Young, Gifted, Black -- and Ambitious
it's a long way from kansas to new york city, but julie woodson made it -- and a career for herself
Her friends all thought Julie Woodson was crazy to walk off the set of Super Fly. But the producers hadn't told her beforehand about the nude love scene she was supposed to play -- and, for what she considered rip-off wages, it just wasn't worth it. So Julie -- an accomplished model who works for the Eileen Ford agency and has appeared in various TV commercials -- decided she could afford to wait a while longer for her first movie role. Now that she's seen Super Fly, she doesn't regret her move. "I hated it, except for Curtis Mayfield's music, which carried the whole thing. But most of the black movies coming out are just garbage -- they're all about sex and drugs, they put down the blacks and exploit the actors. Until the money comes in for some good black movies -- and until I can get some roles that call for acting instead of just looking good -- I'll stay off the screen." The same qualities -- a sense of direction and a bit of will power -- that made Miss Woodson get up and split also helped her escape from her home town of Hutchinson, Kansas. "If I'd stayed there," she allows, "I'd probably have a lot of children by now, and I'd probably be on welfare." But she left there at 12 and went to California with her father (her parents are divorced). While Julie earned a degree in business from San Diego City College, she worked as a stewardess for PSA, and after finishing school, she switched to TWA. That brought her to New York, where she began modeling for the Black Beauty agency. That led, in turn, to her association with Eileen Ford and to TV spots on behalf of hair sprays, cold remedies, yoghurt, diapers and other products. Julie isn't crazy about her work, but she admits she'd like to be the top black model in New York. She'd also like the chance to use her business acumen to start her own company someday -- no specific ideas yet -- and she's banking her money with that in mind. In her spare time, Julie studies acting and practices karate (an art she feels is necessary in New York City). Eventually, she would like to settle down and raise a family. Such is her maternal instinct, in fact, that when she lived in L.A. she would go to local orphanages and "borrow" youngsters for weekends. But family building will have to wait. Right now, Julie's concerned with making her vision of the good life a reality -- and she seems to be well on her way.
Photography by Bill Figge, Mel Figge