Julie Roberts.....Wow what can I say? Upon meeting this extraordinary beauty, I was completely blown away when I heard the bits and pieces about her tragedy to triumph life story. I had always been a fan of her incredible voice, so sultry and strong with texture and emotion....but to meet her and have such an authentic conversation about her life was a gift. She truly inspired me in so many ways and I am grateful that I was able to photograph such a rare talent and beautiful person on the inside and out! I encourage everyone to buy her new book "Beauty in the Breakdown" . Thank you Julie for the honor!
Tell us about you, your family and your work I have always described myself to others as a singer/songwriter who LOVES to be on the road playing shows. It’s a dream I was born with and all I ever really wanted to do in life. But as I was making my second album, God showed me that He had a different plan. During that time, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and since that diagnosis, I’ve discovered that I do indeed have a deeper purpose. When I’m not on the road playing shows or recording music, I am traveling the country speaking to others living with MS. Now, I live to inspire at least one person at each event to continue chasing their dreams, despite a diagnosis that they may see as limiting in some way. If I achieve that, I help them find their purpose while fulfilling my own.
Tell us your favorite charity and why It took me a while to accept that I was a person living with MS. I was fearful of what the music industry might think and I wanted to keep doing what I loved. So, I kept it a secret until it simply was no longer possible. And once I fully embraced it, I realized that there was an incredible network of folks just waiting to help each other. Soon after deciding I was no longer afraid of my new reality, I connected with the National MS Society. This organization has been near and dear to my heart since learning about what they do each and every day to help people live full incredible lives. The society not only helps individuals living with MS on a personal level, it is also instrumental in raising awareness and funds to aid in further research. In fact, it is the National MS Society that helps make possible studies for the development of new disease modifying therapies. These are crucial. Participating in walks and other events has introduced me to a fantastic community, all sharing the same goal, finding a cure for MS! . The difference between now and 20 years ago for those living with MS is astounding. We’ve come so far and we can go even further with everyone’s support and contributions. How can the community help your charity? The community has many opportunities to help the National MS Society with their goals. One way would be to get a group of friends together and sign up for a walk, bike ride, or any other fun event put on by the society. You can go to the National MS Society website to research events. One of my favorite events has been the challenge walks which have taken place in both Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. My Mom and I signed up and we were able to make it a destination getaway trip, all while helping the society!! We had a blast and cannot wait to do another one.
What does the word “beautiful” mean to you? I love it when I hear a person describe a woman by saying, “She is beautiful on both the outside and the inside”. Yes, there are women I see, whom I’ve never met, and I may notice that she is pretty. To me, though, beautiful is different than ‘pretty’. Pretty is external but beautiful goes all the way to the heart of a woman. A beautiful person opens up their soul and shares with the world their gifts, their love, their knowledge, their laughter, their tears, and helps make the world a more wonderful place to live. What makes you happy? First and foremost, my family is very important to me. Having them in my life, healthy and happy themselves, makes me HAPPY! I’m blessed to have found my husband and soulmate, Matt, at 39 years old and he makes me happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life! My Mama has been my other half for all of my life and she will always make me happy. (My MawMaw, Sisters, Aunts, Nieces, and all of my family make me happy!) Dogs also bring me incredible joy! I love to rescue dogs and make them feel loved. The dogs in my life are Lucie, Cosmo, Ruby, Jessie, & Carlie. You can see plenty of pictures of my dogs on my Instagram page (TheJulieRoberts) or my Facebook page. Ruby actually has her own Instagram page (hello_mynameisruby). As I said earlier, playing music on stage and sharing my story with others fills my soul and when my soul is fulfilled, I am happy. Being outside also makes me HAPPY! I love the beach, hiking with my friends, & running with Ruby. I get joy from being active; I enjoy fitness classes & lifting weights (you can find me at 360 Fitness in Nashville 4-5 days a week). Making time for reading a great book and traveling with my family and friends also makes me SO HAPPY! Finally, catching up with my friends over dinner/wine is always a blast! We all have busy lives so making time to do that is very important to me.
What inspirational quote resonates with you?
I am a spiritual person and a scripture that resonates with me is Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. A quote Mama has always said to me, and I think about often is, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” One thing I can control in my life during trying times is how I respond to a challenging situation. I always rely on my faith to get me through those times. I ask God to guide me on my path and I decide that I am going to overcome whatever obstacle is in front of me. Sometimes those obstacles take years to tackle, but patience, faithfulness, and smiling through it all will help one be stronger on the other side. I have heard it said a few times, “God turns your mess into YOUR message.” When you decide to overcome, you are arming yourself with a message to share with others going through their own difficult times.
What was your experience like having a “Women with Heart” session? I can’t say enough great things about Erin McCaffrey! Not only is she a fantastic photographer, she is a wonderful human being. Erin and I laughed and even shared deep life stories during the photo session and I felt like I’d just reconnected with a long lost friend. I was comfortable during the entire shoot and I LOVE all of the photos from our day together. It was a day I will never forget! Thank you, Erin for having me be part of your series. May we all be Women With Heart!!