It’s a quiet afternoon in the studio. Julia Barretto just arrived on set, and despite knowing that we only have a couple of hours with the actress for this shoot, the room, somehow, is tranquil. No rushing to get things done, not even much noise to be heard but the sound of the slow footsteps of people coming in and out. The sense of calm is a relief, which is a rarity in this kind of occasions—a photo shoot can, after all, pop the pressure on the extreme. This day is different.
It can, perhaps, be credited to Julia herself. Looking at her across the room, her face radiates a certain peace—a contagious one that drives the people around her to make each step purposeful. More apparently so once we started our chat with the 22-year-old, as she talks about her character Hazel in the Black Sheep film Between Maybes, which she starred alongside Gerald Anderson, and how the role deeply resonated to her.
We all go through struggles in life—may it be in our career, relationships, or family. In the movie, Hazel is at the brink of a burnout and found herself wanting to escape the ropes that control her whole life. “I think everyone has gotten to that point. Whatever they may be doing, wherever they are in this world, we all reach that point of just being burnt out, and it doesn’t always have to necessarily be about work. Sometimes, it’s just emotional or mental burn out. The people surrounding us can also be the ones draining the life out of us. We’ve all reached that point where we all just wantd to leave and figure out how to find your peace,” she says.
Her character’s soul is lost. And Julia found herself in Hazel’s shoes.
“I was almost going through the same thing as her, at the same time,” the actress explains in one of the behind-the-scenes video uploaded by Black Sheep. Hazel just wants to get away. “So she did—she left. I left, for quite a long time,” Julia adds.
She’s referring to, of course, her magnificent trip to South America. Her feed is a glorious album of the wonders of the place—from Mexico, which was her favorite, to memorable stops at Machu Picchu and Havana. From the picturesque views to her on-point OOTDs, her two-week vacation easily turned anyone green with travel envy. But for Julia, the adventure revolved beyond the fragmented visuals she curated for her followers. Above anything, it was all about growth, maturity, and independence.
“What I got from that trip is that I believed in myself more and I learned that I’m capable of taking care of myself and doing some stuff on my own. I always had my mom to depend on first off, so I was tried and tested there,” she muses. “Kaya naman pala.”
And in the course of her life journey, the Kapamilya actress can finally say that, like Hazel, she’s found her peace. And sustaining that stillness starts in accepting that it’s okay to get lost sometimes, because that’s how you’re going to find the answers you need. That’s how you’re going to find yourself.
“There will be a lot more phases that we’re gonna go through, a lot more times that we’re going to lose our peace and endure the same process again to find it. It’s normal; everybody goes through it. But at the end of the day, if you’re very focused and have figured out the things disturbing your peace, do something about it,” Julia relates.
In the coming months, Julia is set to center on her well-being and what’s good for it, like carefully selecting the people she surrounds herself with and chasing things that her heart burns for. This year, she’s keen on putting the focus on herself and what she wants, not what the world dictates. And there's no in between for this go-getter, as it seems.
Photographed by Andrea Beldua
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Cath Sobrevega
Makeup by Kaye Misajon
Hair by Bee Buangan
Video by Lui Jimenez
ALSO READ: #ChalkLovesRhys: Rhys Eugenio On Growing Up In Kentucky And How He Found Purpose In 'PBB'