expectations. They can also change! It’s so cool!
There’s something else you touched on in your question though that I think is important - it is deeply important to listen, learn and respect other people’s choices and identities. It is incredibly disrespectful to keep calling someone, for example, a pronoun that they don’t identify with. Think about it. If you were to call me J or Julie instead of Julia and I said, oh I don’t go by that name, or that’s not my name, it would be pretty rude if you disregarded what I said and kept calling me that. You wouldn’t do that unless you were an asshole! If you mis-gendered or mis-labelled someone unintentionally but sincerely apologized and changed your language once corrected, I would hope no-one would be too offended. At the end of the day I think it’s all about intention. I mean, language in this area is changing so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up, and I know that I’ve messed up and said the wrong thing on occasion. But I think if you have the intention of being open-minded and trying to get it right and being respectful, then you’re doing your part. I think to most important thing is to listen and be respectful of everyone’s choices and identities.
What’s in store for 2019?
I have a few projects in the works but right now we are crowdfunding for Season Two of Girls Like Magic which will find Jamie and Magic one year on (they finally admitted their love for each other in the closing moments of season one.) Now in a committed relationship, the honeymoon period is over and they must navigate maintaining their individual identities while balancing the struggles that a long-term relationship can bring. Season two will be 16 episodes rather than 8 so we promise double the drama and twice the laughs. It will also have a heavy music component in congruence with season one as Jamie is a musician.
Check out the Season Two Campaign and SHARE / DONATE to support queer representation on screen! Campaign launched on April 23rd and will run for 30 days! Don't miss it! We have over 20 million views on season one, we can’t stop now.