Julie Vu is a transgender Canadian YouTuber hailing from Vancouver. Her channel PrincessJoules currently boast over 300,000 subscribers. Vu has a passion for make-up artistry and fashion, which is more or less the theme of her channel. And through YouTube, she is one of the first to share her whole transition story and life experiences through social media. Check out this interview we did with her!
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What was the drive for you to start making YouTube videos?
Well, my name is Julie. And, I’m a transgender woman. I wanted to document that because I didn’t see a lot of people on there that did document that stuff. So, I kinda started from the beginning and documented everything.
So who or what influenced you into vlogging about fashion and make-up?
It has always been a passion of mine, just for make-up. And I kinda want to express that, and share it with the world. And also, Miss Canada.
Jenna Talackova. She kinda inspired me, as well, to see someone that is transgender and kinda paving the road.
So, were you ever concerned about sharing your transition story?
I was. I was worried, but it helped me. There needs to be help in the world so…it’s a double-edged sword. It helps me both but it backfires at times. But I think there’s more good than bad.
As a transgender YouTuber, a lot of people in the LGBTQI community who look up to you. At the same time, I see there’s a lack of that LGBTQI identity in the Canadian YouTube scene. What do you think about that?
I think that’s true. I think, you know, as you go by, more and more people are opening up and making videos and sharing their stories. So I think it’s slowly but surely. When I first started, I didn’t think there was a lot of people. But, you know, voices like mine and other people, it encourages more people to open up and to make more videos. So I think it’s growing.
How do you handle the hate comments and the criticisms?
I look at the positives and negatives. There’s more positives than negatives; for every one dislike there’s like 20 likes. I try to steer away from that, learn to go pass that.
You are here for Buffer Festival. So what are you screening?
I’m screening a video that I posted already. I think it’s a very important message. It’s about domestic violence. So it’s featuring me, and I have make-up on. Using my make-up, I make it look like I got punched and stuff. It’s to bring awareness to domestic violence.
So, what do you want to see change in the YouTube scene?
More acceptance. I think especially for the LGBTQI community. I think we need more acceptance and be involved more.
What would you say would help the LGBTQI community?
I guess being noticed, by other people, because we are creating voices for ourselves. But I think, if other people can include us, in collaborations or, you know, projects, that would help get our voices out there.
Have you collaborated with any other YouTubers so far?
Um, other LGBT. I feel like we’re still in our pond, and we need to migrate to different channels and peoples.
How has your life changed, since you told everybody about your transition?
I mean it’s a little bit difficult. There are people out there who threaten to kill me. Which is hard. It’s crazy. Like I will get death threats all the time, and I’d have to go to the police.
But, just helping people and getting messages like, ‘You saved my life.’ Like that makes me so happy. Like thousands and thousands of people message me, they watch my videos and they find courage and hope in my videos. That makes me happy.
What was it like meeting your first fan?
I was…I don’t call my fans ‘fans.’ I call them supporters. But, I was shocked and I didn’t know what to do. I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’ But I feel very grateful and I’m very happy.
And since you started YouTube, how has that affected you and your family?
My parents are proud of me now. They’re very proud. Like, I’m not doing anything bad. I’m not doing drugs, I’m not drinking. I’m just being myself.
How do you feel about Caitlyn Jenner coming out as well?
I think it’s good. I feel like she needs a little more education, within the LGBT. But I think what she’s doing is good; she’s reaching out to so many people. Especially because she has that platform for her to reach so many people, it’s inspiring.
She’s gotten a lot of criticism, as well from the LGBTQI, as [Jenner] is very privileged. Your thoughts?
My thoughts on how it is…you can’t really help it, right? You know, you’re born like that.
Thank you very much!
Note: This Q&A was a joint collaboration between me and Michelle Song, the current editor-in-chief of CanCulture.