Early life, family, educational background
American ballet dancer and actress Julia Schlaepher was born on 3 March 1995 in Bellevue, Washington State USA, to Lesli and Phil Schlaepher. She has two brothers, Andrew and Christopher, and a sister. She is best known for her roles in “The Politician” and “Instinct.”
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When she was in the fourth grade, she was in a production of “The Nutcracker,” and knew then that she wanted to become an actress, so during high school, she was involved in dance and theater. She attended Lakeside High School and said that her drama teacher Alban Dennis is her angel, as he got her into acting.
When AsIfMag interviewed Julia, they asked a lot of personal questions about her early years.
When asked about the start of her career, Julia responded by saying that she always thought she would become a professional ballerina, because she began training from the age of five. While in high school, she would leave early to practice her ballet, ‘I don’t know how my high school let me get away with that!’ She explained that in her junior year, she kept getting the same stress fracture injury, so was in constant pain, and would have to regularly go to physical therapy. Julia told the magazine that she had to accept that she was not built to be a ballerina – she was born with turned-in legs, so they did not turn out like they were naturally supposed to.
After accepting this fate, she followed her drama teacher’s advice, and instead of spending her summer training, she joined an acting program. ‘I loved it! I can now perform without hurting myself!’ In her senior year, she applied to as many performing arts universities as she could, and was accepted into New York University, where she studied acting. She has lived in New York ever since.
When they asked what attracted her to acting, she said that it felt natural to her. ‘My favorite part of ballet was performing on stage…’ She said that when her acting teacher told her to go to the program, it was the best decision she made, ‘Something clicked, and I knew acting was what I’m meant to be doing.’
Julia Schlaepfer at 92Y for the Politician. Watch: https://www.92y.org/archives/the-politician-ryan-murphy-castPhoto credit: Maricela Magana / Michael Priest Photography
Posted by 92nd Street Y on Friday, November 1, 2019
They also asked about what it was like for her to realize that she had to abandon her childhood dream of becoming a ballerina. Julia admitted that it was a grieving process, ‘I remember the night that I realized that this wasn’t my future. I was sitting upstairs doing homework in my bedroom and crying.’ She said that she had spent almost her whole life training, and her best friends danced with her, so letting go of the dream they all held and encouraged each other in was difficult. ‘Dance was my whole world; I didn’t have a life outside of it, and I wanted it that way. I had to pick myself up, but when I got into the acting summer program, I felt relief.’
— Prabal Gurung (@prabalgurung) November 5, 2019
When Carpe Juvenis asked Julia to advise aspiring actors, she replied that the best advice she ever got was from an old acting teacher, who told her to ‘dare to suck,’ she explained that it is ‘all about falling on your face and getting back up and trying again.’
In 2017 she starred as Ashley Whittaker in the series “Madam Secretary”, and the following year, she played Sandra Good in the biographical drama film, “Charlie Says,” about Charles Manson. The film was shot in 2018, then premiered in 2019 at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Her most famous role to date is as Alice Charles in the Netflix original series “The Politician.” Alice is Payton Hobart’s long-time girlfriend-turned-fiancée; Payton is the main character and is portrayed by Ben Platt.
Julia has won critical acclaim for her portrayal and performance as Alice. The American drama-comedy was created by Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, and Ian Brennan, all of whom also serve as executive producers alongside Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Alexis Martin Woodall. The show is about Payton Hobart, a wealthy young man who lives in Santa Barbara, and wants to become the US president one day. Each season centers around the particular political race he is engaged with at that point. The show premiered on 27 September 2019 on Netflix and also starred Lucy Boynton, Zoey Deutch, Bob Balaban, Gwyneth Paltrow, Theo Germaine, Laura Dreyfuss, and Rahne Jones.
In the first season, Benjamin Barrett, Jessica Lange,and David Corenswet joined the main cast, and in the second season, they were joined by Bette Midler and Judith Light, which premiered on 19 June 2020 after production began in November 2019.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the series an approval rating of 57% for the first season. Based on 89 reviews, it received an average rating of 6.74/10, with the central review saying, ‘While “The Politician” can’t uphold all of its tantalizing promises, it delivers just enough soapy satire in a sumptuous setting to keep Ryan Murphy fans invested—though it’s unlikely to win him many new votes.’ Metacritic gave the show a weighted average of 66/100 based on reviews and ratings from 32 critics.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the series an approval rating of 40% for the second season, with the average rating at 5.84/10 based on only 20 reviews. The second season’s general review was ‘Shallow and messy, but not in a fun way. “The Politician’s” second term expands its political horizons but doesn’t seem to know what to do with them.’ On Metacritic, the second season received a weighted average of 46/100 based on eight reviews, giving the season an average or mixed review.
Despite the show not being a huge critical success, it has received several nominations, including a Golden Globe Award for the Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy category, and a GLAAD Media Award for the Outstanding Drama Series category.
