Q&A with Julia

Jan 25, 2020

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Julia, and I am the Founder of Simply Unstoppable. I am a 23-year old first generation Polish American. I was the first person in my family to be born in the United States, and I didn’t speak English until I started school. Overcoming a language barrier is never easy, but I am forever thankful for it because it has made me who I am today.

Despite initially not speaking English, I went on to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I graduated in 2018 as a Bronze Tablet Recipient, ranking in the top 3% of the graduating class with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising, and minors in PR and Communication. I also earned an Acting for Film Certificate from the New York Film Academy, was the 2017 Queen of the Polish Parade, and have worked at The Mx Group, Kind Snacks, Nickelodeon, Fendi Roma, and Alyce Paris…prior to becoming the founder of Simply Unstoppable. I am currently a commercial and print model signed with Lily’s Talent Agency and I work as a project manager in marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking improv & acting classes, motivational speaking, mentoring, fitness, running, cooking/baking, and sleeping. My life ambition is to host a talk show and one day return to school to pursue a master’s & doctorate degree to become a university professor…area of study to be determined. 

What is your story?

My story begins with the effects of having to overcome a language barrier. Growing up, at home I was a loud energetic happy confident child. I was not afraid to use my voice or try new things. But, in the classroom, I didn’t speak. I think fear held me back for a long time. What if I mess up a word, what if they hear my accent, what if kids make fun of me, what if no one likes me because I’m different. I remember vividly being the only child in the classroom who didn’t know the days of the week or months. It was so embarrassing. That is truly my only very vivid memory, but from stories I was told, I would follow kids around to know what to do when I didn’t understand. A natural born leader in the comfort of my own home, I became a follower around my peers.

The effects of this experience stuck around with me for years. I was a loner, I was shy, quiet, afraid to use my voice. I had a hard time making friends and fitting in. So, I spent a lot of time daydreaming. Dreaming of the day when I would have a voice, dreaming of the day when I would have the confidence I so desperately yearned for. I began to envision my life years from those moments, and I envisioned the person I would want to be. What I didn’t know then was that those moments were crucial experiences, without of which, I would not be where I am today.

From the days of daydreaming and lacking a voice, I had big dreams. Dreams out of this world. Dreams that if I stated out loud, I would be told were crazy and that they would never come true. So, I stopped sharing them. I kept them to myself. I allowed society and those around me to influence my journey. Instead of pursing my dreams, I began to think realistically and started caring about what others had to say.

One quality I did have, that I am blessed to have to this day is never giving up. I recall many incidents growing up in which I wanted something so badly, I would not stop trying until I got it. An example is trying out for the cheerleading team. I tried out three times before I made the team. It took three years, but I did it. That mentality changed my life. Those little experiences taught me to never give up and to always stay true to myself even when others doubt me.

After high school, in 2014, I was desperate to find the confidence and courage to use my voice. There was one thing I always wanted to try. But everyone told me that one thing was not possible, that I was crazy for wanting it. That was to compete in a pageant. SO naturally, I signed up for the toughest pageant in the state. Out of 65 girls, I walked away as third runner up. In that moment, I knew I had what it takes. I knew that believing in myself and forgetting about what anyone else had to say would take me far.

Those experiences led me to begin my journey towards becoming, simply unstoppable. I no longer let others influence my goals and dreams. I aimed high and worked hard. My senior year of college in 2018, I felt that something was missing from my education. I felt that my college days would not be complete without creating something from the ground up. Something I could call my own that utilized all the skills I learned throughout my lifetime. I signed up for an independent study course, and decided I wanted to build a brand through a personal blog. So Simply Unstoppable was born. I learned a lot. But it was an epic fail, or like I prefer to say, an epic learning experience. However, the skills I learned were essential in preparing me for the journey I am on. After graduating, I walked away from this brand because I realized something was missing. Simply sharing my story did not feel like enough, but I didn’t yet know what Simply Unstoppable was meant to be.

