Julia Barretto practically grew up in the public eye. Being part of the famous Barretto showbiz clan and starting her career at an early age, most showbiz fans have seen her journey from being that young kid in Kokey to blossoming into a 25-year-old adult and doing daring scenes in her latest movie, Expensive Candy.
But more than the maturity she displays in her recent roles, Julia has truly embraced the challenging yet nurturing quarter life. She's learned important life lessons from making major decisions on her own, which only led to her coming out on top as the woman she dreams to be.
In the past two years, we saw Julia being more confident, open, and independent with the decisions she made amidst the pandemic: From moving out of her family home, to changing career paths, to going public with her boyfriend Gerald Anderson.
So how is Julia now, two years after these changes? She tells Cosmo, “That’s a good question.”
The VIVA talent then explains, “I think the past two years have been the most challenging years of my life yet, only for the main reason na it was just about adapting to a lot of changes in my life and being brave enough and strong enough to withstand the transitions in my life.”
“I don’t think any kind of change is easy. The older you get, the braver you become [to accept] change.”
In 2019, Julia decided to live solo and move into her own house, although she still lives close to her mother, Marjorie Barretto. Three years later, Julia would describe the feeling as “saya,” but “nakaka-miss din siyempre to live with mom kasi mas less ang gastos. Joke lang!”
However, Julia was already trained by Marjorie for these *adulting* things when she was still living in her family home. “Ang dami niya na kasing iniwan sa akin na duties and even the bills [before] so ang dami ko lang ding na-discover sa sarili ko and natutunan.”
To learn from the experience, Julia had to go through her own growth pains, realizing that it doesn’t end just because you've saved for the house and bought it. “Ang living expenses, hindi naman natatapos yan! Parang minsan, magugulat ka, ‘Ay, may nagli-leak! Ay, may nasirang ilaw, napundi! Ay, yung kitchen! Ay, yung gas! Ay, yung tubig! Ay, yung kuryente,’ she says. “I think it was nakakagulat. Parang, ‘OMG! Ito pala yung responsibilities!’ Like, you don’t expect it, you will just hear about it [before] but when you’re there na, iba siya, e. So, nagulat ako.”
But now that she is—in her own words—“open to change and challenges,” Julia was able to accept the new life that she deliberately chose early on. “Slowly naman, you’ll learn it. Experience will be the best teacher talaga.”
The greatest experience the young actress enjoys now so much is her alone time—running errands, doing chores, or just spending quiet time in her house. It has become therapeutic for her but it also comes with a little downside. “Sometimes, it scares me kasi minsan, mas nagiging challenging na for me to be in a room full of so many people than to be alone, but I am so happy,” Julia says. “It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get that lonely. I mean, you can like being alone and still feel lonely. But I don’t know, it doesn’t scare me so much anymore.”
More than anything, Julia is proud of this decision she made. She elaborates, “I feel very confident now in myself na, no matter what happens, I can do it on my own. I don’t have to depend on somebody to do the job for me. Iba yung confidence niya na nabibigay kapag naging independent ka, so you don’t become so needy as a person.”
While enjoying her independence, Julia admits that she still needs her mom, Marjorie, and she is not shy to ask for her help. In fact, she sees the advantage of living close to her. “Kahit na, let’s say, I can do this on my own, I love, love, love to ask for help because I feel like things are better with the help of others, especially my mom. I tell her, ‘I still need you.’ Ginaganun ko pa siya. ‘I still need you, I still need your help.’ So, she does, she still helps me.”
This relationship dynamic, Julia proudly says, comes naturally for her and her mom because growing up, they shared a very tight-knit relationship. “It doesn’t feel like kailangan ng effort to have a good relationship with her. What they see is what they get.”
ON JULIA: La Glamour Queen White Dress
With that, the young Barretto is just “super grateful” that Marjorie is her mother. She explains, “I feel very blessed that I have a mom who makes my life easier. She is not a parent that really makes it difficult to live my life. That’s why I appreciate her very much kasi when everything gets hard, siya yung tinatakbuhan [ko] kasi she makes my life easy.”
She is also able to maintain a close relationship with her siblings Dani, Claudia, Leon, and Erich. If Julia leaving their family home changed anything, it just made them closer. “We’ve always been very close growing up so I feel like it strengthened [our bond] even more now,” Julia proudly declares.