In her interview with AsIfMag, Julia described Alice as fun and wild, but the ultimate First Lady as that is her dream, ‘Everything she does is to serve her president, her man, and she’s so smart and knows it.’ She compared Alice to the Kennedys in the sense that Alice’s primary goal in life is to join the political race as soon as she can and to ultimately win it. When asked if she relates with Alice in any way, Julia confessed that she, too, felt that she always needed to appear perfect and put-together in high school. Before leaving for school every morning, she would do her hair and makeup, and it was only when she moved to New York that she started discovering her true self and not just putting on a façade every day.
In season two, Alice’s façade begins to crumble, and she struggles with coming to terms with who she really is. She described walking onto the set for the first time and seeing Alice’s bedroom, ‘…it looked almost identical to my bedroom in high school! It was the same color scheme, all pink and green, and they had my baby photos for set decoration. It was such a weird time warp moment.’
She also credited Alexa Fogel for giving her the role. When she auditioned, Julia had dark hair from a previous movie and looked nothing like the character’s description, but Alexa saw something in her and knew she was perfect for the role. ‘I feel very lucky to have crossed paths with her because I really owe it all to her.’
When asked how she heard about the audition, Julia recalled that she was on vacation with her family when her agent called to tell her about the opportunity. Julia was already a ‘Gleek’ fan, knew a lot of Ryan Murphy’s work, and hoped to work with him in the future. She read the script and immediately connected with it. Julia shared that actors usually get callbacks after the first audition, but she went straight into screen-testing. She feared that she performed poorly due to her nerves, but two weeks later, she got the call saying that she landed the role. Interestingly, Ben was actually the first person to tell her as he followed her on Instagram and he hinted that she had been chosen. ‘I was like, either he is hinting at me and giving me a little thumbs up, or he’s being mean… a week later, I moved to LA for five months to start filming.’
Julia and Ben never did a reading together before being cast, so when she got to Los Angeles, Ben asked her out to lunch and invited her to a party with his close friends. She applauded Alexa and Ryan for their casting skills because although they never did screen tests together, she and Ben instantly connected and had chemistry. She also complimented Ben on his efforts to be so welcoming, ‘Right off the bat he was adamant on making sure that our cast really got along, every weekend or day we didn’t have work, he’d make plans for us.’
Popsugar asked Julia what she wants people to take away from the show or Alice as a person, and she responded by saying that she hopes people see her as an example of strength and that life does not revolve around one person.
‘That your voice matters and not to let yourself be underestimated… I think it’s really important that young people are speaking up and realize that they have a lot to say and that they should say it.’
When acting, Julia uses a technique called practical aesthetic, which she learned while in university. The method is made up of four steps.
- Literal – do what you are told to do.
- Want – ask yourself what your character wants.
- Essential action – seek out the underlying human desire.
- As if – correlate the scene to what has happened in your own life.
It is essentially a shortened version of Stanislavski’s system.
Julia Schlaepfer as Lucy RussettPhoto: Clara Hughes
Posted by Bound: The Series on Wednesday, May 18, 2016
She currently works and lives in New York. Although she spends the majority of her time working on her career, she still makes time to do other things she enjoys – watching movies, going for long walks along the river, and hanging out with her friends at Washington Square Park.
In an interview with Who What Wear, she gushed about working with ‘industry icons’ in the second season of “The Politician.” She confessed that the actors she would really love to work with are Judith Light and Bette Midler, ‘They are joining us for season two and are both total legends… Crossing fingers for scenes with them!’ She added that she gets along with everyone in “The Politician” cast, but is really close friends with Lucy Boynton.
— Agam Anand (@AgamAnEntity) October 6, 2019
Popsugar asked Julia if the cast got any closer when returning for the second season. She responded by saying that they are all excellent friends and obsessed with each other, ‘We would spend an entire day on set and then be like, ‘Okay, what are we doing for dinner?’ She added that the vibe was different from the first season because most of the cast was new to television work. Everyone was stressed about messing up, but returning for the second season meant that they all felt comfortable around one another. ‘It was amazing to just be there with some of my best friends and get to do what I love.’
As far as the public knows, Julia is not married and doesn’t have any children.
Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts
- Julia enjoys skiing and regularly visits the ski slopes in Colorado.
- Elle named her as one of ‘Hollywood’s Rising Stars.’
- She not only enjoys performing at the theatre, but also attending in the audience. Her favorite Broadway production is “The Cripple of Inishmaan.”
- Between film and theatre, Julia prefers performing on film because she feels that she can better portray the whole story.
- She likes listening to “Four Walls” by Broods before performing.
Julia has blonde hair, blue eyes, is 5ft 5in (1.65m) tall, and weighs around 120lbs (55kg).
Net worth and salary
As of late 2020, sources estimate Julia’s net worth at over $300,000.