That same semester, I decided I wanted to work at one of the top companies in the world. Honestly, it wasn’t my dream, but I felt that it was the expected next step for me. I allowed myself to fall into the trap of trying to live up to societies unrealistic expectations. When I didn’t land a job at the top company, I needed the next best thing. And I got it. I packed my bags, moved to another state, and after a few days I realized I was going to be miserable. I would go down a dark path working 24/7 doing something that would not make me happy. I had no passion for it. So, I left. Admitting to myself, and those around me that I took a wrong turn and didn’t want to do something I thought I could do, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I felt like a failure, but at the same time it was the best feeling in the world. I stood up for myself and my dreams. I finally had the courage to use my voice and to stop worrying about what everyone else thought.

However, the next year of my life was challenging. I was completely lost. I had no idea what I wanted in life. I lost sight of my dreams and passions. After leaving my first job, I fell into a state of depression. I didn’t leave my room for a month, I was binge eating, not taking care of myself. I knew I made the right choice, but the right choice is not always easy. I was determined to find myself. I spent that year looking for myself, working on myself, learning to fall in love with myself and figuring out what my passions were. What would make me happiest in life. It was hard. I started with fitness. I signed up for a gym membership, worked on cleaning up my diet to eat healthier and get into shape. It was working. Next, I started reading books. Books about life, motivation, the purpose of existence. It was working. I started setting goals and writing them down. Small goals. I started journaling every day. It was working. But I still had no idea what I wanted to do long term career wise. 

In 2019, I was ready to challenge myself and take the next step in finding myself. I signed up for my third pageant. I had four months to prepare. In these four months I was determined to give it my all, to get into the best shape of my life, and to become the best version of myself. Little did I know, this journey would be the pivoting point for me and change my life forever. At the start of this next journey, I woke up one day and knew what Simply Unstoppable was meant to be. I quickly rushed into re-launching and it was an epic fail. So, I walked away and decided to focus on preparing for the competition.

I gave it my all. I received opportunities I never thought I would. I teamed up with business’s who sponsored me, I got to work as a TV reporter, and I landed a modeling contract. CRAZY. Through all of this, I found passion. I was passionate about working with people, about sharing stories, being in front of a camera, making a difference, inspiring others…the list goes on. Throughout this journey I was the happiest I have ever been in my life. I was doing all the things I loved. But I still didn’t know how to translate it into a career.

During this, I did keto for two weeks. It made me go crazy. In a good way. My self-love skyrocketed and I believed in myself more than ever before. I was ready to follow my dreams again. With the support of my parents, I made the decision to dedicate the next year of my life to chasing my crazy dreams. I didn’t like keto. Instead, I eliminated dairy, gluten, sugar and the results were incredible. My energy levels were up, I was happy, I felt SO good, I never got bloated. But that’s a whole other story. The point is, through all of this I found my passion, self-love, and motivation.

But, after the competition, I got a little lost. again. My life was planned out up until the competition. And the future felt like a black hole, unknown. Anxiety took over. This time was not as bad as when I quit my first job. But it was a challenge. After the competition I had no idea what was next or where to begin. I learned so much about myself. I quickly realized the qualities I possessed were in line with the qualities of entrepreneurs. SO naturally, I tried to start three businesses at once. Now this is crazy. I had so many ideas I had no idea where to begin so I did it all. I took so much onto my plate that I became extremely overwhelmed. Where was the passion? All I felt was anxiety and started getting panic attacks.

