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Julia Montes' non-overnight success story

February 27 ------ JULIA Montes is never ashamed she wasn't born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. In fact, the Kapamilya actress knew what the face of squalor was like. 


At a very tender age — whether she liked it or not — she along with her grandmother Flory was the breadwinner in the family. Nothing much is known about her mother except that she's deaf-mute, Julia had to learn to communicate with her through sign language. To make both ends meet, Julia's family subsisted on borrowing money through "five-six" (a popular lending scheme where the lender charges 20 percent on the loaned principal). There were times when she and lola would scamper elsewhere to hide from the lender who showed up to collect on due dates. If unable to pay their daily "hulog" on time, it was the poor Julia who her granny would shield to plead with the lender for "palugit" or extension. To be able to eat three square meals a day meant a feast for Julia's family.  


She recalls having bought one packet of instant noodles from a nearby store which she and her siblings partook on a single plate: "I think that's the reason why I'm kind of generous with food to my co-workers." On the set, Julia would order food for her co-stars, "I'd feel shy if I'd order just for myself. If I had extra money, I would include the crew. For me, food is life since I grew up deprived of it." Not only was Julia denied the luxury of eating what she wanted, her sleeping conditions back then weren't also conducive. At one point, Julia says she and her Lola Flory used to live at the salon where the latter worked. It was when the shop was closed would they retire to — not bed but to a bamboo couch minus the comfort of a cushioned bed. It came to a point where Julia's granny had enough of the kind of life they all lived. ""You should audition, we need money," Julia recalls her Lola Flory having told her in the vernacular. 


Armed with good looks that could pass for a celebrity, Julia did just that. "We even borrowed money for the fare to get to the set and back home, only to find out I was replaced because of my height," Julia shares, however no mention which taping of show she had gone there for. A single failure didn't dampen Julia's spirit though. She showed up auditions after auditions. Her first major break came when she starred along with Kathryn Bernardo in ABS-CBN's remake of "Mara Clara." TV as well as film projects for Julia have since poured like torrents. No, it wasn't an overnight success. Maybe — just maybe — it's the bamboo couch on where Julia slept and dreamt. Or it could also be their "five-six" means of survival with Julia this time collecting much higher interest rates for her perseverance, hard work and good heart. 




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