Zara Julius: The Visual Storyteller Dedicated To Documenting Lives

As and anthropology and film graduate, 23 year old Zara Julius has realised that the two subjects are intertwined. She’s a visual storyteller that has made her work all about witnessing the lives of other people – especially those who are often ignored by other media outlets. Zara is one of our #COSMOAwesomeWomen for her dedication to feminism and equality in all forms in her work!

You in three words

Curious. Honest. Changing.

Tell us how you got to where you are today
Ha! Where am I? All I can say is that the most significant thing has been to listen to what feels good…not safe, but good.

Your work is…

a constant experiment.

Career highlight?
Having the opportunity to travel to Cuba last year, to workshop a documentary film on Santeria and faith in Havana.

What don’t people know about you?
I don’t drink alcohol, but kizomba and semba are my drugs of choice. I’m a bit of an afro-latino dance addict.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Check my emails for any notifications of reduced flight deals. I’m in a perpetual state of wanderlust.

What makes you awesome/unique?
I’m not afraid to speak my mind, and say things how I see them.

Your work/life goals?
My dream is to see more African stories told by African voices.

Instagram or Twitter?



Biggest challenge you’ve faced in your life so far? (and how you overcame it)

I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced, and still continue to face is the genuine fear of my dreams. Whilst I’m told that this is a good thing, it can be quite debilitating. What I find helps me overcome this is the feeling of frustration I get when I veer off track and take work that doesn’t drive me, because it’s supposedly “the right thing to do”. It’s honestly the most oppressive thing, and ultimately that feeling of frustration reminds me that I really have no option but to follow course and honour my creative impulses, no matter how scary it feels.

If you could swap lives with one person for a day who would it be and why?
I’d definitely swap lives with Tracee Ellis Ross for a day. It would be such fun! Firstly, do yourself a favour and watch her #TMurda raps on instagram. Sometimes I get caught in my head a bit, and Tracee’s a great reminder for us to not take ourselves too seriously. Everything she does is so refreshing and hilarious. I reckon it must be nice to bring that kind of energy to people…also, imagine having Diana Ross as your mother? Yoh! Basically, she’s just the babe of all babes.

Women in South Africa are…


Never trust someone who…

separates the revolution from the emancipation of (trans)womxn and non-binary folk.

Best advice you’ve ever received?
“When something doesn’t work for you, NEXT” – given to me by an old family friend from Senegal, who is probably the wisest and most worldly human I know.

Which woman inspires you most and why?
There are so many inspirational women , but I think Ama Ata Aidoo is really inspirational. Not only is she highly accomplished, but her novels and plays are such beautiful tributes to the nuanced face of pan-African feminisms – she’s a controversial truth teller, and reminds us that the working class, so-called “traditional” African woman can absolutely be a feminist. She’s an advocate that these two positions are not at odds with each other.

What do you want to see happen for women in the future SA?
I really hope that as women in South Africa, we endeavor to rid ourselves of internalized misogyny, and learn to be unapologetic in our complexities. Wow, and imagine if we didn’t have to deal with such pervasive rape culture in SA? The dream.

Favourite quote?
“I bleed every month. But do not die. How am I not magic.” – Nayyirah Waheed

Zara Julius

Zara wears a selection of Pandora jewellery: Bracelets (from R899), rings (from R799)

More gorgeous jewellery is available from PANDORA stores nationwide. Visit pandora.net or pandorashop.co.za to shop online. Follow PANDORA on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram

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