We asked Modern Family star and Baltimore girl-done-good Julie Bowen (nee Luetkemeyer) a few questions about life, the secrets to her success and growing up in Baltimore (in Woodbrook). We learned the Brown University alum and mother of three is not wholly unlike the funny, self-deprecating, lovable character she plays on TV.
Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.
If everyone gets to bed with a clean diaper and minimal whining, I win!
When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?
I thought my most important goals were career related, and in some ways they still are. I love working and get (overly?) excited about new jobs and the opportunity to work with creative people. Having three kids in two years, however, has forced me to shift a great deal of focus outside of myself and my own goals which is, frankly, much more healthy.
What is the best advice you ever got that you followed?
My parents told me to get an education, whether I “used” it or not, and I did. It is still the greatest thing I have ever done even if I rarely dig out Neoplatonism in cocktail conversation.
The worst advice, and did you follow it? Or how did you muffle it?
The worst advice was never direct as much as it was implied. Some people in my life kept saying I was “lucky” to get jobs, and I shouldn’t push my luck by asking for better salaries or even better jobs. I spent a great deal of time undervaluing myself, and still feel I have to fight against this mentality as a default mode.
What are the three most surprising truths you’ve discovered in your lifetime?
- Kids are amazingly fun.
- Kids are amazingly hard.
- One person, place or thing will never meet all of your needs. Get a deep bench and keep expanding.
What is the best moment of the day?
5 a.m. Coffee, email, and a book before I go running.
What is on your bedside table?
Half a broken toy truck, crosswords, three books to read and a picture of my dearly departed dog.
What advice would you give a young person who aspires to do what you are doing?
Get used to hearing “no” and don’t take it personally. Auditioning is a war of attrition, and if you can resist the urge to quit when you are sure you won’t get a job, you will eventually land on your feet.
Why are you successful?
Am I? That’s hard to accept…I suppose I have success in acting because I really love it and didn’t look at my failures (there have been PLENTY) and rejections as deterrents.
What was the best thing about growing up in Baltimore?
The Orioles and lightening bugs.
What was the worst thing about growing up in Baltimore?
What do you miss most about Baltimore?
My parents and old friends like Lillie Stewart, Catherine Thomas and Emily Wilson….
What is the thing you must do/place you must visit when you are in Baltimore?
The Irvine Nature Center is the best. My dad can’t survive without a trip to Tark’s (Grill). And for culture, the Walters Art Museum is my favorite.
What is your favorite regional delicacy?
Berger Cookies!!!! Oh my god! I always thought you could get those anywhere until I moved away from Baltimore. What a horrible realization!
Eddie’s or Graul’s?
Graul’s! The chicken salad alone is worth it.
The creator of “Modern Family” is also from Baltimore. Do you two ever commiserate on the best and worst of Baltimore? Did you know each other or any of the same people growing up?
Jason Winer (Friends School alum) directed Modern Family the first season and still has strong Baltimore ties. We didn’t talk a whole lot of Baltimore, but whenever we did, we used the full-on Bawlmer accent, hon!