YesJulz's Socially Conscious Party Culture Wins Over Miami
Photography by Monica McGivern / Hair & Makeup by Dorine Siama / Styled by Sarah Akiba
"We had like 200 kids upstairs, and I'm telling them: 'All right, everybody, shut up. The cops are downstairs,'?" the 25-year-old social engineer remembers. "A light shines on everybody's face as my back is toward the balcony. I turn around... and there's a helicopter with a spotlight."
The next morning, radio announcers discussed the fiasco while her mom drove her to school. She was busted, and she got a good whupping. But her destiny was set in stone.
After a short stint at the University of South Florida, she moved back to her birth city of Miami, broke and hopeful. In South Beach, she found her calling. Her first nightlife gig was as hostess at the now-shuttered club Arkadia, and she eventually worked up the ranks to promoter at LIV, FDR, and Story. The connections she made there, combined with an innate social media savvy, led to huge followings on Instagram and Snapchat. According to her own numbers, her public Snapchat story is viewed 80,000 to 100,000 times every 24 hours.
She's branded herself as "YesJulz," and not only does she plan and promote parties for high-paying brands, but she also flies around the world to snap other shindigs. She's partying hard and making a killing. Basically, she's living the dream.
"I get this high from being busy and just doing things, making something out of nothing. I've always really enjoyed connecting people and entertaining," she says. "As I get older, I start to see that everything I do is an extension of that."
She now leads seven employees as head of the YesJulz Agency, a "full-service event production and social media marketing agency."
"That basically means we do it all," she says.
As a rule, the YesJulz Agency employs only women.
"I felt like I was living in a city that only saw a place for women in nightlife at the assistant's desk or as a hostess or a server or a bartender or a dancer, and I didn't really like that so much," she says. "I just want... to give them the opportunity to be creative and make money doing what they love and not be stuck in this superficial thing that can be South Beach."
It's also important to Julz to give back to the community that embraced her dreams. Once a month, she gets people together at art galleries to dance to DJs and pack lunches for downtown's less fortunate residents. It's called Hashtag Lunchbag, and after handing out meals, participants hang out with Overtown families and spend some time playing basketball with underprivileged youth.
In the future, Julz hopes to take that scheme further. Until she was 9 years old, she was a ward of the state, and she dreams of founding a chain of YMCA-esque centers for kids in foster care where they can receive mentorship and learn entrepreneurial skills like hers.
"I think a lot of the reason I am the way that I am today is because of the way I grew up," she says. "I've realized I have a gift to connect with people and resonate with people, and I'm here to do that to the best of my ability."