This led to a period of clutter elimination, as I like to call it, as others may say, a period of isolation. I was lost. The anxiety of not knowing where life would take me for the next 50 or so years was killing me. What was life about? What was important? What would make me happiest? Money? Doing what I love? I spent the end of 2019 in isolation. Not literally, of course. I eliminated unhealthy foods, I took a break from interacting with people and society, I stopped spending money. If nothing in the world existed and I was the only person alive, what would make me happiest? When there is no food to eat when emotional, no people around me to judge, no things to buy to feel happy, what will make me happiest? It sounds more dramatic than it was but going through this period in my life was crucial and the best thing I ever did because I figured it out. I finally knew what would make me happiest in life, I knew what my goals were, I knew what I wanted. It was all overwhelming, so I spent the last month of 2019 relaxing, and going back to normal. But a new normal. A happy normal in which I finally had the courage and strength to follow my dreams, use my voice and forget about what others and society expect. I learned to love myself. I became simply unstoppable.

And this time. The real simply unstoppable was born. I figured out that this is the company I want to start. This is what I want to devote my life to. Sharing your stories to give you the chance to have your voice heard and inspire others. This time, I was all in. I took every necessary step to set this up for success. I know it will take time, but this is what I believe my calling in life is. This is what will make me happiest. I want to change the world for the better. My story is just one story. Each of you has a story that has the power to change others’ lives, to make a difference, to change the world and help others. I am on a mission to create the platform to give you a community to be able to do so.

My journey of becoming simply unstoppable was crucial into building this brand. Every moment was essential into bringing me to where I am today, and when I realize this now, I know it all happened for a reason.

What was the journey of creating Simply Unstoppable like?

Before Simply Unstoppable was Simply Unstoppable, it started out as another one of my dreams. I joke that I dreamt up the idea, because looking back the whole journey of getting here, it feels like it was so simple…or maybe that’s just because when I started, I became unstoppable? …see what I did there…?

This journey was not easy, but it was positively life changing. It did not happen overnight. It took two whole years. In January of 2018, I was a senior in college and my college career did not feel complete. I felt like I was missing something, and that something was creating something from the ground up using the skills I learned throughout college. At the same time, I wanted to create something that would allow me to make a difference in the world.

Thanks to the supportive educators at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was accepted to participate in an independent study class. It meant I was able to create my own curriculum and decide what I wanted to learn. And thus, Simply Unstoppable was born.

I spent four months working on Simply Unstoppable with the guidance of a professor, who is now a lifelong mentor of mine. I learned A LOT. I got an A in the class, but it was an epic fail learning experience. So naturally, I walked away from it, as you can read in the prior question. A year later, during the summer of 2019 it hit me. I knew what Simply Unstoppable was meant to be. So, I rushed into updating everything and re-launched.

Keyword: rushed. Simply Unstoppable was yet again another epic fail learning experience. But this time, I didn’t walk away from it. I realized I had something that no one else had in the palm of my hands. I just had to take my time, take all the necessary steps and have a plan. So, I got to work. For MONTHS, I didn’t leave my desk (figuratively, of course), I worked worked worked. And as they say, third times a charm, Simply Unstoppable was officially launched in January 2020.

The journey was not easy. I was faced with many obstacles. But when I look back it feels as though it were so simple. And each time I overcame an obstacle, things got easier and easier until I couldn’t be stopped. Through creating Simply Unstoppable, I became simply unstoppable.

To read more about the journey of creating Simply Unstoppable, visit: www.simplyunstoppable.com/about

What was it like growing up in a Polish American household? How has that shaped you to be who you are today?

Growing up in a traditional Polish household was different. I was the first person in my family to be fully immersed into the American culture, so it was an adjustment for everyone to adapt to a new way of doing things. My family only spoke Polish at home and honored all Polish customs and traditions. In addition to attending normal school on weekdays, every Saturday for 11 years I also attended Polish school. Through it, I earned a second, high school diploma certifying that I have mastered the language of Polish by completing 1,230 hours of the study of the Polish language, history and literature.

There were many instances when my American peers did not understand why my family did things a certain way and why we had different customs and traditions. At the time, I did not realize how differently I was truly raised. When I reflect, I am so thankful for the experiences I was blessed with because they have truly shaped me into becoming the person I am today. I am proud of the person I have become.  I know what it feels like to feel different and to lack a voice in society, so I am now on a mission to give others the opportunity to share their stories to have their voice be heard.

