She’s worked hard to build her own strength. Now, this actor is helping other women and girls do the same.

After achieving remarkable success performing in Italian films, Giulia Lupetti is ready to be embraced in the American industry.

“Acting in Italian films is easier for me because it’s my language, and I’m in my comfort zone. I feel like the American market gives me a challenge.” She tells me over the phone while vacationing in Calabria.

“America encourages you to experiment and make mistakes no matter how wild your ideas are.” There’s an air of deep respect and excitement when she talks about the creative freedom America offers. Lupetti’s mother was a fervent believer in holistic medicine and dedicated her time to studying natural remedies and practices in India, healing others who were suffering along the way.

Her father enjoyed volunteering at local prisons in his free time. As progressive as her upbringing was, they still had conservative ideas about the arts. When she began playing piano as a child, they immediately disapproved of her new hobby. That reaction set the tone for how she pursued other creative passions.

“It was very difficult to admit I wanted to be an actress to my parents.” Her family didn’t understand that acting served as a distraction from issues she faced at home.

“Becoming an actress was a healing process for myself, it was a way for me to be someone else.” And though her dad eventually accepted her career choice when he realized she could support herself with it(her acting skills made her self-sufficient way before she appeared in Mission Impossible and had a cameo in Issa Rae’s Insecure), the pressure to follow the traditional rules of her Italian acting academy also ate at her self-esteem.

She struggled to ground herself in the academy’s strict standards and rules. “There was a lot of insecurity on my end. I didn’t feel like I was perfect enough, but I learned you don’t have to be perfect to start something in life, you just have to start”.

It wasn’t until she released herself from the confines of her traditional curriculum that she became more in tune with her craft. “I studied under great professors, but I had to kind of take off all those academic layers and rediscover my inner child,” she says.

Learning to combat naysayers and self-defeating thoughts turned out to be the perfect formula for success. The budding director has appeared in the upcoming action film, Top Gun: Maverick. She’s grateful for her success and continues to follow in her parent’s philanthropic footsteps by being an active supporter of women’s rights. Lupetti is all too familiar with abusive relationships. She feels like low self-esteem and lack of support from friends kept her from escaping toxic boyfriends sooner.

“I would have benefited from having support from someone who could relate,” she tells me. Instead, she was met with judgment from people she thought she could trust, “The worst thing you can do to someone going through that is to call them stupid or criticize them.”

She explains she was stuck in a pattern and was able to reassert autonomy over her life once she realized she was making decisions that were deeply influenced by trauma and fear. Now she works with AIDA (Independent Association for European Women) to empower women in similar situations.

“There’s nothing in this world you can’t overcome unless you don’t want to. The most difficult part is to take responsibility for yourself and make better decisions.” Generosity and kindness are important to Lupetti, but she still maintains a balance by setting boundaries and practicing self-love. She admits that she used to be an incessant people-pleaser until she realized her habits were getting in the way of her happiness.

“I felt bad about doing things that I didn’t want to do to please other people, and I didn’t know how to stop it. Especially when you want to make your parents happy. We want to think we’re the reason someone’s happy or satisfied, but I discovered that happiness is within you. There’s nothing in this world that can make you happy unless you’re already happy by yourself.” Developing the confidence to say “no” often creates tension in a variety of relationships, especially if someone feels entitled to your “yes”.

Lupetti lost friends when she honed in on that superpower called boundaries but knows it served her well in the long run. “It was the best decision I ever made. You feel like you’re losing something but really you’re making room for blessings.” Setting those boundaries in her work was a task of its own as well. Actors are often expected to incorporate past trauma into their performance, a strategy Lupetti loathes.

“In acting school, my teachers asked about past traumas and how I could use them in my performance. That wasn’t the right thing to do. Every time I used it to get into character, I’d relive what had happened in my life.” Now when she has to perform a triggering scene, she tries to see it from a different perspective.

“I think instead of using it [trauma], try to experience it differently. Be ready to be surprised. It can be a healing process if you give it a chance to be. Otherwise, you’ll be really drained after the performance. It’s way easier and fun to play it in a way that’s not related to you. Being an actor is something so personal at the same time, and you need to find a way to find the key inside of you. When I have fun, the performance is better.”

Facing those traumas while working your dream job takes an extraordinary amount of courage. The actress doesn’t shy away from risks, and that’s what inspired her to write and direct her own films. “When I wrote Memento Audere Sempre, which means ‘remember to dare’ in Latin, I wanted to inspire others to take the chance to live the life you want. Take a chance on your passions!”

Both of Lupetti’s parents have passed on, but she honors them with her nonprofit work, and she wants to continue her father’s legacy by publishing a book he wrote about one of the prisoners he met while volunteering in a local jail. Proceeds from the book sales will go to charity. Her genetic penchant for writing is what helped her bring the stories that lived in her head as a child to the big screen. Now she makes a point to create films with themes that stray away from societal expectations.

“I try to play with gender roles in my films. Not the typical guy saving the princess.” Being a working actress, model, director, and influencer clearly brings a lot of stress to her life. She maintains a balance by incorporating self-care and joy into her daily life.

As a kid she was impressed with the way her mother and the other women they met while in India took care of their skin. It was only natural for Lupetti to turn her routine up a notch with face yoga; a holistic alternative to botox and injectables. The exercise helps train the face muscles. “It isn’t just good for your looks, but good for your nerves too.” Quarantining during the pandemic gave her the chance to share her Face Yoga regimen with her fans.

She would host training sessions on her Instagram Live, and her followers started demanding them so much she decided to create an app for it. “My face yoga training Is going to be available on an app soon. It’s called WELLANGS (Wellness Angeles). I’m so happy about it because I never thought to share my practice like this before”.

Sometimes it’s considered impressive when someone survives insurmountable trials and tribulations or simply chooses the more difficult route, but Lupetti recommends taking the easier one if you have the option to.

“Something I learn every day; remember yourself and why you do the things you do. Take the path of least resistance, sometimes I think we want to take the more difficult path so everyone can see what you’ve accomplished. But it never ends that way. If you have nothing for yourself, you have nothing to give to this world. You may look selfish, but selfish is just about being good to yourself, giving yourself whatever you need.”

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— Photography by Marco Barbaro

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