IT’S usually after a horrible accident that those accustomed to life in the fast lane tend to rein in the horses.
Life at a slow pace, however, would be unimaginable for zesty go-getter Julia Ziegler.
Recounting her freak accident where she totalled her Toyota Vios some four years ago, the accomplished commercial model and actress says she’s just not the type to be sitting still at home doing nothing.
“I’ve got to be out there doing something all the time.”
Although time has passed with several scars and a few screws to fasten her broken bones together as a reminder, Julia admits that there were occasions when the trauma of the incident would return to haunt her.
“Despite these lingering traumas, I still love driving fast and feeling the adrenaline rush,” the five feet eight Kuala Lumpur girl says.
Julia’s accident was not the result of fast driving; she fell asleep behind the wheel.
It happened after she had wrapped up a movie shoot for the day.
The long hours on location had somehow taken its toll on Julia, causing her to doze off as heavy rain started pelting the road she was on.
Her car struck a divider and rolled over a few times before coming to a halt. The roof of the car at the driver’s side caved in. “I broke my neck and suffered brain injuries,” she tells Star Motoring as she pointed to her neck and head.
Not only were the injuries severe, Julia was comatose and had to be hospitalised for three weeks.
“The people who pulled me out of the wreckage thought I was dead and had me placed in a body bag,” she says.
Surprisingly, her best friend who was with her in the car escaped with just a scraped knee.
Born to an American father and a Malay mother, Julia dashed into modelling at sweet 16.
“I was keen on modelling at an earlier age but my dad insisted that education comes first,” she says.
After finishing her SPM, Julia enrolled in Kuala Lumpur’s Centre For Advanced Design (Cenfad) in 2001 before going to the United States to further her studies in architecture at Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia, from 2002 to 2004.
During summer breaks, Julia managed to return for some runway modelling projects.
After completing her studies in 2005, she went into TV commercials for Pantene, Olay and a few other brands.
Being free-spirited, Julia resolves to be an independent model and prefers not to be tied to any agency.
“The advantage of being a freelancer is the freedom. I can also pick and choose the jobs and don’t have to be pressured into doing something I am not interested in.
“I don’t even have a personal assistant nor a manager. Somehow, my unofficial manager is my film producer sister Linda who gives me plenty of advice,” says the 26 year-old with a laugh.
With numerous movies, among them Kayangan, Cicakman 2 and Jangan Tegur as well television dramas such as Ampang Medikal, Cahaya Berbisik and Cuci The Series to her name, Julia feels it’s about time to move behind the cameras.
But she’s not talking about being a producer or director.
She has the task of looking after real orphans and other young talents who are the cast of the upcoming movie Crayon. “You have to start from the very bottom if you want to learn everything.”
Julia is currently driving a Toyota Caldina GT Four and to date she has had a clean record with the car.
We gave her a taste of a true-blue Italian sports car - a Maserati GranTurismo S - courtesy of Naza Italia, the local distributor of Maserati and Ferrari cars.
While packing 430bhp for a blistering performance worthy of a supercar, the RM1.3 mil GranTurismo S is also well-endowed with sexy curves and luxurious interior appointments.
Its most intoxicating attribute is an invigorating exhaust soundtrack that can be heard long before the GranTurismo S arrives.
Julia says it’s a shame that there are not many of these sensual-looking cars on Malaysian roads.
After having a spin in the two-door GranTurismo S, Julia was all smiles.
“The acceleration was explosive and the ride was breathtaking,” she says.