Julianna Childress, 27, is starting a family, going to school full-time and serving at an high-end restaurant in Cool Springs, a business and shopping area between Franklin and Brentwood.
Jules, as many people call her, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky in a middle-class family. Her mom was a registrar at Lexington Theological Seminar and her father was the vice-president of a bank for many years.
“I’m basically a church kid,” she said. “My grandfather was a pastor, and my mom is not an ordained pastor, but she’s preached at a ton of different churches.”
She said she loved growing up in the church.
“I went to church with all of my closest friends from when we were babies together, and we’re still friends,” she said. “Everyone has their issues during childhood, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better really.”
to BELMONT, to NASHVILLE
Jules first came to Nashville and Tennessee en route to Belmont University as a college freshman in 2006.
She said because of a tuition-exchange program with the seminary where her mom worked, she was able to attend Belmont on a full-ride scholarship for the first year.
“I went to school for a couple of years then became friends with people who weren’t good influences on me and decided to drop out of school,” she said. “I tried to go back but it just wasn’t working out for me so I decided to work for a while.”
In high school, Jules said she was a great student, graduating at the top of her class but something changed after high school.
“I was tired of being a student,” she said. “I didn’t want to go college right after high school but my parents wanted me to, so I did. I don’t think I had enough life experiences so I decided to give myself those life experiences by dropping out of school.”
Jules said she lived a very privileged life and wanted to experience meeting new people outside of the privileges she had, so she made friends with a different crew with the hopes of being a light and an example. In reality, Jules realized the people she called her friends were beginning to bring her down.
She said one night after they had both been drinking, her boyfriend at the time drove intoxicated and totaled her car.
“We got in my car and we were a street away from his house when he ran into three parked cars on the side of the road. We both spent the night in jail. It was awful. I called my mom the next day, and she literally just screamed into the phone. After that, I said I need to quit this crap. This is too much.”
Around spring of 2009, Jules decided to make a change in her life. She said that’s when she met her future fiancé Mark Reagan, then a restaurant manager in Nashville.
She said together they helped each other become responsible.
Now a server a BrickTop’s in Cool Springs, Jules said she decided to return to Belmont last fall when BrickTop’s approached her about possibly not working as many closing shifts.
“I don’t think I’ve put in as many hours and dedicated as much as my time to BrickTop’s as I have to not be able to close so, I went back to school,” she said. “I applied, and I got back in.”
She said it was weird getting back in the swing of school, primarily because she said she was surrounded by 18-year-olds.
“It’s not that I’m old or anything, but there’s a huge difference between 27 and 18,” she said. “It was funny one day, I was walking up to the front of the class to give my professor my paper and one of the students says, ‘Oh excuse me, ma’am,'” she said with a laugh.
Jules is studying social work and after graduation wants to work with either adolescence or with the elderly.
“I have patience with older people, and I’ve always enjoyed adolescents,” she said. “My dream job would be for my mom to open a nonprofit organization, for my sister or Mark to run the business side and for me to be the general social worker that helps with whatever group we decide to cater to. I would love to have a family run organization that helps people.”
Jules said she knows she’ll need a lot of money to do something like that, but doesn’t give up on the idea.
“Some day maybe,” she said.
FAMILY and LIFE
Jules and Mark will marry on September 5th of this year.
When Neat Nashville asked Jules what it felt like to be starting a family, she replied, “It feels awesome.”
“I want to have two children but Mark isn’t sure about two yet, but I’ll get my way. I always do,” she said with a laugh and a grin.
Jules said she plans on finishing school in the spring of 2017, but said she might have to take a semester off if she becomes pregnant.
As far as BrickTop’s, she said in the future she doesn’t want to quit, but she also doesn’t want to support herself or her family from serving for the rest of her life.
“BrickTop’s has been the best job, I could ever ask for,” she said. “I never thought I could be hired here because it was too nice of a restaurant and I didn’t think I had the experience they wanted,” she said.
She applied and accepted the severing position after two interviews and calls her experience at BrickTop’s “one of the most rewarding serving jobs I’ve ever had.”
Not only does she open and close almost all weekday lunch shifts, Jules also travels with the company to help open new restaurants as well as train new servers.
“Some days it is worth it, and some days it’s not worth it. You got to take the good with the bad,” she said. “You never know. You just have to be here.”
“Community is any group of people you’re around that care about you. It doesn’t have to be people who are similar. It could be anyone. I think BrickTop’s is a community. I think we care about each other.”
Jules and Mark live in Franklin and loves being a part of a safe and secure community, but she does have her dislikes as well as concerns.
“If we forget to lock our door tonight before going to bed I know everything will be okay,” she said. “The only thing that I don’t like about Franklin is that there are a lot of snobby people because it is a wealthy county.”
Jules said she liked the quiet smaller town feel of Franklin. She said she loves going to Nashville, but doesn’t want to live there.
“What I worry about is us being able to afford a house in this area because property values are going up,” she said. “It’s a great area to live and it’s a great area to raise a family, but social workers don’t make a ton of money, and I’m not sure where my fiancé will be with his career either. Money is always the main issue. It’s the driving force of everything, and I hate it.”
Mark works as a mortgage originator and part-time at Home Depot.
She said right now, what matters to her is making sure her family is happy and her household taken care of.
Thanks for reading, Nashville!