At 17, Julia Montes is the proud owner of a new two-story home in Antipolo City. She never expected to be able to buy her own house at such a young age. And she’s excited to sleep in a bedroom of her own!
She and her family will move to the new house in April.
“I used to share a room with my four siblings. I would get so stressed out whenever the room was in disarray,” Julia tells Living Stars. “My new room has lots of storage space. I don’t like clutter. I hate not finding stuff when I need them.”
Julia first appeared in the youth-oriented programs “Goin’ Bulilit” and “Growing Up,” before she was cast to play the lead in the top-rated 2010 drama series “Mara Clara.” She currently portrays the heroine Katerina Alcantara-Montenegro on ABS-CBN’s latest hit show “Walang Hanggan.”
Julia says she and Katerina are alike in that they both value family: “We’re both scared of losing our loved ones and of being alone. But unlike Katerina, I don’t give up easily. I fight for what I want. I work hard to fulfill my dreams.”
Julia was born Mara Hautea Schnittka to a Filipino mother, Gemma Hautea, and a German father, Martin Schnittka, in Pandacan, Manila. Julia’s dad left them when she was a baby, and only her deaf mother raised her with the help of her grandmother Flory. In 2011, Julia finished high school with good grades at the Blessed Hope Christian School. She is now the family breadwinner.
“Less is more,” Julia stresses. “Collect classic pieces—simple stud earrings, bangles and watches, and dress your age. Belts are often neglected, but a belt can transform your V-neck
shirt from simple to chic.”
Julia says her favorite pair of Ray-Ban Aviator shades is a gift from Lino Cayetano, director of “Growing Up.”
She received the book “What Matters Most for Teens” from Linggit Tan, ABS-CBN head for TV entertainment production. “Tita Linggit always reminds me to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground,” she said.
“I’m a MyPhone endorser,” Julia says. “I use its T18 Duo. It’s small and perfect for students. I also have a MyPhone with a built-in TV. Another phone I like is adorned with Swarovski crystals. It’s perfect for formal events.”
“You don’t need expensive gadgets,” Julia points out. “Go for quality and function. Make sure to read reviews about a particular item before getting it. There are pieces that may look attractive on the outside, but looks can deceive.”
Julia is turned off by colognes with strong scents. “I like Fire by Boardwalk. I also like Bulgari because it’s a perfume that I can use every day. I prefer scents that are powdery, sometimes floral,” she says.
“I love shoes! I probably have over 20 pairs right now,” she beams. “I use all of them. I had shelves built just for my shoes in my walk-in closet at home.”
“This pair of fuchsia high-heeled pumps from Michael Antonio is fabulous,” she says. “People were worried that it was too high but I’m used to wearing five-and-six-inch heels.”
Julia also likes Skechers sneakers. “They’re light and comfortable to use and I can easily match them with any workout clothes.”
“This lip palette from Krayola has different colors that you can mix and match. Just use a good lip brush,” she says. “I prefer flesh or old rose for my lips, since I believe that less is more. I advise teenagers to stick to lip balm. It’s not good to wear lip color every day at a young age. I only have a lot because of work.”
She is obsessed with makeup more than with shoes. “I used to dream of becoming a makeup artist,” Julia says. “I’ve been experimenting on makeup since I was 9! I do my own face. I read magazines or surf the Net for the latest styles and techniques.”
“You don’t need expensive makeup, especially if you’re a teenager and can’t afford it,” says the practical buyer. “Plus, some cosmetics are harsh on young skin.”
“I’m an endorser of HerBench. Their clothes are versatile,” she explains. “Take this plain cotton shirt for example. I can use it to the gym, but I can also wear it with a skirt and transform it into something really girly. This gray printed shirt is good for going out with friends, but with the right accessories you can turn it into a costume for a production number on TV.”
“This white lacy blouse has a romantic look. It’s also easy to match with other outfits because it has the most basic cut and color.
“This off-shoulder blouse from Forever 21 is very sexy. It shows just enough skin. I can use this with a skirt or a pair of shorts,” the actress says.
Julia is into maxi-dresses lately because they’re comfortable yet classy. “This long blue-green skirt can go with flats or high-heeled shoes,” she points out.
“This brown leather bag is my favorite. Its color is easy to match and it’s big enough to carry all my stuff. I’m a girl scout—ready with everything, including alcohol and medicines,” Julia says.
Her stuffed pink toy pig was a Christmas present from her supporters, Julia’s Angels. “Most of the stuffed toys I have are gifts,” she said.