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At Home With: Julie Nesrallah
It is a special type of person who excerpts joy and excitement wherever they turn, lighting up rooms with their presence. For us this person is the ever-inspiring Julie Nesrallah. Gracing us with her expertise and larger than life persona, Julie speaks to her experiences as a powerhouse singer, actress and CBC broadcaster for Tempo with Julie Nesrallah. Nesrallah tells us all, from her vibrant home renovation, saying ‘yes’ during the pandemic and even singing for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Stephanie: You have created such a uniquely beautiful home, what was your vision for your space?
Julie: I had a landmark birthday a couple of years ago and instead of buying a car or throwing a big party, I renovated my space. Between my radio show, singing and performing in Carmen on Tap, I just thought, I want to come home and I want it to be beautiful!
It began with the purchase of navy-blue blinds. I was filled with this overwhelming urge for the colour blue, so the whole reno was built around these blinds. By chance, I was at a function and Amanda Erin (Toronto-based Interior Designer) was there. I went up to her and told her what a huge fan I was of her work and that I was thinking of re-doing my place. So, Amanda and I got together, and she helped me flush out this beautiful condo which is basically every shade of blue. The most incredible part is that she found this Canadian company called Alex Andrite, that takes pieces of abstract art and puts them onto your cupboards. The unfolding of the condo went from there!
S: We’ve all been spending more time at home than ever before. What is the thing that you’ve enjoyed the most while being at home?
J: I have enjoyed being at home very much. My job with CBC is a big job, so it’s really nice to wake up in the morning, find a little patch of sun, sit there in my beautiful space, and have my coffee. I find I’m the most creative and motivated right when I first wake up after that first cup, so by nine I’m ready. Because most of my day is writing and programming, I really enjoy that if I get stuck, I can take a quick break, make a little lunch, do some dishes, or put in a load of laundry. I’m an extremely overt person. I’m precarious and out there, but when I’m home, I am such a homebody. It’s really a sanctuary.
S: We’re going to be having some fun with you, playing dress up in Greta Constantine, so I would love to know how you describe your personal style?
J: I’m someone with big hair and big eyes, so red lipstick feels obligatory to me, even if I’m taking out the garbage or going to get milk. In my style I like clean, tailored, and classic but with one thing that brings an edge. I love power suits and pieces that feel chic, smart, have clean lines and colour. Because I’m a performer, everything I put on speaks to a different facet of my personality.
S: What are your go-to pieces in your wardrobe these days?
J: Basically, anything that is leopard print is my spirit animal. You have to feel good. Clothing is a really easy way to instantly make you feel better. It’s part of selfcare and loving yourself.
S: What do you love most about your neighbourhood?
J: The walkability and the closeness of fun, people, patios, and little stores that you can’t find anywhere else. I’m a ten-minute walk from the Eaton Centre, the CBC building is a twenty-three-minute walk away to be exact. I never have to use my car unless it’s a weekend and I have to get groceries, so I walk everywhere, and I love it! Balzac's is just around the corner. I’m just up from the St. Lawrence Market. I even love Fran’s. There are so many great places around here! I find Toronto to be socially extremely friendly. There’s a real kind of kindness when you’re out in the city.
S: Many industries have had to pivot in the last year. Being in the music and entertainment industry, what has been the biggest pivot you’ve had to make within your career this year?
J: The pivot is, how do we go to performing on film and generating the same energy and excitement as if we were performing live. I did this crazy video of me singing ‘O Sole Mio off my balcony. There was a tenor in Italy who sang off his balcony and I shared it on twitter, asking if I should follow suit and my followers said yes. The video went completely viral!
I’ve also donated a lot of time, no fees, no nothing. I’m trying to say yes as much as possible. For me the pivot is a little bit different, it was more about being on film, doing what I can when people ask me to and donating as much as I can.
S: You’ve had such an incredible career as singer, actress and broadcaster, with many highlights. What has been your most proud moment within your career so far?
J: I have been most proud of the fact that I was able to implement a bursary in the music department at my alma mater, Carleton University in my mom’s name. I put it in my mom’s name because throughout the formative years, she never said don’t do this. My mom never said maybe you should think about doing something else. She never once uttered those words to me, even when times were tough, and life was hard. So, I thought, you know what, I don’t need my name on this, but I would really like to have something in her name that will outlive her.
S: I know you’ve performed all over the world, but has there been a performance that has been the most memorable for you?
J: I’ve definitely had a series of extraordinary opportunities. One of the most memorable was singing God Save the Queen for Will and Kate, when they came to Ottawa for Canada Day. It was memorable because I don’t really get nervous but with millions of people around the world watching this, including Will and Kate who were sitting to the left of me, I was very nervous.
After spending time connecting with Julie, we are once again in awe of the powerful trailblazers in the Toronto community who bring their expertise and brilliance to everything they do. Want to infuse joy into your wardrobe like Julie? Check out our favourite vibrant pieces from Greta Constantine to help you light up the room all season long.
Article and Looks by: Stephanie @ Virtual