Julia credits her and her siblings’ maturity, as well as the challenges that they have gone through, for strengthening their bond. She says, “Kapag may problems, we run to each other instead of other people. We have such a tight bond. It only gets better, every time.”
But she does not want her younger siblings to live independently just yet: “Stay with mom para makapag-save kayo!” Of course, Julia is speaking from experience, “Kasi talagang money goes out really fast when you have your own place to think about.” Even then, she’s proud that her siblings are setting up their own timelines. “They express all the time how long they want to be under the roof of my mom and that makes me really proud. You know, I have really hardworking siblings and I’m just so proud of their drive.”
In March 2021, Julia went public with her relationship with her boyfriend, Kapamilya actor Gerald Anderson. There was no grand announcement or admission that they were in a relationship. Julia simply greeted Gerald with a “Happy Birthday” and called him “love.”
It was one of the major changes that Julia actually went through during that time, since they were not really open about their relationship. Even back then, they would not publicly talk about each other or post a lot of photos together on social media.
ON JULIA: La Glamour Queen Pink Dress and White Mesh Dress
Julia says it was a deliberate decision. She explains, “I think there’s a right balance for everything. So yung pagiging open ko, I don’t think it’s a kind of open to the point na anybody feels comfortable or confident enough to put an opinion on it. They only know the fact that we are together, but they really don’t know anything about my relationship, our relationship.”
Admittedly, this decision comes from Julia’s past where she was used to oversharing aspects of her personal life, particularly her past relationship with former flame Joshua Garcia. She recalls, “It’s only made people feel like they’re entitled to their opinion and, you know, when that ended, they had a lot of conclusions, theories, conspiracies, and everything. But, surprise guys! You really don’t know what happened.”
On her relationship with Gerald, Julia says she was given a chance to correct her mistake of oversharing. “Now, you know that it’s a known fact that I am in a relationship with him, but they really don’t know anything about our relationship so it’s hard for them to form an opinion about it,” Julia reiterates. “It’s a conscious effort, so it’s something I keep private up to this day. But it doesn’t mean I am not proud of the relationship.”
“It’s rare, di ba, that I share,” she says about posting milestones of her current relationship, “but they’re like really nice, happy moments that I feel proud of so it’s something that I am happy to share.”
Julia also debunks the breakup rumor they had recently, which stemmed from people’s conclusions just because they no longer post photos together on social media.
She explains, “It’s okay, It’s fine. I don’t get pressured about it. Again, I don’t live my life for other people anymore. And I feel like there’s nothing to prove to people.”
Julia proudly adds, “I’m so secure in my relationship, I really don’t have anything to prove. I feel like [there’s] a lot of negativity in the world and they just want everybody to be unhappy but that’s not the case. If you feel like you’re unhappy, then you opt to get inspiration and courage to live a life that you’ll be happy.”
“So, you know, for negative people, I mean, we are not always happy all the time. We work to live the life na kung saan tayo masaya, so I hope they can do the same.”
The Expensive Candy star was not at all affected by those rumors. “Hindi na ako naapektuhan sa ganyan kasi nga, again, parang I feel like after all these years, ang dami nang naging fake news, ang dami nang naging rumors and opinions about me. Pero hindi naman ako... wala naman! Parang sanay na tayo diyan, kumbaga. Di ba, ‘no? Deadma na lang ‘no, wala na nga silang alam, e. So, yun lang!”
If there’s something that Julia wants to share about her relationship with Gerald, it’s how they are supportive of each other’s decisions, especially for her who went through a lot of transitions in the last two years.
Julia says about Gerald, “I feel like in general, he’s just a very supportive partner. So, as much as possible, for any change and transition, he’s just there. That’s what’s nice about our partnership and that’s why it’s really such a comfort zone and safe space for me, because I know na whatever I go through in my life, whether [it's a] high or low, I have a partner to go through it with.”
Such is true with their careers, especially now that they have different managers—Gerald is under Star Magic, while Julia signed with VIVA Artists Agency. Julia says about this, “Isa sa pinaka na-appreciate ko sa partnership namin is that we respect each other’s work life and hindi talaga kami nangingialam sa work life ng isa’t-isa. Hindi naman sa walang paki, pero, parang we respect that we have a world together and also have a world of our own.”
