In Character w/ Julian Burzynski
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 11 months ago

In Character w/ Julian Burzynski

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Julian Burzynski is an actor, singer, dancer, comedian, and the unofficial “CEO of Smiles.” You probably know him as the guy on TikTok with the really cool mustache who posts videos recreating iconic moments from film and television. Today, Julian is here to talk about how television became a refuge from teen bullying and the global pandemic and how he turned his passion for movies into a creative outlet - one where he can embrace the masculine and feminine sides of himself.

Be sure to follow Julian on IG and Tik Tok! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Silvana Alcala. Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. When I start to create a video, I am so excited to share this extension of myself through these characters and these scenes of movies that have really inspired me throughout my life. I think when I was younger I tried to hide a side of myself that might have been more feminine, but now I'm so proud of that part of me and every other part of me as well, and putting a wig on and looking in the camera and feeling great and feeling proud of who I am only makes making these videos even more special to me. Julian Brazinski is an actor, singer, dancer, comedian and the unofficial CEO of smiles. You probably know him as the guy on tick tock with the really cool mustache who post videos recreating iconic moments from film and Television, from the legally Blonde Harvard application video to the Jingle Bell rock performance from mean girls. Julian is an expert at taking a classic scene and reimagining it so the audience feels like this is the first time they've seen it. His smile is contagious and his perfectly styled costumes and wigs keep fans coming back to his page for more. Today, Julian is here to talk about how television became a refuge from teenage bullying and the global pandemic, and how he turned his passion for movies into a creative outlet, one where he can embrace the masculine and feminine sides of himself. I'm Julian Brazynski, and this is pride. Julian's videos have become a beacon of joy and an escape for...

...so many people from the harsh reality of the pandemic that still plagues the world today, and that's exactly why he started making the videos, to escape reality. And I decided to just start making these these videos and recreating these movies, not only using my craft as an actor, but also to maybe help other people smile during this tough time and maybe have that feeling of safety for others, even if it's just a short form, one minute video, just to bring that laughter or distraction from what's happening during that day. Julian graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a degree in musical theater in two thousand and seventeen. Shortly after college, he worked as an entertainer on a Norwegian cruise line for a year and then as a Shakespearian backup dancer for another year in the music cicle. Something wrong in two thousand and nineteen. He moved to the Big Apple, New York City. So I was really lucky to have those two years of performing as well as traveling, and once I got back to the city, I started doing fitness instructing, just kind of taking a personal you know, starting my life with friends and relationships and things like that, like being like in one place at one time. And once I started auditioning again, after I had like five months kind of around December, from August to December, I kind of like was going out, I was dating, I was doing all this stuff, and then I started auditioning again and I was finding myself walking into these rooms and I was struggling because I was like putting on a character before putting on a character in the room. For years, Julian struggled with embracing both the feminine and masculine sides of himself.

In School, he was bullied and called names for being different from the other kids. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago and I had a really hard time with bullying and being feminine and being different and no one really understood that where I was and I would come home and think fully I and luckily I have such an amazing supportive family, including my parents my two sisters. Now I would come home and, you know, take take refuge with them and just in that feeling of not really telling them what was happening, but just feeling okay to be myself again, whereas in school I wasn't able to do that. Years later, Julian was still walking into auditions with his mindset that he had to be masculine enough for the casting directors to choose him. When I was walking in the room, I wasn't being Julian because that's not what I felt they wanted, or what I was hearing that they wanted right, like more of a masculine or the leading men, or that pressure to be, you know in the industry like in school, and things telling you to be yourself, but then also not wearing a tight jeane or a flamboyant shirt, but be yourself at the same time. So I was struggling because I had such an amazing time starting my life in New York City and meeting fabulous people and exploring my queerness and and everything around me and just like really really letting that breathe, since being in one place at one time and I was struggling. Only one thing really helped him distract himself from the cruel world around him. I would go down stairs and put on movies and TV...

