“Don’t race a cheetah. Don’t box a kangaroo” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Julienne Diva by ©Camila Gargantini

“The first time I met Julienne was strange cause I felt like I knew her for a while… We hit it off from the get go, talked about life, our careers and started discussing ideas for her shoot. I asked her to think outside the box and help me decide on a concept for her session. As a creative person herself, it was only fair that we came up with something a bit out there… which was a great opportunity for her to step outside of her comfort zone. I think she did an amazing job but I might be a bit biased. I’ll let you be the judge.” – Camila G

Makeup by Lara Alghoul at Makyaj Artistry

Image © Camila Gargantini

An Interview with Julienne

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. The best memory I have of my birthday was when I turned 21, this was around the time I started to make more of an effort to celebrate. (Wait, nevermind I lied, I also had an 18th birthday Luau…) My 21st birthday was a black and white themed party – and was a joint affair with a fellow design friend. One of my best friends (my cousin) drove 4 hours to be with me for my birthday weekend – slumber parties are always fun! On the day of the celebration, close friends and family came to the house dressed in black and white, it was a bit stressful to coordinate but in the end everyone showed up, they were all stunning, and most of all they came for me. I felt extremely special, and was so overwhelmed with love. Let’s not forget that a few weeks beforehand I had a friend design a dress that I could wear the party, and it was yellow.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I can recall vividly my worst birthday, and it wasn’t long ago. It was during a transitional time when I was starting my career and making sacrifices to be where I am today.  My expectation led me to a huge disappointment when members of my family didn’t make an effort to show up to my birthday one year. I had a good time otherwise with the many other important people in my life, but after a night of drinking I found myself crying in the parking lot with my sister because i was heartbroken they never showed up. It took me about a year to give up my reason to be upset, and i finally came to terms with what it meant to make time for those who truly matter. For a little while i had the excuse that i was too busy, and with the expectation that people would show up for me when i wanted them to, and when it was most convenient.  With practice I think I’ve been able to overcome being “BUSY”, and since then I’ve had the best birthdays knowing that the people who have shown up are those I have mutually invested time with.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. My cousin got me passes to go to the *NSYNC sound check when they performed in Toronto back in the day. She worked for the *NSYNC Official Fan Club. It was a small group of fans that got into the SkyDome and they performed a few songs, and acted silly.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. Noodles! It’s a symbolic meaning of longevity that I grew up with.
Also, it used to be ice cream cake, until I found out i was lactose intolerant.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. The most important aspect of celebrating birthdays for myself is being grateful…Last year, I attended a funeral on the actual day and it was an interesting feeling for me. I was neither happy or sad. I very present to being alive, it’s was a peaceful feeling, even joyous.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. My family leaves flowers, gifts or a card on the kitchen table the night before, so when either of us wake up on our birthdays we’re greeted with them. Since I’ve moved out, I’ve made an effort to be home the day before just so I can wake up with my family. We go to church (sometimes not together) and light a candle. I personally pray and give thanks for another year. In the Filipino tradition, when a girl turns 18 she is a débutante, and celebrates her birthday with a large group of family and friends (almost like a wedding). There is a what is called a “cotillion” where 18 couples perform a dance for the celebrant, as well as present her with a rose – 18 roses in the end. She can change into different dresses, even dance or sing for her guests. It’s usually in a hall with lots of food and dancing. I never had one, instead my mom sent me to Hawaii.