Early Life and Childhood
Julia Fox was born in Milan, Italy, on February 2, 1990, to an American mother and Italian father. Her parents split up when she was young, and Fox moved with her mother to New York City as a child.
Fox had an unstable and tumultuous childhood. She grew up impoverished in NYC’s Lower East Side neighbourhood without much supervision or support. Her mother had alcoholism, and Fox has described her childhood as chaotic and lonely. She has said she grew up around “a lot of bad influences” and smoked cigarettes and weed at 12 years old.
With an absentee mother struggling with addiction, Fox had to grow up fast and take care of herself from a young age. She has spoken about how she was cooking full meals for herself by age 8.
Early Career and Working as a Dominatrix
With no financial support at home, Fox started working at a young age to support herself. Her first jobs were typical teenager roles like babysitting and working retail.
When she was 17, Fox started scanning Craigslist ads and came across a posting for a dominatrix dungeon that said, “Dominatrix dungeon hiring NO SEX, no nudity, no experience necessary.” Though only 18 at the time, she applied and got the job.
Fox worked as a dominatrix at the dungeon for several years. She has said that while the work itself was not glamorous, it gave her confidence, financial security, and the means to pursue her creative passions eventually.
In interviews, Fox has shared that working as a dominatrix taught her worth and built up her self-esteem. She had to take on personas of strength and power in client sessions. Fox has said that after a childhood surrounded by toxic masculinity, working in the feminized dungeon space was healing and eye-opening for her.
The dominatrix work also helped Fox hone her improvisation and roleplaying skills at a young age. She learned to take on various personas and characters based on client requests. Fox credits this roleplay as beneficial training for her eventual acting career.
Most importantly, the job provided the financial stability that Fox lacked during her unstable childhood. The income enabled her to leave home, stop relying on toxic relationships, and pursue artistic interests like painting, photography, and fashion design.
Getting Involved in the NYC Art Scene
In her early 20s, Fox began making connections in the downtown New York City art scene. She described this period of her life as her “lost years,” where she waitressed at night, painted, and immersed herself in the NYC art community.
It was during this time that she met photographer Richie Shazam. The two began collaborating on photography and fashion projects under the moniker “Richard Homonuclear.”
Fox curated her first art show in 2012, featuring her fashion creations and works from young artists in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side.
She began hosting experiential performance art shows, which combined fashion, nudity, sculpture and more to give audiences a whole sensory experience. Fox was an active part of the experimental art scene in NYC in the early 2010s.
Acting Debut in Uncut Gems
In 2017, filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie were casting for their upcoming film Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler. Fox’s artistic collaborator, Richie Shazam, was already involved in the movie and connected Fox to the Safdie brothers.
Though Fox had no acting experience, the Safdie brothers saw her natural charisma and raw creative energy and knew she would shine as Sandler’s on-screen mistress.
Fox portrayed the character of Julia De Fiore in Uncut Gems; the salesgirl turned lover of Sandler’s gambling-addicted jewelry store owner character. To prepare for the role, she observed women who frequented the diamond district in midtown Manhattan to study their mannerisms and style.
The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in August 2019 to rave reviews. Fox’s breakout performance earned universal praise. She brought a captivating, chaotic energy to the role that electrified the film. It was evident to all that a star had been born.
Almost overnight, Fox became the actress everyone was talking about. Her fame skyrocketed as Uncut Gems became one of the most acclaimed films of 2019.
Becoming a Fashion Icon
Along with her instant fame as an actress, Fox’s style attracted massive attention—her daring, experimental approach to fashion challenged traditional notions of beauty and femininity.
On the press tour for Uncut Gems, Fox drew eyes with her unique designer looks. She worked closely with stylist Briana Andalore to craft her red carpet-style and public image.
Fox became known for her heavy black eyeliner, exposed thong looks, and avant-garde style. She caught the attention of fashion industry titans like Madonna and expressed interest in launching her clothing line.
Almost overnight, Fox established herself as an up-and-coming actress and fashion influencer. She was unafraid to take risks, and her bold personal style inspired young fans.
Brief Romance with Kanye West
On New Year’s Eve 2021, Fox was photographed with rap superstar Kanye West in Miami. This kicked off a whirlwind high-profile romance between the two artists.
Fox and West made headlines for their over-the-top dates and matching outfits throughout their month-long relationship. Fox’s fame rose as she became one of the most followed celebrity couples.
The two contributed to each other’s artistic projects, with Fox modeling for West’s Yeezy brand and West pushing Fox’s acting career. Though short-lived, Fox’s tryst with West kept her in the media spotlight for weeks.
Release of Memoir Down the Drain
In February 2023, Fox published her memoir Down the Drain. The book covered her childhood struggles, unconventional path to fame, and relationships.
Down the Drain received intense media attention as it gave fans an unfiltered inside look into Fox’s life. Lines extended out bookstores for Fox’s book tour.
The memoir was praised for its raw vulnerability and added depth to the public’s understanding of Fox. It debuted at #7 on the New York Times Bestsellers List.
Writing her life story enabled Fox to take control of her public narrative. The book’s success established Fox as an actress, style icon, and a severe author.
Continued Acting and Fashion Work
Since her breakout in Uncut Gems, Fox has continued to build her acting resume with roles in independent films.
In 2021, she appeared in the crime thriller PVT Chat and starred alongside Frances Fisher in the drama The Survivalist. Upcoming projects include Tony Kaye’s dark comedy The Trainer and a new film from director David Matalon.
On the fashion front, Fox has become a runway staple at New York Fashion Week. She models regularly for designer LaQuan Smith and has appeared in shows for Christian Cowan, Chromat, and Sahara Lin.
Fox also acted as a creative director for fashion brands and launched her “Fox Eyes” eyeliner line in partnership with Inc. credible Cosmetics. She continues to push boundaries and redefine standards of beauty through her work.
Julia Fox Today
In her early 30s, Fox has cemented her status as a multi-hyphenate pop culture icon. She has leveraged her creativity, business savvy, and fearless authenticity to find success across numerous artistic mediums.
While her unconventional path to fame is unmatched by most celebrities, Fox’s relentless drive and bold confidence have empowered her to reach the heights of stardom and critical acclaim.
She now commands the spotlight as an actress, author, fashion designer, model, and overall influencer of culture. Julia Fox has undoubtedly left a mark on the entertainment world and continues to fascinate fans with her boundary-breaking persona.
Julia Fox exemplifies a new breed of celebrity who rejects conformity and forges their path. Her unique life story demonstrates the power of resilience and self-invention.
From a tumultuous childhood to financial independence as a dominatrix, Fox took control of her narrative and tapped into her artistic potential. With raw talent and fearless authenticity, she has inspired young fans to embrace their individuality.
Now recognized globally in film and fashion, Julia Fox’s unfiltered spirit and disruptive creativity make her a true icon. She has redefined what it means to be famous on one’s terms. Fox’s rise to stardom was unconventional – but so is she.