|DESIGN||Louis Henry Mitchell designer|
|Rollie Krewson builder|
Julia is a four-year-old girl with autism from Sesame Street, introduced in 2015 as part of the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative. She is a young girl with bright orange hair and big green eyes and is friends with Elmo and Abby. People usually say she does things in a "Julia sort of way."
Julia's characterization was originated by Leslie Kimmelman for the digital storybook We're Amazing, 1, 2, 3! She used her own experiences as the mother of a child with autism, as well as input from research and advisers from the autism community, to inform the story.
Due to the positive response to the outreach initiative, Julia was made into a physical Muppet that debuted in episode 4715 of the show, airing on April 10, 2017. She is performed by Stacey Gordon, who also used her own experiences raising her autistic son to help inform the actions of the character. She made her television debut on 60 Minutes on March 19, 2017, and subsequently appeared in a series of YouTube videos for SesameStreet's YouTube Channel.
A digital storybook released in April 2018, Family Forever: A Julia Storybook, introduced Julia's family: her mother Elena (an art teacher), her father Daniel (a medical professional and saxophonist) and her older brother Samuel. Julia's family, which also includes a dog named Rose, made their first appearance in Muppet form in a series of videos that premiered online in 2019.
Julia (puppeteered by Lara MacLean) also joined the cast on the Sesame Street float in the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, wearing a noise-cancelling headset so the loud volume wouldn't bother her. She has also worn them for a 50th anniversary photo shoot in The Washington Post.
- The puppet is built with two sets of arms, one of which allows Julia to flap her arms in an emotional state.
- The character, initially named Isabel, was named after writer Leslie Kimmelman's eldest daughter.
- Her favorite toy is a stuffed doll named Fluffster, which has a somewhat rabbit-like appearance and is described in Family Forever as being a "bunny." She states within this title that Fluffster's favorite picnic food is frogs.
- For four television seasons, a Sesame Street episode starring Julia has premiered simultaneously on HBO and PBS on the same day during April, popularly recognized as Autism Awareness Month. These shows include Julia's introductory episode (#4715), "Shape Hunt" (#4821),"Julia's Haircut" (#4921), and The Fluffster Kerfuffle (#5021). This departs from a previously established deal between HBO and Sesame Workshop where first run episodes on the network air on PBS following a nine-month window. These episodes have also premiered on Mondays, which deviates from HBO's regular airing of Sesame Street episodes on Saturdays.
- Sesame Street
- See Amazing in All Children resource videos
- Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration
- Caring for Each Other videos
- Other Appearances
- 60 Minutes (March 19, 2017)
- Today (March 27, 2017)
- The Capitol Visitor Center (April 4, 2017)
- The View (April 12, 2017)
- Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs (November 18, 2017)
- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2018, 2019)
- Meet the Peetes (April 22, 2019)
- Ad Council Autism Awareness campaign (July 2019)
- We're Amazing, 1, 2, 3! (2016)
- Celebrate You, Celebrate Me! (2017)
- The Runaway Egg (2018)
- Family Forever: A Julia Storybook (2018)
- Circle of Friends: A Julia Storybook (2019)
- Stacey Gordon on Instagram
- Hank Stuever, "A friend to everyone", Washington Post, December 2, 2019.
- "Why the Team Behind Sesame Street Created a Character With Autism," Smithsonian Magazine, December 2017.