Julia Romano wants to make one thing clear: Although her brother is the pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, she is the famous one in the Romano family.
Well, if you ask her, she is a “full-time celebrity and a part-time lawyer.”
Since Romano started posting videos to her TikTok account, @julesthelawyer in 2020, mainly to add some life and laughter to her days during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has amassed more than 100,000 followers and 5.6 million likes .
“I thought I was making it big as a Bay Street freshman,” Romano said.
But, unlike some influencers, she didn’t start posting regularly to make money. She wanted to be famous.
“Like, that’s what I wanted – to be famous on TikTok,” Romano told the Star in an interview this week.
She’s famous enough, as her following and likes are nearly double the population of Toronto, or 106 times the capacity of the Rogers Center where her brother climbs the hill.
It’s become her signature on the platform — being a “famous person” — with comedic videos often beginning with, “Welcome one day in my life as a famous person living in downtown Toronto,” or “Hey TikTok, come have a date night with a Toronto celebrity.”
And, in typical celebrity fashion, Romano is sometimes recognized in public by fans as she walks around town.
“I think when I started the fame journey, I didn’t realize how much social interaction there would be when you’re a famous person. So I find it a bit clunky,” she said. “But for the most part, I like it.”
You never know what you’ll see scrolling through her account, with content ranging from filling a prescription to attending influencer events, to clips of her “feminist household” where she jokes that her fiancé, David, pays for everything. Their “children,” two sphinx cats named Jojo and Raisin, are common and have developed a fan base of their own.
In fact, the two were meowing in the background during Romano’s interview.
“When my videos don’t do so well, I think, ‘Honey, we should do a voiceover together,'” said Romano. “But (David) loves it for me. He also likes that I have a hobby that isn’t just watching Real Housewives.”
Her manager, Alexa Burban of Platform Media & Management Inc, has also become part of Romano’s story on TikTok, with Romano often joking that Burban is yelling at her behind the scenes to film content to build her brand.
“I sent her profiles of people I thought might be like her, and she’s kind of done the opposite,” Burban said. “But she does it her own way. And she owns it.”
Romano’s content is usually comedic and light-hearted, but she’s not afraid to be serious on the platform — she’s documented the trials and tribulations of a full-time corporate lawyer on Bay Street and berated at work for her online presence.
She eventually quit her corporate job and now works by day as a lawyer at a not-for-profit legal clinic and by moonlight as a content creator.
“Everyone on TikTok is saying, ‘I can’t believe you were a (corporate) lawyer.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’”
Romano may have always been destined to be famous — after all, she shares her genetics with her professional athlete brother, Jordan Romano, a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.
But she comes for his thunder.
“He says, ‘Literally every day when I’m in the bullpen, someone yells at me that I’m @julesthelawyers’ brother,’” Romano said. “I’d feel bad, but being a baseball player’s sister, everyone was like, ‘How’s Jordan? How’s Jordan?’ I’m good too. So now he gets it back.”
He also gets shade on TikTok.
Folks at the Rogers Center often film videos of Jays games saying they’re at a @julesthelawyer meet and greet when Romano takes the field and their last name is plastered on the jumbotrons.
“Thought I had tickets for the famous @julesthelawyer meet and greet but only her brother is here?” a user has subtitled a video of a game.
“This is my payback,” Romano said with a laugh.
And while she can’t see herself quitting her job as a lawyer to start creating content full-time, she’s proud to stick with it, no matter what her old job thought of her hobby.
Romano told her followers about her interview with the Star, saying it was a special moment for her and describing herself getting emotional during the conversation.
“Proven,” she said. “I have been vindicated.”