It’s hard to tell whether Senior English Major Julia Tindell’s empowering, caring demeanor or intelligence and immense skill makes her a stand out at Gustavus.
“She is a fantastic writer, and that applies to basically every kind of writing I can think of. When we read the plays we wrote in class, hers were always very skillfully done, and I would be impressed each time. Whenever other people would read theirs, she would have the best compliments for you, whether that was “You have a fantastic brain!” or something more specific,” Sophomore and Co-Organizer of the 48 hour Play Project Nick Gersch said.
While in college, Julia has had plays and a memoir published in Firethorne, an article called “21 tips for people who don’t drink” published online On Thought Catalogue and an interview with Illustrator David Small published in World Literature Today.
This fall, Julia studied abroad at the University of Oxford, England. However, even when Julia was away from the Gustavus campus, she continued to make an impact.
While she was away, the Gustavus Theatre and Dance department performed the play Julia wrote entitled “At Risk.” The show depicts the story of siblings’ struggle after the alleged suicide of their mother and the town gossip that followed. “I haven’t seen it, which is crazy! The really cool thing though is that a lot of people said it made them think about labeling mental illness,” Julia said.
Now that she’s back on campus, Julia is once again busy in the theatre sphere. During January Interim experience, she performed in The Government Inspector, is an active member of I Am We Are and organized the 48 Hour Play Project.
“Julia was the creative force in the project. She always generated fantastic new ideas, intense brainstorming sessions, and
she was naturally the one doing most of our writing. She has so much experience on campus she was able to find many different ways of getting news out and expanding our influence,” Gersch said.
Stepping into the role of producers was new for Julia, but she accepted the change with excitement.
“It was so hard not to playwrite because I love doing that, but it was fun to see it from this perspective. It was a very stressful process, but the payout was phenomenal—worth all the stress,” Julia said.
“I remember after the 48 hour project had finished, just turning to Julia, and saying ‘we did it,’ after all of our hard work. She had pushed the both of us to the max of our potential, and we were able to be proud of what we had accomplished because of it.” Gersch said.
Julia describes her life philosophy, which dictates her personal relationships and drives her work for social justice as “radical Love.”
“Whenever I write that, I write it with a capital ‘L’ because it is the center of everything and is so important,” Julia said.
She says this personal philosophy stems from Christianity and The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
The Brothers Karamazov also inspired Julia to name her beta fish “Alyosha Fyodorofish Karamazov” after one of the main character of the novel. However, she also makes note that the fish is a drag queen on the weekend named Lady Macbeth.
Sexuality has become a focus for Julia through school.
“I would actively label myself as Queer. My junior year I took a class called queer theory and that completely changed my perspective on the world. Queer theory became my lens for looking at things. To be more specific, I’d call myself a queer feminist. To me that means I’m open to opportunities to embrace people. The label queer is funny; if you look at the history of the word ‘queer’ it means abnormal or weird. However, it’s one of the most normalizing words. It means that there isn’t normal and abnormal,” Julia said.
Julia’s ultimate career goal is to become a college professor of English and Queer Studies in Literature. However, for now, Julia is taking a break from school after she graduates.
On April 23, Julia helped organized the Asexy Workshop for asexual awareness week.
“Asexuality is a little understood identity. It is a person who does not experience sexual attraction. It’s interesting to talk to people who are asexual about the reactions they get from others when they tell them about their sexuality. People usually either make jokes like “What are you?—an amoeba?” or they think it’s some kind of mental disorder—like they’re crazy,” Julia said.
Julia has used her confidence, understanding of queer theory and radical Love to help others on campus feel comfortable with their sexuality.
“She really knows who she is and is very comfortable with her identity. She really helps others be comfortable too,” Sophomore Lauren Sekelskey said.