...shows, where it made me feel safe or it made me feel it made me forget about the day that was had, with the names that were called or, you know, everything that was happening, and I would get lost in these stories and these characters, and that's where my love for performing came from, and I just felt safe and like things were going to get better. So when the pandemic hit in March of two thousand and twenty and Julian's career was put on hold, he reverted to his high school days and found salvation once again in his favorite fictional characters. And as I was watching those movies and TV shows, as well as the news, you know, it kept on becoming larger and larger and pushing back timelines and things like that, I was taken back to a place where I also turned to movies and TV shows for a feeling of safety, and it was like this feeling of nostalgia, because in those moments when I was watching TV and movies, I forgot about everything that was going on. One of the film's Julian found himself replaying over and over was the one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine classic Never Been Kissed, starring Drew Barrymore. She has such a journey, but at the end you know she she finds that Lark happens and it's like, in that two hours of a movie right, it becomes better and I was like maybe my movie is this a little longer than two hours. So in this time where I was feeling stuck again, these movies reminded me that there is more, that life is not done right, the story is still continuing, and it just made me feel so much better, just like it did when I was younger. So I kind of decided to make these fantasies that I was so enthralled with a reality. If you've seen one of Julian's kids, you...

...know this isn't your average tick tock video. They feel like a full Hollywood production, from the costumes, whigs, camera angles and lighting, but behind the scenes it's just Julian, a closet full of costumes and a ring light. Luckily, I majored in Music Theater, so I love the theme Party in College, so I have a bunch of costumes and a bunch of wigs and I also do experiment a lot with fashion, so a lot of no skirts and dresses I did have already because they were daily ware. so he started posting his videos online and unsurprisingly people love them, probably because you feel Julian's passion for these films in his delivery of every character, even the basic characters in the back that no one ever thinks about. It is a recreation, but I think it's an extension of myself too. I like to think that I bring a lot to of myself to these characters, but these characters are all a part of me, because what the movies and the the scenes that I'm doing are ones that really mean a lot to me and that have helped me, have sculpted who I am now in confidence and like a lot of just who I am. When Julian is creating a scene, he brings his own experiences into his acting to help elevate the emotions he's trying to portray, and with the emotions we've all been feeling. For the last year and a half, it's not hard for Julian to find inspiration. Since the beginning, has been a moment of the day that I can really just put my emotions and like put myself in something that could make me feel better. Like it gives that same feeling of some people. It's running, like if I going to run for however long, I feel better afterwards if I make a video and I really just put how I'm feeling that day into it, whether it be sad, whether it be funny, it makes me feel so much...

...better. So a lot of it is technique and things that I've learned in school, but a lot of it also is what is happening in the world right now and just trying to connect with audiences on, you know, social platforms that might be feeling that way too, and really just making sure nobody feels alone in whatever emotion they are feeling, because every emotion is valid always, but especially in this time that we are in that we never know what's happening, what's gonna Happen Next, and, yeah, just really relating to everybody's Day. In addition to escaping reality, Julian's also living out of fantasy. The scenes he chooses to recreate are the ones we all dream of playing in our own lives when we're watching the films, like walk down, like the high school hallway, like in slow motion, or like a makeover, seeing like in Miss Congeniality or the lizzie McGuire movie where they try and all the clothes and everything like that, where it's it's such a when you're watching those it is such an escape. When we come back creating Julian's first video, school bullies and why the mustache is here to stay. Welcome back. Today we're talking with online personality Julian Brazynski about turning his love for movies into a safe space online. The idea for Julian's first video came to him when he was binge watching TV during the lockdown. I was actually with my parents in their apartment and because, again, we didn't know how long everything was going, so my dad was working in the living room and then I had a room and then it was my parents room, so we were in pretty...