In fact, Gerald was able to watch Julia’s daring movie with Carlo Aquino, Expensive Candy. Her boyfriend only has nice things to say about the film that she did. “Noong pinanuod niya, sabi niya, ‘A very Jason Paul Laxamana film and a very JP Laxamana ending,’ referring to the director of the film, who was also Gerald and Julia’s director in their 2019 movie Between Maybes. She continues, “Na-happy naman siya, super siya nagalingan kay Carlo and they’re also really good friends, so he’s very supportive, very, very supportive.”
Julia and Gerald first worked together in Between Maybes. At the time, they were not in a relationship yet. Now that they are together, are they still open to working with each other? She answers, “For a material that’s very worth it, yeah. I mean, why not? Kung worth it naman yung material.”
Another major change that Julia went through happened in 2020, when she decided to leave Star Magic and sign up with VIVA Artists Agency. A lot were surprised with Julia’s decision especially since she started with ABS-CBN’s talent management agency when she was only seven years old.
Having undergone a major transition in her career, Julia is aware that she still has a lot to work on. “You don’t see the fruits right away. I mean, it takes a lot of time, patience, and hard work to see the fruits of your labor. I live such an imperfect life so it’s not every day that I feel like the fruit is already there. I still feel the need to constantly work and then rebuild to get to the finish line. So, I don’t think I’ve seen the fruits just yet.”
ON JULIA: Reuvien Palmes Black Corset Top and Pants
But Julia does not take this negatively. All the more, it just makes her motivated to do better in her craft. She elaborates, “It requires a lot of work and patience, and it’s really testing my patience because I think it’s human nature for everybody—you do something and you want to see the results right away. But you constantly have to remind yourself that results don’t come fast and easy. Hopefully, I’ll end up where I hope to end up.”
What she appreciates about her new management is that she’s free to voice out things; not that her previous management didn't allow her to do so, but because she is much older and braver now.
She elaborates, “I do feel like I’ve become braver in voicing out a lot of things that I feel, compared to before when I was younger and very much afraid of a lot of things. So, I am grateful because they hear me out when there’s something I want to say. But it’s really bigger than a management thing, it’s bigger than any contract.”
Julia acknowledges that what she’s going through in life right now is a “personal journey,” being a 25-year-old. She explains, “I really do feel like nandun ako sa point na there’s a lot of things that I’m [still] learning about myself and trying to figure out. Totoo pala yung sinasabi na when you’re 25, nandun talaga [yung] pinaka-transition sa life. More than it being a contract thing or a management thing, it’s more like a personal journey kasi ito yung pinaka-testing out kung saan ka magiging happy. I am really like a work in progress, so I don’t have it all figured out.”
She is also grateful to Marjorie, Gerald, and her whole support system because, as she says, “Yung decisions ko, I’m better guided this time. Ang dami ko nang voice of reason. Totoo yung sinasabi nilang you can’t do it all your own, so I appreciate the help that I get from my loved ones and their opinions, it really matters to me.”
Right now, Julia just wants to grow and nurture herself with more experiences and learnings as she continues to mold the life she wants to have. When asked about the fruits of her labor, she proudly responds, “it shouldn’t be a problem. Again, I’m just 25, and I’ve yet to discover a lot of things and go through a lot of things, so it’s just something I am enjoying. I’m not mad about it, it’s like part of life. I have been through worst, [so] I’m not worried about it.”
Now, the young actress is just savoring her moments of growth, having went through the changes in her life over the past two years: “It’s super exciting because I feel like, in the [past] two years of my life, all the changes and transitions in my life, it’s starting to mold me into the person that I really want to become.”
“So I feel like the older that I am getting, parang I’m closer now to the kind of human being I want to be. I am closer than further.”
ON JULIA: Steph Verano Pink Suede Jacket
PHOTOGRAPHY: Aya Cabauatan
SITTINGS EDITOR: Marj Ramos
MAKEUP BY: Juan Sarte
HAIR BY: Boggy Diaz
NAILS: Mi & Me Luxury Nails
SHOOT ASSISTANT: Yssa Cardona
SHOT ON LOCATION AT: B&B Studios
Special thanks to Celina Delos Reyes, cat mom of Yuuna and Tofu.
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FEMALENETWORK: Julia Barretto Is Minding Her Own Business