I’ve always subscribed to the idea that you should never meet your heroes in real life, given my own overwhelming tendency to embarrass myself in the face of nervousness. Same goes for writing about them. You can only imagine the cringe-worthy, gushing praises that poured forth from these fingertips and down onto the keyboard when drafting an introduction for this profile on Julie Houts, then. Despite a concerted effort to reign it in, it’s highly likely that the following will still read as an open love letter to the former designer, current illustrator, owner of the best hair, and all-round stellar human. I guess that’s because it kind of is. Anyone who furiously tags their friends in her Instagram posts on the regular (alongside such innovative captions as “same” and “ded”), or who devoured her aptly-titled book Literally Me in the space of a day, will understand why. For the rest of you, it’s time to meet the creative mastermind behind your new favourite corner of the internet.
The hallmark of good art, as put to me by a friend once, is looking at something and thinking, Same. Julie’s illustrations have that exact effect. I know I’m not alone in feeling like she must have tapped my phone on occasion or overheard conversations I’ve had with friends over a Friday night wine, so relevant her brilliant illustrations are to the lives of those who obsessively consume them. With a combination of quick-fire wit, authenticity, transparency, and #relatable humour, Julie’s attention oscillates seamlessly between everything from the “self-seriousness” of the fashion industry and the existential plight of twenty-somethings, to the absurd and sad state of political affairs in America. You’re always guaranteed a self-reflexive LOL when flicking through her work, and, perhaps more importantly, it’ll help you to make sense of your place in a world that is at once bleak and bright, serious and light-hearted.
Prior to being an esteemed author/our favourite thing on the internet, Julie worked as a fashion designer for J.Crew—a position she held for over seven years. She is both maniacally obsessed and wary of the beauty industry (a good place to be), places a big onus on strong female friendships, and lives out our dream of working from home in her pyjamas, on her own time. Did we mention she has the best hair in the world?
After poking around her apartment for a minute (where no bookshelf or beauty cabinet was left unturned), we then did the closest thing we could to taking up residence in her brain forever, a lifelong goal of ours, by asking her a million ~very important~ questions. Click in to get to know her better, then open up a new tab and get lost in the wonderful world of Julie Houts (aka @jooleeloren). Be sure to drop a “literally me” note in the comments section while you’re at it.
Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Shelby Rodriguez.