...tight quarters. Julian was watching pretty wild, an American reality TV show that follows the lives of two socialite sisters as they attempt to make it in Hollywood and I had just watched that episode of the iconic you know, twenty nine, when she's calling Nancy Joe the corn, when light tweed skirt, when I wore four inch little brown baby cut twenty nine to record it. Nancy Joe. This is like sys. That was a iconic TV show that I found through the blingering because that's what the movie was based off of. So I think I started watching it again and that's where I was like, mom, we have to do this. I came to hers like do you want to do this? So I's like, do you have a pink jacket and she was like yeah, yeah, okay, let's do this. Let's do this. So we started doing it and it's so funny to look back at because our lip syncs and breath and everything that like really has come such a long way. is so funny because we're like a second, we're both listening for it happening. We're like and then the line comes. So we actually re recreated that not too Ongo this last winter, I believe, and it just is so funny to see that the growth. But that's really where it started and I fell again fell in love with I was like, okay, I can do this, and then it just like became more and more extensive where I was like, Oh, cool, this is what I can do with a phone and a ring light and a wig and cut these certain things. It became a routine for Julian and his mother during quarantine. While Julian's dad would take business calls in the living room, they would watch movies and brainstorm their next get in the bedroom, and my dad was like laughing so hard. My Mom and my dad, I remember them be on the couch...

...and I was in my room, in there cackling, like actually gave us. I was like what and they were just like watching it on repeat and my dad was just like loving it, and then he was like you know, where's mine? When are we doing one with me? And I was like okay, yeah, yeah, we we're going to do this. So that became like me and my mom's daily activity, like in in my room or in her room. And then sometimes it's so funny, my dad would be enzoom calls and he'd be like you, can you keep it down? We're like, oh, so satory, like trying to turn it down and like, but then at the end he was like right directly, being like let me see what let me see it, let me see it as soon as work is let me see it now, and we're like yeah, amazing. So that really set it off, and then with the wigs and such and the costumes, I kind of just got more and more into it and these, you know, ideas that I can make it at as as close as possible. It's so funny to look back. Some of the wig lines are absolutely attradition. I have one that is like down to my forehead and I'm like, Oh, Julian, but it's all part of the journey. But I fell in love with, you know, the angles, the lighting, the the nuances of the breathing, the background and everything like that. So as soon as I, you know, had that spark in my brain, it all like kept rolling along. Julian's little passion project, spurred from boredom, quickly became a fulltime GIG and he was living for it and I think the journey continues. But just like finding that love for for not only creating these videos but also the like the wig styling, the costumes, the make up, the lighting, the setting and everything like that's like wow, this really is such a it has so many layers which I've so fallen in...

...love with, but it's been like a challenge for myself getting to know each of those facets and then combining them into one, which has been like Super Special and I love that I have had that opportunity to explore. Since his first video, Julian's parents still make appearances in his skits, but it's primarily him playing multiple characters. That means when he picks another badass female protagonist to portray, he's the one wearing the wig and the miniskirt, and that's how he likes it. I love women and so so much and I think my attraction to that strength is stems through my family. I have the most amazing father, but I have also my mom and my two sisters who are so incredibly strong and inspiring to me and growing up they were, you know, my best friends, and not only them, but seeing no like Britney Spears or drew barrymore or these people who I really felt like I connected with. It was that feminine side when I was younger that I was curious about. I didn't I didn't really know, but I was like, I connect with these powerful women, like what is what does that mean? And I think that's where the infatuation came from. Is just like how strong and powerful these actresses were and are today, as well as my mom and my sister's. Julian's passion for women lad films helped him to embrace his feminine side, but, more importantly, he found a balance between his femininity and his masculinity, where that signature mustache it fits into a skits. You know, as the years have gone on, I am so in love with women and the strength that they all pertain that the usage now with these characters let's me know and...

