‘LL: Tell us, what does this new, more mature Julissa look for in a man?
Julissa: Let’s be real, nobody’s perfect. But hypothetically speaking, I want a man who is very understanding, honest and, of course, funny—a woman always wants a man who can make her laugh; just a trustworthy, good-hearted man.
‘LL: What, in your own words, makes a man a caballero?
Julissa: I think a gentleman is a man who displays a great amount of chivalry and who takes care of his woman, in the sense that when you go out he makes sure that you’re walking on the right side of the street. He opens doors for you. He pulls out chairs for you. I look for that in men. I look for chivalrous ways. I feel is a dying art these days. I don’t mean that as a diss to men. Women: it’s our fault! We forget that we have to let “men be men” and be gentlemen.
‘LL: Tell me about the first hombre in your life: your dad. What is the best piece of advice he’s ever given you?
Julissa: He’s always taught me by example. I come from a very hardworking family, and I’ve seen my dad work all my life to give us all of los gustos—all of the joys we wanted growing up. I think my work ethic really comes from my parents.
‘LL: How has your heritage influenced your own personal and professional brands?
Julissa: They’re part of my authenticity. It’s what I thrive off of, what I stick to. When I walk into [casting] rooms and they want me to be watered down, I navigate those moments so I can still deliver and still hold onto my heritage and my upbringing. I want to represent our culture in a different way. When I say our “culture,” I mean specifically what I am and what I reflect being a Latina, being from Queens, being an urban Latina and being Dominican.
‘LL: What do you want your legacy to be?
Julissa: I want people to think, “She worked hard for everything that she got and she was genuine in it.” And just that hard work and passion and truth can take you places. And if you never stop and never settle, you’ll get there.
‘LL: What drives you to never stop? Never settle?
Julissa: The passion I have to be an example for young, modern hardworking women certainly drives me. But also I truly love what I do, even if it comes with the good, bad and sometimes ugly.
‘LL: That said, where do you hope to see your hard work take you in the next year?
Julissa: A year from now I definitely see myself still striving and living Hennessy’s “Never stop, never settle” mentality. I think that’s going to take me places that I can’t even imagine.