Jan 29, 2016 5:55PM

Introducing Julia Fox, A Young Artist & Model Who's Keeping Things Very Real

On men, 'Playboy' & Catholic guilt.

At just 22, Julia Fox has written a book documenting a violent relationship she had as a teenager, started a brand called Franziska Fox with her bestie Briana Andalore and modelled for Playboy. Her extreme honesty, IDGAF attitude and body positivity make her a strong feminist voice on the internet (and IRL).

Although originally from New York City, Julia moved to the calm state of Louisiana a few months ago to clear her head and focus on her new writing project — a book that'll focus on the guilt that comes with being raised in an extreme Catholic family. We hung out with Julia in SoHo to talk slut shaming, posing for Playboy, and idiots on the web.

Ava Nirui: Did you have a creative upbringing? 
Julia Fox: Yes, I was raised in a family that encouraged creativity. Unfortunately, it was also dysfunctional. As I child, I was constantly reading and kept very to myself. My Dad's creative, my Mum isn't really — she's a super traditional Italian woman. If I were to tell her I want to be a photographer, she would say it's a hobby, not a profession. Whereas my Dad doesn't care and just tells me to be happy.

Why did you decide to write your own book Heartburn/Nausea?
I feel like when I started my brand, Franziska Fox, I had to put on this image of a typical "fashion designer" and uphold this pristine look. I had to forget about my wild past and pretend nothing ever happened. I was struggling to do that, and people started to pull out my past and try to use it against me. I was under attack and so I was like, "You wanna play this game? Here you go!" I'm not going to be ashamed of it. And I've received mostly positive feedback. Although, there have been a few people who have emailed me horrible things.

They were calling you out for something?
They were like, "You're disgusting" and said I made domestic abuse look pretty. I guess I can see why they would say that, but I guess my domestic abuse was pretty? I don't know what to tell them. Those pictures are real and that is real blood, so if you think that's pretty then whatever. I personally think it's scary. I'm a little desensitised by those pictures, but if I saw that on someone else's face, I would not think that's pretty.

Then again, if you don't have people hating on you, then you're not doing it right. I want to be controversial. I don't care, as long as people are thinking about what I'm doing. I want to stimulate thought. Whether you love me or hate me, it honestly doesn't make a difference to me.

You're a very open person and proud of your body, particularly on social media — how do you react to slut shaming?
Actually, some guy I was seeing, who turned out to be a total creep, started randomly talking to me a month ago and said, "I just want you to know your Instagram makes you look like a slut!" And my response was, "Are you really slut shaming me in 2015? Lol." Then he was like, "Don't go catching AIDS. I can't wait to watch your downfall." And the more I would respond, the more he would go in. Meanwhile, I'm chilling in Louisiana on a porch like, "What?!" It literally means nothing to me.

I know I'm not a slut — I'm far from it. But what is a "slut" even? I don't condone promiscuity because of health reasons and I find that some girls, I can't speak for all, who are engaging in that type of thing have some issues. I also know girls who just fully love having sex and don't care. If someone slut-shames you, you should just educate that person and shed light on their ignorance.

Your shoot in Playboy was the mag's last nude shoot ever... How did people react to this?
Oh my god, when my parents saw that my Mum was like, "Your Dad is so mad," and then my Dad's like, "Your Mum is so mad" and neither of them were really angry. But my Dad was actually like, "Oh, so you're just gonna be a Crystal or an Amber," naming all these Playboy bunnies, and I was like, "You clearly haven't picked up a Playboy recently, Dad." He goes to me, "Yeah, actually I haven't picked one up since '87."

I actually still don't have a copy of it. I can't find it in Lousiana. When I got back to New York and went to the deli near my apartment, the guy who works there who knows me was like, "Everyone in the building found out you were in it and bought a copy!" Then, my super texted me a picture of it and was like, "Can you autograph this?" and I'm like, "Yeah, can you install a new bathroom?"

Tell me about the new book you're writing.
It's actually a memoir and it focuses on the Catholic guilt I had when I was growing up. I was born in Italy and grew up with my Grandpa who was super old school, while my Mum was in college. My family was really religious and I went to church for the first six or seven years of my life. My Dad didn't believe in God so I didn't trust him. I couldn't trust someone who didn't love God. Later in life, I kind of went off the rails, but I still knew deep down that it was wrong and I felt extreme guilt. So basically, it just surrounds my Catholic guilt as a modern young woman in New York City. I'm almost finished! I'm actually kind of scared 'cause it's such an exposé and there are so many people involved… what am I going to do when it comes out? There are so many people that could be implicated, 'cause the content is so real.

Are you going to continue writing and releasing books?
No, I think I'll probably do a movie next. Eventually I would love to be a social worker, and once I get these projects out of the way I'm going to go back to school for social work and live a very calm Louisiana life. That's the key to happiness — simplicity.

Do you see yourself as a new age feminist in the way that you celebrate your body and educate young girls?
It's such a hard question, because in a way I'm such a conservative person. I have all these antiquated ways of thinking about how a man should behave with a woman, but there are some things I do like — something as simple as a man paying for your meal. But, I think at the end of the day feminism means equality and I do think women are equal, if not better. That's another thing, why would a woman want to be on the same level as a man, we are so much better! I really believe that. Most guys are like hunters. They're so basic. I don't wanna sound like a man-hater, I love my men, but they are very easy to decode.

Photos & Text: Ava Nirui