...in these scenes, that I can be glitter and wigs and dresses one day and a t shirt and shorts the next day. It doesn't stop who I am. Many people have tried to assume characteristics about Julian just by seeing the mustache, especially when it comes to his voice, and it's so interesting because it's like, Oh, you see something and that's what you think. Or what did they expect? That's what I always say. I'm like, what do you expect? And they're like, Oh, I don't you know, maybe something deeper, and I'm like, you know, okay, because because of the mustache is so I'm like what? But to me it is again an extension of me and just like letting it be so fluid and masculinity and femininity. And you know, when and when people come into like the mustache disappears, it's like there you go. It's not. It's through the artist storytelling. It's not just like what meets the eye. It's the feeling that somebody can watch something and get that feeling rather than just looking at somebody and thinking this is what it's going to be. When Julian decided to share his passion project online, he exposed his little sanctuary to the possibilities of online bullying. But even with nearly two million people following him on Ticktock, his common sec and has stayed relatively clear of negative remarks. I don't know if the Algorithm is working in my favor or anybody else's, but you know, it is difficult reading comments that understanding why somebody would comment the things that they do, and in the beginning I was worried about it, for sure, but in that time I kind of had this moment of like what is there to lose? Kind of thing, and I have worked so hard to not let...

...other people's thoughts mean anything to me anymore. I still, you know, here and there, have some, but no one or what they have to say about me is going to discrept my dream or my fantasy. You know, there's no talking during the movies and they won't. They won't hurt that. But Julian still has reservations when it comes to what he'll post online. His page is pretty much absent of any updates on his personal life, and that was on purpose. I do love to share about myself and about my life, but I also find the disconnection has really been beneficial for me because I share. I share these works of that I create to create joy and things like that, but also have my own personal, private life. Julian says he worries that if he shares too much of his personal life online it might pop the bubble. If comments on videos or creations, really not letting that, but if it's in a personal way or anything like that, I wouldn't want that to bring a negative thought in my mind about creating or about being on these platforms, like when people comment about, Oh you, I didn't expect your voice to sound that way, or whatever exactly. Comments like that where it's like they does take you back into a place where it's no matter how much work you have done for yourself, it takes you somewhere that maybe won't affect the entire day, but for that little moment you're just like shake it off, just like let it go, and to me it is it is a struggle I have, like in my mind, because there are...

...times where I like, I record something and I'm like, and it's about the day, and I'm like, is it lending to helping others smile or having that brightness in the day? Like I said, it is about connecting. That's a difficult question because I think I'm still toying with that in my mind to and that is a fear where it's like sharing a more personal side of myself and the creation of these videos side of myself, as well my passion for performing and things like that. So I don't know if I've really found the answer to that yet, but I think it's important to use your voice on those platforms for things that are happening around the world and things that need to happen and saying up to date with being just the best person you can be and using your platform in your voice for good at the end of the day. Julian said the only thing standing in the way of sharing his creativity online is himself, which is something he's always working through. I did burlesque ones and that sometimes, cutting and editing the film, it can get so off and you're so far along, or there are times where I, you know, Judge Myself, looking at myself so much in the camera that I'm like, I can't do it, like I don't feel today, it's not it. So I know I've learned that I need to it won't it won't be good unless I pause it and come back to it another day where I'm feeling better about it, because I have tried to push through and I just get super frustrated with myself and I also am a perfectionist now with them. So it does take me longer because I want it to be as as precise and as, in my eyes, the best that I can be.

