Born Juliet Bodley, the Jamaican actor, comedian, and social media personality better known as “Julie Mango” was voted the Jamaican Social Media Person of the Year for 2021 at the Best of Jamaica Awards sponsored by the world’s top website and media platform focused on Jamaican and Caribbean news, travel, food, and culture.
The Best of Jamaica is the platform’s biggest event of the year and is all about what its readers and staff vote as the best Jamaica has to offer. The Best of Jamaica 2021 is based on the results of two surveys: The Best of Jamaica Abroad and The Best of Jamaica in Jamaica, both of which ask respondents for what – and who – they think is the best.
The surveys seek responses from members of Jamaican Diaspora communities in major cities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. The results were announced on December 10, 2021, on the Jamaicans.com YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook pages on a show hosted by Jamaican media personalities Jody Ann Gray and Eddy Edwards.
Jody Ann Gray enjoys a large fan base for her radio shows in Jamaica and Florida, hosted and Eddy Edwards is the executive producer and co-host of Caribbean Riddims, a popular radio program airing on CANEradio.com. Juliet Bodley has been known as “Julie Mango” from early in her childhood. Her father gave her the nickname because she used to sit in or under a large mango tree in the front yard of her family’s home in Clarendon.
She also ate a lot of Julie Mangos, she added. Raised in Clarendon, she moved to Manchester when she was 11. When she was a child, she often heard her father Basil Bodley and her Uncle Hugh Bodley speaking patois and that is how she learned its slang terms and dramatic expressions.
Both her father and uncle were natural performers and excellent storytellers, and young Julie would listen to them for hours, learning how their mannerisms, how they told each other jokes, and the way they talked about what had happened during their day. She attended Manchester High School where she was known as a Cadet Girl and as a performer who worked with the school’s drama club Ayaedeh, which staged several plays a year.
She says that the performing arts were instilled in her early on, and her drama teacher Juliet Folie helped her to hone her skills. Julie obtained a private pilot’s license through the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force scholarship program when she was 19, but she realized that becoming a pilot was not her goal.
Instead, she decided to attend the University of Technology to study structural engineering and to become a professional engineer. She worked as an engineer after graduating from UTech and then went on to get a master’s degree in engineering management at Florida International University (FIU).
She worked in Jamaica for several years and then had the chance to work overseas. However, her love of the performing arts never left her, and whenever she was in a room full of people, she found herself entertaining them and making them laugh just by being herself.
She realized that she was a natural entertainer and that performing was part of her.
During the time she was working at both her engineering career and her “hobby” of the performing arts, Julie faced challenges surrounding her mental health. She later openly discussed these challenges on her Instagram platform. Her own experiences confronting personal mental health issues led her to become a mental health advocate who is committed to letting people know that there is nothing to be ashamed of if they have similar struggles as well as encouraging improvements in the treatment of mental illnesses. Her goal is to eliminate the stigma associated with mental issues.
Julie started her very popular TikTok at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. She was working from home, but in the evenings, she had nothing to do, so she created her first video, “How Jamaicans Give Praise vs. How Americans Give Praise.” She did not expect anyone to see it, but it went viral, and “the rest is history,” she said. Now, as Julie Mango, she produces content every weekday, concentrating on skits about Jamaica’s people and culture on both Instagram and TikTok, and hopes to be able to pursue an acting career full time “if it be God’s will.”