WRITTEN BY CAM VELLACOTT
Actress, improviser, host. Julia Zemiro’s career has spread across different artistic scenes as she has honed her skills over decades. Taking a road less travelled has managed to find Julia a place on Australia’s screens as one of the most likeable people in today’s media.
Born in France, Zemiro relocated to Australia when she was an infant and was raised in Sydney. She later relocated to Melbourne and studied acting at the Victorian College of the Arts. She honed her improv and stage performances skills, travelling the country with the Bell Shakespeare Company while continuing her affinity with improvised scenes in Melbourne. Zemiro was a late bloomer in the public sphere however, earning her spot as RockWiz host at 37.
She was the star of SBS during this period, tasked with multicultural coverage; fulfilling duties as the host of Eurovision. Zemiro’s French heritage is of course relevant when hosting the song contest. However, when watching her coverage I would argue her intelligence, acceptance of all people, and her controlled flamboyance is what makes her the perfect host.
Julia Zemiro is an inspiration to me because of her presence. When she interviews people, she treats them as regulars. Viewing her on screen feels as if you’re in the room and a part of the conversation. Her research is meticulous, and no topic is off limits. That does not mean she looks for controversy, rather it enables her to stay true and genuine. Life lessons can be learnt through watching her. How to talk to people, how to gain respect and trust, how to ask but not offend, and when wit and humour is acceptable, and when it isn’t. Her style is not of the typical female in the public eye. She is not the generic commercial presenter; however she is comfortable in her own skin. She does her best through both her work and staying true to herself- that’s the charm; Not a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, or an excessively expensive piece of Gucci, It’s knowing who you are not what you wear that’s what’s inspiring.
There are many facets of Julia Zemiro that inspire me. I’m not quite sure which stands out the most though. It could be her fearless nature, willing to place herself in front of international audiences. Maybe, it’s her speaking ability, how she can pace herself and so quickly change tempos and guide the conversation. She’s also been highly successful across the stage and screen, which has included live and recorded comedy work on shows such as The Wedge. Whichever way you look at it, she is incredibly intelligent. Her meticulous research paired with her intelligence draws the best from the relationships she creates with her interviewee. It is a marvel to watch. Her skills interviewing makes her programs worth watching twice. The first for the content of the show, the second for how she crafts it that way. It is so effortless, and so graceful.
Despite success on screen, Zemiro has only recently found love. She has very publicly spoken about her relationships, and how difficult it is for someone in the public sphere to find someone. There is no chance for one night stands or casual dates, if someone is to be taken out they must be serious enough that they are willing to be on any tabloid. Great challenges have come for Julia due to this. Over a period of 8 years in her 40s, she was single. Despite the personal challenge, it did not seem to fluster or phase her. Love has finally come for her, and she is now happy with her partner Carsten. This isn’t what springs to mind when she appears on TV though (for me at least). Rather, it is that she is happy and comfortable, regardless. Her strength and independence is more important than the societal expectation of being wed.
Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery is a show absolutely worth diving back through the ABC iview archives to watch. In a series where she interviews celebrities from Leigh Sales to Kasey Chambers, her personal anecdotes are still able to shine through in appropriate ways, giving a strong understanding of who she is and where she’s come from. In an industry that can see people distance themselves from their background, she enables it to be a strength and aid the success of the program.
Julia Zemiro transcends genres, easily skipping between stage and screen, comedy, tragedy, and music. She has a profound storage of knowledge which she extracts from to draw relevant details, or provide unique or often unthought-of insights. So sharp, so quick, blink and you’ll miss the brilliance.
Her career is one that hopefully continues beyond where she is now, and that she can keep inspiring young people and setting a gold standard in Australian media. How thorough she is, is an inspiration to me. She is also constantly improving, which is just a reflection of how great she is. Not satisfied with mediocrity, yet content with herself.
Julia Zemiro, thank you.
Cam is a columnist for Maidenhair Press. He frequently writes about the film and music industry which are his main interests. He is currently a university student at QUT studying Media and Communications.