She definitely has the look, the height and the wit. However, Julia Saubier is not your typical beauty queen. Unlike her fellow Bb. Pilipinas aspirants Julia has no qualms about eating ice cream and riding Angkas (motorcycle transport service) to work.
“I cannot take Grab every day, it’s too expensive,” she quipped to the delight of her blogger guests.
Standing 5’11 on foot, she is the second tallest candidate in this year’s pageant. Born in Lyon France, Julia has lived in various parts of the world.
“My father is French and my Mom is Filipino. They met when my father came here for an assignment. I was born in, France, we lived in Australia for a few years before going back to the Philippines. I studied at the International School in Manila and at the New York University in Abu Dhabi for College. I am right now taking my Masters in Asian Cinema in Beijing,” she said.
A consistent academic scholar, Julia has always been deeply focused on her studies and her love for sports and the martial arts. She was a member of various sports team in her school ‑‑ basketball, soccer and, dragon boat name it, she’s in all of them.
Currently taking her Masters in Asian Cinema, in between school Julia does boxing, yoga, kung-fu and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali or PTK, Filipino martial arts fighting system that focuses on edged, impact and improvised weapons. Weeks before joining Binibining Pilipinas, Julia dislocated her shoulder in a PTK tournament in Antipolo. Good thing it was healed by the time the pageant activities started
Her interest in Shaolin Kung Fu stemmed from her fascination for the strong and powerful female characters in Asian Cinema. “They are not just the typical best friend or side kick in a movie. They are part of the action. They are so strong and powerful and get angry…. I really love them,” she said.
To learn kung-fu Julia lived in a monastery in Yunnan province for two months.
“We would train for 8 hours starting at 5 AM. It was so intense. For our cardio, we would climb up and down the mountain for at least three hours after that after that we do qigong and then gymnastics and all other movements until its time rest,” she said.
Kung fu came in handy when she entered Chinese Military School. “When it was so cold, and the heater wouldn’t work. Our coach would tell to just do Kung fu for 10 minutes so that we can fall asleep.,” she said. Aside from the physical training the students in were subjected to tough living conditions. “There were days when we wouldn’t have water for a month. We had to get water from the basement and bring it all the way to the 6thfloor, so all these water problems now, I am used to that, “she joke.
So why is a rough rider like Julia suddenly joining the Bb. Pilipinas pageant?
With her towering height and looks, her relatives would often kid her about joining pageants. But being a scholar, she was too focused on her studies.
“When Megan won Miss World in 2013 I realized this platform would allow me to elevate my voice and maximize my impact both here in the Philippines and abroad. I’ve been wanting to join, but there were so many other goals I wanted to pursue, things I needed to learn, countries to visit, and people to meet before becoming the best, most qualified, representative of this country that I could be.
I wasn’t supposed to join this year. I was supposed to finish my masters and then train before joining next year. After Catriona won, I realized this is a chance for me to rise to the occasion.”
We joked that the pageant activities must be a walk in the park for her, since she survived all kinds of martial arts training. “Not really, I had to learn how to put make-up, “she joked.
Up until she joined the pageant Julia never bought make up or high heels. “I was never a pageant girl,” she said. “On my first week after joining the pageant I had to buy my make-up. I bought MAC and it was so mahal, I was bankrupt on my first week.” I she joked. Next, she had to buy high heeled shoes, hire a make-up artist and a stylist to help her out. “I never even owned a full-length mirror before, I would only have a mirror in the bathroom and that was it. I never bothered with my looks, I was always sweaty and all,” she said.
Amid all her limitations Julia is confident about the pageant. “I’m a fast learner and I think I have the determination to work double time and learn how to put make up and walk on heels. What you cannot learn overnight is life experience, wit and intelligence. When was 11 years old my father had a heart attack. My brother and I were pulled out of school because my parents could no longer afford it. The experience taught me to fight and I did. With grit, hard work and the help of someone up I was able to send myself to school on academic scholarship. What I am most looking forward to in Binibini is to use this platform to share my voice and vision for our country. To empower, embolden and inspire Filipinos.”