What did you learn from all the obstacles you have been faced with?

I learned that the key ingredients to life are self-love, love, happiness, passion and ambition. I learned that failure is essential to success. Without it, you will not learn or become stronger. I learned that obstacles come and go, but if you stay true to who you are, you will simply become unstoppable.

Did you ever have moments of doubt? How did you continue to push yourself to follow your dreams?

ALL THE TIME. Doubt is inevitable. Even when everything is going well, maybe even perfectly, I still experience self-doubt. What I’ve learned is that what matters is how you push through that self-doubt that counts and makes you stronger in the end. Each time I have a moment of doubt, I remind myself how far I’ve come and what I’ve already done. Self-reflection is so important in my opinion. Looking back at who you once were, what you’ve overcome, and how far you’ve come. Doing this, allows me to remember to be proud of myself, to keep setting goals and not to give up! I keep pushing myself because the best feeling in the world is the one when you achieve a goal you set for yourself whether it be big or small. I set and track my goals by writing them down every day as a reminder of why I push myself through the obstacles, and doubts.

How do you balance everything that you do? What does your self-care routine look like?

Everyone always asks me how I do SO much. My response is always that I don’t feel like I am doing enough. I love to stay busy and be productive. If I go one day without accomplishing a goal or being productive, I beat myself up over it. My secret to balancing a million things at once is passion. When you are passionate about the things you do, it doesn’t feel like a lot and you will be surprised by how much you can truly handle. Self-care for me is going to the gym once a day for 1-2 hours. It is my favorite way to relieve stress and continue to challenge myself by setting fitness goals. I do my best to eat healthy, but I love to treat myself to my favorite food: pizza. When I reflect on a self-care routine, I realize I may not have one. Self-care for me is simply getting an extra hour or two of sleep.

Which of your achievements are you most proud of?

I am most proud of myself for learning the importance of self-love and the importance of sharing authentic stories to inspire others. At the end of the day, if all the accomplishments I have and all the goals I’ve attained were to go away, I would still love myself and be happy, because I know I have made a difference and inspired many individuals through sharing my story.

What are your future hopes and ambitions?

I am an ambitiously multi-passionate person. I dream big, set many goals and hold myself to a high standard. My life hope is that I can have a positive impact on the world, on our society and help others along the way. I plan to this through the creation of Simply Unstoppable. In the long-term, I hope to host a talk show and to earn a master’s degree and doctorate degree that will allow me to go on to teach at universities across the country – the subject area is yet to be determined. Along the way I have many more goals that I am working towards, but this is the overarching ambition.

What advice would you like to share with others that has helped you throughout your journey? Are there any quotes that you “live” by?

1 Follow your dreams and never give up. 2 If you never try, you’ll never know. 3 Everything happens for a reason. These are the three quotes I live by that have helped me get to where I am today. I always remind myself of the dreams that have already come true for me and that helps me to not give up. I always try new things even if they are out of my comfort zone or even if it may lead to failure because I think that is one of the best ways to learn. I truly believe everything happens for a reason exactly how it is supposed to. There are so many times I was in a situation and could not understand why things were happening the way they were. Eventually, I would have an “ah, ha” moment and realize that if certain things in life did not happen how they happened, I would not be where I am today.

What does being Simply Unstoppable mean to you?

To me, being Simply Unstoppable means never giving up on yourself or your dreams. It means constantly pushing yourself to try new things, and to become a better version of yourself each day. It means always remembering that obstacles are temporary, it is about pushing yourself to approach them with a positive, hopeful mindset and remembering that when you overcome them, you will be much stronger, thus making you Simply Unstoppable.

To connect with me, reach out via email: julia@simplyunstoppable.com

To share your story, visit: www.simplyunstoppable.com/share