20 Questions with Júlia Muniz
Photographed by Sarah Krick
Where are you from?
I’m from Vila Velha which is in Espirito Santo, Brazil, a little town in the southeast on the Brazilian coast.
How did you develop your career as an influencer and model?
I started working as an influencer and model back in my hometown in Brazil. I’ve always wanted to be independent and I have worked since a very young age. I started sharing my journey of traveling, conquering my dreams, and moving to the United States when I was 18. I signed up for many agencies back in Brazil, but at the time diversity was not really a thing. I wasn’t tall enough or had the necessary weight to be a model. I then started reaching out to brands directly and landed some of my first campaigns by myself. I signed with my first agency in California back in 2017.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love being in nature, practicing sports, surfing and connecting with myself. I work a lot in self- development and I’m always reading books. I obviously love traveling, and whenever I travel I like to learn about the place’s culture, I get involved in ocean conservation programs, and help however I can.
Are there any other avenues of your career you’d like to explore in the future?
Last year, I launched a sustainable swimwear business and it was very successful. We were featured in Forbes in our first month and we sold out our first ever collection during a pandemic which was super impressive for us. Now, my business partner and I have been learning more and more about business, sustainability and how to navigate an eco brand. For the future, I see myself launching more brands and getting involved with more humanitarian causes which is my true passion. I see myself inspiring women of all ages, from different cultures and countries to create the reality they wish to see in themselves. One of my biggest dreams is to create an NGO with my mom, who is a social worker back in Brazil, where together we can help women to be entrepreneurs and offer support.
As an influencer, how do you hope to inspire people through your platforms?
I hope to inspire people to live a meaningful life. I share a lot of self development techniques I have learned through the years. My first ever self development course was around 7 years ago, and I’ve been passionate about learning more and more about the power of our mind. Seeing where I came from and the financial stability I have today at only 23, I know I can help other people who, like me, felt like they would never be able to live a life of abundance. It’s even harder when you come from a country with fewer opportunities, like Brazil. So I want to be able to inspire people to live their dreams, be themselves and be authentic to what they believe – knowing that they can get there with hard work and the power of their mind.
As a surfer, I also hope to bring awareness to sustainability and help people to understand how they can contribute to building a better environment. I often share vegan content and how we can make small changes in our lifestyle that will benefit the world so much.
In recent years you developed Instagram filters that normalized natural beauty and embrace the user’s physical appearance. What was the process of developing your filters and the inspiration behind it?
Since Snapchat, I caught myself only posting stories of myself where filters would alter my appearance completely. As time went by, I started to dislike what I saw in the mirror everyday, and developed an image dysmorphia. I watched most of my friends, both in the industry and not, follow the same steps, and noticed that women started being less and less confident to show ”imperfections”. During some of my self development work, I realized I needed to be the change if I wanted to see any change. I started posting ONLY untouched content on my feed (when not from a shoot), and tagging retouched photos from shoots so people could understand that retouched photos are unreal. The feedback was amazing and I got so many inspiring messages from girls from all around the world saying how this was refreshing and that they really appreciated that a model was doing that. They saw my acne, my stretch marks, my cellulite. They saw me as I am – and as all of us are! No one is perfect, and it’s unhealthy to want people to look perfect at all times.
I always wanted to have a filter that did not alter my face or nose, but that brought some good lighting and glow, so alongside a Brazilian creator, I developed my two filters: ”glowing goddess” and ”neutral”. I am super happy that many people loved the filter, including Addison Rae and many other influencers, and use it daily. My purpose is knowing that we can look great exactly the way we are, and we are not comparing ourselves to a Bratz or Barbie doll 🙂
What is your favorite part of living in Australia?
My husband and I travel full time. My husband is Australian, and he is a professional surfer. Due to his job, he has surfing tournaments in different countries for most of the year, which means we travel full time. Last year, during the pandemic we lived in Australia for a longer period of time and it was truly amazing. I love nature, being close to the beach, and love how similar it is to my home country Brazil.
Now, we are going to be based in the US until the end of the year, between Hawaii, where my business is based, and California.
List three things at the top of your bucket list.
Building a house in Costa Rica, being featured on Forbes 30 under 30 and launching my NGO.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
As models on Instagram and YouTube, we are always well dressed, with perfect makeup and hair. But at home, where I feel most comfortable, I usually try to separate myself from my work self, and be as natural as possible. I’m also very passionate about health and wellness and super careful with the media, food, and everything I consume.
What has been the most challenging part of your career as a model and influencer? How do you overcome it?
The most challenging part is the pressure to be perfect at all times. Being human beings, we deal with hormones, feelings, traumas, and our bodies should not be expected to look perfect at all times. Our industry is certainly changing, and I’m so happy with the changes happening. Brands are starting to choose models by their aspirations and personalities and the best part is that now we have a voice on social media and can show who we really are. As a young girl growing up in Brazil, I had Eurocentric beauty standards and never thought I was pretty. I was bullied all through school because of my color, my hair and how I looked. But on the other hand, modeling has been extremely helpful for me to feel confident in my skin and to see that I’m unique. Now, seeing the realities of so many having insecurities because of pressures, I want to inspire young women to love themselves as they are. I choose to inspire and that’s the main reason I want to keep modeling.
What are three things you cannot live without?
– Love / – Ocean / – Chocolate
What’s your favorite time of day?
I love waking up early and jumping in the ocean.
What’s a life lesson you’ve learned and choose to live by everyday?
”You can’t hit a target you can’t see” – it’s really important to know where you want to go, and to then work toward your goals. A life without a purpose is not enough for me.
What’s something you’re looking forward to most this year?
Since COVID, I haven’t been able to see my family or visit my friends back home for almost 2 years now. I’m really looking forward to hugging my family and spending time in Brazil by the end of this year.
What’s a beauty product you cannot live without?
I’m always hydrating my lips, and my favorite product for years now is the lip sleeping mask from Laneige.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I see myself having launched a successful business, being recognized for my work, and building a family with my husband. I see myself continuing to live my dreams and every day learning more and more about who I am and what my purpose is. I hope to have launched my NGO and to be helping women to follow the steps of financial and emotional independence.
How would you define a Modeliste cover star like yourself?
I would define us as undefinable (haha)! I think of us as women, models, business owners and influencers, with so many faces, from balancing life as a mom and a CEO, to traveling the world solo, inspiring people of all ages, all backgrounds and being authentically who we are.
What would you like to say to your fans?
I’m so grateful for my fans, and because of each of you I’m able to be where I’m now. You helped me to accept myself as I am, to believe in my work and to strive to be an example of light and love. I’m so excited because Modeliste is a woman operated business and the creatives behind this cover were amazing – this is something I will always remember.