From lawyer to comedian – Julie Collas

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Julie Collas’ show «Oh My God! She’s Parisian!» first opened in September 2017, bringing the daily experience of women living in Paris to the stage. With a unique brand of comedy that mixes the techniques of American stand-up with the tradition of a French one-man, or rather one-WOman show, Julie has already given over 80 performances.

Julie started professional life as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, but the ‘corporate dream’ was making her miserable. Like Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day, she felt trapped, as if she was re-living the same day over and over again. She couldn’t imagine surviving 30 years like that, and knew she had to do something else. The question was what?

We all think of making life changes. What made you actually take the plunge to change your career?

A few years before I quit my job I had some personal worries about my children. Then 2 years before I left my job my boss committed suicide. At work we didn’t have the right to talk about this. It remained unspoken and it was very painful.

The attack called into question my rather classic vision of life. I realized that life is too short to dream it away

Then I met someone for lunch on November 13th 2015 who died later that evening in the Bataclan attack. That was both traumatic and life-changing. The attack called into question my rather classic vision of life. I realized that life is too short to dream it away. I knew then that I was ready to embrace the insecurity of change.

How did you get the inspiration for your show?

I lived in London as a child for 6 years, then I went to Chicago to study law, and I also worked in New York. People who have had the chance to live abroad are open-minded.

I am a real Parisian, my friends are Parisians. I have all the Parisian life codes, from how to talk, to how to dress. I thought it would be great fun to write a book about the real life of normal, Parisian women who struggle to be perfect even though they know it is impossible. As women, we have to manage to juggle everything in a city and a world that is unkind to us.

I met an actress and decided to change this idea into a show. She told me: «It’s March, you come back to see me in September with a written show. I’ll teach you how to act, then you rent a theater for one night or you’ll never do it.» It was she and my husband, Yann, who got me started. Yann helps me with everything.

January 2017. I rented a small theater in Paris 18ème to test my show for the first time. My parents thought I had gone crazy. At the end of the show my family stood up to applaud and my father told me «You are made for this work».

Tell us what to expect in the show.

The audience experiences 24 hours of Parisian life, 100% in English – from breakfast to a crazy night out! With a very French sense of humor, I explore Parisian clichés, the condition of modern women, while leaving plenty of room for interaction with the audience and current events.

We yell at our children to get up, run to school, crowd into the metro to work with a misogynist boss, (while dreaming of a new job). We promise ourselves to do yoga but we don’t! Relaxing with «a little» drink before the children’s homework, we have dinner with friends and finally at 3am we look for an Uber to come home singing «Happy Birthday Mister President» to Emmanuel Macron and meet with Donald Trump — lost in Paris!

Photograph: Sofia Konst Photography

How has the show changed since you started?

I learned to perform on stage without having attended theater school. So I learn each day and incorporate the best into my show. Positive press has helped me gain confidence. I am also inspired daily, by people and situations. This drives everyone in my theater crazy as each show is different with just a few regular touchstones. You can come every week and you will never be bored!

What other projects do you have?

I am starting a radio show called «Oh My God! She’s Parisian!» about life change. People will tell us how they changed their lives to follow their dream and we share a laugh as well! It will be on World Radio and there will be a podcast on all available podcast platforms.

What message do you have for our readers?

Join me Friday and Saturday nights at the Theatre BO Saint-Martin. I like to meet my audience after the show to share their reactions and to get to know who you are! Also, follow your dreams. Never give up…The best is yet to come!


Instagram: julie_collas_the_parisienne
Facebook: @juliecollastheparisienne

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