Behind many a seemingly perfect boyfriend lurks a supremely annoying family. So goes the conundrum behind Package Deal, the new City show starring 28-year-old Canadian model-turned-actress Julia Voth as a teashop owner just barely putting up with cute lawyer boyfriend Randal Edwards’ obnoxious bros, as played by Harland Williams and Jay Malone. Glammed up in a body-hugging, rose-coloured bandage dress with loose brown waves cascading down her back, the self-proclaimed Prairie farm girl from Saskatchewan kicked off her nude pumps and jumped into bed with FLARE at her SoHo Metropolitan Hotel suite in Toronto to discuss her new show, model-actress stereotypes, relationship dealbreakers and her sideline in writing poetry.
FLARE: Having had a successful modeling career, what made you want to transition into acting? And do you feel like you face extra challenges because of the actress-model stereotypes?
Julia Voth: I modeled since I was 14. I did Calvin Klein, Shu Umera, Shisedo, Uniqlo and countless Japanese brands, and I did that until I was 21. That’s a pretty long career span for a model. But, I got to a point in my life where, creatively, it wasn’t fulfilling me anymore. There are [actress-model] stereotypes like, you can’t act and that you’re just a pretty girl, and people don’t really take you seriously. I passed up a lot of jobs because I didn’t want to be stereotyped as that girl. I immediately put myself into classes and studied really hard. I started doing action projects where I got to fight and shoot zombies and get dirty and cry because I wanted to really show that there’s another side to me rather than just being an ex-model.
FLARE: You’ve done some comedy before, but never as the female lead of a TV series. How did you feel about taking on this kind of role and what did you do to prepare?
JV: I watched a lot of sitcoms: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers, Seinfeld and Frasier. I watched the classics and listened for the timing and the beats and studied it. Andrew Ornstein, who created the show, was like, ‘Have fun, play, be yourself.’ In life I’m naturally goofy, silly and fun, and so I was really able to bring that to my character.
FLARE: What was it like filming the show in front of a live studio audience and what did you learn from it?
JV: The experience was so wonderful. I was really nervous about the audience because there are three hundred people staring at you. It was the thing I was most nervous about, but it was the thing that I embraced the most ever week once I started doing it because the audience gives you so much love.
FLARE: Your character Kim on the show is a woman that falls for a seemingly perfect guy, only to find out that he has some serious baggage. In your personal life, what turns you off and makes you not want to take the relationship further?
JV: I need a man who’s really confident in himself. I’m very much an equal in a relationship, but I want my man to be a man. I want him to be able to take the reins once in a while. I guess if he has any ex-girlfriend drama or if he’s self-conscious in any sort of way, then that’s death for a relationship.
FLARE: Do you feel like it’s a harder to date in L.A. and the industry?
JV: It’s hard to meet men in L.A. because everyone is an actor. This isn’t for all male actors, but I just feel like a lot of them are really full of themselves. I’m a prairie farm girl from Saskatchewan; I like to sit around in my jeans and walk my dog. So I need someone who is really down-to-earth. [I’m not interested in] someone who’s into the Hollywood thing and has his head in the clouds.
FLARE: Is there anyone you’re dysfunctionally close to?
JV: I’m super-close to my mom. Anyone who is going to love me is going to have to accept my family, and my family is crazy…in a really good way! They’re loud and they’re fun and we like to party together and have a good time. We’re really, really close. If anyone, for some reason, didn’t want me to be with my family, I would probably be like, ‘Maybe you’re not the one for me…’ which is okay!
FLARE: You’re in the process of writing a book called Naked, which is a collection of your poetry. Does writing poetry help you be a better actress?
JV: I started writing when I started acting. I was trying to find a way to get my emotions out. I think when you’re artistic and when you need to express yourself, you find lots of different areas to do it in. And, for me, my poetry is really personal. It’s very deep, it’s moody, it’s high and it’s low, and it’s all over the place, just like the ups and down of any girl growing up. I just write about what I know. It’s definitely helped me be more creative. It’s meant to be like a journey. You can’t race through it.
Package Deal premieres on City September 30 at 8:30pm ET/PT.