Bubbly, self-driven and extremely caring, Julia Townsend is a true local Malibu figure. She reels you in with her contagious and lively personality, and keeps you staying with her warm heart. We got to sit down with Julia and learn all about how her love for hospitality, athletics, family and passion for speech pathology have shaped her to be who she is today.
Where do you currently work?
I work at the Westlake Village Inn and I have worked there for about a year. I never thought I would work in the hotel business because I have worked in restaurants and with kids all my life. I've worked in six restaurants all throughout school and I loved it, it was amazing. I got to really get to know people, how to work with people and how to diffuse a situation. It’s been a really great learning experience and I feel like my capacity for empathy has grown a lot.
How long were you at Ollos for?
About seven or eight years in total of working in Nate [Heydari’s] company because I left Ollie’s Duck and Dive in 2017. Nate owns Bui [Sushi], Ollo and [Ollie’s] Duck & Dive.
Have you always lived in Malibu?
I was born in Valencia and then moved here when I was four years old. I went to Webster, Our Lady Malibu, then to Louisville Highschool and then I went to college!
You went to UC Channel Islands, is that right?
Yes! I graduated with my undergraduate psychology degree at Channel Islands.
Why psychology? It clearly suits you but tell me a little more about why you were drawn to that field.
I loved helping people, specifically helping people in underserved communities. And through psychology I noticed that the brain and the stomach are connected, and anatomically they are connected. So, when people are fed they are in a lot better mood. When people go into a restaurant they come out with a completely different attitude. The brain is so fascinating and it's great to study why people do what they do. Now, I am getting my masters in Speech and Language pathology which is working with people of all ages who have learning differences ranging from autism to people who can’t say their L’s or R’s. I want to work with kids and adults in underserved communities and help them for free through state paid programs. I have grown up very privileged and I want to give back and help people who don’t have a lot. When people have learning differences, there are odds against them but with the right team, people and support system around them, anything is possible. And that is what a speech pathologist does, they provide the right tools for people to succeed in life.
Is there a reason you were drawn specifically to Speech and Language pathology?
The reason why I want to be a speech pathologist is because my brother had a grand mal seizure at the age of six. He was diagnosed from everything across the board from dyslexia to expressive-receptive disorder. My mother quit her job and spent seven years finding the right speech pathologist for my brother. And now, after seven years of speech pathology, my brother is on the principal's honor roll and he is going to college. Doctors were saying that he wouldn’t even make it past middle school. Despite having his learning disabilities, he is playing football, is on the honors roll and is going off to college.
That’s amazing. Let’s switch tracks a little bit, I read that you were also an athlete, can you tell me a little bit about that?
I began running track at ten-years-old and I still run today! I played soccer and then one day someone said “Oh you got to get her into track she’s really fast.” And that was when the greatest time in my life started. I travelled every single summer and we would be going to two states every week to attend and run races. My dad truly pushed and supported me to get into the best camps, nutrition and coaches. My dad was an All American in wrestling at Saint Lawrence and he helped me to train my best. I grew up on Las Flores and I would run 15 miles every morning from 6 to 9 a.m. Running has really taught me that you have to push yourself and be your own advocate. Every race made me think of how you can improve and do better next time. I was recruited to run track in college and was the only racewalker. And I raced as a freshman and was the only athlete on the entire team to gain an All American title for my sport.
Do you still compete now?
Oh no, everything hurts. I really put my body through the wringer, I have knee problems, back problems and hip issues at 24! It was really tough so I don’t have any desire to compete anymore. But don’t get me wrong, I am beyond grateful for what [competing] has done for me.
Other than sports and people, would are some of your other passions?
I love dancing and going out with my friends! I love traveling and meeting new people and honestly love meeting guests through the restaurants and hotel from all over the world. I love being with my family and I love babysitting. I love being with the kids I babysit and really enjoy seeing them see the beauty in the simple things in life.
All my families I babysit are from Bui, Coogies and Duck Dive. Anyone who I have met that has had a positive influence on my life I met through the restaurants. Even the people I worked with, I have worked with for over eight years and they have been my family. I still keep in touch with them and it’s amazing seeing them getting married and having kids because I remember hosting with them and going through a four hour waitlist at Coogies. You ask any Malibu local what a Sunday was like at Coogies and they would say “four hour long waitlist.” I would look at the clock and go “Okay 8 a.m. let’s do this” and I would start filling out my waitlist and by 2 p.m. I would be on my fourth page of the waitlist.
That's a long waitlist!
It would always be “Oh how much longer? Why do I have to wait? Oh I know Nate” and “Do you have a Malibu Locals only list?” And I would just have to tell them that, “I apologize and am working my hardest” and to, “let me see what I can do,” and I always got them seated! If I told them 15 minutes, I would have them seated on the 14 minute mark, I was always true to my minutes. And if I wasn’t, I brought them zucchini bread!
Best zucchini bread ever.
I know, amazing! That was what Coogies was known for. My family and I would ship zucchini bread to the East Coast for them!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Glitter, glitter and glitter! I’m just kidding, passionate, hard working and I guess you could say kind too? I really hate talking about myself honestly. It’s hard for me to talk about, even at the hotel I work at I received Employee of the Year after only working there for seven months but it’s really hard for me to talk about myself. I think I just like to work hard and put my best foot forward and just hope for the best outcome.
So what’s next for you?
Oh what’s next, well I am applying to 20 grad schools in hopes of getting into one! I don’t care where I go, I just want to get into one. I want to get my masters in speech and language pathology so I can work in a hospital or clinic in either Compton or possibly New Orleans. I want to continue working at the hotel and nannying and going to school to continue to better myself. I also need to continue running, it’s an everyday activity for me, I feel like I need to run. It’s my passion and I really enjoy it. I also hope to pay back my parents, they are amazing and are the reason that I am who I am today. I know my mother wants to move to Italy when she is older so I want to buy them a house in Italy! They are just the most amazing people and are very humble and kind and just live their life to the fullest. People are always like “Wow I have never met anybody like you!” and I always tell them to meet my parents because I have never met anybody like them!