Julie Marie Berman has come a long way since her GENERAL HOSPITAL debut as Lulu Spencer in 2005. Not only is the 23-year-old actress a college graduate, she has earned an Outstanding Younger Actress daytime Emmy nomination for her first soap gig.
Soap Opera Weekly: When you started on GH you were attending USC. Did you ever consider dropping out of school?
Julie Marie Berman: No. It was really important to me to finish and get my degree. When I started GENERAL HOSPITAL, I was in mid-semester of my senior year. I was just too close to being done. It would have been a shame to stop school. I didn’t want to sit around and get lazy just because I had a job. It was definitely a lot of work, but it paid off.
Weekly: Is your degree in production?
Berman: It’s in Critical Studies in Cinema Television.
Weekly: So at some point you’d like to work behind the cameras?
Berman: Yeah, maybe. I [studied that] because I wanted to make sure I had another option in case acting wasn’t working. I’m definitely open to directing or producing, but I have a hard time being behind the camera and not being in front of it. I really love acting. I don’t know if I could sit back and watch people without doing it myself. I would never say “never,” but right now, I’m happy acting.
Weekly: How excited were you to get nominated for a Daytime Emmy after only one year on the job?
Berman: The whole thing has been very surreal. It was like, “Wow! I can’t believe this is happening.” Part of me wishes that more GH actors were recognized, because we have such a talented cast.
Weekly: Who were the first co-stars to congratulate you?
Berman: Steve Burton (Jason) congratulated me in the makeup room when I got to work. Laura Wright (Carly) called me. All of my castmates have been so incredibly supportive. They’ve been rooting for me from the get-go. It’s really nice to see everybody just as happy as I am about this.
Weekly: What scenes did you submit to earn your nomination?
Berman: I submitted the scenes when Lulu told Carly that she was pregnant. That episode had a good arc, from the driven-and-determined Lulu to the vulnerable, scared Lulu confessing to Carly that she was pregnant and didn’t know what to do.
Weekly: How have you enjoyed the onscreen time you’ve shared with Sonny and Jason?
Berman: I’ve loved it. It’s so much fun. I enjoy working with Steve and Maurice (Benard, Sonny). They’re hilarious; especially when you get them together. Doing action stuff is cool, too. I don’t get to do that all the time. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Weekly: What has it been like being the girl in the middle of all the 20-something guys on the show?
Berman: I love it. Seriously, I am living vicariously through Lulu. I wish I’d had boys fighting over me when I was 18, because that would have bee so much fun. I’m definitely milking this for as long as it lasts. It’s fun to play a character who is adored by men.
Weekly: And there are so many men: Dillon, Spinelli, Milo and Logan.
Berman: I don’t know if Logan likes Lulu like that right now, but there definitely is potential for it. For sure she’s got Dillon and Spinelli and Milo. They’re definitely her “Three Stooges of Love,” and they are all great to work with. Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) is just so funny. I can’t even look at him without laughing sometimes.
Weekly: What are some of your interests away from the set?
Berman: I love painting and drawing. I have started getting interested in photography, too. I want to start taking pictures and, then, actually painting them. It would be really cool to transform a photo into a painting. I’ve been getting into running, too. I’m thinking about doing some small little marathons to keep myself active and busy.
Weekly: Do you do anything in particular to stay in shape?
Berman: I do. I run and I go to the gym. Once I’m consistent with it, I feel wonderful. I’m fortunate that I live pretty close to the beach, so I run along the ocean. Time flies really fast when you’re doing that. I lift weights, too, and do stuff like that to keep myself toned.
Weekly: Are you a big beach person?
Berman: Definitely. I can’t imagine living far away from water. I need it. It’s a different vibe when you live close to an ocean. It makes people more calm and less stressed out than living in the city. It’s more mellow, which I like.
Weekly: Is traveling an interest of yours?
Berman: Oh, yes. I don’t have much free time, but I’m trying to make time for it — hopefully within the next year. I really want to go back to Europe. I was there before I got this job. I’d like to see Italy again. The whole country is filled with art. I studied art in Florence for six weeks. I just need to find the time away from the job.
Weekly: Anthony Geary (Luke) has a home in Amsterdam. Maybe you could stop off and visit him.
Berman: I know. I should. We could go out. That would be fun.