Who said it would be easy? Following your dreams that is. Julissa Bermudez refuses to give up and why should she? She’s young, beautiful and has had her share of ups and downs in T.V. land. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Queens, NY, this bubbly personality admits that she was a typical tomboy as a child. All she ever wanted to do was entertain her family. After 10 years of learning experiences, traveling the world and gracing our T.V. screens on some of the biggest networks, Julissa is still on her grind. I sat down with my old friend for dinner this past September, and we reminisced about how the last time we interviewed, the tables were turned and she was the interviewer as I sat on her BET couch. She was a sweetheart then, and she still is.
How long has it been since your days at BET, and were you able to maintain a decent relationship when it ended?
I want to say that was about 5 years ago. We just celebrated the 10-year anniversary of 106 & Park. They brought us back for a reunion, and that was just last year. BET has always embraced me as a family, so I’ve always looked at them as that. When I see Stephen Hill out or other personalities, whether its Rocsi or Terrence we embrace each other.
How old were you when you were on Telemundo?
I was just about to turn 19. I hosted a show called The Roof. It was live [for] 2 hours, and one of the first shows to put Reggaeton music and videos out there before it became “mainstream.” That was sort of the 106 & Park of Mun2/Telemundo. It was one of the first shows that ever premiered on Mun2 once NBC and Telemundo merged. Before they had a budget, I was there [Laughs].
Where have you been and when did you leave NY?
I’ve been touring around the globe. I’ve been shooting Kohl’s commercials in South Africa with one of my idols, Daisy Fuentes. I’ve been fist pumping at MTV interviewing the Jersey Shore crew. I’ve been grinding, it’s a never-ending hustle you know, and it’s always been love every time I see you.
So you’ve travelled to Africa, that’s a trip to take in your lifetime.
My goodness! I have never been to a more naturally beautiful place. I went to South Africa which is very different. Africa is such a huge continent with so many countries, and a lot of the images that are put out and portrayed of Africa are totally different than what you can actually go and experience. And this goes for all the countries that you just travel and visit. The perception is always different from your experience. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Within your experience in the industry, what can you say has been the craziest thing you had to deal with being a woman?
The craziest things really are the things that you read about yourself. If you’re photographed with somebody they automatically put you in a category or you’re dating or whatever. Those things always surprise me. I feel like if people only knew. It’s always the people that know the least about you that want to say the most about you.
Speaking of photos, there was one of you celebrating your birthday here in NYC with Maxwell. Is he that special someone?
He’s a friend. It’s the perfect example of how media loves to pin people together to make a story. I take a picture with someone and of course I’m automatically “dating” them.
Ok. Are you single?
I am SO single. Absolutely. It feels good. I’m in a good place in my life. Honestly, when you’re not looking, certain people walk into your path and walk into your life. You’re asking a Libra girl that loves love [Laughs]. Sometimes in life you have to surrender, and that’s just the circumstances, whether it’s the cards you’ve been dealt or just surrender to the things that are out of control. I feel that that comes with experiences.
So do you have any celebrity crushes?
It doesn’t even make sense to mention him. I just admire the fact that he can have the little swag that he does.
I love David Beckham. I know he’s taken, but he’s so hot. I’m from Queens, and I will say growing up I always had a liking to Nas. I think Nas has been a lot of girls’ crushes. Not so much crush at this point, but more or so David Beckham just surprises me. And as far as dating, I definitely want to diversify my portfolio. Just think outside the box a little.
When I met you seven years ago you were straight up and down, and now I see that you have these fabulous lady curves. What do you to keep this body?
Girl, I’ve been going to the gym. I’ve always prayed about having a body [Laughs] because I was always so skinny. I would always get made fun of me and people would call me Olive Oyl. Guys never looked my way that’s for sure; they were too busy looking at the girls that were so much more voluptuous like you [Laughs] with your beautiful boobies. So yes, I feel like after 25 I started to get serious about my fitness and working out. Don’t get me wrong, I eat everything. I feel that when you deprive yourself, you do more damage than good. It’s all about moderation. I’m Dominican, and I love Spanish food. It’s a hard balance, but as long as you work out… I squat every day and night. No lie, even before I go to bed. I have my beauty regimen, my routine, and I’m serious about it.
I am going to be a part of the Julissa squat regimen.
Listen! I’m so serious about it. I use my Nivea Anti-Cellulite serum, and I will squat even through heels because I feel that even walking in heels your legs get toned. You just have to find ways to fit it. <y metabolism has always been a certain way. I figured that the weight that I am putting on should turn into muscle. It’s so hard though because the foods that you gravitate towards aren’t always the healthy ones. I always joke that Spanish people are on the “all carb diet,” not the “no carb diet.” My mom would literally make spaghetti with rice, and I’m like mom rice does not have to go with everything.
Tell me about the Steve Madden venture.
Steve Madden and I go around the country to different department stores. It’s me on the site getting you excited about the brand. We have models showing off the collection, we have a DJ and we giveaway free T-shirts, we raffle shoes, we take pictures with fans, and it’s a great time at the mall in whatever part of this country I’m in at that particular moment. It’s a great way to connect with your fans that watch you on T.V. and that maybe don’t think that you’re actually attainable. When they see you in their town, it’s exciting for them.
How do you feel about your fellow Dominicans like Zoe Zaldana, Laz Alonzo and how big they are doing it in Hollywood?
I feel that it’s great because people like that are making it more acceptable to do what I love everyday. Zoe Zaldana, Dania Ramirez, Jesse Terrero. These are boundaries and opportunities that who knows if we would have had whatever amount of years ago, and we have them now. Dominicans, we’re more than just amazing baseball players. That’s what a lot of people know us for, but there’s so much love and passion from that island, whether it’s from the arts.
Where do you want to see yourself in the next three years? What are your ultimate goals?
Tyra Banks, Kelly Ripa, obviously Oprah–the pinnacle. These are women that are strong, opinionated and who have respect in this business and do directly what I wish to do as host and TV personality. Women like Jennifer Lopez, being a Latina that has been able to transcend so many of barriers and cultures.
What are your words to live by?
Walk by faith, not by sight.