But there are days I definitely pause. I pause and come back to it. Despite his many followers who eagerly request the creator to make more videos, there are times where Julian doubts if his work is even any good and there have been a few times where I will, you know, one will take a lot of time and it won't do well or a lot of people won't see it, but I'm super excited about it. I'm like this is going to be amazing, like so many people like this, and just like in that thought processably so excited to connect with others about that love for that scene or that movie. And it doesn't and in those moments, that was in the beginning more as well. That I just have to remember that I escape doing these right to find the joy. It's not about them, the numbers or the legs of the views, but it's about that main feeling that I started doing these four was to have that escape for the day for me, as well as creating a space where others can feel safe and smile or laugh or feel feel like they can escape from the day they are having. And I just keep that with me now and it it. It makes me feel better. I think that's also important for people to remember, because they can watch them and maybe it only take sixty seconds to watch it and I oh, that was so good, but you don't think about like, oh, that took hours and then you flipped out one day or like I have to picture this tomorrow. I can't even look at it. I don't like. Yeah, look, something that's important for people to remembers. Like in pandemic land, a lot of people have taken on new projects or learning how to do things, and it can be so disappointing or stressful when you're halfway along something that's not coming out right. So that like pursuit for perfection. It's nice that you can look at them and be like, hopefully this makes someone happy. Publish it right. Yeah, that and that's what, no matter how many people it is, I always want, just even if it affects...

...one person. That is incredible to me because, like you said, some you know, some comments, and I appreciate them all. I like really every everybody who supports and watches or loves the videos, or even if they don't, I appreciate it. It's changed my life since Julian posted his first video. A lot has changed. Yes, I actually moved to La in the end of May with my best friend and it really was timing. She was going and we had it, discussed it and everything was happening, but I just decided, you know, like why not? Kind of and I'm so happy because I to come out here with her, because I don't think I would come out here alone. It just like felt like the right time. With pandemic restrictions lifting across the country and Julian exploring a new state, he realized he doesn't have as much free time to create tick tock videos. I still feel like I am dreaming, like getting to make these videos and as as things open up more, like one of my favorite things to do is go to the movie theater and that and see movies there, and that itself is just like inspiration, because I am so thankful for social media and I want to keep creating in growing as well. But that doesn't mean my journey as a performer, you know, in in musicals or a TV show or a movie of my own some day. So I think it is I've I've learned a lot of balance this summer of trying to work and also explore life again. But a lot of my inspiration now comes from getting to explore...

...life again and as safe, the safest way possible, meeting New People, hearing what you know scenes they love or movies they love, because I have found I've gotten to watch so many movies that I hadn't seen, thankfully to other people who have requested, and I was like I found so many awesome, awesome scenes that I never would have thought of because of everybody else. So it definitely has been a test of balance, but I think I'm finally like on my two fee where I I do my work, I get to create these amazing videos and then also explore in a safe way whatever is possible in this amazing city that I am new too. For Julian, there's no going back to how life was before the pandemic. I never would have thought so much good would have come out of that time alone, but I don't know if I would have sat with myself and ask or listen to things that I probably have pushed away for so long in that time alone, so many insecurities and past thoughts and things that still crept into my mind even in those auditions or in a daily life, that I could sit and think what is the root of that and kind of work through it, and these videos really helped with that too. Is that I this is a part of me that is me. I was trying to fit into a space, but in the end what I needed to do was create my own space, because I don't need to fit into any other space, but just create a space that anybody's welcome it to. I don't have to fit in any other bubble or type or anything like that. So so much good came out of it, but I did not expect it. To see what iconic seeing Julian will create next, you can follow him on instagram at Julian cookies or tick tock as Julian...

Burzynski. That's be you. R Zynski pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple, podcast, spotify or wherever you listen to podcast. Then follow us on Instagram, facebook, twitter and tick tock at pride and tune in weekly for new episodes. Be Sure to share this episode with your friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere at leave by chambers. This episode was shot by my mom, Cathy Watts. Pride is produced by me, lead by chambers, Maggie Bowls, Bryan Tillotson, Caitlin mcdaniel and Brandon Marlowe, edited by Silvana, I'll calla and Daniel Ferreira, sound mixing by Sylvana. I'll Calla I'm going to add one to your list. Then I love titanic. It's like my jam at one is. I have that heart of the ocean and the black robe and the taking off and then you got to do the hand. You're going to have to recreate the hand, the whole Shebang. I can't Di Bra so all I'll print out. Yeah,.

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