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NORTH PROVIDENCE — With 15 years of acting and modeling experience under her belt, Julie Ann Dawson, 32, from North Providence, decided this was the year to apply for the Maxim Cover Girl pageant.
She currently lives in Los Angeles, Calif., and found out last Thursday that she was in the top 1% in the semifinals of a competition decided by votes. Dawson said she was “shocked and amazed” and full of gratitude for all the support she has received.
The semi-finals end this Thursday, August 11 at 7 p.m. PST and if she’s still in contention, she’ll head to the finals. The grand prize will be announced on Thursday, August 18.
The grand prize will be on the cover of Maxim Magazine, which includes a multi-page interview, $25,000 cash, and a flight to Paris for a photoshoot with fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon.
“Coming from the smallest town in the smallest state to a photo shoot in Paris is truly mind-blowing,” she said. The breeze.
Dawson was born and raised in North Providence and after high school he stayed in the Ocean State to attend the University of Rhode Island for journalism and public relations. She graduated magna cum laude and again stayed in Rhode Island to work.
“I wanted to follow my real passion which is acting and modeling,” she said, so she moved to New York for two years and then made the big move to Los Angeles.
She added, “I always wanted to come to LA and apply to be Maxim Cover Girl. Something told me to apply this year.
Growing up in North Providence, Dawson said she always knew she wanted to be entertaining on stage. She participated in school and church plays as well as dancing and cheerleading competitions. She was a cheerleader for 10 years starting with the North Providence Jets and then going through North Providence High School, and was a captain on every team.
“I realized I had a passion for entertaining people when I was 2 years old and was into dancing,” she said.
What sold her on acting was when “Dan in Real Life” was filmed in Rhode Island and she was a background actress.
“It was like magic to me,” she said. “I took care of everything. It felt like home.
From there, she found an agent and signed with Donahue Models, which propelled her modeling career. After her brief stint in Rhode Island, her true love called and she left for New York to continue acting and modeling, which eventually led to her move west.
She still has family support at home with her mother Lynne Dawson and younger brother Dan. They moved to Cumberland when Dawson was 21, she said, and support her every step of the way.
“They text me every morning and tell me they vote every day,” she said.
The reason this year was the time for her to opt for the Maxim Cover, she said, was that nothing so far had taken her to the top of the mountain in her career, despite 15 years of experience.
“It could open so many doors for me and give me exposure,” she said. “I want to lead my career towards leading and supporting roles in feature films or TV shows. This is also a platform for me to send a message, to always relentlessly pursue your dreams. The passion and purpose will lead to success even if it may take a few years.
Her role model, a woman she says she was lucky enough to meet, is actress/model Charlize Theron. Theron also runs her own production company, which Dawson says is what she ultimately wants to do and would model her company after Theron’s.
Dawson calls herself the “Energizer Bunny” because she keeps herself as busy as possible. She has tactical training experience and is currently earning a green belt in krav maga. She is also a self-taught artist in her spare time, painting acrylics on canvas.
Another thing about Dawson that sets her apart from the competition is being a wrestler. Being involved in independent films, she said, they try to get fame to boost distribution and through that she has met many professional wrestlers. Some even told her she looked like Stacy Keibler.
“I used to watch wrestling with my brother and I thought it would be great to try and train,” she said.
She did six months of training with professional wrestler Kevin Landry in Holyoke, Mass. She did a show in San Diego with star wrestlers, but ultimately decided that training to be a wrestler was a full-time job and she opted to return to her first love of acting and modeling.
“Pro wrestling is pretty wild,” she said.
While pursuing her acting and modeling career, Dawson started her own business in 2016.
“I’m a master reiki teacher,” she said.
This includes being an intuitive healer mastering different energy healing techniques and CEO of Chakra To Ya. She has clients as well as online programs and webinars.
“Helping others is a big part of my life,” she said.
Although she enjoys helping others, she is often hesitant to ask for help herself.
“I can say that this contest has opened me up to asking for things,” she said. “I have always been very independent and I will act myself. This competition made me open my voice and my heart, putting me out of my comfort zone.
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